Italy, Catania, Arcidiocesi di Catania, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: Italy, Catania, Arcidiocesi di Catania, Catholic Church Records, 1515-1941 .

Title in the Language of the Record

Record Description

The collection consists of images of baptisms, marriages, and deaths from the Archdiocese of Catania (Arcidiocesi di Catania), Catania, Italy. Also includes confirmations (cresime); church censuses (status animarum, stato delle anime); marriage banns (pubblicazioni); marriage contracts (contratti di matrimonio); marriage supplemental documents (allegati di matrimonio); and priesthood ordinations (ordinazioni sacerdotali). Availability of records is largely dependent on time period and locality. Additional images will be added as they become available.

After the death of Pope Clemente VII, leaders of the Catholic Church realized there was a need to reform and standardize certain doctrines and practices. All church leaders, including bishops from all the dioceses in Europe, were called to a council in the city of Trent on December 13, 1545. After many stops and starts, protests, and suspensions, the reforms of the Council of Trent were adopted. One of the mandates was that every parish priest would keep a record of each parishioner’s baptism, marriage, and death. This mandate was passed in January 1564, but not every parish complied immediately, even though every diocese had to ratify and comply with the council’s reforms. In fact, the reforms were not universally accepted before 1595, when a papal proclamation was declared. Most Catholic parishes in Italy will have records dating from this time if the register books have survived. Copies of these records were not regularly sent to the diocese until about 1900, so most parishes will have their records stored at the parish church. Occasionally the original register was deposited in the diocesan archive. 

Most parish records in Italy began anywhere from 1563 to 1595, and continue to the present. During that time, 99 percent of the population belonged to the Catholic Church; the percentage is still around 95 percent, so almost the entire population has been covered in the parish registers. In larger cities there were some Jewish and Protestant residents who were not covered by the Catholic Church registers.  For a list of records by date or locality currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

Catholic Parishes in Catania. Church records. Arcidiocesi di Catania, Sicily, Italy.

Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.

Record Content

The key genealogical facts found in most baptism registers include:

Italy Catania San Biagio Parish Catholic Church Records (09-0097) Baptism DGS 4484155 219.jpg
  • Name given to the child
  • Name of the father and mother (maiden name is listed occasionally for the mother)
  • Date and place of baptism (birth date listed occasionally)
  • Godparent

The key genealogical facts found in most marriage registers include:

Italy Catania San Biagio Parish Catholic Church Records (09-0097) Marriage DGS 4484158 30.jpg
  • First and last name of bride and groom
  • Bride and groom’s parents’ names (maiden name is listed occasionally for the mother)
  • Date and place of marriage

How to Use the Record

Parish registers are the best source of information for ancestors who lived in Catania before civil registration began. The information included on birth and marriage records about a person’s parents can help extend that lineage. Use the place information included in all the entries to begin researching other records that may be needed.

Why the Record Was Created

Parish registers such as baptisms and marriages were created to keep a record of the vital events in the lives of each parishioner.

Record Reliability

The Catholic Church parish registers are the most reliable and accurate source for family history information in Catania until civil registration was enforced in 1820. It is recommended to search both parish and civil registers and verify them against each other.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

Examples of a Source Citation for a Record Found in This Collection

The following are examples of records found in different collections. Please help us by replacing these examples with a citation for a record you have found in this collection.

  • “Delaware Marriage Records,” index and images, FamilySearch ( accessed 4 March 2011), entry for William Anderson and Elizabeth Baynard Henry, married 23 November 1913; citing marriage certificate no. 859; FHL microfilm 2,025,063; Delaware Bureau of Archives and Records Management, Dover.
  • “El Salvador Civil Registration,” index and images, FamilySearch ( accessed 21 March 2011), entry for Jose Maria Antonio del Carmen, born 9 April 1880; citing La Libertad, San Juan Opico, Nacimientos 1879-1893, image 50; Ministerio Archivo Civil de la Alcaldia Municipal de San Salvador.

When the citation has been replaced with a citation specific to the collection described, please change the heading to "Citation Example for Records Found in This Collection".

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.