Genealogical Research Guide

This guide is designed to help you start your journey in tracing your Italian ancestry, with a focus on utilizing both American and Italian records.

Step 1: Start with U.S. Records

When beginning your research, it’s crucial to start with American records. This step is essential to gather as much information as possible before diving into Italian records.

U.S. Census Records:

U.S. Census records are a key resource for determining your ancestors’ dates of birth, immigration, and other critical details. This information helps differentiate between individuals with similar names in Italian records.

Paid Sites: and similar websites offer extensive U.S. records that can aid your research, though they may not be as strong for Italian records.

Step 2: Utilize Online Resources for Italian Records

Ellis Island Ship Passenger Lists (1892 – 1954):

The Ellis Island passenger lists are available for free and can be accessed through the Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation website. These lists can help identify ancestors who immigrated to the United States, often listing married Italian women by their maiden names.

Website: The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation

Acri Civil Records (1809 – 1910):

Acri’s civil records, including birth, marriage, and death records, have been microfilmed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). These records are available for research and can be ordered online for a nominal fee. The rolls will be shipped to your nearest Family History Center for viewing.

List of Available Rolls: The Family History Library


Records prior to 1852 are indexed by given name.

Records after 1852 are indexed by surname.

Italian women are listed by their maiden names in all Italian records.

Documenti Militari di Cosenza (1842 – 1901):

The military draft records for the Province of Cosenza have been microfilmed by the LDS Church. These records are crucial for tracking male ancestors through military drafts.

List of Available Microfilm: The Family History Library

Province of Cosenza Archives:

The Province of Cosenza maintains an archive of records from all towns within the province. Some records and abstracts are available online, though the website can be unreliable. Be cautious as birth records between 1822 and 1844 may list baptismal dates instead of birth dates.

Website: Archivio di Stato di Cosenza

Step 3: Consult Genealogical Books

Lynn Nelson, A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Italian Ancestors, F+W Media, 1997. ISBN-13: 978-1558706934.

This book is highly recommended for beginners. It provides comprehensive coverage of Italian civil records, including samples and translations.

Trafford R. Cole, Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical & Other Records in Family History Research, Ancestry, 1995. ISBN-13: 978-0916489588.

This book delves into various Italian records, including census, church, and military records, making it valuable for more advanced research.


Starting your genealogical research with American records provides a solid foundation before exploring Italian records. Utilize online resources like Ellis Island passenger lists and the microfilmed records available through the LDS Church. The archives of the Province of Cosenza and comprehensive genealogical books will further aid your research in discovering your Italian ancestry.

The information on this site has been provided by a family member who has experience in genealogical research. Without the links that were provided the author would not have been able to lookup the information, add Photos and create this site.