Saturday, January 25, 2014

Marriage notes - part I, German notes

I translated a marriage record today for one client from U.S. and it brought me to idea writing about notes by the marriage records - information about marriage banns, birth certificates or church dispensations. Most people who are searching for family history in Bohemia or Moravia are going to find information about banns in marriage records, but it's often hard to translate and therefor often omitted. So - what could be written there and how to handle such notes?

This part is going to be about notes written in German. These notes can be a bit harder if you are already used to Czech records.

Example: Marriage records from Brezova Lada, Horni Vltavice parish, 1891

Here is transcription of the notes: 
  • 1. Brautprüfungs Protokoll Nro 4 ddo 8. Jäner 891
  • 2. Der Bräutigam ist laut Matrik N. IV fol. 119 am 18. Dezember 1861, die Braut lauf Taufschein von Pfarramte Neugebäu dto 9. Jäner 891 NC 11 am 31. Jäner 1869 geboren.
  • 3. Ich Johann Friedl willige in diese Ehe meiner minderjährigen Tochter.
  • 4. Dispensdecret des bischöfl Ordinariates Budweis ddo 24. Jäner 1891 N. E. 822 von Ehehindernisse den Blutsverwandtschaft des dritten canonischen Grades der gleichen Seitenlinie.
  • 5. Wurden in Obermoldau Dominica in Septuagesima, Sexagesima et Purific. B. V. M. 1891 verkündigt.
  • 6. Acta huj. copul. in arch. par. fasc. 66
 And translation
  • 1. Bethroted protocol no. 4 from 8th January 1891
  • 2. The groom was born on 18th December 1861 according to the parish book no. IV, page 119, the bride was born on 31st January 1869 according to the birth certificate from parish Novy Svet issued on 9th January 1891.
  • 3. I, Jan Friedl, agree with the marriage of my under-aged daughter.
  • 4. Dispensation decree from the bishop's office in Ceske Budejovice from 24th January 1891, no. 822, agreed to the omission of the fact that the bethroted are related in the 3rd grade of blood relation.
  • 5. There were triple banns held on Septuagesima Sunday, Sexagesima Sunday and the feast of Purification of Virgin Mary 1891.
  • 6. The marriage documents are stored in local parish archive in volume 66.
So, what can we take out of these notes? 

1.  Bethroted protocol no. 4 from 8th January 1891
Every marriage was preceded by something we can call "bethroted protocol". It was large sheet of paper containing number of questions groom and bride had to answer before they were allowed to mary. There were simple questions such as "what's your name", "how old are you" and so on, but there were also other questions about relations, if they are forced to mary, if the bride is pregnant etc. These protocols are often still available in the parish archive located usually in the district archives and can provide quite a lot of information about the couple. 

2. The groom was born...
This note is pure treasure. There are dates of birth of both groom and bride and also information where you can find the birth records. This note could be very important in case you are not able to find the birth record because groom and/or bride was born in other parish. 

Groom is clear - he was born in Horni Vltavice parish and the birth record can be found in the book marked with Roman number IV (the book most probably has other number today) on page 119. 

Information about bride's birth record is a bit more complicated. We know (thanks to this note) that the bride was born in Novy Svet (Neugebäu in German) parish in 1869. There is another piece of information in the bride's record where is mentioned that she was born in Hrabicka Lada. Now we have to check proper book and find the record there.

3. I, Jan Friedl, agree...
Very common note - agreement from the father that his under-aged child can mary. Full age was set to 24 years of age and bride was only 22 here. 

4. Dispensation decree from the bishop's office...
Now we get to a very interesting point. Dispensations were needed in case near relatives wanted to mary. Dispensation was given by the church authorities, usually local bishop or archbishop, in case of really near relatives (cousins) by the Pope. 

Bishop's dispensation was enough in this case - groom and bride were related in the third grade of consanguinity. Two of their grandparents were siblings so they had only seven couples of great-grandparents instead of usual eight couples. 

5. There were triple banns...
Another usual note. I have written about banns in the marriage traditions post and I mentioned there you can often find information about banns in the marriage books. This is one of such cases - banns were held on three holidays (counting two Sundays and one feast) before the marriage. Which reminds me that I promised to write a post about church calendar...

6. The marriage documents are stored...
Well - not so useful if you don't know that parish archives still exist and are usually stored in the district archives. Which means that all of the documents which were brought to the mentioned marriage (dispensation, bride's birth certificate, protocol and probably other documents) are quite probably still stored in the local district archives. 

We can't be sure about that because many documents were destroyed in the past (mainly during 2nd World War and years following after it), many of them were lost and other were simply not moved to archives. But if you are the lucky one you will get quite many information about your ancestors by getting copies of these documents.


  1. Thank you! I did not know there could be such valuable information in that column.

  2. Thanks Blanka! I really appreciated this post. It helped me to understand why I should take the time to translate the (sometimes frustratingly difficult) notes!

  3. Thank you very much for this explanation, Blanko! I appreciate it.