Making Corrections to Records

ItalianGal/ Making Corrections/ 10 comments

One of the requirements of the Italian consulate is that all names, places and dates must match across all records.  Some consulates are more particular and require the records match exactly while others aren’t as concerned about minor discrepancies such as dates that are a few days off, first names and even minor misspellings in the last names.  For example, the San Francisco consulate will accept minor discrepancies in your ancestors records but all of the names, dates and places for you, your spouse and your children must match exactly across all records including birth and marriage certificates.

Most states have a process to amend records.  The information can often be found on the state’s vital records website or the county or city clerk’s office website of where the document was issued.  The process usually requires you provide some proof of what you are trying to correct, then fill out a form and sign an affidavit in front of a notary if you can’t go into the office in person.  I’ve worked with three states across the country to make corrections on various records and this has been the process with each state.  Proof may include other certified vital records and certified naturalization certificates.   In states where you have the option to work with a local city or county clerk’s office, this is usually preferable for the reasons listed in this article.

If you are making corrections on records for anybody but yourself and the person is still alive, they will likely need to be the ones who sign the affidavit in front of a notary.  If the person is deceased, you may need to present proof of the death and the next closest ancestor down the line will likely need to sign the affidavit.  For example, I needed to add my great grandfather’s birth date to his death certificate.  Since my mom is the next closest living relative, she is the one that needs to sign the affidavit.

In any case, it is a good idea to call and talk with a representative to find out what the process to amend a record is.  The contact information can usually be found on their website although you may need to dig around for it.  They can often provide information on what you need to do and time saving tips that are not always listed on their website.  Also, when you speak with them, make sure to let them know you will need the corrected document in long form which must include the city and not just the county of where the event took place.  Before you request a change to any record, make sure you have compared all records to confirm there are no further discrepancies you need to correct.  Correcting everything at once will save you time and money.

Some records, such as the naturalization certificate, cannot be easily amended.  If you are in a situation where you cannot amend the record, it is best to write to your Italian consulate to find out what you will need to provide.  In my case, the birth date on my great grandfather’s Italian birth certificate was a few days off from the birth date on his American records, including his naturalization certificate.  I emailed the Italian consulate and they indicated that if his certified naturalization papers (declaration of intent and application for naturalization which I got from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)) accurately included his spouses name and correctly listed his children this would probably be sufficient.  Other consulates may require different proof.

If you run into problems on getting information on how to amend a vital record, escalate to a higher level or try a different office (e.g. the state if you are working with a local office).  Whether through an affidavit or a court order there is very likely an avenue to be able to change a record and it is just a matter of finding the right person who can help.  Persistence is the key here.

What corrections have you had to make on your records?  What was your experience in getting this done?


  1. A note about a specific situation on this topic. Italian law is unclear (as far as I can determine) whether a name with a suffix such as Jr. or Sr. is legally permissible on a jure sanguinis application. It is illegal for children born in Italy. Thus, my application has been delayed by over a year because my birth certificate includes a “Jr.” I was told at the consulate that they would not accept my application under those circumstances, but I could amend the document somewhat as you describe above. (Although they quickly provided a certificate to my mother based on my application.) The reality is that to comply with these requirements I would legally need to change my name through a formal court proceeding, the document cannot be simply amended.

    In researching the subject there is recent legal authority in Italy for accepting a jure sanguinis application with an honorific attached, but it appears that word has not reached the consulates. Nonetheless, I convinced them to begrudgingly submit my application, but have heard nothing since January and the consulate does not respond to my inquiries. So I’m in limbo.

    Just thought you might be interested since you were blogging on the subject.

    1. Ben, that is an interesting scenario that I had not considered. To expand on this, I suppose it is also possible some consulates may push back if the person applying has the exact same name as their parent. Naming your child the same name as yourself is not allowed in Italy. I don’t know what the expense would be, but have you considered hiring an Italian lawyer to help push this through? It might be another option. I’m curious, what consulate are you going through?

      Thanks for posting this. I’d love to hear how this turns out.

  2. I finally received a response (voicemail) from the consulate this week. They were surprised that I asked for a status report since my application had been approved in March. (The other emails I had sent received no response.) I was invited to apply for a passport, but I’m not exactly sure how to accomplish that without my certificate of citizenship. So, I guess I’ll have to try to get them to send me one.

    I’m glad to finally get an answer, but I would like to have the piece of paper too. I’m happy but still frustrated.

  3. Update. I called the consulate today to ask for a copy of my certificate, and was told they are still awaiting word from the Comune. So I still don’t have an answer.

  4. Ben, Which Consulate & Commune? When did you apply?

  5. Los Angeles consulate. My appointment was early in 2010, but I was told that they would not submit the application until after I had my name changed. After jumping through many hoops I finally convinced them to submit it as is in January of 2011. They sent it to Comune di Lucca in March.

    Still waiting…

    1. Did you manage to get this accomplished in the end, Ben?

  6. Do you know of the State of Washington allows corrections to birth certificates for the deceased?

  7. Similar question about correcting a name error on an Italian birth certificate~
    I am applying for citizenship recognition through my GGF. The issue is, when my GGF was born, his father filled out the birth register book with incorrect maiden name for the mother. Not misspelled, but a totally different incorrect maiden name (explained more specifically below**).
    The Comune has said that since the father deliberately wrote this, over 100 years ago when he created the birth record page, they are not sure they can change it. We have the birth certificates of my GGF’s **parents** as proof of the correct names.

    My question is….. Is it possible to have a Comune correct an error like this?

    **Specifics: Let’s say the mother of my GGF, her maiden name was “Vincenza Farina” before marrying her husband. And Vincenza’s mother’s maiden name was Carla D’Elia before Carla married her husband, Mr. Farina. Ok, so my GGF’s father wrote that his wife’s name was “Vincenza D’Elia.” What he should have written was “Vincenza Farina.” He wrote the correct first name for his wife, but he wrote the wrong maiden name for his own wife – he wrote a different family member’s maiden name.
    The Comune is telling me it may be impossible to have this fixed, because the creator of the record (the father) intentionally wrote it on the original page.

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