My dad was born in 1898 on the Ligurian Riviera. Specifically, Alpicella in the hills above Savona. I know he had 8 siblings does anyone have knowledge of how to discover information; i.e. birth or death, records. I do not speak Italian. Any suggestions?
Hi, I think that if that is all the information you have and you don't speak Italian, you will find it difficult, as of course all records are in Italian and, to be frank, most Italians, unless they are involved in the hospitality industry in some way, speak very little or no English. Have you tried asking other family members if they have information that might be useful? Also, look online for the email address of the "comune" (the town) and write and ask. You may luck out, even if you write in English. As you will see at http://italia.indettaglio.it/eng/liguria/savona_varazze_alpicella.html, Alpicella is a "frazione" (district) of Varazze. The email address of Varazze comune can be found there. There is another address at the bottom of http://www.comune.varazze.sv.it/c009065/zf/index.php/trasparenza/index/index. Another possibility would be to go to the village and ask around. As it's small, everyone probably knows everyone else and could point you to your cousins. Good luck!
In my travels to Italy, I have found more and more Italians are learning English, so things are changing. I suggest you either go to the village and search yourself, or find an Italian translator nearby who can help. Even someone learning Italian can write letters for you.
Where I have my house, in Celano in Abruzzo, literally nobody in the city government offices speaks English. That's a good idea, to find somebody local to interpret. Perhaps somebody from a nearby university could help.
Write the letter in English and include the machine translation with the letter. You are looking for birth and marriage certificates in "integrale" (long) form. The comune keeps track of related births and deaths. There are also online document search firms that will do it for you for a fee.
The Mormon Church of Latter Day Saints are experts in family research and document retrieval around the world. After many months of exhausting myself trying to get my Italian grandfather’s birth certificate, I finally connected with a Mormon rep in Italy who delivered the document in a few short weeks at a reasonable cost. That was several years ago; so have no reliable contact info to pass on. A few good Google searches or a visit to the Mormon Church website might put you on the right (document) path. Ironically the Commune unexpectedly sent the same document shortly afterwards.
We did this almost 20 years ago, but had some information to go on from my husband’s older relatives. We were able to get several documents from the commune for unofficial marriage certificates for both sets of great grandparents. The official at one commune wanted to make sure it was just for our family tree and nothing official. We didn’t have a reason to get birth certificates at the time. Depending on your purpose, it might be worth hiring someone to hunt down what you need. I speak enough Italian that I was able to ask for what I needed, but having no Italian would be a problem if you were to embark on an adventure on your own.