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How to find your ancestors in Italy?

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How to find your ancestors in Italy?

On the internet, there are several “surname search” sites, many of them in Italian, some very complete, others free, and others for a fee. The fact is: today we have much easier access to information, even on the other side of the ocean. It’s not such an easy task, but it’s not impossible at all. Let’s go to our post of the day. How to find your ancestors in Italy? Stay with us and make the most of boot country! Here at Italy’s Dream Tourism, we make the trip of your dreams come true!! Also, get to know our Section Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your Vacation!

Our Introduction

Some databases have photos, documents, record books, and other information that can help you find your Italian roots. We won’t deceive you: sometimes it is not possible to find any information, and there are also documents that are illegible and therefore unusable.

Finding as much information as possible requires a LOT of patience! How can you find your ancestors in Italy? Let’s go now in search of the ancestors… Let’s introduce you to some sites now. Read also: Are you of Italian descent?

1) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY ANTENATI

In Italy there is a very complete website called Antenati (Ancestors in free translation). The site is managed by the General Directorate of Archives and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities, and Tourism from several cities, which have gathered data, documents and made the service available to the public. The good side is that it’s free and you don’t need to log in; the ‘bad’ side is that the site is all in Italian and doesn’t make all regions available (for now), but it’s very complete and, within the proposal it has, it fulfills its role.

To search for documents related to your ancestors on the Antenati portal, click on ‘trova nomi‘ (find names) in the upper right corner. Then, fill out the form that is proposed to you, indicating as much information as possible (name, surname, type of deed to be found, city/place of origin, and year), which will make your search much easier.

Then click on the ‘about’ (search) button to see the results. If you don’t have all the details, that’s fine, but the search will take longer, since you’ll need to look at it document by document to see if you can find what you want. The site contains a lot of information, so it’s not the fastest, but you’ll find that document you were missing to file the paperwork, right?! 😉

2) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY FAMILY SEARCH

Another excellent site for searching for documentation is FamilySearch. This site already has a version in Portuguese and is much more complete. Of course, certain information will not be available either, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Access the website, which requires a brief registration and after logging in, fill in the details of the relative you are looking for and click on search.

It is possible to save the searches, make ‘document boxes’ and keep everything well organized. The interesting thing is that, when you click on the name of the person you searched for, next to the document, if available, the family connections related to that person also appear. It’s great! TIP: There is also an app for iOS and Android.

3) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY MY HERITAGE

One option is the My Heritage website. A part of the site is free, for detailed information, however, it is necessary to make a subscription. For those looking for documents, it ends up being worth investing. In addition, it is also possible to request DNA tests to find out where it comes from. Interesting, to say the least! After registration and payment, you can start your search.

The search is carried out in the same way as in the others: you fill in the data, enter the location and type of document that is searched, and click on search. Keep in mind that the more information you fill in, the easier it is to locate the document you need. There’s also an app for iOS and Android systems.

4) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY ANCESTRY

Another website that specializes in family trees is Ancestry. Always in the same style as the others already mentioned, it presents a worldwide database. Register and fill out the form, Just like My Heritage, there is a free part and a paid part, which presents more details. It is also available as a mobile app.

5) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY ALTRE ITALIE

As there is no shortage of options, there is yet another site available for research: Altre Italie. This site presents documentation from the U.S. between 1880 and 1891, Argentina between 1882 and 1920, and Brazil between 1858 and 1899. Often, there are no records in Italy, but certain important documentation may be available in other countries, and we don’t even think about this possibility. The site is free and available in Italian and English. Once you’ve signed up, do your research and see if you can find the information you’re looking for.

Itinerary in Italy for 15 days?
Source Pixabay

6) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY LIBERTY ELLIS FOUNDATION

This next site is dedicated to New York City, it’s the Liberty Ellis Foundation, which presents documentation of Italian immigrants who entered the U.S. through NY between 1892 and 1924 (there are some records that go as far back as 1957). It requires a small registration and is completely free.

7) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY COGMIX

The last interesting site is Cogmix, which is more like a last-name search. The easiest to use, it mainly presents information related to the surname and where it is mainly concentrated in Italy. It’s worth it for the curiosity.

Who is entitled to apply for Italian citizenship?

Complementing this post, many people are looking for documents to be able to obtain Italian citizenship, right? But who is entitled to apply for Italian citizenship?

