Locating vital records for your Italian ancestors won’t do you much good if you can’t read any Italian. Here are four web sites and some of my own tips to help you extract vital information from those vital records.

1. https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Italy_Language_and_Languages#Key_Words

Here are some key Italian words and their meanings as they relate to birth, marriage and death records.

Italian: English
anno, -i: year(s) [di anni venti = 20 years old]
battesimo, -i: baptism(s), christening(s)
cognome: surname, last name
domiciliato: residing
figlia, -o: child, daughter or son
fu: was [can indicate that someone is deceased: fu Giuseppe = son of the late Giuseppe]
genitori: parents
giorno: day
madre: mother
marito, sposo: husband
matrimonio, sposato, coniugato, conjugato, maritato, -i: marriage(s)
mese, -i: month(s)
morte, morire, decesso, -i: death(s)
nata, -o, nascita, -e: born, birth(s)
neonato, neonata, infante, bambino -a: child (baby)
nome: name [il nome di Maria = the name of Maria]
ore: hour [alle ore nove = at nine o’clock]
padre: father
parrocchia, parroco: parish
professione: occupation [di professione contadino = a farmer]
pubblicazioni, notificazioni: marriage banns
seppellimento, sepolto, sepolture, -i: burial(s)
sposa, moglie: wife
suddetto: same as above, ditto
vedovo -a: widow

2. http://translate.google.com/?langpair=en%7Cit#it|en|

Google’s translation tool does a better job than any other I’ve tried.

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_name#Italy

This page explains a bit about how surnames work in Italy. It’s also important to know that Italian women keep their maiden name for life, and that names may be presented Last-name-first, First-name-last.

4. http://italian.about.com/od/grammar/a/aa042600a.htm

Almost every Italian vital record I have viewed spells out dates and years rather than using numerals. So you must know your numbers!

1 uno
2 due
3 tre
4 quattro
5 cinque
6 sei
7 sette
8 otto
9 nove
10 dieci
11 undici
12 dodici
13 tredici
14 quattordici
15 quindici
16 sedici
17 diciassette
18 diciotto
19 diciannove
20 venti
21 ventuno
22 ventidue
23 ventitré
24 ventiquattro
25 venticinque
26 ventisei
27 ventisette
28 ventotto
29 ventinove
30 trenta
40 quaranta
50 cinquanta
60 sessanta
70 settanta
80 ottanta
90 novanta
100 cento
1800 mille ottocento
1900 mille novecento
2000 due mille