Historical notes on Altofonte
Altofonte is a municipality of 9867 inhabitants, bordering the municipalities of Belmonte Mezzagno, Monreale, Palermo, Piana degli Albanesi and Santa Cristina Gela. Its original name was Parco, changed to the current one in 1930. Located on the slopes of Mount Moarda, with a splendid panorama of the Conca d’Oro and the valley of the Oreto river, Altofonte was a hunting reserve for the Norman kings, who built a castle. In 1307 Frederick III of Aragon transformed the ancient castle into a monastery dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin, which was entrusted to the Cistercian monks. The church of the monastery later became the parish church of the town which arose from the second half of the sixteenth century.
Sources for genealogy in Altofonte: Civil Status records (births, marriages, deaths)
Le più antiche registrazioni di nascita, matrimonio e morte di Altofonte risalgono all’anno 1820. In 1819 Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies, instituted the Civil State in Sicily on the model of the Napoleonic one already in force in the other regions of the kingdom, but the recordings began the following year. The civil registrars compiled the following registers in two originals: births, births of abandoned children, marriage banns, marriages, deaths and various documents. The annexes to the birth and marriage certificates were collected in separate files. With the royal decree of November 15, 1865, the new order was introduced which provided for the compilation of citizenship registers.
Consulting the civil status documents is usually the first phase of a genealogical research. If you want to start researching your family history in Altofonte, contact us for more information!
Sources for genealogy in Altofonte: parish records (baptisms, marriages, deaths, numbering of souls)
In its XXV session of 3-4 December 1563, the Council of Trent made it compulsory for all parish priests to compile special registers of baptisms, marriages and the dead. Beginning in 1614, a provision contained in the Rituale Romanum of Pope Paul V ordered parish priests to compile real and proper censuses of parishioners: the Status Animarum (States of Souls or Numbering of the Souls).
Certainly parish registers are an invaluable source for genealogical research, but they are not easy to read (they are written in Latin, with spellings and abbreviations that are difficult to understand for non-experts. Therefore, we advise you to rely on professionals for a fruitful research in parish registers. The most ancient records of birth, marriage and death in Altofonte date back to the year 1605.
Sources for genealogy in Altofonte: the “Riveli di beni ed anime”
The Riveli di beni ed anime (Revelations of goods and souls) were censuses compiled by the individual municipal administrations. Numerous registers concern almost all the Sicilian municipalities and cover the period between the 16th and 18th centuries: the documents drawn up in the years 1548, 1569, 1584, 1593, 1607, 1616, 1623, 1636, 1651, 1682, 1714 and 1748 are preserved. They allow us to know not only the composition of individual families but also their socio-economic status and are therefore an irreplaceable source of research.
Sources for genealogy in Altofonte: notarial deeds
The notarial documentation kept in the State Archives and Notarial Archives is very useful for reconstructing a genealogy. Sometimes these are much older documents than ecclesiastical ones and therefore allow family history to be reconstructed even further back in time. In fact, some deeds, for example wills or dowry contracts, are rich in information of genealogical interest. Furthermore, even the consultation of notarial deeds allows us to know the socio-economic status of the family.
The most ancient notarial deeds of Altofonte date back to the year 1733.
WHY RELY ON A PROFESSIONAL GENEALOGIST?
Reconstructing one’s family history is a fascinating adventure, a journey through time to discover places, facts and ancestors. From what you have read so far, you will have understood that it is very difficult to obtain valid results without the help and method of a professional genealogist who knows how to identify the sources necessary for research and correctly interpret ancient documents.
If your family also comes from Altofonte and you want to entrust us with your genealogical research, contact us! Consultation and preliminary research are free!
Finally, a gallery of old postcards from Altofonte: