The Collections in the State Archives
The sources conserved in the state archives which are useful for genealogical research can be divided into two categories:
1. The civil records(or civil registration), which begin in the early 1800s
2. Military documentation (draft lists and muster rolls) which were conserved from the first half of the 1800s forward.
The Napoleonic, Restoration and Italian Civil Registration
Napoleonic civil registration (SCN) was introduced in Italy in 1806, after the fall of many regions to imperial France, and remained in place until 1815. The keeping of civil registration by the communities of that time has produced a series of records of births, marriages, and deaths, in duplicate, which, depending upon the time and place were collected at the state archives of the respective provinces. Often attached to the records one can find supplementary documentation of the acts that give interesting information that cannot be found elsewhere; for example, paternity and maternity, or the consent for marriage of the parties, allowing one to go back into preceding generations that lived during the second half or the end of the 1700s.
During the Restoration, the recording of demographic movements and other registration—even though it was controlled at the parish level—remained under the direction of the civil authorities in some regions. The Civil State of the Restoration (SCR) from about 1815-1865, was present especially in the south of Italy (where reigned the Bourbons in the Kingdom of Naples) but was also present in a few northern areas (for example, Modena); in other cases mixed systems were in force, partly religious authority was under strict supervision of the civil authorities (as with Tuscany). The records that were produced, similar in type and structure to those of the Napoleonic era, are accompanied by attachments/supplements, which have all made their way into the state archives.
With Italian Civil Registration (SCI) instituted with the decree of 15 Nov 1865, number 2602, which went into effect 1 Jan 1866, all Italian communities began producing the birth, citizenship/residency, marriage, and death records, always made out in duplicate, one of which stays with the community, while the second is sent to the court (Tribunale) having jurisdiction for the area, and later to the state archives for permanent storage.
The records are accompanied by alphabetical indexes kept on a yearly and ten-year basis, which allow a more rapid search for single documents. They may also contain the civil records acts that are recorded in other communities, or even overseas, regarding Italian citizens who once resided in that community. Even in these cases there are the supplemental attachments, which contain first-hand information such as medical certificates regarding births and deaths, along with a variety of acts relative to the other transactions and notations in the records, such as publications of marriage and citizenship. These attachments are the only originals and are stored only at the local courts, and later transferred to the state archives.
Regarding the records compiled for purposes of the military, or by the religious community, the civil records contain information regarding the citizens of both sexes, of whatever religion, even atheists and those who were never baptized.
Military Draft Records
Almost all the state archives store, in different degrees of completeness, the draft lists, taken every year from the civil records, as provided by the local communities in duplicate. These contain the alphabetical list of all the resident male population of eligible age for military draft (between 17 and 20 years of age, according to the local laws). One copy stayed with the community and another was sent to the draft office in the provincial capital or to the administrative offices for the final job of selection and enrollment.
As a result of these transactions, extraction lists were produced (lists of the conscripts on a military district level) and the summary records of the draft council regarding the mission of every conscript. Along with the information already given by the community for each man named, the draft lists and the extraction lists, provide information regarding the level of education, occupation, and identifying physical characteristics (eye and hair color, shape of nose, height and weight and chest size measurements), and finally the result of the exam: “eligible for enrollment” or the other three categories “failed” (temporarily unfit but possible for future drafts), “exempt” (or rejected for various reason), and “did not show up”.
The draft for the Kingdom of Italy, regulated by the law of Piedmont from 1676 to 1854, was extended to the rest of Italy during the years 1860 – 1862. The classes (or years) of birth began to be noted, depending upon the place, between 1840 and 1842, or later, according to the pace of the territorial unification. This does not mean that one cannot go back to the earliest military classes. In many areas (excepting the Kingdom of Sardinia), the state archives store even the acts of the pre-unification period. After the reform of 1911 (which impacted those born after 1891) extraction lists and summary records were no longer produced.
The draft lists and the extraction lists are forwarded to the respective jurisdictional state archives after 70 years from the date of the actual draft.
The Military Muster Rolls
Often along with the draft documentation conserved in the state archives one can find the military muster rolls which were kept in the various military districts, by people who were charged of keeping the official documentation of all the service given to the state by each individual soldier and all the events which changed or modified his position during his time of service. Every soldier was individually identified by a consecutive ID number, his “matricola” (similar to a serial number), which was tied to his enrollment class (which could be different than the year in which he was born), to the military district of enrollment, and to which company he belonged (as long as this was identifiable). For each soldier this file carries the following information: matricola (ID) number, body (or company) of service, date of enrollment, grade, any honors or sanctions given, or desertion. These matriculation forms, that carry very detailed information, are filed by matricola number in records arranged by year of enrollment. In this annual enrollment record one finds all of the enrollees, that is, all those who actually gave military service. This means that those who were judged unable to serve for health reasons, those exempt for family reasons, and those who did respond to the draft or present themselves for enrollment will not be found.
The muster rolls from the military districts are organized in alphabetical files which facilitate research. They are deposited in the state archives after 70 years from the enrollment, and one can read these according to the rules of privacy for personal information.
More complete information about these military muster rolls, which here have been summarized here, is found in the files of the military, which are also produced by each military district, and occasionally deposited in the state archives. These are gathered in two sections: troops and non-commissioned officers, and contain official documentation regarding every soldier.