Grandparents’ Birth Certificates

Both my nonna & nonno are from Italy. Nonna eventually became a Canadian citizen, right before I was born (but importantly, after my mum was born). Nonno, as far as I know, never became a Canadian citizen. This means I could apply for citizenship through either one of them. I decided to try to acquire official documents for both of them…just in case. Here is what I got:

Birth certificates (Italy)

Attempt #1 – FAILED

My first attempt at this was a few years ago. Italian birth certificates reside in the comune (the municipality) where the person of interest was born. Both grandparents were born and lived outside of Teramo, capital of the province of Teramo, region of Abruzzo, in a little farming village. My mum thought that if anyone had their birth certificates, maybe it would be the city hall of Teramo. I agreed. (spoiler: WRONG!)

So I found a request letter template and contacted the Consul General of Chicago (I lived in that jurisdiction at the time), who very kindly polished it up for me. I filled out all the necessary info and attached some proof of identity (birth certificate and/or passport). I looked up Teramo city hall’s address and sent it off, with a pile of international return postage, just in case.

And then I waited.

And waited.

Months later, I had nothing. I was convinced they were deliberately ignoring me (but my letter was so polite! and so grammatical!).

Attempt #2 – SUCCESS!

A few months ago I decided to try again. Let’s try email, I thought. I looked up the comune’s website, and right on top of the home page was a contact email (info@comune….). I sent a slightly edited version of my previous letter, attaching proof of my identity. I checked back a few days later, and a few days after that. I heard nothing and forgot about it.

A month or so later, this lovely little envelope arrives in my mailbox:


*gasp!* Is it true?! (spoiler: it was)

The certificates were in the little village all along. The lesson is no matter how small the village is, just write to it directly. Or email, like I did. Both will probably work. And if not, you can always find a reputable person/business to do it for you (for a fee, often ~$100 USD).

Contents of the envelope:

  • 2 birth certificates!!
  • 1 letter kindly explaining that I owe the comune 0,50 Euro per certificate (+ 4,00 Euro shipping)*


*which I haven’t paid yet, because I wasn’t sure how I should do it. I recently asked the consulate staff, and they told me to just stick a 5 Euro bill in an envelope and send it. shrug…Easy enough!


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