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Illegitimates

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  • PHILBAER@aol.com
    S-R Group, I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a
    Message 1 of 16 , Jan 12, 2011
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      S-R Group,
      I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of
      illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a
      religious context rather than a consequence of economic and political ci
      rcumstances of the time. It seems to me that US descendants have a harder time
      accepting that their ancestors were "born out of wedlock" more than their
      European descendants. I have had distant relatives in Europe say, "It happened"
      and didn't lose sleep over it. I am not making a value judgement either way -
      I'm merely saying that the norms of today are not necessarily those of the
      past.

      Research into my Slovak and German ancestry found that illegitimacy was
      not all that rare in the 1800's in these areas. Rather than jump to the
      conclusion that the young people were a bunch if sinners, there needs to be
      understanding of how the designation of "illegitimate" was made. My
      understanding is that most of the birth records in the 1800's were kept by the church
      and that children of a marriage/union not blessed by the church were, by
      definition, "illegitimate" and the births were recorded that way. In some
      countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two ceremonies: civil
      and church. I do not know if A-H had similar laws, but in Germany, marriages
      had to be approved by the government and peasants had a difficult time
      getting approval. Then, there was the matter of common law marriages which were
      a matter of convenience and economic necessity due to the poor economic
      conditions. Of course, children born before their mothers are married occurs
      today. Some women never marry and do not intend to marry. I guess the label
      of "illegitimate" doesn't get used as much today. Maybe this is because
      the church isn't keeping the official records.

      Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on genealogy. I
      am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data could lead
      to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend to seek
      underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says "illegitimate"
      rather than judge on a religious basis.

      Philip Baer


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Frank R Plichta
      My wife and I were married in Germany in 1967 and we had two ceremonies. We were both in the US Army serving in Germany. The German government did not
      Message 2 of 16 , Jan 12, 2011
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        My wife and I were married in Germany in 1967 and we had two ceremonies. We
        were both in the US Army serving in Germany. The German government did not
        recognize a Church wedding as a legal wedding. We were first married in the
        German Court in the morning than then had a Church wedding later in the
        afternoon. I occasionally joke with my wife that she wanted to make sure
        the wedding stuck. So far 43 years later we are still going strong.

        Frank



        _____

        From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com] On
        Behalf Of PHILBAER@...
        Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 4:16 PM
        To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [S-R] Illegitimates



        In some countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two
        ceremonies: civil
        and church.
        Philip Baer





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • CurtB
        Phil, There has been no focus here on religious meaning of illeg children, only social and cultural. Remember that the old Slovak records are both religious
        Message 3 of 16 , Jan 12, 2011
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          Phil,
          There has been no focus here on religious meaning of illeg children, only social and cultural. Remember that the old Slovak records are both religious and secular records. The church was charged with keeping the secular records that were used by the government for all sorts of purposes, e.g., the military draft, and inheritance of property and goods. Readers of these old records are simply trying to understand the social and cultural context of such notes.

          A note of illeg at birth even then carried no meaning other than the parents were not married at the time of birth. Exactly the same as birth records today in the U.S. and European countries. Contemporary views are certainly less censorious than in the past. Why do you think it otherwise. Contemporary rate of illeg births to total births in the U.S. is 41%. This is vastly higher than a century ago, yet we think nothing unusual of it. We accept it as a matter of course.

          Curt B.

          --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, PHILBAER@... wrote:
          >
          > S-R Group,
          > I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of
          > illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a
          > religious context rather than a consequence of economic and political ci
          > rcumstances of the time. It seems to me that US descendants have a harder time
          > accepting that their ancestors were "born out of wedlock" more than their
          > European descendants. I have had distant relatives in Europe say, "It happened"
          > and didn't lose sleep over it. I am not making a value judgement either way -
          > I'm merely saying that the norms of today are not necessarily those of the
          > past.
          >
          > Research into my Slovak and German ancestry found that illegitimacy was
          > not all that rare in the 1800's in these areas. Rather than jump to the
          > conclusion that the young people were a bunch if sinners, there needs to be
          > understanding of how the designation of "illegitimate" was made. My
          > understanding is that most of the birth records in the 1800's were kept by the church
          > and that children of a marriage/union not blessed by the church were, by
          > definition, "illegitimate" and the births were recorded that way. In some
          > countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two ceremonies: civil
          > and church. I do not know if A-H had similar laws, but in Germany, marriages
          > had to be approved by the government and peasants had a difficult time
          > getting approval. Then, there was the matter of common law marriages which were
          > a matter of convenience and economic necessity due to the poor economic
          > conditions. Of course, children born before their mothers are married occurs
          > today. Some women never marry and do not intend to marry. I guess the label
          > of "illegitimate" doesn't get used as much today. Maybe this is because
          > the church isn't keeping the official records.
          >
          > Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on genealogy. I
          > am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data could lead
          > to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend to seek
          > underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says "illegitimate"
          > rather than judge on a religious basis.
          >
          > Philip Baer
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • mkoschik@aol.com
          Phillip: In the many years I ve been involved with S-R, this is one of the most sensible posts I ve read. Mike Koschik ... From: PHILBAER
          Message 4 of 16 , Jan 12, 2011
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            Phillip:
            In the many years I've been involved with S-R, this is one of the most sensible posts I've read.
            Mike Koschik





            -----Original Message-----
            From: PHILBAER <PHILBAER@...>
            To: SLOVAK-ROOTS <SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Wed, Jan 12, 2011 3:16 pm
            Subject: [S-R] Illegitimates

              S-R Group,
            I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of
            illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a
            religious context rather than a consequence of economic and political ci
            rcumstances of the time. It seems to me that US descendants have a harder time
            accepting that their ancestors were "born out of wedlock" more than their
            European descendants. I have had distant relatives in Europe say, "It happened"
            and didn't lose sleep over it. I am not making a value judgement either way -
            I'm merely saying that the norms of today are not necessarily those of the
            past.

