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Are you one of the 18 million Americans with Italian roots? Trace your Italian family history using popular Italian-language newspapers and historical publications to uncover the stories of your family’s past today.
Find Italian genealogy records from across the U.S. including:
Start your Italian ancestry search by entering an ancestor's name below.
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Trace your Italian ancestry back to the early immigrants with GenealogyBank’s collection of historic Italian-American newspapers dating back to 1884. Find family photos, birth notices, old Italian wedding announcements, local news stories, and more. Plus use the Passenger Lists published in newspapers find your ancestor’s early Italian immigration records. Discover the stories and the day-to-day lives of your Italian ancestors published in popular Italian American newspapers including:
Newspapers go further than government Italian genealogy records. Previously, a newspaper was the printed town square of a community, with many early newspapers even being published in Italian. These vital Italian ancestry records are a window into the past.
If you’re beginning to launch your genealogical research, you can begin your search with nothing more than a name and a location. Our newspapers date back to 1810 and include precious records from Italian immigrant hubs like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, and Pittsburgh.
From the 1880s onward, Italian immigration boomed, meaning many newspapers included classifieds inviting relatives to meet up, information on the Italy they’d left behind, and affairs centering on the Italian community. In other words, these resources aren’t just about your ancestors but the world they lived in.
Wondering how to find Italian ancestors?
First, begin with a known ancestor. You need nothing more than a name and a rough period in which they lived. Ideally, you will also have a basic idea of the state or county they lived in to narrow your search further.
If you’re ready to begin exploring Italian genealogy records online, follow these five steps: Read more
Remember, it can take a few tries to find your ancestors, so don’t be afraid to enter common misspellings or search for another ancestor first if it is particularly challenging to find information online.
The majority of Italian immigrants arrived in the U.S. between 1880 and 1920. Most immigrants stayed in the northeast after arriving on Ellis Island and settled in heavily populated Italian areas. Many of these communities become known as “Little Italy” where immigrants maintained Italian traditions. With GenealogyBank you can learn what life was like your ancestors building a new life for themselves in America. Learn how these experiences defined your Italian family history.
A practical approach to tracing your family history is to start with what you already know and work your way back from there. Begin by focusing on your grandparents and great-grandparents, as we usually have more information about these individuals. Utilize online resources to search for their records and gather relevant details. Then, proceed to work backward in time by exploring census and newspaper records, which often provide valuable insights and serve as a straightforward method for tracing ancestral lineage.
Note that your Italian genealogy search will end when your ancestors first came to America. From there, you’ll need to use Italian records to trace your family further.
Unfortunately, the first Italian census was only taken in 1871, when the modern Italian state was formed. From 1871 to 1901, these civil documents were incomplete and typically only contained a list of each head of household, his occupation, and the number of people in the house.
For this reason, if tracing your family back to Italy, you’ll need to rely on regional records. In this case, you’ll likely need to visit in person and hire someone who speaks Italian.
Despite the limited availability of census records maintained by the central Italian government, a valuable alternative lies in the extensive records held by the Catholic Church. For centuries, the Church has diligently recorded births, deaths, and marriages for the majority of Italians, with documentation dating back to the early 1600s.
It is worth noting, though, that these invaluable records are often not digitized and necessitate a visit to the respective parish in order to access them. In-person exploration of the relevant parish remains crucial for delving into these historical records and uncovering the rich ancestral history of Italian individuals and families.