Italian Records
How to use the Family History Library Catalogue
Lds Church Passenger Manifests

The Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church) in Salt Lake City is a huge repository of genealogical data.

There are two different kinds of records that can be researched: Compiled records and Original records.
Among the compiled records in the FamilySearch program, which are records of previous research by others, the most valuable sources of information that the Mormons have, are:
     The Ancestral File, which is a computerized file of family trees that have been submitted by various people (not all by genealogists). This information is mostly about deceased people and contains millions of names. Everyone can contribute to the File by submitting both family group records and pedigree charts. Submissions must comply with GEDCOM File Format.
     The International Genealogical Index (IGI), which lists the dates, places of birth, christening, and marriage for hundreds of millions of deceased people. It mostly includes data of people who lived during the early 1500s to the early 1900s.

Among the original records in the FamilySearch program, the Mormon Church has made available the Social Security Death Index, and an index created from the files of the US Social Security Administration, which lists millions of people who died in the US from about 1937, but mostly from about 1962.

Apart from the FamilySearch program, many other original records are available, including passenger lists, census records, court records, and church records.

The information in FamilySearch is available through computer stations available in all the Family History Centers around the world. To learn which is the closest FHC to you, go to: http://www.familysearch.org/Browse/BrowseLibrary.asp

Italian Records

The LDS Church has microfilmed thousands of church and vital records from all over Italy. The time periods covered are, as a general rule, 1840 to 1870, but some back to the 1700's and some as recent as the 1920's The LDS Church has been able to microfilm all the Napoleonic civil records (birth, marriage, and death certificates) from 1809 to 1865 for most of the towns that were part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. There are also other sources that have been microfilmed and with regards to whether or not records have recently been, or are in the process of being filmed by the LDS Family History Department, it is recommended that you send a note to the following individual asking about the towns that you are interested in.

   Mr. Kelvin R. Meier
   Family History Department
   Southern Europe Acquisitions
   50 East North Temple Street
   Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

How to use the Family History Library Catalogue

It can be searched on-line @ http://www.familysearch.org/Search/searchcatalog.asp:

1. Click on Place Search.
2. It will ask you for a Place: type in the name of your town (however small): for instance Marcellinara, Catanzaro Province, Calabria
3. On the next line, type in Italy (optional)
4. Click on Search.
5. It will give you Search Results on the following screens by clicking to the links showed: Registri dello Stato Civile 1809-1865 (Civil Vital Records) for Marcellinara, Catanzaro, Italy
6. To get information on the film, you click on View Film Notes, on the upper right side of the screen
7. The next screen is a description of the film, where is located and its numbers.

The master copies of the microfilm are kept in Salt Lake City, Utah and if you go there you may review these microfilms. If you cannot go to Utah, the Mormon Church maintains Family History Centers (FHC's) in many locations around the world. (see above) At the local FHC you can see the catalog of their microfilms, and if you decide you want to see one of them, you can request that it be sent to a local FHC for a small fee where you can look at it on a microfilm reader. Volunteer workers, some with no experience in genealogical research, staff the FHC. The Centers are open to all at no charge.

The FHC records provide the added advantage of being filmed copies of the original documents. The paper you receive from the State Archive in Italy is only an abstract of information in the original record. Valuable information may be omitted.

A guide to using the passenger lists at your local Family History Center

1. First, determine the Soundex code of the surname you are researching.

2. At your local Family History Center (FHC), you have to find the port of entry (POE) you think your ancestor used to enter the United States by using the National Archives microfiche.

For instance, Ships' passenger lists for arrival to the Port of New York are as follows:

1. 1820-1846 alphabetical index
2. 1847-June 15, 1897 unindexed (Look at Italians to America published index). In this case, you must have the exact date to find the ships' manifests.
3. June 16, 1897-June 30, 1902 alphabetical index
4. July 1, 1902- 1948 Soundex index

On that microfiche you will find the Soundex code of your surname and the corresponding FHC film number. You can order the FHC film, which is a copy of the index and not the Ship's Manifest yet. Make sure that you have checked the first names next to the Soundex code on the microfiche. The FHC film consists of index cards sorted by soundex code and alphabetized by first names.

The information on these cards is as follows:
   1. Full name
   2. Age and sex (For instance 35m means "35 year old male")
   3. Line number on the original ship manifest on which your ancestor's        name appears
   4. Manifest Page number
   5. Volume number

3. With this number you will go back to the National Archives microfiche and find the volume number that will give you an indication of the date the ship arrived and the FHC film number to order. This helps to decide if this is close enough to the year your relative came to the US.

4. When this film arrives, you will discover that there are many passengers' manifests related to the many ships that arrived at New York on that same day. The two numbers that were listed on the index card, the line number and the page number should now be used to find your ancestor. You will have to find the corresponding page and line for each ship

Once you find your ancestor, you will also be able to gain precious information by scrolling down the entire list of passengers on that ship. Among them, you will certainly find your Ancestor's paesani and possibly also his/her relatives traveling together to start a new life in the new continent. Let's analyze in more detail what you can find in these lists:

Full Name
Age
Sex
Profession
(Last residence in Italy)
(Birth place)
(Names and addresses of the relatives in the new country)
Name of the vessel
Port of departure
Port and date of arrival
Name of the master of the ship
Name of the owner of the ship
Number and names of passengers who died during the Atlantic crossing

The brackets identify the information on the immigrant that can be additionally found in those passengers' lists that relate to the period ranging from 1891 to 1954.