13 May 1814 Freed from Napoleon’s tyranny

In both Civil and Parish records there is often a lack of registers between 1809 and 1820.
When Napoleon conquered Italy he not only established the keeping of civil records across the nation but he also confiscated parish records in order to know how many baby boys were being baptized in the parish. He didn’t need this information immediately but when those babies became men he would be in a position to recruit them for his army. He would know all of their names and birthdates. There would be no escaping military service. Some towns were ordered to compile lists of male baptisms and some of these lists went back to 1788 baptisms making these young men immediately eligible to serve in Napoleon’s army.

Archpriest Vincenzo Locatelli of Veroli was so relieved to get his parish registers back he wrote a letter addressed to the Mayor and recorded a copy of it in the book of Baptisms.

Although I understood that the priest wrote, “that he kept a separate book of baptisms after the French ordered his books to the comune” I had our translator interpret the document so you could enjoy what he really felt about the French! IRENE PALOMBO really does have the heart of a good translator, keeping the original text but making sure we understand the intention of the writer!

On this day 13 May 1814, memorable for God having freed us from Napoleon’s tyranny and for our Supreme Pontiff and Sovereign Pio VII having repossessed the State, to me, the here written parish priest, have been returned the parish records, which had been taken by the Mayor Antonio Vitaliani under order of the ungodly French Government since the 8 October 1810 and on the same day I began to register the acts of baptism in another temporary book.
Vincenzo Locatelli Archpriest


You may find that in some towns and parishes these books were never made available to Napoleon as the officials destroyed them so he could not use them for his future military needs.


After the defeat of Napoleon, in many towns of the former Papal States, civil registers were destroyed as part of the celebration of his defeat in 1814.

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