The ‘search’ function on Ancestry, family search and the Antenati site is a place to start but don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t produce any results. The indexing project is far from complete and even though ‘your’ names may appear to come up in the search it doesn’t mean they are the right family.
Sometimes you just have to ‘bite the bullet’ and use the records themselves. It can be intimidating especially if you don’t speak Italian but the names are the same in any language so all you really need is a way to get started.
http://www.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/ This is the first page. At the top right you can change the language to English, Spanish or Portugese, but please understand it is only the instructions that come in English, not the records themselves.
You then have two choices:
On line search which includes ‘Find the names’ and Browse the registries.
Browse the registries takes to straight to a list of the Archives already uploaded and available for searching.
There is also a section Find the names: This feature is only available for a few of the State Archives and the work is still ongoing for most of them. This work is a joint effort by Family Search and the Italian Antenati site. Be sure to check the ‘indexing status’ before wasting too much time on this.
or to go to the Archives which includes the Land and the Sources area.
This area will tell you which Archives have already been uploaded and which are still being digitized and if the uploading is completed or still in progress. It will also tell you what records are held by the State Archives but please understand that just because they hold these records it doesn’t mean they will be eventually uploaded. If you go to the State Archive of Frosinone you will see that the Civil Registry is scheduled. The list also tells you that the Archives hold the Army Census and Recruitment numbers but these are NOT scheduled to be published.
On the right is a section for ‘The Sources for Genealogical research’ once again this area is explaining what records are held by the State Archives NOT what will be uploaded.
There is even a YOUTUBE video on how to use the site.
Once you have a feel for the site and how to use it, find the records you need to access.
Remember, the records are in three time frames,
Stato Civile Napoleonico 1809-1815,
Stato Civile della restaurazione, 1816-1865, and
Stato Civile italiano 1866- 1899 (or whichever year the State Archives are archiving records up to. It will vary from town to town and Archive to Archive.
Not all records or years will have survived or even be available for each town. It all depends on what is conserved at the State Archives. Typically you will find, Nati (Births) Matrimoni (Marriages) and Morti (Deaths) and there may also be ‘allegati’ or ‘processetti’ (documents that were attached to the births, marriages or deaths. There may be ‘indice decenniali (10 year indexes) and occasionally ‘Diversi’ (different records where abandoned babies may be listed or recognition of an abandoned child or even adoptions. ‘Cittadinanze’ should be the acquisition or the renouncing of citizenship but I have also seen documentswhere the person has assumed or given up residence in the city.
Once you have arrived at the record page enlarge the images in your browser. (The 3 bars at the top right corner) 130% should be enough to ‘distinguish’ whether you are looking at an index page or an actual ‘act’.
Typically the records will have annual indexes. Earlier ones may be by first name but are usually by surname. If the index doesn’t appear in the first few pages, then go to the last page in the section to see if it is there.
If there is no index, then you are going to be looking at each act individually. This is unfortunate but there are tricks to do this quickly in the older documents. Instead of focusing and reading the entire act, look for the spot on the page where the baby’s name is written. It might be in the baptism column or on the front or second page. Either way, just focus on that part of the page as you go quickly through the records. If you focus on the ‘declarent’ you may miss the act you need since it is not always the baby’s father who does the declaration. The older marriage records will take the most time as there is no easy way to identify the couple. Death records usually have the name of the deceased in the same place, around the middle and after the words ‘morto/a’. More recent acts have the relevant names in the margin making a page by page search much easier.
When searching the marriage processetti or allegati make a note of the act number of the marriage. There are not usually indexes in these documents. The documents in the folder are usually in order of marriage date (act number) and there will usually be a cover page for each set of records attached to a marriage. Start at the first image until you locate a cover page. Once you have identified one, it should be easy to pick out the next cover page from the ‘multiple image’ view. Then you can count the cover pages until you reach the act number you are looking for.
Searching in the Antenati site is easier than doing it at Family Search since the Italian site has uploaded each year separately whereas the Family search site often has several years and different types of records on the same upload.
Let me know if this helps!
I appreciate knowing about this site, but it is down more than it is working!
Think of it as a good sign that they are doing some more uploading may be something you’d be interested in
Just re-read this to ensure I wasn’t losing my mind today. While the jury’s still out on that, the article is a helpful reminder of the basics of antenati research! It’s always good to be grounded on a crazy day, thank you very much.
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I loved the old way not this
We all need to be open to change and I believe this one is better even if it will take some getting used to .