One of the most useful record sets for extending your Italian ancestry quickly is the marriage supplements or allegati records. Allegati, also called processetti, is the name for the packet of documents that a bride and groom were required to present to the priest or mayor in preparation for their upcoming marriage. Depending on when the marriage occurred historically determines whether the packet was called processetti or allegati.
Genealogical Value – Gold
Processetti and allegati packets exist for both church and civil marriages. They can hold a variety of different documents. Keep in mind that most are hand-copied from the original the bridal party brought with them, and as is always the case with copies, transcription errors can be made. However, details such as the document number, and other identifying information can be used to search for the original later. Apart from the information about the marriage itself, these packets can also include:
- Copies of birth or baptism records for both the bride and the groom
- Copies of the marriage banns – these were posted on two to three consecutive Sundays
- Copies of death records of fathers, paternal grandfathers, mothers, and previous spouses – if either the bride or groom was underage, consent was to be given by both fathers, and if the father was deceased, then consent was obtained from the paternal grandfather. If the paternal grandfather was also deceased, then the mother could give permission.
- Military service declarations
- Declarations of poverty
- Notary documents, such as those concerning the legitimization of natural children after a marriage, or the rectification of a surname that was spelled incorrectly.
Not every allegati or processetti packet has all of these documents, but at the least, they almost always have the bride and groom’s birth records. And if you are one of the lucky ones to have a bulging packet, you are in for a treat.
When my great-grandparents Salvatore Esposito inteso Palumbo and Maria Giglio were preparing for their marriage in the summer of 1904, Maria was just seventeen and needed her father’s permission. From their allegati packet, I learned that Maria’s mother, Salvatora Fulco, appeared before the magistrate and stated that her husband, Paolo Giglio, had immigrated to America four years earlier and they hadn’t heard from him since he left and didn’t know if he was dead or alive. She asked four witnesses to come forward to testify to that fact. I also learned that Salvatore had been to America prior to his wedding because he had to create a notary act stating that while he was abroad in New Orleans, he had not married and that he was in fact still single, and eligible to marry. This led to the discovery of him on a ship’s passenger list in 1898 sailing to New Orleans with his brothers Vincenzo and Pietroangelo. These records allowed me to add some interesting details to my ancestors’ lives, and gave me new clues to research!Where to Find These Gems
Allegati packets are typically stored separately from the marriage register. They are loose papers filed in a folder or packet and are filed in the same order as the marriage records, so take note of the marriage record number when looking for the allegati/processetti. The Family History Library (FHL) has microfilmed these wonderful treasures and many are digitized. In the FHL catalog, look for the word allegati or processetti in the film notes section for the town you are researching. If your town’s records have not been microfilmed or the years that you need are not available, you can write to the town for a copy – you’ll need the bride and groom’s names, their date of marriage, and the marriage record number from the marriage act record.
Italian marriage records and the supplementary documentation that accompany them are one of the best sources of genealogical information for researching your Italian ancestors. Not only did I learn new and interesting facts about my great-grandparents and their parents with the allegati packet I found, but I was also able to add new names to my tree because of the very helpful record-keeping practice of adding the father’s name after the person of interest to help identify them. When Salvatora Fulco was identified in the record, she was called “Fulco Salvatora di Vincenzo” identifying her father as Vincenzo. (Note that Italians write the surname first in their records). Paolo Giglio’s father was “fu Giovanni” meaning he was deceased at the time the record was made. I just pushed back one more generation!
Italian record-keeping practices, including the requirement of marriage supplemental records, can extend your Italian genealogy several generations with just one record and can add fascinating details to your Italian family history. You never know what gems you will find hidden in this wonderful record set.
Our experts and onsite agents are experienced at tracking down all kinds of Italian family history records in a variety of locations, and can help you extend your Italian ancestry as far back as records will allow. Contact us today for a free consultation!
 Italy, Palermo, Termini Imerese, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1862-1910, Registri dello stato civile di Cefalù (Palermo), “Allegati (vari) 1904-1906, allegati for Salvatore Esposito inteso Palumbo and Maria Giglio, no. 68, 1904, https://familysearch.org, accessed March 2018.
ISABELLA CECERE says
Hi Kim, thanks for the information. Enjoyable read. Can you tell me how do I search the Processetti without an index. thanks , Isabella
Amber - Legacy Tree Genealogists says
The processetti are filed numerically by marriage record number, so it’s important to find the marriage record first and note the record number of the marriage act. Then it’s a page by page search looking for the same record number on the processetti packet. Most are in numerical order, but I’ve seen some that are not, and that requires patient page/image by image searching through the entire film. Best of luck to you!
Isabella Cecere says
Thank you., Amber. Just turned on notifications.
Another question. What about foundlings or those who have N.N. ? Would the information read the same in the processetti? If so, when do they make this information available or if I can’t locate parents’ names, how is it that genealogists can locate these records…this private information? I have a few ancestors with classification N.N. Thank you .
Good day, comment or question. My question would be can you tell me about ships that sail into Mexico? Great grandfather never entered the USA from Italy stayed in mexico. I need to find ship list of names of persons who are listed. Guessing on year he might of traveled.
