Researching Your Italian Roots and Reclaiming Citizenship

In the second season of Dream of Italy on PBSI was honored to be able to discover my Italian genealogy along with my mother in our hometown of Castelvetere sul Calore. These memories were made all the more precious with the passing of my mother earlier this year.

Italy has many wonderful archives that are rich in historical treasures that can reveal fascinating details about the lives of ancestors. Living descendants of Italian immigrants often have very little knowledge of their Italian family history. Poverty and lack of jobs were key factors in the massive emigration of Italians at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. Through their emigration, they provided for their immediate families, as well as any extended family left behind in Italy. Some traveled back and forth with the seasons, as their families needed more money for life’s necessities.

When my mother and I visited Castelvetere to research our ancestors, our first stop was the municipal archives, which contains both civil and census records. In the Avellino province, civil records extend back to 1809. Prior to this year, the Catholic Church kept the majority of records. With the adjournment of the Council of Trent in 1563, priests were required to keep baptismal, marriage, and death records for all Italian citizens. 

Dream of Italy sponsor, Lo Schiavo Genealogica (, can help you research your ancestors or reclaim your Italian citizenship at a consulate or an Italian town hall. Owned by board-certified genealogist, Melanie D. Holtz, Lo Schiavo Genealogica has spent the past 20 years helping Italian descendants worldwide research their family history and reclaim their citizenship. With offices in Italy and the U.S. she’s been able to offer quality services to thousands of clients over the years. Melanie Holtz says:

“Other dual citizenship companies refer clients to us, especially when an Italian document or an ancestor’s place of origin is hard to find. That in itself is a testament to the expertise we’ve worked very hard to achieve over the years. If you want to research your family yourself, my new book The Family Tree Italian Genealogy Guide: How To Trace Your Family Tree in Italy can help you do just that!”

You can save 10% with Lo Schiavo Genealogica when you mention Dream of Italy! Please visit or call 1-855-420-8LSG. E-gift cards are also available.

Genealogy is a necessary tool when it comes to identifying records that can prove whether or not you are eligible for Italian citizenship. More and more people are reclaiming citizenship by jure sanguinis or by blood. To be eligible you must meet all of the qualifications set out in Italian nationality law.  How do you know whether you quality for Italian citizenship? Researching Italian nationality law is a good first step. The website of each Italian consulate in the U.S. provide the details necessary for determining your eligibility.  If you qualify, we offer a unique fast-track citizenship program. If you are still unclear, you can schedule a free one-hour eligibility determination with Lo Schiavo Genealogica!


So what are some of the advantages of reclaiming your Italian citizenship?
⦁    To live, work, or retire to Italy.
⦁    To attend a European university and have lower tuition.
⦁    To be able to travel more freely within the European Union.
⦁    To reconnect with your Italian heritage or find living relatives.
⦁    To have access to low-cost healthcare and/or restricted medical procedures.
⦁    Financial Considerations (i.e. easier to open a business, buy property, access to EU investments).

As you can see, there are many valuable and life-changing reasons to reclaim your citizenship. While I’m not eligible for Italian citizenship, I feel blessed to have found out so much about my family through genealogy research. This enabled me to share the story of our ancestors in Castelvetere sul Calore with the Dream of Italy audience in season 2!


Remember, you can save 10% with Lo Schiavo Genealogica when you mention Dream of Italy! Please visit or call 1-855-420-8LSG. E-gift cards are also available.

–Kathy McCabe