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We found these observations on the wonderful Home Page put together by Giorgio Alessandri.


"Since 1563, every parish priest has to record events in parish books, in which there are dates of birth, marriage and death. After about three centuries from this official instruction, the Canonical Codex Iuris of 1917 confirmed that it was compulsory for parishes to have parish books with information about baptisms, marriages, deaths and the 'Soul's State.'
Thanks to this official instruction it is possible to find in parish archives important documents for genealogical research, but only since the second half of the XV century. Only some of these parish archives have documents about the period before the XV century.
At first there were no regulations for writing these documents. But since the second half of the 1800s parish priests began to record events in individual documents introducing new elements to make documents more detailed.
If you want to do genealogical research about the period following 1917 you can find documents not only in parishes but also in the bishop's archives of the competent Curia.
From the second half of the 1500s to the first half of the 1800s, archivists were required to record:

a) Certificate of Baptism: date of the baptism; name of the baptized; first and last name of the father of the baptized; name of the mother of the baptized
b) Certificate of Marriage: certificate of marriage or record of marriage; date of the marriage; first and last name of the husband; name of the wife's father (rarely); first and last name of the wife
c) Death Certificate: first and last name of the deceased; marital status of the dead person (rarely); name of the possible spouse (rarely); age of the dead person.
From the first half of the 1800s to the first half of the 1900s, more records were required:
a) Certificate of Baptism: date of presentation of the declaration; sex of the newborn; date of birth; name, last name, profession and domicile of the father; name, last name, profession and domicile of the mother; name and last name of the priest to give the baptism; names given to the baptized; name, last name, profession and domicile of the godfather; name, last name, profession and domicile of the godmother.
b) Certificate of Marriage: date of the marriage; name, last name and parish of residence of the husband; name of the father of the husband; name, last name and parish of residence of the wife; name of the father of the wife; name, last name, name of the father and parish of residence of each of the two witnesses.
c) Death Certificate: date of the funeral; name and last name of the dead person; name of the father; name and last name of the mother; age of the dead person; date of death; place of tomb."

Thank you, Giorgio!

If you have tips or suggestions about using the Italian state or religious archives, contact us.