Obtaining a birth certificate for citizenship purposes did not seem like a complicated thing but the client had written several times to the town and always received a negative response. He had also written to the church with no response at all. In frustration, he turned to me.
He had in his possession the original passport document issued by the Italian government in 1894 which named his father, his mother and their three children. The oldest child was the clients father. Included was a ‘nulla osta’ (permission) from the Mayor of the town of birth. How could there not be a birth certificate?
I wrote to the town and received the same negative response. The church was no help either. Finally I wrote to the Mayor requesting permission for a personal search of their records. SInce the town was close to Cassino, where the bombing in WW2 destroyed many civil records I was afraid their records may not have been complete.
My clients father was the oldest child at age 9 on the passport with his siblings aged 2 and 1 years old. Was it possible the oldest child was born before the marriage? My first stop was the marriage records where, sure enough, the civil marriage legitimized their first son. The marriage act did not name the child but did provide the date of birth . The child had been given the surname of the mother, but there was no notation of the legitimization on the child’s birth act.
I presented the two documents to the clerk who immediately went into panic mode. The wording on the marriage record was very clear however in her opinion there was a conflict in the wording and she wouldn’t take the responsibility of issuing the official birth record in the legal name of the child.
The wording that was causing the issue as follows:-
from their natural union was born a son the 1st of July 1887 that was born of Guerra, Filomena and unknown father and was declared in this office the 6th of the same month and year and they have told me that with this present act (the marriage) they recognise him for their own son and in effect legitimise him.
It seemed pretty clear to me but adding the words ‘unknown father’ for the clerk, was at odds with the wording ‘natural union’. This, together with the fact that there was no notation on the birth act and the change of surname not indicated, was creating a problem. The Mayor would have to resolve this!
Conclusion: If you make a specific request to the town anagrafe office you will get exactly what you ask for. Or not! If the act they search for is not exactly what you specified you will get a negative response. In this case the client had asked for the birth record of Vittore Pio, father Angelo and mother Guerra, Filomena with a year of birth of 1884-1885. All based on the passport information.
In fact the birth record was for Vittore Guerra, unknown father and mother Guerra Filomena born in 1887. The original passport had Vittore’s age wrong by two years.
The town will not do the research!