by Christine Meehan
I have recently been involved in Italian research. Not knowing a great deal about this area of research I was pleasantly surprised to find a website that was extremely useful.
The website is called Antenati.
Their online indexes allow you to browse and give direct access to the digitized documentation of various State Archives.
There is quite a comprehensive list of State Archives that the web site covers.
Luckily the district of Ragusa was one the districts listed and several towns in that district had their records available.
We discovered that most years had an index on the last few pages which was very useful.
The timespan covered was from 1820 to 1899.
Google Translate became our friend; however we found that the certificates of birth, marriages and deaths ran to a format that was easily followed and we were quickly able to work out the images.
Italian certificates are very good in the information that was recorded. Often the person presenting the baby for registration was not the parent but the grandparent; marriage entries record if the parents were deceased or not and if a widow or widower. The previous spouse was sometimes recorded.
On one certificate we were lucky enough to have 3 generations recorded.
Death certificates are useful, as the women were recorded in their maiden names which helps work out who is who.
A very useful website with a bit of perseverance will lead you to a lot of information about your Italian ancestors.