16 May 2017

How to Use the Online Italian Genealogy Archives

UPDATES:
  • 27 JAN 2019: FamilySearch is BLOCKING the GetLinks program so you cannot perform bulk downloads from their site. GetLinks still works on the no-restrictions Antenati website.
  • 4 SEP 2018: New images and tips about GetLinks.
  • 10 JULY 2018: New link to the software.
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.

See http://dl.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/en//?q=gallery
http://dl.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/en//?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. See "6 Places to Discover Your Ancestor's Town of Birth".

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.
Let's Speed Up This Process

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 sittings!

This is a simple program written by a Portuguese-speaking programmer. You only need to learn a couple of words to use the app. The author updated the program in July 2018 after I told him the Antenati website address had changed. You can download the working version from Dropbox. 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.exe.
  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.
    NOTE: If you do not see the Cancelar and OK buttons at the bottom of this window, simply drag down the bottom of the window until you do. If you don't click OK, your folder choice is not saved.
    Make sure you're seeing the OK button.
    Make sure you're seeing the OK button.
  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://dl.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/v/Archivio+di+Stato+di+Benevento/Stato+civile+della+restaurazione/Baselice
  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 5 or 6 towns.

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

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73 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.

    ReplyDelete
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    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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    2. I am addressing the question above that Joe asked. How does using this program help make using Atenati easier (I do realize it's faster)? Am I misunderstanding something here? Thank you.

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    3. Hi, Sandra. The Antenati website is notoriously slow and sometimes goes offline for a while (although I haven't seen that happen lately). If you're looking at a small town, you're going to be related to everyone. Going through the images one-by-one online is like a death sentence.

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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.

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    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?

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    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.

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    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?

    ReplyDelete
    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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  10. Wonderful advice - many thanks - will try this to find the Memmolo family from Benevento, Taurasi and Mirabella-Eclano.

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  11. Many thanks DiAnn and thank you for the updates - I had given up using this site but will try again in my search for Biagio Memmolo (1876-) and his brothers from Taurasi, Mirabella-Eclano and Benevento.

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    1. Here's the link for Mirabella Eclano records starting in 1866. http://dl.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/v/Archivio+di+Stato+di+Avellino/Stato+civile+italiano/Mirabella+Eclano/

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    2. Here is Taurasi. http://dl.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/v/Archivio+di+Stato+di+Avellino/Stato+civile+italiano/Taurasi/

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    3. Finally, the city of Benevento is here. http://dl.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/v/Archivio+di+Stato+di+Benevento/Stato+civile+italiano/Benevento/

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  12. Thank you so much for this tip. I've downloaded 20 years' worth of death records and I'm still going.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great! It's just a dream come true.

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  13. I so want to try this but I am having a problem. When I go to install the GetLinks app, it stresses that I must have Java Runtime Enviroment on my system. I currently run Windows 10 with Firefox 61.0.1 (64 bit)and there does not appear to be support for the Java program. I have also tried Windows Edge browser with the same problem. So - does anyone know of another browser that runs on Window 10 and supports the Java Runtime Environment?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Google Chrome works and supports Java. I use it on Windows 10. I guess you need to use Google Chrome just to get the Java download? The GetLinks program doesn't actually get installed. You unzip the compressed file, then you run the .exe file when you need it.

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    2. DiAnn - it looks like I could easily download Java in either Firefox or Edge. But documentation regarding both browsers say they do not support it so I'm not sure what would happen and don't want to mess up my system finding out. I'll give Google Chrome a try - thanks for the quick reply.

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  14. Diann - I have installed JRE and am able to use GetLinks! What a wonderful app! Thank you so much for writing about it - and for your help in n getting me going with it.

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    Replies
    1. Thank goodness! Now you can know the joy of having your ancestor's entire town on your computer. Peruse each document with no lag time, and see how many relatives you can piece together.

