Italian Genealogy and Italian-American History – Essential books

Whether you are looking to start a search for your ancestors or find out more about the Italian-American experience here are some books that we have selected to get you started.

Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical & Other Records in Family History Research (Italian Edition)


Filled with practical advice that will help anyone obtain the information they seek through Italian records, Italian Genealogical Records is a comprehensive guide to the complexities and nuances of what could otherwise be a daunting task. In this book, the author discusses the history and development of Italian record keeping, providing reproductions of typical records and a complete translation and thorough explanation of each. Among the many other topics covered in this book are the significance of Italian surnames and the relevance of Italian noble families in the search for Italian ancestors.
New From: $22.04 USD In Stock

Sicilian Genealogy and Heraldry


In Sicilian genealogy, a generation by generation lineage to the Late Middle Ages isn’t unusual. This long-awaited, definitive guide shows you how to do it.

Sicily boasts the world’s best genealogical records, revealing the deep roots of a Sicilian identity and facilitating the construction of many pedigrees into the fifteenth century. Based on the author’s 30 years of experience as a foremost expert in the field, this is the first complete guide ever published in English dedicated exclusively to Sicilian genealogical research. Its publication in 2013 established a new subject category in the Dewey catalogue, and it is the reference book consulted by professional genealogists researching Sicilian families.

Topics range from parochial, civil and feudal records to DNA haplotyping, religion, rural life, cuisine, ethnography, coats of arms, surname origins and Jewish genealogy, with insightful, accurate information on historiography and research strategies – a few published here for the first time.

With scientific rigor and disarming candor, “the Indiana Jones of Italian history” shows you how to “push the envelope” of your family history research into Sicily’s multicultural medieval era. Family history is more than names, dates and pedigrees; it is the people and culture behind the names. Social context is not overlooked. If there were ever a handbook on Sicilian ethnology, this would be it.

This book covers a wide range of topics in detail, transcending conventional strategies to explain the “how and why” of historical research: shortcuts and methods as well as advice on pitfalls to avoid. As a serious guide for dedicated researchers, it presumes some familiarity with basic genealogy, recommending introductory books to complement what one reads in this one, so don’t expect photographs of vital statistics records and other documents. But even for family historians at the beginning of their research, this book is an excellent consultative reference.

It brings to life an arcane, often elusive, field. Significantly, the author destroys a few myths about Italian family history, and about Italy itself, while describing real social history. Especially impressive is his refreshingly distinctive writing style, with blunt reality checks sprinkled throughout the lengthier chapters. That’s the kind of pragmatism missing from many genealogical guides.

While the chapters on the aristocracy and heraldry may interest fewer readers than those on simple lineal research, they are useful because most pedigrees before 1400 focus on the nobility.

By his own admission, Mendola’s tone is at times sardonic, as if this elder statesman were scolding the field’s less disciplined historians while setting the stage for its beginners. Just when you think that his treatment of a particular topic has become tiresome or excessively dry and theoretical, he inserts a concrete example to make his point. It’s an effective technique.

In his assaults on the machinations of historical revisionists and genealogical fabulists, along with fake royalty and others who manipulate history for their own edification, the author takes no prisoners. Like Verres, the Roman governor of Sicily who fled into voluntary exile following Cicero’s opening speech at his trial for corruption, genealogy’s fantasists should flee the moment Lou Mendola enters the fray. In fact, quite a few have, as the author has been consulted over the years by journalists, law-enforcement authorities and others seeking to expose genealogy’s identity tricksters.

His role is not unlike that of a lone sheriff protecting a town or, for European traditionalists, the last knight defending a castle. He is one of Italy’s most cosmopolitan historians, consulted by The History Channel, the Vatican, the Order of Malta, the Almanach de Gotha and the BBC.

This is a reference work written by a highly knowledgeable, freethinking scholar, albeit one with close connections to Europe’s traditionalist Establishment. The comparison to Indiana Jones, or even Rambo (!), is not inappropriate, except perhaps for Mendola’s blue eyes. If you’re a researcher, consulting this useful reference is like having an experienced, heavily-armed warrior escort you through jungles and mine fields to find The Truth on the other side.

Not to worry. You’ll get there. And when you do, your ancestors will be waiting to meet you.

