Possible Systemic Error in Italian Birth Records Indexing
I apologize if this question has already been addressed — I searched, but did not see anyone discussing it.
I think that there may be a major systemic error in the way Family Search indexes Italian birth records from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Namely, that children of Italian parents are erroneously shown to have born in Italy when, in fact, they were born to Italian emigres living in other countries.
A few years back, I volunteered as a transcriber when Family Search was working on indexing the Italian vital records. One thing I noticed was that it was quite common for parents who had left Italy to write back to their mayors to report the births of children born in the US or Argentina. The birth records often had entries for these births — sometimes one letter would refer to multiple children, and they were often written years after the births — but it was always quite clear from the record that the child was not actually born in the village.
When researching my great-grandfather recently, I noticed that Family Search has listed his birth (in 1892) as having taken place in his parents' village in Italy. I know for sure that this is not true — he was born in Buenos Aires and we have multiple documents, including all his immigration papers and the Argentina census to show that he was born in Argentina. But Family Search says he was born in his parents' ancestral home in Italy.
I suspect my great-grandfather's parents wrote one of those letters back to their mayor, notifying the village of my great-grandfather's birth, which was then recorded in the village birth records. Family Search does not make it possible to see the original record, so I cannot check directly, but I think my suspicion is well-founded.
This has me wondering whether this is a widespread problem in the index of Italian births. Are all the children born overseas and noted in their ancestral villages appearing on Family Search as if they were actually born in Italy? Has anyone else observed a similar problem?
It is an interesting problem! I have seen a similar thing between Montana and Idaho marriages. As indexers we can only index what we see and leave it to the family researchers to make sense of and to verify their information.0
Unfortunately, in this case, the family researchers can't access the original image through Family Search, so they would have no way of realizing that the Family Search information is incorrect.0