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  15. Hi DiAnn,
    Thank you very much for finding the program and letting us all know about it. The town of San Giovanni Rotondo can only be viewed at the Family History Center via their computers. Did you have a chance to try your procedure there? Thanks John

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    Replies
    1. Hi, John. I have not tried it at a Family History Center, but a friend of mine did. He brought his own laptop and used the FHC wireless connection to download the files he needed. I don't think you want to run it on the FHC computer. They might not like that.

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  16. I don't know where to start HELP

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    1. This article tells you exactly how to find and download documents for your ancestors. But as it says at the top, you must know which town your ancestor is from. You may be able to find that on a ship manifest, naturalization papers, a passport application, or a draft registration card as well as some other documents.

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  17. Hi DiAnn,
    Just to update everyone… I was able to download my entire town Births, Marriages and Deaths records from 1809 to 1899 on my laptop, via the WiFi method out of the Family History Center… It works like a charm. Once again, thank you very much for showing us the way; also, to the author for writing the program. My life just got much easier with your help.
    God bless you
    John

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  18. That's great, John! I was using GetLinks last night when I discovered one ancestor was from a town I didn't know.

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  19. Hi DiAnn,
    from the bottom of the heart I want to thank you for this article, especially for GetLink app. Some friends recommended Church Parish Register Books that were scanned and are now available on Family Search site. This app is very useful cause it allows users to download thousands of images for viewing it on computer and no need to be online.
    Fr. Ivan Delic
    Serbia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you found out about the GetLinks app. It's fabulous to have a whole collection of documents on your computer. The real thanks belongs to Carlos Leite who wrote the app, lets us use it for free, and updated it when I alerted him to a change in the Antenati URL.

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  20. Hi really appreciate your information on the meanings of each search term on Antenati! I don't know Italian, so research is very difficult if I don't know what I'm looking at essentially. I've been able to reach as far back as 1860 so far in my findings, thank you!

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  21. I tried to run the program, but keep getting an error that the file is corrupt. Bummed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can you try re-downloading GetLinks after deleting your current version? Once you unzip the download and put the contents in a folder, you'll just double-click the *.exe file each time you want to run it.

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  22. My ancestors come from Porto Ceresio, and the records should be in Varese. But every web site I have looked at says none of the Varese archives have ever been microfilmed, let alone digitized.

    Any ideas on how to find anything? I do have my mother's birth certificate from Porto Ceresio, but that is all I have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, unfortunately. Vital records from Varese are not on the Antenati site or FamilySearch. If they plan on digitizing the files, FamilySearch has said they'll be all done by the end of 2019. Your other options are going there yourself or hiring a local researcher.

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  23. I'm late to the game, but thanks for this tip. My ancestors are concentrated among 3 small towns (pop. between 500 and 2500 each) in the Val Fontanabuona. There is a very short list of surnames in each town, to the point that marriages between the same surname are commonplace. As you say, if you spread your net wide enough, you find that just about everyone is related.

    That said, given the often huge latency (30-60 seconds being common) and awkward navigation of the site, I would think there would be an eager market for either media (e.g. DVD) preloaded with the data, or data downloadable in bulk. Once the prototype media were compiled, physical duplication or online access would cost very little. Even the trivial effort of assembling ZIP files of subtrees would be very helpful.

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    Replies
    1. But there is the option to bulk download. See the description of the program GetLinks in the article above.

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  24. Hi DiAnn,

    I have used this tool to download over 100,000 images from my villages in both Antenati and FamilySearch.

    All of sudden I am getting nothing in FS as they are loading very small files and they are corrupt. I'm wondering if you have been experiencing the same thing in FS. I have attached a link below for one of my villages as I now move into the church records. Thought maybe you could try and then stop and see what you get as all the files I now get are either 34.1 or 34.4 kb only.

    I am a dedicated reader of your blog and have read every entry. I too have employed many of your tools and strategies over my 20+ years of dedicated 100% Italian genealogy.

    The link is below for you to test if you can... shouldn't take more than 1 minute and would be appreciated.

    Ciao... Zio

    https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/005265665?wc=M6WF-MWP%3A58114501%2C59556801%2C59556802&cc=1493344

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zio, this is a recent change, and I'll have to update this article. FamilySearch has decided we don't deserve this level of access to the ancestral files it's their mission to provide to us. So they have blocked the GetLinks program. I'm disgusted with them for doing this.

