Baptisms Register 1818

p. 68 [detailed]
220 x 580 mmm
Archivio Storico Diocesano, Reggio Emilia

On page 68 of the Baptisms register of 1818 of the Diocese of Reggio Emilia, there is the annotation on the baptism of Angelo Secchi, reproduced here (second from above). The text, written in Latin, is so translatable:
On the day of Monday 29 twenty-ninth of the saying [June 1818], Angelo Francesco Ignazio Baldassarre, born by the spouses Giovanni Antonio of Genesio and Luigia Belgieri in the Vicinia of S. Lorenzo Yesterday at 7.45 o’clock in the evening, was baptized as above [by me, Don Giuseppe Giacopini, Deputy Prefect] being Giuseppe di Claudio Baracchi the godfather .
There are also two baptism certificates of Secchi, respectively at the archive of the Society of Jesus (Figure 1) and at the archive of the Inaf-Astronomical Observatory of Rome (Figure 2).
These documents allow to correct some errors in which several biographers of Father Angelo Secchi fallen into. The first error is relative to the date of birth, which is unequivocally on June 28, 1818 – and not on June 29, which is instead the date of baptism. The second error is about the first name that unequivocally turns out to be Angelo-and not Pietro Angelo, as it often appears in some biographies, perhaps misidentified with his cousin Giovampietro (or Giampietro), archaeologist, Jesuit, twenty years older than Secchi. Moreover, the correct name of Angelo’s father turns out to be Giovanni Antonio (or Gianantonio, sometimes erroneously referred to as Giacomo Antonio) (1758-ca. 1839). It was not possible to identify the Godfather Giuseppe Baracchi, while the place is almost certainly the Church of St. John the Baptist (City baptistery) (Figure 3).
About his grandfather Genesio (1708-1787) it is known that he was a farmer in the convent of the Augustinian nuns Eremitane of St. Ilario, while Gianantonio was a carpenter and had a modest joinery. From the second marriage of Gianantonio with the seamstress Luigia Belgieri (1777-1867) Anna Maria Gertrude was born in 1802 and, sixteen years later, Angelo was born. From the first marriage of Gianantonio with Teresa Poli Tommaso Giovanni Genesio Baldassarre (1791-1844) was born , who later became the godfather of Confirmation of Angelo in 1827. Tommaso, who became a lawyer, had two sons: the first, Joseph, died prematurely, and his two children Gabriella and Riccardo were taken into custody by his uncle Alexander, the second son of Tommaso, who became a priest. Secchi was very fond of his nephew Alessandro, and also of his great-granddaughter Gabriellina, so much to remember her in his will.

Ileana Chinnici, INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo
Matteo Galaverni - Specola Vaticana
Giuseppe A. Rossi - Deputazione di Storia Patria per le Antiche Province Modenesi

Milo Spaggiari, historical archive, diocesi of Reggio Emilia.