The best port of departure to your Italian ancestors' adventure
The Questura in Italy
For the emigration was legal, Italy required that its citizens carry with a passport. In spite that the original passports remain in power of individuals or families departing from Italy, still it’s possible to access, in some cases, to the lists of given passports or any document related with the application of those passports.
La Questura is the General Headquarter of the Internal Police which controls every passport in every Italian province. Dossiers proceeding from the Questura have documents produced in relation to those passports. Said documents have information about persons applying for a passport and for all of those who come along with them.
The Questura italiana is authorized to destroy all documentation more than 10 years old. Nevertheless, in some State Records it’s possible to find some remain of those documents. It happens in the Archivio di Stato di Napoli and in the Archivio di Stato di Torino.
State of Torino Archive:
The Project “Ancestors-Immigrants” is working about the location, identification and acquisition of digitized copies of these documents on the Italian Civil Records.
On the PAI website we can consult a list of passports of Questura di Torino and, in case some information would be interesting for us, the site offers a small formulary to be filled with our personal data. In this way, we’ll deliver an application directly to the Italian Archive, to obtain the copy of that document
To access the PAI website, go to: http://immigrants.byu.edu
That database has information of many southern Italians, who applied for their passports in Torino because they were travelling to France to reside on there or to travel in another ship from France (Le Havre, Nantes) to USA.
State of Napoli Archive:
On the State of Napoli Archive are conserved dossiers with applications for passports (1888 -1901) stored in the Section Questura del Archivio di Stato di Napoli. These dossiers are organized in 436 files, with an average of 40 applications each. In every dossier are contained all the documents related with the passport application.
Those documents have information about the person applying for the passport and those who go with him or her. For the issue of the passport, valid for 3 years, was necessary the nulla osta, issued by the Commune’s Chief, in which are recorded the anagrafic data, particular signs, profession and travel’s port of destination. Also was necessary a Police Report.
“Nulla Osta” (without opposition) is a certificate where is detailed that the person doesn’t have any impediment to travel (no penal records, full of age, he accomplished with military obligations).
“Anagrafico” ; this is a term of common use in Italian genealogy and it refers to the Anagrafe, an office of the Italian Demographic Services which conserves a records of people living in their communes, their changes of address, civil status, professions, etc.
We can ask for this information directly to the State of Napoli Archive, provided that our ancestor would have been immigrated between 1881 and 1901.
Note asking for imformation related with Passport Series at la Questura de Napoli
In this note we are asking to the State of Napoli Archive a research in the documental fund Questura de Napoli trying to see if there’s some information about our ancestor.
1. Remember that records probably are from the short period 1888 -1901 (No information about another dates, still now)
2. Where you see “sono venuto”, use a final a when who is receiving the application or sending it is a woman (sono venuta), in caseof a male, use the final o (sono venuto). The same about grato/a (thankful).
3. RingranziandoLa (giving somebody our thankfulness), Sua and Le: When we address an authority, in formal Italian language, we use capital letters at the beginning of a word or a sentence as a way of respect to the authority.
Model of letter
Archivio di Stato di Napoli
Signora Direttrice Imma Ascione
Mi chiamo.....(Name and Last Name)..... e vivo in … (Place of residence)… e sto facendo un studio sulla storia della mia famiglia.
Sono venuto/a a conoscenza che nella serie Passaporti del fondo Questura di Napoli vengono conservati le pratiche di richiesta di passaporto, con notizie relative agli emigrati, in procinto di imbarcarsi verso l’America.
Le sarei molto grato/a di farmi pervenire informazione di:
Cognome e nome del emigranti:.........(ancestor’s name)..............
Anno di partenza :......( approximate date of departure)......
Nell’attesa di una Sua risposta e ringranziandoLa in anticipo per la Sua cortese attenzione, Le porgo i miei distinti saluti.
(Name and Last Name, postal address and e-mail).
State of Napoli Archives
Director, Mrs. Irma Ascione
My name is….. And I live in …. And I’m doing a research about my family’s origin.
I was informed that at the Series Passport of Fondo Questura of Napoli are conserved records of applications for passports, with data related to immigrants departing towards America.
I would be very thankful if you could send me information about:
Immigrant’s first and last name:
Year of departure:
Waiting for your answer and being very recognized by your courteous attention,