  • All those who are of Italian descent are entitled, but with some limitations on transmission through the maternal line—only those born after 1948 have the right.
  •  Children born of a non-marital union, cases of recognition of paternity or maternity during the child’s minority, and adoption are cases included in the right to Italian citizenship.
  • Another way is through marriage with descendants of Italians (if the spouse who has the right applies for citizenship—valid for heterosexual and homosexual couples). Men, on the other hand, will not be able to have dual citizenship recognized if they marry Italian women or descendants of Italians, in which case only the children of the couple can have the recognition. Men, in this case, can apply for Italian naturalization.
  • For citizenship inherited via marriage, it is necessary to wait three years to apply for citizenship. The required documents are the birth certificate, marriage certificate, and spouse’s identity card.

What documents do I need to apply for Italian citizenship?

For children of Italians born outside Italy, it is necessary to gather: the birth certificate of the child and parents; the marriage certificate of the parents; the death certificate (if the ascendant is deceased); and the original identity card of the father or mother and the applicant.

For grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or great-great-grandchildren of Italians, the birth certificate itself, the marriage certificate of the relatives in question, their death certificate (if the ascendant is deceased), and the negative naturalization certificate (if any) of all the ascendants of the family are sufficient.


  • Brazilians who want to obtain citizenship must also present (along with the documents already mentioned): apostilled certificates (birth, marriage, death and eventual divorces), in original duplicate, recent and in good condition, the Registration form; the application form for recognition of Italian citizenship, Copy of ID or passport identification sheet (not accepted driver’s license or professional identity cards); Voter registration certificate issued by the Electoral Court, including the voter’s domicile; Original voter registration card and copy; Proof of recent residence (issued no more than six months ago) and nominal (in the case of minors, proof of residence in the name of the parents or guardians will be accepted); Family tree: according to the embassy, each applicant of legal age must fill out their own form and criminal record.

How does the citizenship application process work?

Gather all the documentation and make an appointment at the Italian Consulate in your city. After that, wait for the call for the application, and, after the process is completed, enter the application for the Italian passport via appointment.

Important to know

  • Citizenship, by right of the Italian State, can be DENIED, even with all the documents in hand. Another thing: after the documents are delivered, there is no point in calling the consulate every two days; they will inform you when you need to present yourself at the consulate. Don’t be surprised if they schedule an ‘interview’. The practice is also provided for in Italian law,, and they have the right to request it when and if they think it is necessary.

How much does it cost and how long does it take to apply?

This is where the bug catches: the authorization to obtain Italian citizenship can take 5 to 10 years. Even if you gather all the documents on your own, you will often have to translate some documents. The documents requested to be translated must be CERTIFIED TRANSLATIONS, that is, they must be done by a translator in foreign languages, appointed and registered with the Board of Trade. A simple translation is not valid!  During the process, you may be summoned to review documents, request a sworn translation, or request rectification; It is normal!

The cost to ‘settle’ all the documentation can reach 1.004,96 $ (of course there are cases and cases!). As you know, doing it for Italy, this process lasts much less, on average, 3 months. Therefore, once you have all the documents in hand (translated and sworn), you can choose this option. In addition to that, in Italy, there are several agencies and lawyers specializing in this type of process.


Click here without obligation and ask for your quote now!

Customized Services

Client Roseli Bertelli is seated next to the Mayor of Malito, Cosenza, and me, Ana Patricia, as a chaperone.

Client Roseli Bertelli is sitting next to the Mayor of Malito, Cosenza, and me, Ana Patricia, as a companion.

It is often the reminder of origins that attracts relatives from many different places and we see descendants willing to stop for a little longer ‘to visit different places’. And then I will be able to meet this new goal with personalized services in places of departure of the largest Italian emigration, starting with my adopted land, Calabria. Learn more about this region through my other blog, made especially for my Calabria Your Travel To Calabria

Now you can find the various relatives, the places, the origins and the traditions of Calabria that were left behind to seek new opportunities. Anyone who intends to find their origins but does not know how to do it, just know that there are several ways available and useful in this search. We are a valuable, safe and professional tool.

What should I do?

How to find your ancestors in Italy? A personalized itinerary in the city of departure of the great-grandparents, up to the advice for an eventual family

reunion. I guarantee it will be a memorable and once-in-a-lifetime experience! We can also indicate a serious company to look for your Italian documents!!

Click here without obligation and ask for your quote now!

Do like Roseli, come and see your city of origin with me!!

Watch this video to find out How to avoid Car Fines in Italy!

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How to find your ancestors in Italy? Even if your intention is not to get Italian citizenship, it is worth it for curiosity, and it is very interesting to know the origin of the surname, where it is predominant, and its meaning.

Do you feel unsafe traveling?

If you need help organizing your trip, do not hesitate to contact me! I’d love to help you make your dream trip to Italy.

Did my post help you, or do you still have questions? Leave your comment below, and I’ll get back to you!

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