GenTraveling – Cemetery Research in Italy

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Hello GenTravelers!

Cemeteries should be on everyone’s ‘To-Visit’ list when GenTraveling.  However, cemeteries in Italy are quite different than what we’re used to in the United States.

If you’re planning a trip to Italy, you’ll want to read “Cemetery Research in Italy” by June C. Delalio CG, in the Jan-Mar 2011 NGS Magazine. June points out the following interesting facts about Italian cemeteries:

“People are not buried forever in Italy. Graves are rented for a period of from ten to fifty years. Payment is made to the town and when the time is up, if there is no one willing to renew the payment for the grave, the bones are taken from the crypt and put in an ossuary, or common grave”

Before the end of the eighteenth century, Italians were simply buried almost anywhere. It was only after Napoleon’s invasion of Italy that cemeteries were built, since Napoleon was worried about another plague and ordered cemeteries to be built outside city limits.

“When the cemeteries were built in the nineteenth century, they generally were a formal design with square blocks and straight streets. There were vaulted galleries on the outside walls with wall plaques sealing in the coffins.”

The articles goes on to explain where to go to find cemetery records, and points out that there typically isn’t very much useful genealogical information on the records. But the great thing is, most of the markers have a photo of the deceased! The author gives further tips you’ll want to know before you go.

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So, are you planning your GenTraveling yet? Where do you plan to go? Be sure to share your GenTraveling Bucket list on our Bucket List Page.  GenTraveling: It’s the Real Deal Thrill!