Today I emailed the Italian Consulate in Detroit asking, (1) What the process is for making an appointment? and (2) How far out appointments are being scheduled? We'll see what they say.
Here are some links to relevant sites:
The consulate is located in the Buhl Building, 535 Griswold, Detroit, Michigan, Telephone: (313) 963-8560.
Update 20 Feb 2012
Quick response back telling me that I could have an appointment on March 19 or March 29. That was too close for me since I needed to get translations and I still need to get my grandparents' marriage certificate. But it was cool to know that they had appointments so close out.
I also found an interesting suggestion about going to the consulate even if you think you might have things to amend:
I tend to prefer waiting for the consulate's guidance in such matters, at least before investing too much effort and expense. The consular officer is the person who needs to be satisfied, so his/her views are controlling. Also, if you have to go back to try to re-amend a record it's at least embarrassing.
I also have a hypothesis that some officers want applicants to overcome at least one obstacle — that there's sort of an informal "obstacle quota." So if you're going to have to jump through a hoop or two anyway, why take the easiest hoops off the table before your first appointment? That's just a hypothesis about human nature, though.
Update 21 Feb 2012
Both the consulate and posts online confirm that there is no need to bring my children to the consulate appointment. The consulate did say to bring their passports however.
Now I'm just waiting to hear if my translator can get the translations finished before 19 March. If so, I will try to take the 19 March appointment, assuming it's still open.
Update 21 Feb 2012
My translator said that she could get the translations to me between the 10th and 15th of March. So I emailed the consulate asking if they still had the 19 March 2012 at 11am appointment slot open. If they do, I'm taking it.