In the year 1816,
the Kingdom of Sicily, after internal and external political
machinations, re-formed as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (lu
Regnu di li Dui Sicilii). It comprised the same area as
its predecessor, namely
the present-day regions of Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Napoli, Puglia,
Basilicata, Calabria, and the island of Sicily.
By 1820, 'regnicoli', or subjects of the realm of the
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, from Abruzzo to Palermo, had
their vital records documented on standard pre-printed forms.
The format was in use until 1865 and is called, in Italian, 'Stato
Civile della Restaurazione' (Civil Records of the Restoration).
This title is disingenuous because there was no 'Italy' at the time,
for Sicily to be 'restored' to. I prefer to call them Sicilian
Civil Records. They were recorded in two 'Registri', or
permanent civil registers. One register was kept in the town's
'Anagrafe' (Registry Office), and one was sent to the
regional or provincial 'Tribunale' (Magistrate's Court).
These latter were eventually sent to the provincial archives in the
capital city of the province in which the particular 'comune',
or town, was located. The records themselves are called
'Atti', the singular of which is 'Atto'.
Generally, after each year of a particular type of record, an 'indice'
(index) appears; an alphabetical (usually) list with the 'Numero
di Ordine' or number of each record.
NOTICE: None of the civil
records described here are 'birth, marriage or death certificates',
and should not be called such. Certificates were not issued to
the principals. The 'Atti' are permanently kept in the
registers, and if proof of the event was required, a 'copia
integrale' (verbatim copy) or an 'estratto certificato'
(certified extract) was made by hand. The verbatim copy
retains all the detailed information of the original, while the
extract has far less information.
Civil (and some canonical. or church) records were photocopied by
volunteers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS,
or 'Mormon) for municipalities and dioceses across the world,
including the types of civil records described above for the Italic
Peninsula and insular Sicily.
These images were recorded on microfilm, which for years was the
standard way of viewing them, at Mormon Family History Centers
(FHCs) and some associated public libraries. By 2021,
virtually all the images have been digitized and put on the
internet. For many years of record, they may be viewed on line
on home devices for free, while some (generally the earliest
records) must be viewed at an FHC due to constraints imposed by the
original owners of the records (municipalities, etc.).
Hundreds of thousands of images of original records are on line.
They are NOT all indexed to the point that you can simply enter a
name and find what you want. They are displayed as images of the
microfilm they were photocopied to, which are images of the pages in
town registers, year by year, category by category (births, marriage
banns, marriages, marriage attachments, marriages and change of
address, etc.). The vast majority must be searched the old-fashioned
way: start on-line with the municipality and province where the
records were made, entering the information on the page at
Once the record lists for the town appear, select the type and range
of years desired, then the year and type of record desired. Pick a
year near the date of interest, go to the end of the year's records
(in some cases go to the start of the year) where there is (usually)
an (almost) alphabetical list of the names in the year's records,
with an original record number indicated for each name. Scroll to
that record number (not the digital image number, but the
original record number) and voìla! there's your ancestor's birth
(marriage, death) record.
Records are also available free on the official Italian site at
www.bit.ly/Antenati, and a
limited number are available on the subscription site
three venues have different formats, but it is useful to become
proficient in them all, as records that may be partly or completely
missing on one may be available on another.