            Research into my Slovak and German ancestry found that illegitimacy was
            not all that rare in the 1800's in these areas. Rather than jump to the
            conclusion that the young people were a bunch if sinners, there needs to be
            understanding of how the designation of "illegitimate" was made. My
            understanding is that most of the birth records in the 1800's were kept by the church
            and that children of a marriage/union not blessed by the church were, by
            definition, "illegitimate" and the births were recorded that way. In some
            countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two ceremonies: civil
            and church. I do not know if A-H had similar laws, but in Germany, marriages
            had to be approved by the government and peasants had a difficult time
            getting approval. Then, there was the matter of common law marriages which were
            a matter of convenience and economic necessity due to the poor economic
            conditions. Of course, children born before their mothers are married occurs
            today. Some women never marry and do not intend to marry. I guess the label
            of "illegitimate" doesn't get used as much today. Maybe this is because
            the church isn't keeping the official records.

            Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on genealogy. I
            am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data could lead
            to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend to seek
            underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says "illegitimate"
            rather than judge on a religious basis.

            Philip Baer

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]









            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Julie Michutka
            ... Just a couple comments: Illegitimate could be a legal description (for example, not eligible to inherit) as much as a moral one. You re absolutely right
            Message 5 of 16 , Jan 12, 2011
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              On Jan 12, 2011, at 4:16 PM, PHILBAER@... wrote:

              > Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on
              > genealogy. I
              > am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data
              > could lead
              > to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend
              > to seek
              > underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says
              > "illegitimate"
              > rather than judge on a religious basis.

              Just a couple comments:

              "Illegitimate" could be a legal description (for example, not eligible
              to inherit) as much as a moral one.

              You're absolutely right about applying today's mores; this is called
              "presentism" ("interpretation of the past by present standards"--
              Elizabeth Shown Mills, in Evidence Explained, p. 20). It can be very
              hard to imagine how a different time/place/culture views things
              differently than we, but if we make the leap and open our minds, we
              learn and are enriched, and we do justice to those whose lives we are
              attempting to interpret.

              Julie Michutka
              jmm@...
            • Deb
              Philip, Points taken. It was a little bit of a surprise when I realized that I was viewing illegitimate births in the Slovak church records with a jaded eye
              Message 6 of 16 , Jan 14, 2011
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                Philip,

                Points taken.

                It was a little bit of a surprise when I realized that I was viewing illegitimate births in the Slovak church records with a "jaded" eye and US sensibilities! I assumed that sex before marriage (and the resulting illegitimate children) had always been a cultural/religious "no no" with often severe rammifications...and you know what happens when you assume!!! :)

                It would be interesting to hear if anyone knows when the bearing of illegitimate children became such a stigma?

                Deb

                --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, PHILBAER@... wrote:
                >
                > S-R Group,
                > I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of
                > illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a
                > religious context rather than a consequence of economic and political ci
                > rcumstances of the time. It seems to me that US descendants have a harder time
                > accepting that their ancestors were "born out of wedlock" more than their
                > European descendants. I have had distant relatives in Europe say, "It happened"
                > and didn't lose sleep over it. I am not making a value judgement either way -
                > I'm merely saying that the norms of today are not necessarily those of the
                > past.
                >
                > Research into my Slovak and German ancestry found that illegitimacy was
                > not all that rare in the 1800's in these areas. Rather than jump to the
                > conclusion that the young people were a bunch if sinners, there needs to be
                > understanding of how the designation of "illegitimate" was made. My
                > understanding is that most of the birth records in the 1800's were kept by the church
                > and that children of a marriage/union not blessed by the church were, by
                > definition, "illegitimate" and the births were recorded that way. In some
                > countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two ceremonies: civil
                > and church. I do not know if A-H had similar laws, but in Germany, marriages
                > had to be approved by the government and peasants had a difficult time
                > getting approval. Then, there was the matter of common law marriages which were
                > a matter of convenience and economic necessity due to the poor economic
                > conditions. Of course, children born before their mothers are married occurs
                > today. Some women never marry and do not intend to marry. I guess the label
                > of "illegitimate" doesn't get used as much today. Maybe this is because
                > the church isn't keeping the official records.
                >
                > Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on genealogy. I
                > am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data could lead
                > to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend to seek
                > underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says "illegitimate"
                > rather than judge on a religious basis.
                >
                > Philip Baer
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • nilo3rak
                Deb, Go back to the Puritans. Have you ever read the The Scarlet Letter ? Talk about severe ramifications for bearing an illegitimate child. Carolyn
                Message 7 of 16 , Jan 14, 2011
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                  Deb,

                  Go back to the Puritans.

                  Have you ever read the "The Scarlet Letter"? Talk about severe ramifications for bearing an illegitimate child.
                  Carolyn


                  --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Deb" <dremetta@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Philip,
                  >
                  > Points taken.
                  >
                  > It was a little bit of a surprise when I realized that I was viewing illegitimate births in the Slovak church records with a "jaded" eye and US sensibilities! I assumed that sex before marriage (and the resulting illegitimate children) had always been a cultural/religious "no no" with often severe rammifications...and you know what happens when you assume!!! :)
                  >
                  > It would be interesting to hear if anyone knows when the bearing of illegitimate children became such a stigma?
                  >
                  > Deb
                  >
                  > --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, PHILBAER@ wrote:
                  > >
                  > > S-R Group,
                  > > I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of
                  > > illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a
                  > > religious context rather than a consequence of economic and political ci
                  > > rcumstances of the time. It seems to me that US descendants have a harder time
                  > > accepting that their ancestors were "born out of wedlock" more than their
                  > > European descendants. I have had distant relatives in Europe say, "It happened"
                  > > and didn't lose sleep over it. I am not making a value judgement either way -
                  > > I'm merely saying that the norms of today are not necessarily those of the
                  > > past.
                  > >
                  > > Research into my Slovak and German ancestry found that illegitimacy was
                  > > not all that rare in the 1800's in these areas. Rather than jump to the
                  > > conclusion that the young people were a bunch if sinners, there needs to be
                  > > understanding of how the designation of "illegitimate" was made. My
                  > > understanding is that most of the birth records in the 1800's were kept by the church
                  > > and that children of a marriage/union not blessed by the church were, by
                  > > definition, "illegitimate" and the births were recorded that way. In some
                  > > countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two ceremonies: civil
                  > > and church. I do not know if A-H had similar laws, but in Germany, marriages
                  > > had to be approved by the government and peasants had a difficult time
                  > > getting approval. Then, there was the matter of common law marriages which were
                  > > a matter of convenience and economic necessity due to the poor economic
                  > > conditions. Of course, children born before their mothers are married occurs
                  > > today. Some women never marry and do not intend to marry. I guess the label
                  > > of "illegitimate" doesn't get used as much today. Maybe this is because
                  > > the church isn't keeping the official records.
                  > >
                  > > Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on genealogy. I
                  > > am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data could lead
                  > > to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend to seek
                  > > underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says "illegitimate"
                  > > rather than judge on a religious basis.
                  > >
                  > > Philip Baer
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  > >
                  >
                • Ron
                  deb, The one constant throughout history is the high level of hormones flowing through young people, so there is always passion to contend with at any time,
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jan 14, 2011
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                    deb,

