The Civil Status represents the most useful serial source for genealogical research from the first half of the 1800s onward.

Napoleonic Civil Status (SCN)

It was introduced in Italy beginning in 1806, following the annexation of many regions to the French Empire and the introduction of the Civil Code, and remained in force until 1815. The keeping of civil status by the municipalities of the time produced a series of registers of birth, marriage and death records, the double originals of which, after various vicissitudes, depending on place and time, generally found their way to the State Archives of the respective provinces. Often, next to the registers are numerous annexes or marriage processes that carry interesting information not found elsewhere, such as the paternity and maternity or the consent to marriage of the contracting parties, allowing one to trace back to earlier generations who lived in the second half or late eighteenth century.

Restoration Civil Status (SCR)

After the fall of the Napoleonic Empire, the civil state registration system implanted on the French model was abolished in almost all restored states. It was maintained only in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, corresponding roughly to present-day Southern Italy, and in the Duchy of Modena and Reggio. In Sicily, it was introduced in 1820.

In the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, on the other hand, a mixed system was implemented: with the motu proprio of June 18, 1817, the Office of the Civil Status was established, a central body dependent on the Secretariat of Royal Law with the tasks of coordinating and supervising the work of parish priests and chancellors in matters of civil status and managing the related documents in the territory of the entire Grand Duchy of Tuscany. A copy of the registers compiled by the parish priests was to be sent to the Office of Civil Status in Florence. After the Unification of Italy, the entire archives of this Office flowed into the State Archives of Florence.

Similar system was introduced in the Kingdom of Sardinia beginning in 1837 with the introduction of the Regulations for the Keeping of Registers Intended to ascertain Civil Statusattached to the June 20 Letter Patent.

Much of this documentation, at the urging of a May 19, 1873 circular from the King’s Attorney and as stipulated in Art. 20 of Royal Decree May 27, 1875, no. 2252, which establishes rules for the general organization of the State Archives, was poured into the State Archives after the unification of Italy.

The Italian Civil Status (ICS)

The Italian civil state, established by Royal Decree No. 15 November 1865, no. 2602, has been in effect since Jan. 1, 1866, in all Italian municipalities and provides for the production of registers of birth records, citizenship records, marriage banns, marriage and death records, always drawn up in duplicate originals, one of which remains with the municipality itself, while the second was sent, until 2001, to the competent court and then to the State Archives for permanent preservation.

The records refer to all citizens, regardless of sex or religious belief, so they are more comprehensive than military records, which cover only male citizens, and parish records, which exclude atheists, the unbaptized and those professing other religious denominations.

The records are accompanied by annual and/or decennial alphabetical indexes that enable faster searching of individual deeds.

Beginning in 1875, the new record models included a first and second part. The latter contains the so-called Miscellaneous Acts: that is, civil status acts concerning Italian citizens residing in a given municipality carried out in other municipalities or before other authorities, essentially transcripts of court judgments and civil status acts compiled abroad.

The subseries of Annexes, on the other hand, contains original documents such as medical certificates related to birth or death, as well as a multiplicity of deeds related to transcriptions and annotations made on civil status records. These Annexes are in single original kept only in the Courts and they too, like the second original of all other Civil Status Records, flow into the State Archives.

Among the documents that the bride and groom had to submit in order to carry out the wedding vows can be found 1) The birth extracts of the bride and groom; (2) the consent of the respective parents of the same, if living otherwise the extracts of the relevant death certificates 3) the certificate of the domicile and free status of the bride and groom; 4) The certificate of service followed in the domiciles of the spouses.

Until 2001, pursuant to the first book of the Civil Code (Royal Decree No. 1852 of December 12, 1938) , the subject of civil status was regulated in the Italian legal system by the Royal Decree July 9, 1939 no. 1238 “Civil Status Ordinance” and supervision of the enforcement of these regulations was the responsibility of the territorially competent the judicial authority.

Following the D.P.R. 3 November 2000, n. 369, Regulations for the Revision and Simplification of the Civil Status System that came into effect on April 1, 2001, supervision was devolved to the Prefectures, just as the original second registers have since then been destined to flow to them.