How to apply for Italian Citizenship: Tips to find your Italian ancestor’s place of birth

Jan 17, 2024

How to apply for Italian Citizenship?

Are you wondering about how to apply for Italian Citizenship? If you wish to know more about your Italian ancestors and your origins in order to obtain an Italian passport, it is very important to be aware of the fact that you need to know the exact Italian small town your Italian family came from. This step is important also if you wish to conduct genealogical research and obtain better results.

Just knowing the region or the big city nearby is not enough, because Italy has managed its civil records at the local level since the old days.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know this information due to many different reasons. If you are among the people who don’t know their Italian ancestor’s exact town of birth and need this precious detail, which is mandatory to be recognized Italian citizen by descent, there are some documents to search for, that can help you with this matter.

One of the documents you can look for is the Petition for Naturalization.

However, it isn’t always guaranteed that you will find what you are looking for in it. For example, sometimes it occurs that the officers spell the town name the way the applicant said it and therefore the town name is not always written in a correct way.

Moreover, it must be considered that not everyone from Italy became a US citizen and maybe you are not aware of this. To be sure that the person you are looking for is the right one, it is important to check if in the Petition are stated also the name of the spouse, birthdate, and/or name of the children, just to be sure youhave the right family.

Another typical record that shows the birth town of the Italian ancestor who emigrated abroad could be the passenger list.

But remember, you need to see other family members on the same passenger list, because men frequently traveled with other men on their own, without their wives and children in order to make sure they could send money over for their passage. Moreover, women were listed on passenger lists under their maiden name, so it is important toknow also their maiden name to be sure that they are the people you are looking for.

Last but not least, in order to help you gather as much information as possible, you can search for helpful records also on the internet, for example:, by selecting as “Record Type” the box “Immigration and Naturalization”. These index results probably won’t help you get the information about your Italian relative’s exact town of birth, but they could show you the exact year of birth and date of immigration. Furthermore, they mention the ship and arrival date, and in this way, you may find relevant details in order to make more accurate researches.

This article was written by Giuditta de Ricco and Timea Lelli

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