                    The one constant throughout history is the high level of hormones flowing through young people, so there is always passion to contend with at any time, despite what values and teachings may take place.

                    Morality or religion are two variables throughout history, with variations all over the spectrum f human activity. Perhaps look at popular conceptions of USA standards and European standards in practice today, both areas with basis in Christian teachings.

                    Most prominent in variables I feel are war and poverty. These create necessities and actions that are out of the ordianry during peace and prosperity. Soldiers rape and pillage, women follow soldier's camps, and immorality directed against an enemy is not perceived as much of a sin.

                    Poverty prevents young couples from supporting themselves, so marriage is out of the question until some degree of prosperity or subsistence is reached (we have often enough read of this in Hungary in the late 1800's) . Yet their love, passion and commitment to one another may not be diminished by the poverty they are fighting, so the resulting family may be labeled illegitimate.

                    Considering that we are traced back to "a single Eve" some 40 000 years ago and some "single Adam" some 60 000 years ago, we should realize we were twice just one ancestor away from extinction. So hurray for hormones!





                    --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Deb" <dremetta@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Philip,
                    >
                    > Points taken.
                    >
                    > It was a little bit of a surprise when I realized that I was viewing illegitimate births in the Slovak church records with a "jaded" eye and US sensibilities! I assumed that sex before marriage (and the resulting illegitimate children) had always been a cultural/religious "no no" with often severe rammifications...and you know what happens when you assume!!! :)
                    >
                    > It would be interesting to hear if anyone knows when the bearing of illegitimate children became such a stigma?
                    >
                    > Deb
                    >
                    > --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, PHILBAER@ wrote:
                    > >
                    > > S-R Group,
                    > > I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of
                    > > illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a
                    > > religious context rather than a consequence of economic and political ci
                    > > rcumstances of the time. It seems to me that US descendants have a harder time
                    > > accepting that their ancestors were "born out of wedlock" more than their
                    > > European descendants. I have had distant relatives in Europe say, "It happened"
                    > > and didn't lose sleep over it. I am not making a value judgement either way -
                    > > I'm merely saying that the norms of today are not necessarily those of the
                    > > past.
                    > >
                    > > Research into my Slovak and German ancestry found that illegitimacy was
                    > > not all that rare in the 1800's in these areas. Rather than jump to the
                    > > conclusion that the young people were a bunch if sinners, there needs to be
                    > > understanding of how the designation of "illegitimate" was made. My
                    > > understanding is that most of the birth records in the 1800's were kept by the church
                    > > and that children of a marriage/union not blessed by the church were, by
                    > > definition, "illegitimate" and the births were recorded that way. In some
                    > > countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two ceremonies: civil
                    > > and church. I do not know if A-H had similar laws, but in Germany, marriages
                    > > had to be approved by the government and peasants had a difficult time
                    > > getting approval. Then, there was the matter of common law marriages which were
                    > > a matter of convenience and economic necessity due to the poor economic
                    > > conditions. Of course, children born before their mothers are married occurs
                    > > today. Some women never marry and do not intend to marry. I guess the label
                    > > of "illegitimate" doesn't get used as much today. Maybe this is because
                    > > the church isn't keeping the official records.
                    > >
                    > > Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on genealogy. I
                    > > am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data could lead
                    > > to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend to seek
                    > > underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says "illegitimate"
                    > > rather than judge on a religious basis.
                    > >
                    > > Philip Baer
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    > >
                    >
                  • CurtB
                    Deb, Bearing illegitimate children as a stigma was never universal across cultures or times, so it has no universal or simple history. It had such stigma
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jan 14, 2011
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                      Deb,
                      Bearing illegitimate children as a stigma was never universal across cultures or times, so it has no universal or simple history. It had such stigma during part of Puritan English and especially American history for theological reasons, and English and American life during the late Victorian period among middle classes for social reasons, but nothing close to this in Germanic, Slavic or Mediterranean cultures of the same period. European history is filled with nobility and Kings and Renaissance popes who had illegitimate children galore without much concern, so most European cultures do not view it as unusual, though perhaps a minor fault.

                      So overconcern with illegitimacy is a much more of an American phenomenon.

                      Think of someone like Copernicus, cultured, educated, a scientist, and founder of much of modern astronomy, and an illegitimate child of a priest and his "housekeeper". Within his culture -- not much stigma -- it was an accepted way of life.

                      Curt B.


