Sunday, October 2, 2011

Theme for every week: A dirty book is rarely dusty

This week's theme can a bit... Well, delicate. What belongs under dirty? An ancestor who was a pirate? Single mother in 19th century? Crime? Some interesting affair with a noble man or woman? We can imagine any of these situation as dirty. I have chosen a single mother because it's very common case in our past even the fact that our parents and grandparents say that our generation is the most wicked generation.

I got a question from Theresa about one record from Markt-Krönau, today called Křenov. Křenov is located in Svitavy district and there is a parish church in this village. Theresa asked for help with reading one record from this parish - birth of Franz Schey (Scheu) in 1899. 
Krönau (Křenov) on the 2nd military mapping map (1836-1852). Source: Mapy.cz

Franz was born three years before his parents, Franz Steiner and Maria Schey, were married. He was one of many many illegitimal children of single mothers. But he belonged to the happier part of these children - those who were legitimated later. 

Single mothers existed in every time period of our history. Their fate wasn't too happy until the beginning of 20th century.  First of all, during the pregnancy, their fathers wanted to know who was the father of the child. If the father of the child was single they tried to push him into the marriage. They were sometimes successful - you can see quite many children born three four months after the marriage. Sometimes they weren't successful - and the young woman had an illegitimate child. 

It meant contempt from her neighbours. She was forced to stand in front of the church before the masses and ask for forgiveness. Sometimes it was a problem to find a godfather for the child because no one wanted to be a godfather of illegitimate child. Some young single mothers didn't take care for the child (or were forced to not take care) and the child died few weeks or months after the birth. 

Sometimes the father was from a higher class of society - he could have been an officer, a clerk, even the vicar in some cases. Whole village knew who was the father in some cases and it could have meant that the child is going to have quite comfortable life. These children were happy ones as well as those which were legitimated by the marriage. 

Franz belonged among the happy children. His father, Franz Steiner, decided to marry Maria. It's possible that he was serving in the military when Franz junior was born and therefor he was not allowed to marry earlier. The marriage is mentioned in the birth record. 

Birth record of Franz Schey - Steiner, SRA Zámrsk, Křenov parish, birth registry 1878-1892, no. M-7 5544

Here is transcription and translation of the record which I have divided into four parts. First part covers information about the birth date and child himself, second part information about father, third part about mother, midwife, priest who baptized the child and about legitimation, fourth part is about godfather and godmother. 

 
Transcription: 
Columns:
1. Registry number, page: VII 68
2 and 3. Date of birth and baptism: 1889 Februar 24 / 25
4. House number: 90
5. Name: Franz
6. (two columns) Religion: "/" in first column means catholic, it would mean non-catholic in 2nd column.
7. (two columns) Sex: first column male, second female.
8. (two columns) Status: first column legitimate, second illegitimate.

Notes:
9. + 11.4.1942 in Wiesengrund
10. Pfarramt Markt Krönau am 3. Oktober 1892 Coram me Johann John Pfarrer
11. Steiner Franz Vater des Kindes
12. Scheu Franz Zeuge


Translation: 

Columns:
1. Registry number, page: VII 68
2 and 3. Date of birth and baptism: 24th / 25th February 1889
4. House number: (Křenov) 90
5. Name: Franz

6. (two columns) Religion: catholic

7. (two columns) Sex: male
8. (two columns) Status: illegitimate


Notes:
9. died on 11th April 1942 in Wiesengrund (Dobřany)
10. Parish office in Křenov on 3rd October 1892, (written) by me Johann John, vicar.
11. Franz Steiner, father of the child (signature)
12. Franz Scheu, witness of the legitimation (signature)


Transcription:
Father: Steiner Franz Inmann in Langenlutsch, Sohn des Josef Steiner Webers in Langenlutsch und dessen Gattin Anna Maria geb. Franz Ille Webers in Langenlutsch erklärt sich in Gegenwart des Pfarrers u zweier Zeugen als Vater zu diesem Kinde und ersicht als solcher eingetragen zu werden.
Columns: Religion: catholic / non-catholic
Note: Anton Schlegl Zeuge

Translation:
Father: Franz Steiner, farm-hand in Dlouhá Loučka, son of Josef Steiner, weaver in Dlouhá Loučka, and his wife Anna Maria, daughter of Franz Ille, weaver in Dlouhá Loučka, declares himself in presence of vicar and two witnesses to be a father of this child and wants to be written down to the registry book as the father. 
Columns: Religion: catholic
Note: Anton Schlegl, witness (signature)


Transcription:
Mother: Maria, ledige Tochter des Mathias Schey, Häuslers in Krönau und dessen Gattin Maria geborenen Johann Reisner Bauer in Langenlutsch. 
Columns: Religion: catholic / non-catholic
Baptized by and midwife: Karl Sonntag Kooperator, Franziska Werner No. 59 in Krönau
Note: Hacce proles inter superpites parentes per subsequens matrimonium lib. Cop. VI. p. 29 legitima juxta effectus ecclesiasticos et civiles.

Translation:
Mother: Marie, single daughter of Mathias Schey, peasant cottager in Křenov, and his wife Maria, daughter of Johann Reisner, farmer in Dlouhá Loučka. 
Columns: Religion: catholic
Baptized by and midwiffe: Karl Sonntag, chaplain, Franziska Werner from Křenov house no. 59
Note: This child of the mentioned parents was legitimated by their marriage as marked in marriage registry no. VI, page 29, valid both from ecclesial and civil point of view.


Transcription:
Godfather and godmother: Franz Scheu Weber in Krönau, Theresia Wölfel led. Tochter des Franz, Inmann in Langenlutsch.

Translation:
Godfather and godmother: Franz Scheu, weaver in Křenov, Theresia Wölfel, single daughter of Franz Wölfel, farm-hand in Dlouhá Loučka.

So, there is quite much information included in the record. Here is small family tree of Franz's ancestors: 

So I hope all this information will help Theresa to identify the relations in the family. And that it will also help you to understand the situation of single mothers and how the records about legitimation of a child looked like. Good luck with your research!

4 comments:

  1. Some of the Irish records I saw on microfilm had Illegitimate written 1.5 cm high.

    I really think that most of those unwed mothers had no idea about the process of reproduction.

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  2. This post was extremely interesting and helpful, especially having the record headings translated. I thought I had them all, but Google translate can't handle some of it (e.g. for one word I got "hoe" as the translation!). As a modern woman that whole "legit" or "illegit" status seems so archaic, but my dad (born in Romania in 1911) was "ill." and it haunted him for a large part of his life.

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  3. Thanks for a very helpful post. I have one question on something that I want to make sure I understand correctly. When a child is legitimized by the subsequent marriage, is the man always the birth father? Or is that note also made in the register when the woman marries another man who is not the child's biological father?

    ReplyDelete
  4. In that case there wouldn't be any mention in the birth registry. The husband must have clearly stated that he was a father to the illegit child - if he didn't state it, there was no reason to write him in the registry.

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