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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Writing Your Letter to Your Comune

Ok, so you’ve discovered the ancestral village from which your family has come from. Now what? Start by searching for the website of your comune by using www.comuni.it . Sorry, but this site is in Italian so perhaps having someone who speaks Italian could be handy. Though I will help you navigate in case you don’t know anyone who speaks and reads the language.

In the upper right hand corner, you will see a search box for the site’s search engine, titled Cerca il comune, ‘Search the Comune’. Click on the gray box and type in the name of your comune. As an example, I will use my comune’s name, Carrara. Next, click the blue arrow to the right of the box. With my search, ‘COMUNE DI CARRARA (MS) – TUSCANY’ popped up. Below there should be a website. Mine is www.comune.carrara.ms.it .

Once I have copied and pasted the address in the URL bar, it brings me directly to the page I need. Next, click on the link on the left-hand side, Avere i documenti, ‘Have Documents’.

I then scrolled down to CERTIFICATO: storico, ‘Certificate: Historic’. This is where I was not sure to which address I should send my letter, so I picked the first one. There will be prices at the bottom of the page, but I am guessing these do not pertain to us dual citizenship seekers. Those on the message board I consult stated that the office will simply send any money, stamps, etc. back to the sender.

Now that we’ve discovered the address, how should it be written on the envelope? See below:

Uffici anagrafici decentrati
Bonascola – villaggio S. Luca, 102
Carrara (MS), Italy 54033

Make sure to include the region’s initials, as per the MS above. MS is abbreviation for Massa-Carrara. Not sure of the region’s initials, simply type the town into the Google search engine, and a map should pop up with the town’s name and region initials.

Below are some phrases and vocabulary you can use to write your letter. Hope this helps and good luck!

Gentile Signore/Signora – Dear Sir/ Madame

Mi chiamo _______________. - My name is ________________.

Faccio una ricerca dei miei antenati e ho bisogno dell’informazione dai registri. – I am researching my ancestors and I need information from the registries.

Se fosse possibile, potreste spedirmi l’estratto dell’atto della nascita, del battesimo e della morte? Qui sotto c’e’ l’informazione che vi potrebbe aiutare. -
If it is possible, could you send me a summarization of the birth, baptismal and death records? Here is some information that could help you.

Cognome e nome: Last name and first name
Data di nascita:
Date of Birth
Luogo di nascita:
Place of birth
Luogo di morte
: Place of death
Luogo di matrimonio:
Place of marriage
Data di matrimonio
: Date of marriage
Data di morte
: Date of death

You can also refer to the letter I had written. There is also a site that gives many more phrases, Family Research: Research Guidance, as well as an Italian town database listed on The Italian Heritage. Simply type the name of your town in the search box at the bottom of the page and press ‘Search’. Matches to your town’s name will then pop up. Click on your town’s name and a template will pop up. Since I have not used that site, I am not aware of any charges you may receive. My suggestion is to simply send your request by snail mail or fax. Some individuals have even been lucky with receiving responses through e-mail, though I do not recommend it.

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