                      --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Deb" <dremetta@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Philip,
                      >
                      > Points taken.
                      >
                      > It was a little bit of a surprise when I realized that I was viewing illegitimate births in the Slovak church records with a "jaded" eye and US sensibilities! I assumed that sex before marriage (and the resulting illegitimate children) had always been a cultural/religious "no no" with often severe rammifications...and you know what happens when you assume!!! :)
                      >
                      > It would be interesting to hear if anyone knows when the bearing of illegitimate children became such a stigma?
                      >
                      > Deb
                      >
                      > --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, PHILBAER@ wrote:
                      > >
                      > > S-R Group,
                      > > I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of
                      > > illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a
                      > > religious context rather than a consequence of economic and political ci
                      > > rcumstances of the time. It seems to me that US descendants have a harder time
                      > > accepting that their ancestors were "born out of wedlock" more than their
                      > > European descendants. I have had distant relatives in Europe say, "It happened"
                      > > and didn't lose sleep over it. I am not making a value judgement either way -
                      > > I'm merely saying that the norms of today are not necessarily those of the
                      > > past.
                      > >
                      > > Research into my Slovak and German ancestry found that illegitimacy was
                      > > not all that rare in the 1800's in these areas. Rather than jump to the
                      > > conclusion that the young people were a bunch if sinners, there needs to be
                      > > understanding of how the designation of "illegitimate" was made. My
                      > > understanding is that most of the birth records in the 1800's were kept by the church
                      > > and that children of a marriage/union not blessed by the church were, by
                      > > definition, "illegitimate" and the births were recorded that way. In some
                      > > countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two ceremonies: civil
                      > > and church. I do not know if A-H had similar laws, but in Germany, marriages
                      > > had to be approved by the government and peasants had a difficult time
                      > > getting approval. Then, there was the matter of common law marriages which were
                      > > a matter of convenience and economic necessity due to the poor economic
                      > > conditions. Of course, children born before their mothers are married occurs
                      > > today. Some women never marry and do not intend to marry. I guess the label
                      > > of "illegitimate" doesn't get used as much today. Maybe this is because
                      > > the church isn't keeping the official records.
                      > >
                      > > Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on genealogy. I
                      > > am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data could lead
                      > > to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend to seek
                      > > underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says "illegitimate"
                      > > rather than judge on a religious basis.
                      > >
                      > > Philip Baer
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      > >
                      >
                    • Elaine
                      But getting back to the original issue of this thread--if there was no stigma, and the churches in this period were the official keepers of record, why was it
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jan 14, 2011
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                        But getting back to the original issue of this thread--if there was no stigma, and the churches in this period were the official keepers of record, why was it so rare for the name of the father to be listed? Some of you indicated you have seen it recorded, but in the eastern Slovakia records I have viewed, I have not seen it yet.

                        Elaine


                        On Jan 14, 2011, at 9:50 AM, "CurtB" <curt67boc@...> wrote:

                        > Deb,
                        > Bearing illegitimate children as a stigma was never universal across cultures or times, so it has no universal or simple history. It had such stigma during part of Puritan English and especially American history for theological reasons, and English and American life during the late Victorian period among middle classes for social reasons, but nothing close to this in Germanic, Slavic or Mediterranean cultures of the same period. European history is filled with nobility and Kings and Renaissance popes who had illegitimate children galore without much concern, so most European cultures do not view it as unusual, though perhaps a minor fault.
                        >
                        > So overconcern with illegitimacy is a much more of an American phenomenon.
                        >
                        > Think of someone like Copernicus, cultured, educated, a scientist, and founder of much of modern astronomy, and an illegitimate child of a priest and his "housekeeper". Within his culture -- not much stigma -- it was an accepted way of life.
                        >
                        > Curt B.
                        >
                        > --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Deb" <dremetta@...> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Philip,
                        > >
                        > > Points taken.
                        > >
                        > > It was a little bit of a surprise when I realized that I was viewing illegitimate births in the Slovak church records with a "jaded" eye and US sensibilities! I assumed that sex before marriage (and the resulting illegitimate children) had always been a cultural/religious "no no" with often severe rammifications...and you know what happens when you assume!!! :)
                        > >
                        > > It would be interesting to hear if anyone knows when the bearing of illegitimate children became such a stigma?
                        > >
                        > > Deb
                        > >
                        > > --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, PHILBAER@ wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > > S-R Group,
                        > > > I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of
                        > > > illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a
                        > > > religious context rather than a consequence of economic and political ci
                        > > > rcumstances of the time. It seems to me that US descendants have a harder time
                        > > > accepting that their ancestors were "born out of wedlock" more than their
                        > > > European descendants. I have had distant relatives in Europe say, "It happened"
                        > > > and didn't lose sleep over it. I am not making a value judgement either way -
                        > > > I'm merely saying that the norms of today are not necessarily those of the
                        > > > past.
                        > > >
                        > > > Research into my Slovak and German ancestry found that illegitimacy was
                        > > > not all that rare in the 1800's in these areas. Rather than jump to the
                        > > > conclusion that the young people were a bunch if sinners, there needs to be
                        > > > understanding of how the designation of "illegitimate" was made. My
                        > > > understanding is that most of the birth records in the 1800's were kept by the church
                        > > > and that children of a marriage/union not blessed by the church were, by
                        > > > definition, "illegitimate" and the births were recorded that way. In some
                        > > > countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two ceremonies: civil
                        > > > and church. I do not know if A-H had similar laws, but in Germany, marriages
                        > > > had to be approved by the government and peasants had a difficult time
                        > > > getting approval. Then, there was the matter of common law marriages which were
                        > > > a matter of convenience and economic necessity due to the poor economic
                        > > > conditions. Of course, children born before their mothers are married occurs
                        > > > today. Some women never marry and do not intend to marry. I guess the label
                        > > > of "illegitimate" doesn't get used as much today. Maybe this is because
                        > > > the church isn't keeping the official records.
                        > > >
                        > > > Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on genealogy. I
                        > > > am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data could lead
                        > > > to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend to seek
                        > > > underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says "illegitimate"
                        > > > rather than judge on a religious basis.
                        > > >
                        > > > Philip Baer
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        > > >
                        > >
                        >
                        >


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Sandra & John Panzitta
                        Chiming in on this issue, I have something I would like you all to take a look at on the FamilySearch.org (LDS) web site - Slovak records, Greek Catholic,
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jan 14, 2011
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Chiming in on this issue, I have something I would like you all to take a look at on the FamilySearch.org (LDS) web site - Slovak records, Greek Catholic, Kapusany, COPIES of baptisms, Image 95 of 329. Line #40 - Anna, illegitimate, her mother is Maria Lenhard, a married woman, Mrs. Mihaly Demjaczky. In the notes column at the end, I am not certain of the translation, but I think it says husband 5 (or 3) years in America. Can someone help me with this translation? In any event, the first portion of the record is making it clear, the father of this child is not this woman's husband. I suppose this was something very much frowned upon!

