How to search for your Italian ancestors

by Maureen Taylor

italian immigrants

If you are at all interested in Italian family history and Italian genealogy, but haven't ventured on to the Internet, now is the time! There are vast resources waiting for you to use and the best news is that most of it is free. From search engines, to web pages it is easy to find Italian family data on the Web by following these four basic steps.

1. Prepare for the search

Before going online it is important to create a list of names and information to search.
Write down what you know about your family such as full names (maiden names included), dates and places individuals lived using a plain piece of paper and a pencil, a standard genealogical chart or a computer program.
Then show the family data to relatives.
They may be able to add to your family history, adding names, dates, and possibly even a few stories.
Use this basic family information to start searching online.

2. Connecting with Family

The Internet is a great way to communicate.
You may already be conversing with family via email but be unaware of the resources available to connect with distant relatives in Italy involved in a family history search.
For instance, message boards help you find researchers working on your family.
Browse the boards to see if someone else already wrote an interesting query or post one of your own.
For example, you know your Italian ancestors surname and the place where they lived, but lack the details.
By posting messages on this site under both the surname and place category your request for information may be answered.
Just remember that to make effective use of a message board it is best to keep your query short.
Include the basic information you are seeking, and list what you already know.

3. Searching

Discover your
family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

choose a state:
Start Now

With the thousands of genealogy-related sites on the Internet its great to know there is online research assistance.
You can also read articles written by professional genealogists on a variety of topics, take a beginning genealogy class for free or search for web sites on specific subjects.
Many sites offer a variety of subscription and free databases. At it is possible to create an online memorial in the Virtual Cemetery, look at records submitted by researchers in the World Family, view digitized documents at, search a digitized 1900 United States census or find immigration information by subscribing to International and Passenger Records.

4. Have fun online

Genealogical research requires a combination of patience and persistence.
Searching the Internet for information is just part of the process.
Finding family may be as easy as inserting a name in an online search engine, but only by verifying that data can you be sure you have the right family.
Successful research is best accomplished by working backwards one generation at a time, checking original sources such as vital records, census documents and other types of material in addition to Internet resources. Remember to record where you found the data so that you can find it again.
Family history is fun and the Internet makes it so easy to get started.

Find your Italian ancestors with DNA testing

You might already be familiar with how DNA testing can help solve crimes, confirm the paternity of children, and even determine the identity of ancient mummies. Now DNA can also help you with your genealogical research. It's a simple and painless process to gather your DNA sample and within a few weeks have results that you can compare with the ever-expanding DNA Ancestry database to find potential genetic cousins. By comparing your DNA Ancestry test results with others, you can determine to what extent you are related. For example, the more closely your result set matches another's, the narrower the range of generations between the two of you and your common ancestor. Read more about DNA testing to help you find your Italian ancestors. image

Related pages and links

Genealogy links