The Catasti Onciari [Taxable Property Census]: Mining These Valuable Records

The val­ue of the cat­a­sti in Ital­ian geneal­o­gy is often over­looked. Few of these records are avail­able dig­i­tal­ly or by micro­film. How­ev­er, this will change in the com­ing years, as Fam­il­y­Search is dig­i­tiz­ing many of these records and some of the Ital­ian Archivi di Sta­to [Provincial/State Archives] have dig­i­ti­za­tion projects under­way. The records will be much more acces­si­ble for a researcher out­side of Italy.

The cat­a­sti shouldn’t be over­looked due to their val­ue in adding key details to your fam­i­ly his­to­ry. These records are often a means of find­ing infor­ma­tion on whole fam­i­ly groups before the start of civ­il reg­is­tra­tion and can be extreme­ly valu­able when the parish records have been destroyed or dam­aged. How much infor­ma­tion can be found and the years of the cen­sus­es dif­fer by province and time peri­od, with the old­est cat­a­sti being less descrip­tive.

In the province of Ascoli-Piceno, tax­able rur­al land and build­ings were record­ed as far back as 1855, while tax­able non-rur­al build­ings were record­ed back to 1877. Besides notar­i­al records, this is the only type of doc­u­ment in this province that iden­ti­fies rur­al land and build­ings in the 19th cen­tu­ry. While often dif­fi­cult to deci­pher, the records can pro­vide valu­able details on a fam­i­ly.

Below are trans­lat­ed abstrac­tions of two of these records which demon­strate the type of infor­ma­tion that can be found (used with per­mis­sion).

1855 Cen­sus Entry for Gio­van­ni Quaglia

Num­ber 493

[illeg­i­ble word] 33

Gio­van­ni Quaglia, son of the deceased Mar­co [Quaglia], from Paggese

ne Lui­gi fo Gio” [this is very fad­ed but may mean Lui­gi, son of Gio­van­ni Quaglia][1]

 

Map Name: San­ta Maria

Map Num­ber: 931

Ham­let [where prop­er­ty is]: Paggese

Cul­ti­va­tion [type of tax­able prop­er­ty]: two rooms on the ground floor [one illeg­i­ble word] in Paggese

Anno­ta­tions: [two words, unsure of mean­ing]

 

Map Name: Tal­la­cano

Map Num­ber: 1940

Ham­let: Acqua­vi­da

Cul­ti­va­tion: Chest­nut [mean­ing chest­nut trees]

Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Index Num­ber: 206[2]

The totals owed in tax­es were also cal­cu­lat­ed.[3]

COMMENTS: Gio­van­ni Quaglia owned two rooms in the bot­tom floor of a build­ing and a stand of chest­nut trees.

In this record, Gio­van­ni Quaglia’s father, Mar­co Quaglia, was indi­cat­ed to be deceased in 1855, which is con­sis­tent with oth­er records found.

  • In Rosa Sermarini’s 1843 bap­tismal record, Mar­co Quaglia was indi­cat­ed to still be liv­ing.  
  • In Lui­gi Quaglia’s 1848 bap­tismal record, Mar­co Quaglia was indi­cat­ed to still be liv­ing.
  • With­in the 1879 eccle­si­as­ti­cal mar­riage record of Lui­gi Quaglia and Annun­zi­a­ta Buat­ti, Mar­co Quaglia was indi­cat­ed to be deceased.

There­fore, we can inti­mate that Mar­co Quaglia passed away between 1848–1855.

 

On the same page as Gio­van­ni Quaglia’s cen­sus entry, is the cen­sus entry of his broth­er, Alessan­dro Quaglia, which names their moth­er.

Cen­sus Entry for Alessan­dro Quaglia

 

Num­ber 492

Muta” [?, abbre­vi­a­tion] 32

 

Alessan­dro Quaglia, son of the deceased Mar­co [Quaglia], broth­er of Gio­van­ni [Quaglia], and Maria Mor­gante, wid­owed moth­er

With usufruc­tu­ary[4] “in the locale of Gio Lui­gi son” [these words are very fad­ed][5]

 

Map Name: Aro­la

Map Num­ber: 388

Ham­let: Venel­la

Cul­ti­va­tion: arable land

Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Index Num­ber: 136

 

Map Name: San­ta Maria

Map Num­ber: 900

Ham­let: Paggese

Cul­ti­va­tion: [unknown trans­la­tion][6]

Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Index Num­ber: 24

 

Map Name: San­ta Maria

Map Num­ber: 1010

Ham­let: Paggese

Cul­ti­va­tion: House for the same use

Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Index Num­ber: 140

 

Map Name: Tal­la­cano

Map Num­ber: 1935

Ham­let: Fas­so Bian­co

Cul­ti­va­tion: Chest­nut [mean­ing chest­nut trees]

Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Index Num­ber: 206

The totals owed in tax­es were also cal­cu­lat­ed.[7]

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[1] As not­ed, these words are very fad­ed. They also appear to be writ­ten in dif­fer­ent ink, per­haps indi­cat­ing that they were placed on the record sub­se­quent to its cre­ation. Since there is oth­er evi­dence that Gio­van­ni Quaglia passed away that same year [in 1855], this nota­tion may be not­ing his heir as his son Lui­gi. His heir would have been respon­si­ble for pay­ing the indi­cat­ed tax­es at the end of the year.

[2] This is like a code entered on a U.S. tax return that is required to note the type of tax­able prop­er­ty.

[3] Ascoli Piceno province, Italy, “Cat­a­sto [Cen­sus], 1855”: num­ber 493, regg. [col­lec­tion num­ber] 836, cen­sus entry for Gio­van­ni Quaglia; Archiv­io di Sta­to di [Provincial/State Archives of] Ascoli Piceno, Via S. Ser­afi­no, 8-c, 63100 Ascoli Piceno, Italy.

[4] Like­ly mean­ing that Maria Mor­gante had the right to enjoy the use and advan­tages of another’s prop­er­ty, in this case Alessandro’s prop­er­ty, for her life­time. We may find that these rights were spelled out in her husband’s will.

[5] These words are very fad­ed and appear to be writ­ten in dif­fer­ent ink, per­haps indi­cat­ing their sub­se­quent place­ment on this record after the death of Gio­van­ni Quaglia.

[6] This must be a very old agri­cul­tur­al term. I could not find it in any nine­teenth cen­tu­ry dic­tio­nar­ies in my col­lec­tion.

[7] Ascoli Piceno province, Italy, “Cat­a­sto [Cen­sus], 1855”: num­ber 492, regg. [col­lec­tion num­ber] 836, cen­sus entry for Alessan­dro Quaglia; Archiv­io di Sta­to di [Provincial/State Archives of] Ascoli Piceno, Via S. Ser­afi­no, 8-c, 63100 Ascoli Piceno, Italy.