While church records and civil registration records cover a majority of the population, notarial records cover only a percentage of the population. Much of the data from notarial records has been digitized by Italian governments, but require authorization to directly access the records. Only certain legal offices are given authorization to access this digitized database.
Sometimes notarial records predate church and civil registration records, and they can cover gaps in those records. Since they contain wills, purchases, sales, and legal disputes, notarial records are useful for researching families who owned property or were involved with legal matters as well as a wealth of information on the decedent's family members and business.
Some notarial records from certain places in Italy have been microfilmed: