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  • Robert Shive
    Hi Janet -- This thread was extremely interesting. My grandmother was born illegitimately in Also (now Nyzna) Mislye near the end of the 1800 s. I can t
    Message 1 of 14 , Jul 4, 2007
      Hi Janet --

      This thread was extremely interesting. My grandmother was born illegitimately in Also (now Nyzna) Mislye near the end of the 1800's. I can't speak to how her (unmarried) mother was treated by the village, but she did leave for the US a little more than a year after the birth. She then got married in the US and had four daughters, who my generation of children always called aunts.

      On the other side of the family, my g-grandfather had an illegitimate brother, born to his widowed mother about a year after her husband died. This brother appeared to have no social baggage and grew up to manhood in his native village.

      So I guess that even in this rather select grouping there were gradations of social acceptability.

      Janet Kozlay <kozlay@...> wrote:
      I'm glad you found the information interesting and helpful. It was Vladimir
      who did the counting. All of the information was Vladimir's except for the
      final paragraph. I should have used quotation marks to make that clear.



      From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com] On
      Behalf Of nhasior@...
      Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 6:07 AM
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [S-R] BIRTH and ILLEGITIMACY

      Thank you for the email. It was very informative to the topic and it
      actually did fit well into my own research. i do not know if it was you or
      Vladimir B. who counted the 10,000 births in Vienna, but hats off to the one
      did. :)

      Back in 2004 there was considerable discussion of this topic. Vladimir
      Bohinc, a highly respected professional genealogist from the Bratislava
      area, offered the following observations:

      Please, consider this; if somebody was born illegitimate, then as a rule,
      there should not be any name of the father.

      However, in many cases, the children were legitimized later, sometimes 6 or
      8 years later , based on the subsequent marriage.

      In general, illegitimate children and their mothers were usually doomed and
      had to leave the community in many cases.

      Nobody really wanted to marry a illegitimate child. The ones who did, were
      widowers, strangers, or handicapped soldiers.

      Many of illegitimate ones left for US, since they did not have any future
      here. They did not have any inheritance to expect etc.

      Also, the priest usually knew who was the father though confession, so he
      could more or less discretely manage for the doomed either to leave or to
      get married. He had all kinds of "means" to control what happened in his

      Before marriage, the priest had to check the books not only for legitimacy (
      if foreigner, he had to present the birth certificate from his own parish),
      but also for possible consanguinitatis. In case of one, a special permission
      had to be given and a tax paid, depending on degree of blod relation and the
      status of the spouses.

      Conducting a marriage was a very serious business, which if wrong, could
      have heavy consequences, also for the priest.

      That's why the banns. Just to make sure, there were no known objections.

      Some priests did not write everything they should. I especially noticed,
      that when the hard magyarization was introduced, the new magyar priest put
      there as little as possible info. So as if he would want to wipe out the
      history of the spouses.

      To my great anger.

      This was shortly before 1846 and somewhere before 1900.

      In Slovenia for example, there was a custom for illegitimate children to
      have very unusual names, so they were branded like "A boy named Sue" from
      Johnny Cash. ( not for the same reason though) We even have a theathre play
      on this theme. The boy was named Polikarp, which is unheard of in
      Slovenia.Parents had nothing to say.

      The term deflorata I saw on several instances.

      The books were routinely checked by the visitations of superiors. here and
      there you can find their signature and seal.

      So it was not all the same, what and how the things were written. And of
      course, these things had a legal power. Only after 1895, this legal power
      was taken away from the Church and the Civil Records were introduced.

      And concerning the use of the terms "honestus" and "honesta" in the marriage

      The term honestus only means legitimate. When the latin was changed to
      slovak, the same meaning was written as:

      " s poctive suloze", which means from the honest copulation ( or laying in
      bed together) German records follow similar rule, so they use the words: '
      ehelicher Sohn" for a son, born in wedlock or legitimate.


      Quite often one or more children were born illegitimate before the parents
      eventually married ( or at least the mother got maried with someone). In
      such cases, there usually is an added note with the birth record of the
      child, that this particular child was legitimized later by a subsequent
      marriage ( usually on the day of marriage) Interestingly, I do not recall
      any specific "labelling" of illegitimate born spouses. The only way, how the
      priest could say that in a proper and "understandable" manner, was, that he
      noted only the name of the mother of the spouse. This I have seen often.


      I would expect, that they either die in childhood due to no appropriate care
      or they disappeared, if not legitimized.

      However, if legitimized, then their birth record should have been properly
      modified / corrected.

      More illegitimate children were born in the second half of the century
      because of the industrial revolution and also emergence of the middle class.
      For the first, some girls moved away from home to work in the factory and
      many began to live a more loose life.

      For the second, middle class needed maids. Many maids.

      I found very many illegitimate children in villages surrounding a Spa for
      example. Or where the military Garrisons were, or the railroad was built.

      A traditional village out of reach of civilisation did not have many. Almost
      none. Many were just killed before or just after the birth.

      A book about the traditions writes about the screams of a young mother
      echoing through the valley in the middle of the night, when she was killing
      her baby inside with a woodden stick.

      She knew, she would be doomed.

      In Romania, even not so many years ago, women introduced plastic tubes into
      their wombs and walked with that around, just to provoke abortion.

      Nobody really wanted such kids.

      In bigger towns, there were orphanages, where the children could be
      discretely given away and then the state gave them to other families. I
      think, I wrote about this already. In those times, Vienna had about 10000
      (ten thousand) illegitimate births per year. I counted them.

      A different source has pointed out to me that one positive aspect of
      Communism was that the concept of illegitimacy was no longer officially
      recognized. But it seems to me unlikely that such an official change would
      affect attitudes and behavior that had been in place for centuries, at least
      not overnight, and especially in the smaller villages.


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