Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ordering Civil Records By Mail

When ordering civil records by mail, it’s important to understand the different formats these documents come in so that you can order the type of record that provides the most genealogical information or meets your purpose [such as for dual citizenship].

There are four main formats of records that can be provided. These documents are derivatives of the original document and do not contain all of the information within the original record, except for the first one below. Because they are derivative records, there is a chance for error in the transcription process and information from the original that is not considered to be important is omitted.

·     Atto Integrale [Integral Act] – This form is a photocopy of the original record with the certification of the civil office that prepared it, attesting to its authenticity. If you want the record in this format, you need to specifically ask for it.

·     Certificato [Certificate] – This is the most formal document they can provide and is often used in legal proceedings. If you order this type of document for dual citizenship purposes, you must ask want them to include parental names then you must specifically ask for this. Otherwise, the document will include the name of the subject of the record, the date, record number, and whether it was found in the first or second register for that year. They may note if there were any annotations in the margin of a birth record but not always.

·     Estratto [Extract] – This is an extraction of only the most important information from the original document. There is also a type of extract called an Estratto Per Riassunto Dai Registri [Extracted summary of the registers] that is a more detailed form of extract and includes the parent’s names and the time of birth [on a birth record extract]. The formats of these extracts vary slightly by location. Extracts can be used for dual citizenship, if the parent’s names are included.

My earlier blog post titled I Have the Estratto [Extracted Record]. I Don’t Need the Original!! demonstrates why this train of thinking can limit your research results.

·    Certificato in Formato Internazionale [Certificate in International Format] – This form of document provides only the basic information from the original record and translates the title of each section into several different languages, normally French, English, German, and Spanish. This is the format most commonly used for dual citizenship.