Monday, January 5, 2015

Clerical Errors in Italian Civil Documents

Above is the death record of Giuseppe Aglira'. Please note all of the corrections the civil records official made to this document. If one isn't careful, this document could be interpreted incorrectly.

They appear to have written a few pieces of information for the death of an abandoned child then did their version of crossing out information and inserting the correct information for Giuseppe Aglira'. Everything they wanted to cross out/change they circled. They then wrote “dico:” [meaning “I say” or rather the declarants said] followed by the correct information. Normally, when things were circled, they placed the correction in the margin and did not use the word “dico.” Only the insertion of the father’s name is found at the very bottom. All other changes were squeezed into the document text. I've abstracted all of the genealogically pertinent information below.

Number 655
Giuseppe Aglirá

Giuseppe’s death was reported to the Reggio Calabria town hall on 4 September 1920 at 12:20 p.m. The declarants were Carmine Aglirá, age twenty-two, a traveling salesman, and resident of Reggio Calabria as well as Antonia Crucitti, age twenty-two, a housewife, and resident of Reggio Calabria.

They declared that Giuseppe Aglirá had passed away on 11:00 a.m. yesterday in his home on Via Pensilvania. He was sixty-three years old, a traveling salesman [abbreviated], born in Gerace, and a resident of Reggio Calabria. His father was the deceased Pietro [Aglirá], a farm laborer, and resident of Gerace. His mother was the deceased Anna Palimeri [?], a housewife, and resident of Gerace. Giuseppe was married to the living Antonia Contadino.

The witnesses were: Paolo Festa, age twenty-four, and a farm laborer as well as Vincenzo Fulco, age twenty-two, and a farm laborer. Both of the witnesses lived in Reggio Calabria and were not literate.[1]

So how does this effect the quality of the evidence this document provides on Giuseppe Aglira'?  I'd say it brings nearly the whole document into question. While it is good genealogical practice in general, in this case it would be especially wise to verify the evidence provided with other documentary evidence.

[1] Reggio Calabria, Reggio Calabria, Italy, “Atti di Morti [Acts of Death], 1920,” record 655, death record of Giuseppe Aglira; digitized image, Portale Antenati ( : accessed 12 December 2014).

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