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Sicily Genealogy - Tracing Your Sicilian Roots


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Type: Article
Prepared by: James Iozia
Word Count: 502 (approx.)
Labels: Library 
Region: Italy
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The internet has made Sicily genealogy information much easier to find. There are search engines designed to assist you in your search for Sicily family history, as well as numerous websites dedicated to those that have a "Sicilian Family Tree". To be Sicilian is to be proud of the island, the identity, the culture and the history. Here are a few interesting tidbits for those of you that are interested in Sicily genealogy.

The original inhabitants were three defined groups of the "Ancient People of Italy". The Sicani were the earliest and most prominent. Cave drawings done by the Sicani date back to 8000BC. According to the Greek historian Thucydides(c 460-395BC), they emigrated from Iberia, but his basis for saying that is unknown. It is generally agreed that the Elymians were the second group of inhabitants followed by the Sicels, who came from mainland Italy around 1200BC.

It is doubtful that anyone could trace their Sicily family history back thousands of years, but it is interesting to think that your ancestors may have lived on the island when the Phoenicians arrived in the 11th century BC or when the Greeks founded Syracuse in 734 BC. Eventually, the early tribes were absorbed and everyone became Roman.

You can make use of church and town records to trace your Sicily family history. Births, marriages and deaths from the late 1800s and early 1900s are recorded in online databases for major towns and communes in mainland Italia. For Sicily genealogy, there are databases that include Palermo, Messina, Trapani, Caltanissetta, Agrigento, and other communes. In many cases, you need only type in your surname to get started.

Because of the vast array of peoples that have controlled the island over the years, the Sicilian language is a mixture of Greek, Catalan, French, Arabic, Spanish and other languages. Among the youth, it is now a secondary language, with most of the population speaking both Italian and Sicilian. Large Albanian communities are prevalent in Western Sicily. Many people have retained a dialect that is quite different from both Sicilian and Italian.

If you speak only English, you may have some difficulties tracing your Sicily family history, but because of the popularity of family trees, many sources have been translated to English. Photographs of old tombstones are posted at numerous websites. Consider joining a social group, like Face-book. You may find that some distant cousin has already done the work for you.

Most people are willing to share their knowledge of Sicily genealogy freely. After all, you're a member of the family.

James has loved Sicily for as far back as he can remember and he returns to this island paradise every chance he gets. His grandparents came to America from this beautiful land in the early 1900's, bringing with them all the tradition and passion that is Sicily. From the beautiful beaches and Roman architecture, to the heavenly food and romantic charm, he hopes you will come to love Sicily as much as he does. Stop by for a visit at

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