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Where to Begin?

 The first three steps are: a process of gathering information, evaluating what you have found and then being sure to record all information including sources.

To assume the answers before asking the questions is to be blindly ignorant.

Stir the memories of older relatives by asking questions.  Even though my mother and my aunt thought my searching was foolish, they loved answering my questions and enjoyed hearing about my findings.

Church records show the last residence of ancestor as well as other information.

All Vital records such as: Birth Certificates, Death Certificates, and Marriage Licenses from City or State.

Wills and Deeds obtained from local City or County records give additional personal information about ancestors.

World War I & World War II draft records and Alien registrants (during WWII Italian aliens needed to register) give additional personal information about the applicant.

Census records indicate the year of immigration as well as other information.

Naturalization records indicate ship's name and date of arrival as well as other information.

Other records indicative of your family, for instance, my parents were deaf mutes and attended Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and I was able to locate their applications for admittance which showed valuable personal information about my parents and grandparents.

Social Security Records indicate names of applicants parents as well as employer.

City Maps showing the neighborhoods in the years inhabited by immigrants.

In order to better understand your immigrant ancestors, become avid readers of material on the Italian immigrant in American, the Italian peasant in the 1800s and especially Italian history. 



Obtained at the National Archives

World War I Draft Registration

World War I Draft Registration

World War II Draft Registration

World War II Draft Registration

Some Resources

New York Port Arrival Information

Ellis Island Web Site

Ellis Island provides  New York Port manifest records donated to them by Family History Library

Italians To America 

Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports, 1880-October, 1890. Edited by Ira A. Glazier and P. William Filby  There are twelve volumes and listed by name.

If your ancestor's records are unavailable at the Ellis Island website or in the Italians to America Volumes,  or they arrived at one of the many other ports, the following information sources will help in your search.

Family History Centers

Family History Center FHC is Where you order & view your films

Family History Library in Utah,  Where the films are stored

To start your search, locate the film number needed:

#1. Click this URL

#2. Click Place Search -listed on the right side of the page

#3. In Place Box, type name of town & Province Click Search button

#a  If Province is unknown. leave blank. Click Search button

#b  Click your choice of matching places

#4. Click Topic, to see Catalog

#5. Click Registri dello Stato civile

#6. Click View Film Notes

#7. Print this page to have with you at the Family History Center FHC

Go to FHC and announce that you are new to the volunteer who will assist you with ordering your film.
To Locate the nearest Family History Center call 800-346-6044

National Archives

Furnished Courtesy of the National Park Service, Ellis Island

If your ancestor arrived between 1820 and 1954, search the National Archives and indexes. 

National Archives Indexes

These are compiled by port for most US ports on the Atlantic, Pacific, Great Lakes and Gulf coast, but they do not cover every year or every port.

If you know your ancestorís port of entry: search the index to passenger arrivals for that port. 

If your ancestor arrived in New York, 1847 Ė 1896: search the Registry of Vessel Arrivals, note which ships arrived when your ancestor did, then search those lines.
If you do not know the port of entry: search all available indexes to passenger arrivals.

National Archives Staff will search the Indexes for you. If you supply a passengerís name, port of entry, and month and year of arrival. Use NATF form 81. More detailed information is needed for staff to search individual lists.


The Morton-Allan Directory

This book lists the arrival date of every steamship entering New York, 1890-1930, and Baltimore, Boston and Philadelphia, 1904-1926.


Ships of our Ancestors

By Michael J. Anuta

A collection of photos and construction information about ships that carried the immigrants across the ocean between mid 1800's to mid 1900's. 


Use the following hyperlink to find a great many Italian genealogical sites offering "how-to" help:  

 Professional and/or certified genealogists are available: 

 June DeLalio,CG-408 (1 March 1998) certified genealogist, E-mail:

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