When records can’t be found.

Morgan was having difficulty locating records for his ancestral town of San Lazzaro in Campania and asked for help.

The first thing to do is to check the Family Search catalogue. Nothing there!

Next stop is a Google search for Comune di San Lazzaro.  In the list is a item ‘La frazione di San Lazzaro di Agerola’.  Since we know that our San Lazzaro is near Naples and in Campania we can assume this is where we need to be.

Now we need to Google Comune di Agerola and click on ‘storia’ in the right column.  Here you will find the story of Agerola from mediaeval times to today. It’s all in Italian but it would seem that in 1844 Agerola was transferred from the Province of Salerno to Province of Napoli, separating itself administratively from the Amalfi coast. The town was isolated from both sides by lack of a good road.  I checked on the antenati site in the State Archives of Salerno for Agerola but did not find it. In 1860 after Garibaldi’s troops took Naples, Agerola became part of the Regno delle Due Sicilia. Like many other towns formerly of the Meridional, Agerola had great difficulty in adapting to the laws of the Italian Kingdom. They weren’t accustomed to paying taxes, or taking part in the military and this imposition on their freedom caused many to join the Brigands of the area.

After 10 years of brigantaggio and the people of the area were ready to immigrate to America.

Knowing the history of the town or area helps you to understand why there are no records.  These were mountain people isolated from the major towns by lack of roads.  They were not used to paying taxes or submitting themselves to rules and regulations.  I doubt they even bothered to register births, marriages or deaths although baptisms and deaths would almost certainly have been registered with the parish.  It looks like it was 1901 before the people of Agerola began to follow the rules of civil registration although the town may have earlier records.

Next stop is to contact the Comune of Agerola and ask if they have any civil records for San Lazzaro and Agerola prior to 1901.  It may be that there are just no ‘second copies’ for Family Search to film.

If you have no success with the town you will need to access parish records from the Parish of Santa Annunziata.

I covered in a different blogpost the fact that Family Search is the agency digitizing the Italian records at both the State Archives and the Tribunals.  Only those digitized at the State archives will find their way to the antenati site (unless the Tribunal records have been deposited at the State Archives for some reason).  Any records digitized at the Tribunale will only be found on line at the Family Search site.






  1. Just as a note, Antenati does have some records for San Lazzaro. They’re under Agerola, 1812-1821. If you go into each record type and year, there are two folders — one for Agerola, and one for San Lazzaro.

    In later years, some records under Agerola specify San Lazzaro on the record, but they’re mixed in with the general Agerola records (like the other “towns” that make up the comune).

    Example: http://dl.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/v/Archivio+di+Stato+di+Napoli/Stato+civile+napoleonico+comuni+della+provincia/Agerola/Nati/1812/

    That’s an interesting region :-).


  2. Salve!

    Sto cercando per documenti dei figli di un antenato mio morto nel 1944 a Castrocielo (FR) (probabilmente anche sposato lì), però non ho ottenuto risposte… ho fatto richieste in 2018 e 2019.

    Lei sa se esistono immagini online dei libri dello stato civile dopo il 1875?

    Questo antenato si è sposato in questa regione più o meno nel 1885, è immigrato al Brasile nel 1895 e negli anni 1930 o 1940 è tornato all’Italia e morto a Castrocielo (FR) in un bombardamento nella seconda guerra mondiale…


    • SAlve,
      Le nascite di 1873 sono l’unico libro degli atti di nascita salvato dal Tribunal di Cassino dopo la guerra. Fortunatamente il Comune ha ancora tutto gli atti civile da 1866 ma non sono brava di rispondere alle richieste. La parrocchia ha documenti di battesimi dal 1875 e matrimonie dopo 1795.


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