The Earliest Registered Baptism of a Child without Parents’ Names in Coassolo Torinese, Turin, Piedmont, Italy (1608)

Lolita Nikolova, PhD

The children born out of wedlock are a special genealogical category with several subcategories: none of the parents listed in the birth registration, only one parent listed, or both parents of the child (a result of “a natural union”) are registered. In some cases there is an additional note under the registration number which indicates that the child was legitimized (typically after the wedding of the parents). The legitimization may take a large part of the marriage registration, including one or more children.

However, every village, town or city in Italy has own story of this category children, which were very exceptions, in contrast to nowadays when the children of natural unions may begin in some moment even to prevail in the demographic statistics. In past the marriage was considered as a scared union and a mandatory precondition for beginning of biological reproduction.

Coassolo Torinese is a village in the Alps, in the metropolitan area of Torino. The Catholic church “St. Nikola” is one of the oldest churches in the region, with extremely well preserved church books, which are accessible for research thanks to the priests there.  The community had extremely strong genealogical connections with the USA because of emigration of many residents of Coassolo Torinese in later 19th – early 20 century. Even the Café next to the church in the center of the village is named Colorado.

The Catholic baptism records start in 1604. However, just in 1608 the baptism register included a registration of a child without names of his parents. It was a baby boy born on Wednesday, 20 February 1608, and named Giulio Cesare.

This piece of information could be one of the earliest registrations of a child without naming the parent(s) in Italian genealogy. Who knows? Today, when genealogy bridges science and popular culture and has become important for everybody, Giulio Cesare may become a scientific icon of all children with named parents who began to be registered in the church together with the born in families, at least in Piedmont region.

The St. Nikola Church in Coassolo Torisene, Turin, Piedmont, Italy

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