Storie Di Famiglia

Focusing on Italian Genealogy and uncovering the testa duras in my family tree

Italian Genealogy Research for Beginners

John and Rose Cubba

When I started working on my family’s genealogy 17 years ago, I was told it was hopeless because Italians just don’t care about genealogy. Being a “testa dura” that didn’t stop me from diving in head first! Here are some books that helped me get started and I still refer to them today in this age of digital records.

  • The absolute best book is A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Italian Ancestors by Lynn Nelson. Published in 1997, it explains the Italian vital records and how to find your ancestor’s home town or comune. Nelson explains how to order micro film from the Mormon church, but more and more of these records are being digitized. and are great resources.
  • Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical & Other Records in Family History Research by Trafford R Cole.
  • Finding Your Italian Roots. The Complete Guide for Americans by John Philip Colletta.
  • Italian-American Family History: A Guide to Researching and Writing about Your Heritage by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack. This is a great resource for putting all your research together.
  • A newer book, Italian Genealogy Records Guide by Jennifer Holik, may also be worth checking out since it was published last year and covers searching digital records.

A new trend I am seeing, is people self publishing their family’s genealogy. Some of these are available on Amazon. For example:

  • Coberly Connections: Pilgrims, Patriots & Presidents by Daniel L. Coberly
  • FALCONARA: A Family Odyssey by Hal Higdon & Rose Musacchio Higdon
  • Ancestors of Salvator Bloise and Rose Pippo by Nick Bloise

So don’t be afraid to start exploring your Italian roots! Yes it is hard work, but “Non v’è rosa senza spina” – There is no rose without thorns.


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2 thoughts on “Italian Genealogy Research for Beginners

  1. Hi, I’m the author of Coberly Connections book that you cite. I do need help tracing my mother’s Italian (and French) heritage via Zagni, Ariasi, and other lines from ancient Italy. Any Italian Genealogists out there? Contact me at

  2. I am so glad to read this post at this particular time. It helps refuel my desire to learn more about my husband’s Italian roots but also as a possible source of ideas for how to find the Italian ancestors I didn’t know I had until I got my DNA results this week.
    Thanks for following my blog Trovando Famiglia and please let me know if any of my posts give you an idea of something I should pursue or have overlooked in my research thus far.

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