New From: $15.30 USD In Stock

Genealogists Guide to Discovering Your Italian Ancestors: How to Find and Record Your Unique Heritage


This practical guide takes beginners step-by-step through the research process, and includes advanced tips for more experienced researchers. You’ll learn general guidelines of genealogy that ensure success; how to use major American records such as census and naturalization records, ship passenger lists and passport applications; how to use minor American records such as family letters, church and cemetery records and newspapers; how to find Italian vital records – civil documents that record births, marriages and deaths; how to read the margin notations in Italian records to learn even more about your family; how to interview relatives; and how to make the most of every piece of information you uncover. This easy-to-use reference even includes information on Italian naming traditions, how to read foreign handwriting from hundreds of years ago, ingenious tips for using an English/Italian dictionary, and a letter-writing guide you can use to request data from Italian officials – in Italian!
New From: $12.71 USD In Stock

Italian-American Family History: A Guide to Researching and Writing about Your Heritage


Italian Americans have customs, folkways, beliefs, and behaviors that are unique to their culture. According to Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, who in this work puts a whole new spin on family history research, familiarizing yourself with this culture is the best way to research the American generations of your Italian-American family history. In focusing on Italian-American culture, she has developed a unique approach not only to Italian-American genealogical research, but to genealogical research in general. Her goal is to show you how to document your heritage while placing each generation of your family in its cultural milieu and telling a factual and interesting story about the family.

Among other things, this book enables you to evaluate American records for information specific to Italian-American research, to appreciate the importance of Italian-American cultural perspective, and to write a readable and interesting family history. Above all else, though, this book is designed to help you enjoy researching the American generations of your Italian-American family history.

New From: $16.46 USD In Stock

Finding Your Italian Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide (Finding Your Ancestors)


For millions of Americans, home means Italy, where their roots started years ago. In Finding Your Italian Ancestors, you’ll discover the tools you need to trace your ancestors back to the homeland. Learn how and where to find records in the United States and Italy, get practical advice on deciphering those hard-to-read documents, and explore valuable online resources. The guide also includes maps, multiple glossaries, and an extensive bibliography.
New From: $10.95 USD In Stock

Finding Your Italian Roots. The Complete Guide for Americans. Second Edition


Offers advice on researching Italian lineage, discussing the sources available in the United States and Italy
New From: $14.27 USD In Stock

Were You Always an Italian?: Ancestors and Other Icons of Italian America


“One of the best books about the immigrant experience in America….unique and gracefully written.”?San Francisco Chronicle

Maria Laurino sifts through the stereotypes bedeviling Italian Americans to deliver a penetrating and hilarious examination of third-generation ethnic identity. With “intelligence and honesty” (Arizona Republic), she writes about guidos, bimbettes, and mammoni (mama’s boys in Italy); examines the clashing aesthetics of Giorgio Armani and Gianni Versace; and unravels the etymology of southern Italian dialect words like gavone and bubidabetz. According to Frances Mayes, she navigates the conflicting forces of ethnicity “with humor and wisdom.”

New From: $8.92 USD In Stock

La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience


From the early Italian adventurers who played an important role in the European expansion across the Atlantic to the political and business leaders of the 1990s, this book tells a dramatic story. The heart of the story is the mass migration that took place between 1880 and 1924, when a whole culture left its ancient roots to settle in the cities and towns of America.
New From: $9.45 USD In Stock

The Italian Americans: A History


This gorgeous companion book to the PBS series illuminates an important, overlooked part of American history.

In this richly researched, beautifully designed and illustrated volume, Maria Laurino strips away stereotypes and nostalgia to tell the complicated, centuries-long story of the true Italian-American experience.

Looking beyond the familiar Little Italys and stereotypes fostered by The Godfather and The Sopranos, Laurino reveals surprising, fascinating lives: Italian-Americans working on sugar-cane plantations in Louisiana to those who were lynched in New Orleans; the banker who helped rebuild San Francisco after the great earthquake; families interned as “enemy aliens” in World War II. From anarchist radicals to “Rosie the Riveter” to Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo, and Bill de Blasio; from traditional artisans to rebel songsters like Frank Sinatra, Dion, Madonna, and Lady Gaga, this book is both exploration and celebration of the rich legacy of Italian-American life.

Readers can discover the history chronologically, chapter by chapter, or serendipitously by exploring the trove of supplemental materials. These include interviews, newspaper clippings, period documents, and photographs that bring the history to life.

150 color illustrations

New From: $18.54 USD In Stock

The Family Tree Guidebook to Europe: Your Essential Guide to Trace Your Genealogy in Europe


Your passport to European research!

Chart your research course to find your European ancestors with the beginner-friendly, how-to instruction in this book. This one-of-a-kind collection provides invaluable information about more than 35 countries in a single source. Each of the 14 chapters is devoted to a specific country or region of Europe and includes all the essential records and resources for filling in your family tree.

Inside you’ll find:

  • Specific online and print resources including 700 websites.
  • Contact information for more than 100 archives and libraries.
  • Help finding relevant records.
  • Traditions and historical events that may affect your family’s past.
  • Historical time lines and maps for each region and country.

Tracing your European ancestors can be a challenging voyage. This book will start you on the right path to identifying your roots and following your ancestors’ winding journey through history.

New From: $14.46 USD In Stock

Best selling books