Last month we started exploring Italian civil marriage records and now we are ready to do a deep dive into translating one. The format and availability of a civil marriage record will vary from village to village depending upon the time period of the marriage and what information the local registrar chose to include. The Atto di Matromoni (Act of Marriage) record will normally be pre-printed but you may encounter records that are completely handwritten. If the genealogy fairy is smiling upon you, all of your ancestors’ marriage records will be of the preprinted format!
The record below is for the marriage between Nunzio Di Domenico and Maria Di Frangia who were from Castiglione di Carovilli. I chose to translate a record from the Stato Civile (after 1866) period because for most of us this is the typical timeframe that covers when our grandparents and great-grandparents were married in Italy.
Let’s break down the record in sections and do a loose translation to English. The words that are bolded and underlined are the words that have been handwritten in the original document.
Original Italian: L’anno milleottocentottantadue addi venti di Novembre a ore anti meridian undici e minuti quarantacinque nella Casa comunale di Carovilli, aperta al pubblico. Avanti di me Colombino Conte, sindaco ed Ufficiale dello Stato Civile vestito in forma unfficiale, sono personalmente comparsi;
English: The year 1882, 20th of November at 11:45am in the municipal house of Carovilli which is open to the public, before me, Colombino Conte, mayor and official of the Civil State addressed in official form, have personally appeared;
Original Italian: 1. Nunzio Pasquale di Domenico di anni venticinque contadino nato questo Castiglione residente in Castiglione figlio di Camillo, residente Castiglione e di Raffaela di Domenico residente in detto Castiglione 2: Maria di Frangia di anni ventuno, contadina, nata in Castiglione residente in Castiglione, figlia di Vincenzo, residente in Castiglione e di Candellora di Giacomo, residente in detto Castiglione, i quali mi hanno richiesto di uniti in matrimonio;
English: 1st: Nunzio Pasquale di Domenico (groom) 25-years-old, a farmer born in Castiglione resident of Castiglione, son of Camillo, a resident of Castiglione and of Raffaele di Domenico resident also of Castiglione. 2nd: Maria di Frangia (bride) age twenty-one, a farmer born in Castiglione and a resident of Castiglione, daughter of Vincenzo, resident of Castiglione and of Candellora di Giacomo, also a resident of Castiglione, who asked me to join together in marriage.
Note: From this entry we know that all the parents of the bride and groom are still living because the mayor wrote “di” and then each parent’s name. If any one of the parents was deceased, the mayor would have written “fu” before the name indicating “late” which means deceased.
Original Italian: a questo effetto mi hanno presentato il document sotto descritto e dall’e same di questo, non che di quelli gia prodotti all’ atto della, richiesta delle pubblicazione, quali tutti muniti del mio visto, inserisco nel volume degli allegati a questo registo, risultandomi nulla ostare alla celebrazione del loro matrimonio, ho letto agli sposo gli articoli centotrenta, centotrentuno e centotrentadue del codice civile , e quindi ho domandato allo sposo se intende di prendere in moglie la qui presente Maria di Frangia, e a questa se intende di predere in marito il qui presente Nunzio Pasquale di Domenico ed avendomi ciascuno riposte affermativamente a piena intelligenza anche dei testimoni sotto indicate, ho pronunziato in nome legge che i medesimi sono uniti in matrimonio.
English: to this effect I have presented the document described below and this, not those which were already produced at the time of the request for publication (of the banns), all which bears my visa, I insert into the record volume these attachments, there being nothing to prevent the celebration of their marriage, I read to the groom articles one hundred thirty, one hundred thirty-one, one hundred thirty-two of the civil code, and then I asked the groom if he intends to take Maria di Frangia as his wife, and to this if she intends to take Nunzio Pasquale di Domenico as her husband, and each having affirmatively affirmed to the full knowledge of the witnesses indicated below, I have pronounced in the name of law that they are united in marriage.
Original Italian: A quest’ atto sono stati presenti: Filippo Conti, di anni quarantadue, maestro elementare e Anselmo Conti, di anni venticinque, scrivano entrambi residente in questo comune. Il documento presentato e il certificato della pubblicazione qui eseguite nei giorno cinque e dodici del corrente mesa di Novembre.
Letto il presente atto a gli intervenuti lo honno seso sotto scritto nome lo sposa che ha detto essere analfabeta.
Nunzio di Domenico sposo
Filippo Conti testimoni
Anselmo Conti testimoni
L’Ufficiale dello stato civile
English: For this act were present: Filippo Conti, aged forty-two, elementary school teacher and Anselmo Conti, twenty-five-years-old, a clerk, both residents in this municipality. The document and the certificate of publication of the banns were published here on the fifth and twelfth days of the current month of November.
Having read the present document to the attendees, only the groom signed below as the bride said she was illiterate.
Nunzio di Domenico groom
Filippo Conti witness
Anselmo Conti witness
The 1870 Rule
In 1870 Italian King Victor Emmanuel required that if a couple married in the Catholic church, they also had to have a civil marriage performed by a civil authority for their marriage to be recognized by the government. However, some couples did not follow the law and only married in the church and as a result any children born of their union would be identified as “illegitimate” in civil birth records. In other instances, you might find that the date of the church marriage and the civil marriage are months or even years apart. This is just something to keep in mind if you come across a civil marriage record for parents that seems to show that the marriage happened years after they had children or if a couple has several children listed as illegitimate. Interestingly, in the case of Nunzio and Maria, they married in the church 10 days later on November 30, 1876. Finally, in 1929, Italy recognized Catholic church marriages and there was no longer a requirement for two ceremonies.