Amber - Legacy Tree Genealogists says
Hi Maria. Most immigrants to Mexico arrived at the port of Veracruz or Galveston, Texas, and crossed the US border to Mexico. Unfortunately, few records that record immigration into Mexico exist. The FamilySearch Wiki has some information that may be useful: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Mexico_Emigration_and_Immigration. Here is a link to researching Italian emigration and immigration: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Italy_Emigration_and_Immigration. It would be helpful to have an approximate year or time-frame to search and a possible port in Italy he may have left from. Do you know the town your ancestor was from? He may have applied for a passport in Italy. These records can be hard to find and access and generally require research on the ground in Italy in the comune the ancestor was from. Since this office keeps records of residency changes and emigration with dates and probable destinations, it may lead to clues to help answer your research question. If your ancestor was in Mexico in 1930, he may have been listed in the 1930 Mexico National Census. This may also offer clues to his immigration. You can access it for free at Family Search: https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1307314.
We’ve assisted many clients searching for their Italian ancestors, and have excellent researchers in Italy (and Mexico) who can access records, if necessary. Let us know if we can help!
DONNA BECK SMITH says
Do foundlings have an allegati at birth or marriage? Is it possible to find out the birth parents’ names for foundlings born in late 1800s in Palermo?
Amber - Legacy Tree Genealogists says
Allegati matrimoniali packets were created at the time a couple married. Even if a person was a foundling, they still needed to provide the needed documentation to marry. There are allegati’s for births. An allegati di nascita (births) can be court orders to legitimize children or to clarify a name spelling. Foundling births can be recorded in the regular birth register, in a supplemental portion of the birth register (parte 1 or parte A, etc,) or in a separate book altogether. If there was a court order that involved the child, it may be recorded in an allegati di nascita or in another record collection called atti diversi. There wasn’t a standard way to record foundling births.
It is possible to find out the identity of a foundling’s parents through DNA testing and analysis, but it can be a time consuming process and not every case is successful. DNA testing is not as popular in Europe as it is in the US and UK, so having enough good matches to work with can add to the challenge. DNA-related projects vary in terms of how quickly they can be solved, because the time needed to solve them depends on the quantity and quality of the DNA matches you currently have. Our DNA specialists will do their best to work as efficiently as possible with the clues they have. In general, our methodology is to identify matching cousins in your DNA test results, search for common ancestors, and then trace their descendants until we find the most likely candidate to match your goal. As needed, we will also search genealogical records for clues.
Here is a blog article that explains more about foundlings: https://www.legacytree.com/blog/finding-foundlings-italy
Thank you for clearing this up for me. I’ve been wondering for a long time what the difference was. Now I know that the time period determines what those records were called. I still do have one question. What is the Pubblicazioni di Matrimonio? Is this another name for Allegati or Processetti or is this an entirely different set of documents?
Heather - Legacy Tree Genealogists says
The Pubblicazioni di Matriomonio are marriage publications, which are like marriage banns – the upcoming marriage notice was posted on the doors of the church or town hall for all to see and to allow for anyone to offer their objections. They are a separate set of documents but are sometimes included in the Allegati or Processetti packets. Hope this helps.
Wendy Rucci says
HI. I have an interesting predicament. I have an ancestor, Pasquale Buono who was married to Angela Navarra. They lived in Vicalvi. Their daughter, Domenica Pasqua Buono was my great grandfather’s first wife. I have researched and tried to find Pasquale’s and Angela marriage but found nothing on Antenati. There seems to be 2 Angela Navarra’s in Vicalvi at that time, the other one married to a DiCarlo. I can’t seem to differentiate the Angela to find the actual parent of the one married to Pasquale. I have checked for. marriage records for them in many close towns, to no avail and don’t have access to church records. They were married after 1854 when Pasquale’s first wife died and probably before 1858 when their first daughter was born. Suggestions?W
Heather - Legacy Tree Genealogists says
Have you tried looking in the Family Search catalog? They may have collections that Antenati does not have uploaded yet. There are many avenues we could explore to help you find these answers. If you’d like to reach out to see how we can assist, you can contact us through our home page https://www.legacytree.com/. Thanks!
Wendy Rucci says
Yes, I have tried everything I can think of. I was mostly looking for processetti and nobody has those
I have a couple of suggestions for you:
Do you have an account with MyHeritage.com? I recommend having one if you don’t. Many of it’s members are from countries outside the USA and may have the same ancestors as you. First, add ancestors to your family tree. MyHeritage has a tool called “Smart Matches”. If you share ancestors with other members who already added those same ancestors to their family trees, a green smart matching symbol pops up on your ancestor’s profile in your family tree. This has been an invaluable tool for me since I started with MyHeritage 5 years ago. I discovered second cousins who share the same great grandparents as me and a photo of them with their children from the late 1890s!
The next resource to try is at this FamilySearch link:
These are civil records for Vicalvi, 1809-1899. Scroll down and you’ll see what’s available. I see they have Processetti for the time frame you are looking for. The only catch is that these records are all locked (see camera symbols with locks to right of screen), which means they can’t be viewed at home. You have to visit a Family History Center or an affiliate library in your area to open them. Search for locations in your area at FamilySearch website. Also, the records for Vicalvi appear to be unindexed so there is no search box to type your ancestor’s name. They should be in date order. You would have to scroll through them page by page. Vicalvi appears to be a very small village so it shouldn’t take too long.
Best of luck. I hope this helps!