Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How to Use the Online Italian Genealogy Archives

Italy has a genealogy website Italian descendants love. With some luck, it may contain your ancestor's birth, marriage and death records.

For me, it's the ultimate at-home research tool.

http://antenati.san.beniculturali.it/?q=gallery
I spent about five years visiting Family History Centers to view microfilmed vital records from my maternal grandfather's hometown in Italy.

I documented everything, piecing together 15,000 relatives. But my current job doesn't allow me the time to continue in this way.

One caveat: You must know the hometown of your ancestor.

Here's how to use this Italian genealogy site without understanding Italian.

At the end of this explanation, I'll tell you how to download entire collections of images automatically.
  1. PROVINCE. Click your ancestor's province. If you know their town, you can Google it to find out its province. A province is roughly the equivalent of a county in the U.S.
  2. TIME PERIOD. Click a time period:
    • Stato civile napoleonico—The Napoleonic Era in Italy lasted from 1805 through 1814. These documents may cover a portion of those year and run through 1815.
    • Stato civile della restaurazione—This Restoration Period (1816–1860) spans the time between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the unification of Italy.
    • Stato civile italiano—These are civil records beginning in 1861.
    …the exact years available depend on the town.
  3. TOWN. Click your ancestor's hometown.
  4. RECORD TYPE. Click the type of document, including:
    • Diversi—Various documents not included in other sets may be birth records for illegitimate babies, death records for stillborn babies, or marriage records.
    • Matrimoni—Marriage licenses may include the date of the wedding and the name of the church.
    • Matrimoni, pubblicazioni—Couples who wanted to marry had to publicly post their intentions twice before getting permission to marry.
    • Matrimoni, processetti—Each marriage generated several documents including (a) the birth certificates of bride and groom, (b) the death records for their deceased parents, and if the bride or groom's father was dead, you might also see their grandfather's death record, (c) their permission to marry, and (d) the date of their wedding in the church.
    • Morti—Death records.
    • Nati—Birth records.
    • Cittadinanze—Citizenship records.
    • Allegati—These are additional records for any of the above categories.
  5. YEAR. One by one, click a year, then click the archive number (it's the only thing on the page) to see the list of images (immagine), 45 per page.
  6. ENLARGE. When you select an image, click the image itself to enlarge it.
  7. SAVE. You can right-click the enlarged image and choose Save Image As, or save time by right-clicking the unenlarged image and choosing Save Link As.

I spent weeks downloading the records from my paternal grandfather's town one at a time. Then I learned about a software app called GetLinks that sped up the process so much, I went on to download my great grandmother's entire town in two days!

This is a simple program written by someone who speaks Portuguese. You only need to learn a couple of words to use the app. Here is a link to the download (click the Descarregar button), and here's how to use it:
  1. Download the file and double-click to expand it. Then double-click to run the program is called ArchiveDownload.jar.
  2. At the top, click Opções (Options), then click Opções again.
  3. Set the location where you want the downloaded images to go by clicking the “” button next to the words Pasta de Download. (Pasta means folder.)
  4. I find that 3 simultaneous downloads works efficiently. If you will be accessing Familysearch.org, enter your login info on this screen. Click OK.
  5. Back on the main screen there's an address box beneath the Ficheiro and Opções options. Into this box, paste the URL of the folder you want to access. For the Antenati site, that address would be at this level, for example: http://antenati.san.beniculturali.it/v/Archivio+di+Stato+di+Benevento/Stato+civile+della+restaurazione/Baselice/Morti/1816/160/
  6. Click the Go! button. If things don't start happening within 2 seconds, look at the Download button on the right. If it is red and says “Download: Off”, click it so it's green and says “Download: On”.
Doing this, I downloaded every record from 2 or 3 towns in a few sittings.

Bottom line: If your town is included, your life is about to change for the better.

20 comments:

  1. I don't understand. I actually have in my possession the Atto di Nascita for my great-grandmother born in Santa Lucia della Mela and, yet when I search as instructed from this blog, no info is available for the year of her birth 1870.

