Italy Cultural Groups

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Jewish Records[edit | edit source]

See the article Italy Jewish Records.

Minorities[edit | edit source]

Italy has had many ethnic and religious minorities including Jews, Albanians, Gypsies, and Waldensians; consequently, it is important to learn the history of the ethnic, racial, and religious groups your ancestors belonged to. For example, you might study a history of the Jews in Italy, Germans in Italy, or Waldensians in Piemonte. This historical background can help you identify where your ancestors lived and when they lived there, where they migrated, the types of records they might be listed in, and other information to help you understand your family’s history.

For some Italian minorities there are unique records and resources available, including histories, gazetteers, biographical sources, settlement patterns, and handbooks.

The Family History Library collects records of minorities, especially their published histories. You can find these histories by looking in the Locality Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:




You can find other sources in the Subject Search of the catalog under the name of the minority, such as JEWS, GERMANS, or WALDENSIANS. Some sources are listed under ALBANIANS- ITALY.

Examples of books on minorities are:

  • Nasse, George Nicholas. The Italo-Albanian Villages of Southern Italy. Washington DC, USA: National Academy of Sciences—National Research Council, 1964. (FHL book EUROPE 945 H6n.)
  • Pons, Teafilo G. Cento anni fa alle valli, il problema dell’emigrazione (One hundred years ago in the valleys; Waldensian emigration in 1856). Torre Pelice: Società di studi valdesi, 1956. (FHL book EUROPE 945 K2po.)
  • Roth, Cecil. The History of the Jews in Italy. Farnborough, England: Gregg International, 1969. (FHL book EUROPE 945 F2r.)

Ethnic Groups[edit | edit source]

Italian ethnic groups can be a very sensitive subject to individuals from Italy. Italians outside of Italy are often classified as part of a single ethnic group. Inside Italy only minorities and immigrants are considered "ethnic groups". Some Italians consider their nation to be a multi-ethnic one. Others tend to look at Italy as a single-ethnic nation. Many do not address the issue.  

Following differences in language and folk culture, scholars have offered different ethnic classifications of Italians from different geographical areas within Italy. One possible ethnic classification can be find in Felipe Fernández-Armesto´s "Guide to the Peoples of Europe", The Times Book, London, 1994:


Valdaostans and Waldensias









Central Italians


South Italians