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    2. DiAnn,

      Thank you for your quick reply... thank god I already had downloaded all of my villages for all their Civil records.

      I was saving the Church records as the next phase and ran into this snafu. If you find out anything please update in a post so I can catch it. This had to happen since the 1st of November as that is when I completed my civil downloads on FS.

      I hope we can figure out a workaround as this has been a valuable tool... thanks for sharing it.

      Ciao... Zio (Mike)

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  25. I wrote to the creator of GetLinks on Nov. 29 after a friend told me she was having this problem on FamilySearch. I didn't hear back from the programmer this time. (He updated the program earlier when I told him the URL of the Antenati site changed.) But I didn't realize what was happening till someone associated with FamilySearch told me she was deleting my mention of GetLinks from a Facebook Italian genealogy group.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks for the update on this, DiAnn. I had been trying to use GetLinks on FamilySearch with a friend and neither of us could get it to work. This is extremely disappointing and doesn't make any sense to me since they still let you download images individually.

      And I also don't agree with that person's deleting of your mention of GetLinks since it is still a valuable tool for Antenati. That's just selfish and petty, in my opinion.

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  26. Thank you for this update on GetLinks not working on FamilySearch. I am disappointed that they won't allow the use of GetLinks. It would save me a lot of time!

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  27. Thank you for your update on GetLinks not working on FamilySearch. I just tried it, and when all my images were corrupted, I came here to find out why. I am disappointed that FamilySearch will not allow GetLinks for downloading their files. It would save me a lot of time!

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    Replies
    1. I just hate trying to find an image in Family Search when there are 3,000 images and no way to separate them by years or type. It's an awful interface.

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  28. Thank you so much for this information!! I've been able to download information from two communes and it is easier to search once they are downloaded.!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no comparison! Having the whole town at your disposal means you can easily find every relationship in the town. Have fun...I know I am.

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  29. Software to download lots of images from Familysearch.org ...

    https://forum.ahnenforschung.net/showthread.php?t=152944&page=12

    It works perfectly...

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much. I'm reluctant to put the word out any more than right here or FamilySearch will try to block it. Now I have to remember what I wanted from them...

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    2. Google Translate isn't helping much. Can you tell me what to look for on that page?

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    3. I think it's this one - fsdownloader. Yes?
      https://www.dropbox.com/s/o718xvmxts7dba0/fsdownload.exe?dl=0

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    4. I tried to download the fsd.exe file from Dropbox, which I was able to do (see message #122), but I couldn't get the program to extract on my MAC. I don't know if it is only for Windows? Do you know?

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    5. PIPA1971, can you let Claire DeLeo know if you are using the German download program on a Mac?

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  30. Hi Diann,

    Works like a charm. I am now downloading all the church records I needed that I couldn't get when our other product was stifled by FS. Not taking any chances now and this product is blazing fast.

    Ciao... Zio

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having all the documents at your fingertips is a gift that keeps on giving.

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  31. DiAnn, I'm trying my first download but I get an error message "erro ao carreger pagina!" Do you know what I'm doing wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought it might mean the Antenati site is down, but it's up right now. Make sure you've put a valid URL in the window above the Go! button.

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  32. I found a Windows 10-compatible version of the German program that downloads from Family Search quite well. You log in to your Family Search account, put in a URL for the image collection, choose a download folder, and start the download. Use Google translate for the words you can't figure out. https://www.dropbox.com/s/wr0ykb8pb33vjod/fsd.exe?dl=0

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  33. Thank you for the information,I am going to try this site my problem is I don't know where my 3x Grandfather came from other than Italy. I have no names of parents, church, town Fingers crossed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MCC, you won't find him until you discover his town. Try to find any ship manifests for him, or naturalization paper, or military documents. The town is absolutely critical. You can also do searches for his last name on Ancestry or FamilySearch and see where the name seems to come from.

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