                          Sandra


                          On Jan 14, 2011, at 11:52 AM, Elaine wrote:

                          > But getting back to the original issue of this thread--if there was no stigma, and the churches in this period were the official keepers of record, why was it so rare for the name of the father to be listed? Some of you indicated you have seen it recorded, but in the eastern Slovakia records I have viewed, I have not seen it yet.
                          >
                          > Elaine
                          >
                          > On Jan 14, 2011, at 9:50 AM, "CurtB" <curt67boc@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > > Deb,
                          > > Bearing illegitimate children as a stigma was never universal across cultures or times, so it has no universal or simple history. It had such stigma during part of Puritan English and especially American history for theological reasons, and English and American life during the late Victorian period among middle classes for social reasons, but nothing close to this in Germanic, Slavic or Mediterranean cultures of the same period. European history is filled with nobility and Kings and Renaissance popes who had illegitimate children galore without much concern, so most European cultures do not view it as unusual, though perhaps a minor fault.
                          > >
                          > > So overconcern with illegitimacy is a much more of an American phenomenon.
                          > >
                          > > Think of someone like Copernicus, cultured, educated, a scientist, and founder of much of modern astronomy, and an illegitimate child of a priest and his "housekeeper". Within his culture -- not much stigma -- it was an accepted way of life.
                          > >
                          > > Curt B.
                          > >
                          > > --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Deb" <dremetta@...> wrote:
                          > > >
                          > > > Philip,
                          > > >
                          > > > Points taken.
                          > > >
                          > > > It was a little bit of a surprise when I realized that I was viewing illegitimate births in the Slovak church records with a "jaded" eye and US sensibilities! I assumed that sex before marriage (and the resulting illegitimate children) had always been a cultural/religious "no no" with often severe rammifications...and you know what happens when you assume!!! :)
                          > > >
                          > > > It would be interesting to hear if anyone knows when the bearing of illegitimate children became such a stigma?
                          > > >
                          > > > Deb
                          > > >
                          > > > --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, PHILBAER@ wrote:
                          > > > >
                          > > > > S-R Group,
                          > > > > I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of
                          > > > > illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a
                          > > > > religious context rather than a consequence of economic and political ci
                          > > > > rcumstances of the time. It seems to me that US descendants have a harder time
                          > > > > accepting that their ancestors were "born out of wedlock" more than their
                          > > > > European descendants. I have had distant relatives in Europe say, "It happened"
                          > > > > and didn't lose sleep over it. I am not making a value judgement either way -
                          > > > > I'm merely saying that the norms of today are not necessarily those of the
                          > > > > past.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Research into my Slovak and German ancestry found that illegitimacy was
                          > > > > not all that rare in the 1800's in these areas. Rather than jump to the
                          > > > > conclusion that the young people were a bunch if sinners, there needs to be
                          > > > > understanding of how the designation of "illegitimate" was made. My
                          > > > > understanding is that most of the birth records in the 1800's were kept by the church
                          > > > > and that children of a marriage/union not blessed by the church were, by
                          > > > > definition, "illegitimate" and the births were recorded that way. In some
                          > > > > countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two ceremonies: civil
                          > > > > and church. I do not know if A-H had similar laws, but in Germany, marriages
                          > > > > had to be approved by the government and peasants had a difficult time
                          > > > > getting approval. Then, there was the matter of common law marriages which were
                          > > > > a matter of convenience and economic necessity due to the poor economic
                          > > > > conditions. Of course, children born before their mothers are married occurs
                          > > > > today. Some women never marry and do not intend to marry. I guess the label
                          > > > > of "illegitimate" doesn't get used as much today. Maybe this is because
                          > > > > the church isn't keeping the official records.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on genealogy. I
                          > > > > am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data could lead
                          > > > > to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend to seek
                          > > > > underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says "illegitimate"
                          > > > > rather than judge on a religious basis.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Philip Baer
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          > > > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                          >



                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • CurtB
                          Elaine asked - why was it so rare for the name of the father to be listed? The reason was custom, and legal practice. Until modern times motherhood was
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jan 14, 2011
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Elaine asked - why was it so rare for the name of the father to be listed?

                            The reason was custom, and legal practice. Until modern times motherhood was testified by the fact of giving birth, and there were witnesses to a pregnancy and birth. Fatherhood was somewhat more questionable or doubtable until modern DNA testing. From Greek and Roman antiquity, inheritance did not pass to children born of unmarried mothers, even if the father was identified some way. The reason for this seeming cruelty is that anyone could claim they really a child of a famous or wealthy male person after death, and there was no way of proving such claims. So they were simply disallowed altogether. Legitimate heirs were the ones born of a married couple. This meant, of course, that at times heirs were not really children of the supposed father, but only rarely did people really know for certain. Non legitimate children could not inherit automatically and by right of Roman law, but frequently were provided for by will or testamentary provision to mitigate this problem by genuinely concerned fathers.

                            The claims of an unmarried woman as to the fatherhood of her child, equally could not usually be determined with any accuracy, so people were loath simply to accept word of the mother without any proof possible. Thus a record of birth is passed over in silence unless the father claims fatherhood, or later marries the mother, or has lived in some sort of public common law but unmarried status. These are the ones that are found in the Slovak records, and there are a good number of them. Some priests were more concerned and sought out fathers and had their names recorded so that the child might possibly have better care. Others just followed tradition.

                            Modern DNA testing is bringing a rapid change in all such laws at the present time.

                            Curt B.