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    Replies
    1. Carol, how did you get your copy of the certificate? Some of the towns' documents on this site are far from complete. I have my fingers crossed that they will add more documents, as well as more towns.

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  2. How many gigabytes are in these downloads? Don't you still have to search through the images and indices once you have completed the download(s)? I don't see how this is any easier than viewing online and downloading selected images. It would be quicker with the files on your hard drive, but a what cost?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you want to limit your search to a few people, sure, you can gather the documents one at a time. But if you download batches of documents, you can find all the children of your ancestor, and their marriages, and their children, and so on. I bought a 1 terabyte external drive as a backup. I've downloaded 4 full towns. I've barely made a dent in the terabyte.

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  3. Do you use this technique to download records at the Family History Center that may only be viewable at the FHC. If so, I understand why you would do this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not done that, simply because it hasn't applied to me yet. But I may try it next week!

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  4. My grandmother was born in Raveo, in Udine. The records are not on the site, nor are the records of Enemonzo, where they moved and siblings were born. It will be great when more of these records are available.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For the Antenati website, be sure to check their News page every month or two for new records: http://antenati.san.beniculturali.it/elenco-news. Familysearch.org has Udine. You can search or browse: https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1939238

      It looks like they have Enemonzo, too. Start here and pick a time span: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/results?count=20&placeId=1287602&query=%2Bplace%3A%22Italy%2C%20Udine%2C%20Enemonzo%22&subjectsOpen=1287601-50

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  5. I was so excited to see this information, thank you for sharing! I have a question though, i found my ancestors town but the records start in 1901 via the Antenati website (Chieti). Where do i find the 1800's info as my Italian ancestors were all born in the late 1800's?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have the problem of missing years, too, and it breaks my heart. You can try a Catalog search for your town on FamilySearch.org.

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    2. Additional records for Chieti were posted within the last week or so.

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  6. Any suggestions for using this app on a MAC? I have tried to download it, but the app gets hung up when I try to enter in the folder I have created to save the images from the Italian archives website.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Phoebe. I went to the site where you can download the app. The page is in Portuguese, but my browser gave me the option to translate it. It says if you're using a Mac and have problems, see the instructions at https://java.com/pt_BR/download/help/mac_java_update.xml. That page tells you how to update Java in the Java Control Panel. I hope that does it for you!

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    2. Thanks for your quick reply! I just get the spinning wheel of death when I try to add in the location of where I want to save the downloaded images. My Java is up to date! Sadly, I can not figure out how to get this app to work on my MAC. If anyone else has any other ideas, please let me know!

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    3. Phoebe -- I had the same problem yesterday. When I created a (Mac) folder for the images to download to, I couldn't remember exactly what time frame I was on, so I made a temporary folder name. After the downloads were complete, I corrected the folder name. When I tried to download the next file, I got the spinning wheel every time I tried -- changed the folder name back to the temp name and then it worked fine. Makes no sense to me, but it worked. Did you make any name or location changes?

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  7. Hello DiAnn, thank you for the great information you have shared! You mention trying a catalog search in Family Search for missing years on Antenati. I did try, but the message tells me I have to either sign in as LDS memeber (I did sign onto the website as a member of the site, but am not a member of the mormon church), or obtain records from a family history center. Am I doing something wrong? I see the records listed, but I can't get to them. Thanks for your help.

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  8. Toni that does mean an LDS church member, not a Family Search member. You can view those records at your nearest Family History Center.

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  9. Do you download three files at once while still directing them to three different folders on your computer? How?

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    Replies
    1. The number of files you're downloading at once is an efficiency setting. Your computer can multi-thread -- that's like multi-tasking. I found 3 at a time to be most efficient for me. But directing the 3 to different folders? I don't know how you can do that.

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    2. So when you say you download three files at once, you're talking about three images within a folder. I was mistaken -- I thought "folder" when I read "file." So I thought you were downloading three folders of images at one time. I understand now. Thanks!

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