Military draft lists

Almost all state archives preserve, albeit to varying degrees, the Draft lists, drawn up annually on a registry basis, by municipalities in duplicate originals and containing the alphabetical list of the entire male population residing at the age eligible for military conscription, i.e., between the age of seventeen and twenty, in the manner prescribed by law. One of the two originals remained with the municipality and one was sent to the existing conscription office in the provincial or district capital for further selection and enlistment operations.

In the course of these operations, Drawing Lists (lists by random order of the conscripts themselves, but on a commandment basis) and Summary Records of the decisions of the Draft Board, relating to the fate of each conscript, were produced. In addition to the data already provided by the municipality for each name, the Conscription Lists, and then the extraction ones, contain the data collected during the examination: literacy level, occupation, somatic and anthropometric traits (eye and hair color, nose shape, measurements of stature and chest circumference), as well as the outcome of the examination itself: “able enlisted” in one of the three categories provided, “revisable” to the next draft, “reformed,” “renegade.”

The draft of the Kingdom of Italy was regulated by Law no. 1676 of the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1854 (La Marmora law), extended to the rest of Italy from 1860-1862. The affected birth classes therefore take off from 1840 to 1842 or later, depending on location, following the process of territorial unification. This does not exclude the possibility that older classes can also be traced in many areas (other than, of course, in the Sardinian Kingdom) in which the State Archives also preserve conscription records from the last pre-unification period.

After the reform of 1911 (last the class of 1891) Extraction Lists and Summary Records were no longer produced.

The originals of the Conscription Lists are paid to the relevant State Archives after 70 years have passed since the year of conscription.

Compulsory service, provided for in Article 52 of the Constitution of the Italian Republic, was suspended from January 1, 2005, by Law Aug. 23, 2004, no. 226. Male individuals belonging up to and including the class of 1985 can consult their position regarding the fulfillment of their military obligations at the Military Document Centers, which since October 30, 2000 have replaced the old military districts established in 1870.

At present, no military documentation of any kind is published on the Ancestor Portal. However, on the Explore Archives page, within each individual State Archives section, you can find a description of the records held. This same section also indicates the existence, if any, of databases related to military records kept in that specific institute.

More generally, research on this type of documentation can be found on the Research Grants page under Military Sources.