                            --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, Elaine <epowell@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > But getting back to the original issue of this thread--if there was no stigma, and the churches in this period were the official keepers of record, why was it so rare for the name of the father to be listed? Some of you indicated you have seen it recorded, but in the eastern Slovakia records I have viewed, I have not seen it yet.
                            >
                            > Elaine
                            >
                            >
                            > On Jan 14, 2011, at 9:50 AM, "CurtB" <curt67boc@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > > Deb,
                            > > Bearing illegitimate children as a stigma was never universal across cultures or times, so it has no universal or simple history. It had such stigma during part of Puritan English and especially American history for theological reasons, and English and American life during the late Victorian period among middle classes for social reasons, but nothing close to this in Germanic, Slavic or Mediterranean cultures of the same period. European history is filled with nobility and Kings and Renaissance popes who had illegitimate children galore without much concern, so most European cultures do not view it as unusual, though perhaps a minor fault.
                            > >
                            > > So overconcern with illegitimacy is a much more of an American phenomenon.
                            > >
                            > > Think of someone like Copernicus, cultured, educated, a scientist, and founder of much of modern astronomy, and an illegitimate child of a priest and his "housekeeper". Within his culture -- not much stigma -- it was an accepted way of life.
                            > >
                            > > Curt B.
                            > >
                            > > --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Deb" <dremetta@> wrote:
                            > > >
                            > > > Philip,
                            > > >
                            > > > Points taken.
                            > > >
                            > > > It was a little bit of a surprise when I realized that I was viewing illegitimate births in the Slovak church records with a "jaded" eye and US sensibilities! I assumed that sex before marriage (and the resulting illegitimate children) had always been a cultural/religious "no no" with often severe rammifications...and you know what happens when you assume!!! :)
                            > > >
                            > > > It would be interesting to hear if anyone knows when the bearing of illegitimate children became such a stigma?
                            > > >
                            > > > Deb
                            > > >
                            > > > --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, PHILBAER@ wrote:
                            > > > >
                            > > > > S-R Group,
                            > > > > I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of
                            > > > > illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a
                            > > > > religious context rather than a consequence of economic and political ci
                            > > > > rcumstances of the time. It seems to me that US descendants have a harder time
                            > > > > accepting that their ancestors were "born out of wedlock" more than their
                            > > > > European descendants. I have had distant relatives in Europe say, "It happened"
                            > > > > and didn't lose sleep over it. I am not making a value judgement either way -
                            > > > > I'm merely saying that the norms of today are not necessarily those of the
                            > > > > past.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Research into my Slovak and German ancestry found that illegitimacy was
                            > > > > not all that rare in the 1800's in these areas. Rather than jump to the
                            > > > > conclusion that the young people were a bunch if sinners, there needs to be
                            > > > > understanding of how the designation of "illegitimate" was made. My
                            > > > > understanding is that most of the birth records in the 1800's were kept by the church
                            > > > > and that children of a marriage/union not blessed by the church were, by
                            > > > > definition, "illegitimate" and the births were recorded that way. In some
                            > > > > countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two ceremonies: civil
                            > > > > and church. I do not know if A-H had similar laws, but in Germany, marriages
                            > > > > had to be approved by the government and peasants had a difficult time
                            > > > > getting approval. Then, there was the matter of common law marriages which were
                            > > > > a matter of convenience and economic necessity due to the poor economic
                            > > > > conditions. Of course, children born before their mothers are married occurs
                            > > > > today. Some women never marry and do not intend to marry. I guess the label
                            > > > > of "illegitimate" doesn't get used as much today. Maybe this is because
                            > > > > the church isn't keeping the official records.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on genealogy. I
                            > > > > am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data could lead
                            > > > > to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend to seek
                            > > > > underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says "illegitimate"
                            > > > > rather than judge on a religious basis.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Philip Baer
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            > > > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
                          • lkocik@comcast.net
                            Elaine  In all the thousands of church records for my far western Slovakian ancestral village I found only one time that the scribe mentions the father on the
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jan 14, 2011
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Elaine

                               In all the thousands of church records for my far western Slovakian ancestral village I found only one time that the scribe mentions the father on the record of an illegitimate birth.

                               Of course it was my grandfather.

                               he was born in February, 1877, and noted as illegitimate. His parents were married that year in November and the scribe went back into the birth record and altered it. The word illegitimate had a line through it but still visible and in the far right area where they sometimes go back and enter deaths, they wrote that the child was legitimized by subsequent marriage and it named the father/groom. Another interesting side note...My grandfather had a stillborn sister and in all of the church records it was the first time a child was given a middle name, or I should say the first time I've seen it noted it church records.

                              Larry ----- Original Message -----
                              From: "Elaine" <epowell@...>
                              To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Friday, January 14, 2011 9:52:50 AM
                              Subject: Re: [S-R] Re: Illegitimates

                              But getting back to the original issue of this thread--if there was no stigma, and the churches in this period were the official keepers of record, why was it so rare for the name of the father to be listed? Some of you indicated you have seen it recorded, but in the eastern Slovakia records I have viewed, I have not seen it yet.

                              Elaine


                              On Jan 14, 2011, at 9:50 AM, "CurtB" <curt67boc@...> wrote:

                              > Deb,
                              > Bearing illegitimate children as a stigma was never universal across cultures or times, so it has no universal or simple history. It had such stigma during part of Puritan English and especially American history for theological reasons, and English and American life during the late Victorian period among middle classes for social reasons, but nothing close to this in Germanic, Slavic or Mediterranean cultures of the same period. European history is filled with nobility and Kings and Renaissance popes who had illegitimate children galore without much concern, so most European cultures do not view it as unusual, though perhaps a minor fault.
                              >
                              > So overconcern with illegitimacy is a much more of an American phenomenon.
                              >
                              > Think of someone like Copernicus, cultured, educated, a scientist, and founder of much of modern astronomy, and an illegitimate child of a priest and his "housekeeper". Within his culture -- not much stigma -- it was an accepted way of life.
                              >
                              > Curt B.
                              >
                              > --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Deb" <dremetta@...> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > Philip,
                              > >
                              > > Points taken.
                              > >
                              > > It was a little bit of a surprise when I realized that I was viewing illegitimate births in the Slovak church records with a "jaded" eye and US sensibilities! I assumed that sex before marriage (and the resulting illegitimate children) had always been a cultural/religious "no no" with often severe rammifications...and you know what happens when you assume!!! :)
                              > >
                              > > It would be interesting to hear if anyone knows when the bearing of illegitimate children became such a stigma?
                              > >
                              > > Deb
                              > >
                              > > --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, PHILBAER@ wrote:
                              > > >
                              > > > S-R Group,
                              > > > I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of
                              > > > illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a
                              > > > religious context rather than a consequence of economic and political ci
                              > > > rcumstances of the time. It seems to me that US descendants have a harder time
                              > > > accepting that their ancestors were "born out of wedlock" more than their
                              > > > European descendants. I have had distant relatives in Europe say, "It happened"
                              > > > and didn't lose sleep over it. I am not making a value judgement either way -
                              > > > I'm merely saying that the norms of today are not necessarily those of the
                              > > > past.
                              > > >
                              > > > Research into my Slovak and German ancestry found that illegitimacy was
                              > > > not all that rare in the 1800's in these areas. Rather than jump to the
                              > > > conclusion that the young people were a bunch if sinners, there needs to be
                              > > > understanding of how the designation of "illegitimate" was made. My
                              > > > understanding is that most of the birth records in the 1800's were kept by the church
                              > > > and that children of a marriage/union not blessed by the church were, by
                              > > > definition, "illegitimate" and the births were recorded that way. In some
                              > > > countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two ceremonies: civil
                              > > > and church. I do not know if A-H had similar laws, but in Germany, marriages
                              > > > had to be approved by the government and peasants had a difficult time
                              > > > getting approval. Then, there was the matter of common law marriages which were
                              > > > a matter of convenience and economic necessity due to the poor economic
                              > > > conditions. Of course, children born before their mothers are married occurs
                              > > > today. Some women never marry and do not intend to marry. I guess the label
                              > > > of "illegitimate" doesn't get used as much today. Maybe this is because
                              > > > the church isn't keeping the official records.
                              > > >
                              > > > Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on genealogy. I
                              > > > am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data could lead
                              > > > to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend to seek
                              > > > underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says "illegitimate"
                              > > > rather than judge on a religious basis.
                              > > >
                              > > > Philip Baer
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              > > >
                              > >
                              >
                              >


                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • CurtB
                              Sandra, By the end of the nineteenth century this kind of note is found in a lot of church registers. If a husband has been away for an extended period such
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jan 14, 2011
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Sandra,
                                By the end of the nineteenth century this kind of note is found in a lot of church registers. If a husband has been away for an extended period such as military, America, or work elsewhere, it is clear that it is not his child. The priest is just recording the facts.

                                How much frowning went on, depends on circumstances. If a village viewed the mother as being somehow abandoned by a husband without proper care, probably no frowning at all, but sympathy and understanding. If she was considered a "loose" woman, that is, one who threatened the stability of other marriages, she would be frowned on even if her husband were present and the child not listed as illegitimate. We have to be careful not to bring American Victorian values to other cultures.

                                Curt B.

                                --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, Sandra & John Panzitta <pman40@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Chiming in on this issue, I have something I would like you all to take a look at on the FamilySearch.org (LDS) web site - Slovak records, Greek Catholic, Kapusany, COPIES of baptisms, Image 95 of 329. Line #40 - Anna, illegitimate, her mother is Maria Lenhard, a married woman, Mrs. Mihaly Demjaczky. In the notes column at the end, I am not certain of the translation, but I think it says husband 5 (or 3) years in America. Can someone help me with this translation? In any event, the first portion of the record is making it clear, the father of this child is not this woman's husband. I suppose this was something very much frowned upon!
                                >
                                > Sandra
                                >
                                >
                                > On Jan 14, 2011, at 11:52 AM, Elaine wrote:
                                >
                                > > But getting back to the original issue of this thread--if there was no stigma, and the churches in this period were the official keepers of record, why was it so rare for the name of the father to be listed? Some of you indicated you have seen it recorded, but in the eastern Slovakia records I have viewed, I have not seen it yet.
                                > >
                                > > Elaine
                                > >
                                > > On Jan 14, 2011, at 9:50 AM, "CurtB" <curt67boc@...> wrote:
                                > >
                                > > > Deb,
                                > > > Bearing illegitimate children as a stigma was never universal across cultures or times, so it has no universal or simple history. It had such stigma during part of Puritan English and especially American history for theological reasons, and English and American life during the late Victorian period among middle classes for social reasons, but nothing close to this in Germanic, Slavic or Mediterranean cultures of the same period. European history is filled with nobility and Kings and Renaissance popes who had illegitimate children galore without much concern, so most European cultures do not view it as unusual, though perhaps a minor fault.
                                > > >
                                > > > So overconcern with illegitimacy is a much more of an American phenomenon.
                                > > >
                                > > > Think of someone like Copernicus, cultured, educated, a scientist, and founder of much of modern astronomy, and an illegitimate child of a priest and his "housekeeper". Within his culture -- not much stigma -- it was an accepted way of life.
                                > > >
                                > > > Curt B.
                                > > >
                                > > > --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Deb" <dremetta@> wrote:
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Philip,
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Points taken.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > It was a little bit of a surprise when I realized that I was viewing illegitimate births in the Slovak church records with a "jaded" eye and US sensibilities! I assumed that sex before marriage (and the resulting illegitimate children) had always been a cultural/religious "no no" with often severe rammifications...and you know what happens when you assume!!! :)
                                > > > >
                                > > > > It would be interesting to hear if anyone knows when the bearing of illegitimate children became such a stigma?
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Deb
                                > > > >
                                > > > > --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, PHILBAER@ wrote:
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > S-R Group,
                                > > > > > I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of
                                > > > > > illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a
                                > > > > > religious context rather than a consequence of economic and political ci
                                > > > > > rcumstances of the time. It seems to me that US descendants have a harder time
                                > > > > > accepting that their ancestors were "born out of wedlock" more than their
                                > > > > > European descendants. I have had distant relatives in Europe say, "It happened"
                                > > > > > and didn't lose sleep over it. I am not making a value judgement either way -
                                > > > > > I'm merely saying that the norms of today are not necessarily those of the
                                > > > > > past.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Research into my Slovak and German ancestry found that illegitimacy was
                                > > > > > not all that rare in the 1800's in these areas. Rather than jump to the
                                > > > > > conclusion that the young people were a bunch if sinners, there needs to be
                                > > > > > understanding of how the designation of "illegitimate" was made. My
                                > > > > > understanding is that most of the birth records in the 1800's were kept by the church
                                > > > > > and that children of a marriage/union not blessed by the church were, by
                                > > > > > definition, "illegitimate" and the births were recorded that way. In some
                                > > > > > countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two ceremonies: civil
                                > > > > > and church. I do not know if A-H had similar laws, but in Germany, marriages
                                > > > > > had to be approved by the government and peasants had a difficult time
                                > > > > > getting approval. Then, there was the matter of common law marriages which were
                                > > > > > a matter of convenience and economic necessity due to the poor economic
                                > > > > > conditions. Of course, children born before their mothers are married occurs
                                > > > > > today. Some women never marry and do not intend to marry. I guess the label
                                > > > > > of "illegitimate" doesn't get used as much today. Maybe this is because
                                > > > > > the church isn't keeping the official records.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on genealogy. I
                                > > > > > am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data could lead
                                > > > > > to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend to seek
                                > > > > > underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says "illegitimate"
                                > > > > > rather than judge on a religious basis.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Philip Baer
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                > > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > >
                                > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                > >
                                > >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >
                              • Deb
                                LOL...I m guilty of presentism !!! It actually took me by surprise how deeply ingrained those beliefs are. So very glad to have this group, the members of
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jan 15, 2011
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  LOL...I'm guilty of "presentism"!!! It actually took me by surprise how deeply ingrained those beliefs are. So very glad to have this group, the members of which can help us understand other cultures and times!

                                  So, thanks to all of you in furthering my understanding of what life was like for our Slovak ancestors!

                                  Deb

                                  --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, Julie Michutka <jmm@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > On Jan 12, 2011, at 4:16 PM, PHILBAER@... wrote:
                                  >
                                  > > Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on
                                  > > genealogy. I
                                  > > am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data
                                  > > could lead
                                  > > to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend
                                  > > to seek
                                  > > underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says
                                  > > "illegitimate"
                                  > > rather than judge on a religious basis.
                                  >
                                  > Just a couple comments:
                                  >
                                  > "Illegitimate" could be a legal description (for example, not eligible
                                  > to inherit) as much as a moral one.
                                  >
                                  > You're absolutely right about applying today's mores; this is called
                                  > "presentism" ("interpretation of the past by present standards"--
                                  > Elizabeth Shown Mills, in Evidence Explained, p. 20). It can be very
                                  > hard to imagine how a different time/place/culture views things
                                  > differently than we, but if we make the leap and open our minds, we
                                  > learn and are enriched, and we do justice to those whose lives we are
                                  > attempting to interpret.
                                  >
                                  > Julie Michutka
                                  > jmm@...
                                  >
                                • Robert Shive
                                  It is an interesting topic.  My understanding is that there were illegitimate and illegitimate.  I have some of both in my Slovak family.  My great aunt
                                  Message 16 of 16 , May 17, 2013
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    It is an interesting topic.  My understanding is that there were illegitimate and illegitimate.  I have some of both in my Slovak family.  My great aunt married a guy who was born illegitimate; but was later legitimized by his mother marrying someone (not his biological father).  He retained his name (his mother's) though his siblings had the name of the man who married her.  I've no evidence that he or his parents were ever considered anything but upright.  
                                    The other type of illegitimate involved my grandmother.  Her mother basically had a one-night stand with a guy she barely knew and had no intention of marrying.  (From hearsay, the guy was most probably Jewish or Roma.)   The resultant community displeasure and disapproval was a factor in her deciding to leave the village and come to the US; my gut feeling is that she probably would have ultimately anyway.  Then she got married in the US and ultimately had five children.  She never told her US husband about her daughter back in Slovakland.  And when, after a family death, my GM showed up at her mother's door in the US, the parents just slammed it on her.  In that case, the sins of the mother were definitely visited on the child.
                                    My current thinking is that Slovak culture handled illegitimacy reasonably well.  But the illegitimate mother had to conduct herself in such a way as not to be an affront to the community to allow that to happen.           

                                    --- On Wed, 1/12/11, PHILBAER@... <PHILBAER@...> wrote:

                                    From: PHILBAER@... <PHILBAER@...>
                                    Subject: [S-R] Illegitimates
                                    To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                                    Date: Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 3:16 PM
















                                     









                                    S-R Group,

                                    I am amazed at how much discussion there is on this site on the topic of

                                    illegitimate children. There seems to be a focus on individuals in a

                                    religious context rather than a consequence of economic and political ci

                                    rcumstances of the time. It seems to me that US descendants have a harder time

                                    accepting that their ancestors were "born out of wedlock" more than their

                                    European descendants. I have had distant relatives in Europe say, "It happened"

                                    and didn't lose sleep over it. I am not making a value judgement either way -

                                    I'm merely saying that the norms of today are not necessarily those of the

                                    past.



                                    Research into my Slovak and German ancestry found that illegitimacy was

                                    not all that rare in the 1800's in these areas. Rather than jump to the

                                    conclusion that the young people were a bunch if sinners, there needs to be

                                    understanding of how the designation of "illegitimate" was made. My

                                    understanding is that most of the birth records in the 1800's were kept by the church

                                    and that children of a marriage/union not blessed by the church were, by

                                    definition, "illegitimate" and the births were recorded that way. In some

                                    countries (e.g., Germany and Austria) there still are two ceremonies: civil

                                    and church. I do not know if A-H had similar laws, but in Germany, marriages

                                    had to be approved by the government and peasants had a difficult time

                                    getting approval. Then, there was the matter of common law marriages which were

                                    a matter of convenience and economic necessity due to the poor economic

                                    conditions. Of course, children born before their mothers are married occurs

                                    today. Some women never marry and do not intend to marry. I guess the label

                                    of "illegitimate" doesn't get used as much today. Maybe this is because

                                    the church isn't keeping the official records.



                                    Admittedly, I am no expert on this topic, on history, or on genealogy. I

                                    am merely saying that applying today's morays to historical data could lead

                                    to someone conjuring up all sorts of erroneous impressions. I tend to seek

                                    underlying circumstances whenever I see a record that says "illegitimate"

                                    rather than judge on a religious basis.



                                    Philip Baer



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