18549[Slovak-World] Re: marriage witnesses--slight tangent
- Aug 1, 2007This discussion has reminded me that traditionally, a Slovak child's godfather and godmother have played a larger role in the child's life. For example, their place of honor at the wedding.
Was it a Slovak-wide tradition that, although the godmother and godfather could be married persons, they weren't supposed to be married to each other (mine weren't)? I guess it was to increase the number of families with which the child could live if something happened to his/her own parents and blood relatives, not such a far-fetched occurrence in those times.
>>> "Gregory J Kopchak" <greg@...> 08/01/07 10:05 AM >>>Helen, Andrea, Julie and All
We have lots of Slovak Wedding Traditions at www.iarelative.com/wedding
For what ever reason, the subject of Witnesses at Slovak weddings
never turned up at the site.
There are a couple interesting theories here.
The Godfather theory.
The Respected member theory.
After digging through a couple hundred Slovak Church records here this
morning, I have a theory and only a theory.
The witness at a Slovak wedding was a respected member of the
community. It seems that the same person was witness to multiple
marriages over years and based on age, was a respected member of the
Does anyone have facts to support either theory?
It's All Relative
--- In Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com, "Helen Fedor" <hfed@...> wrote:
> I remember my mother telling me, years ago, that godfathers had a
role in weddings (eastern Slovakia), in addition to sitting at a place
of honor at the celebration, the main table or somewhere nearby. The
godfather of the groom was the groom's "pitac~", the "asker". It was
he who would formally ask the bride's parents for permission for the
young man to marry their daughter.
> I also seem to remember that the bride's godfather (why not the
godmother? or the maid of honor?) would "assist" the bride as she
asked forgiveness of her family before marrying. She'd first kneel
down in front of her parents and ask them to forgive her for any
wrongs she might have done them, then do the same for her siblings.
Whether this extended to others in her family (spouses-of-siblings
living in the same house or elsewhere, aunts and uncles, cousins) I'm
not sure. I can see how this may have come about, as the bride often
left her family and went to live with her new family, sometimes a
> >>> "Andrea Vangor" <drav@...> 07/31/07 8:54 PM >>>
> That's an outstanding question.
> I have a popular relative who turns up a few times around 1800.
Thinking it over, didn't we learn at one time that the wedding
witnesses were supposed to be the original godfathers of the bride and
groom? Of course they may also have played starring roles at the wedding.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: J Michutka
> To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 4:43 PM
> Subject: [Slovak-World] marriage witnesses
> I'm going through Slovak village marriage records in the late 1800s,
> and finding that some names occur many times in the marriage witness
> column. For example, one relative I'm tracking shows up 8 times
> between 1887 and 1894, and I dare say I'll see him some more before
> his death in 1905. Some of the weddings at which he was a witness
> were of people with whom he had a family connection (cousins, in-
> law's siblings), but for other weddings there is no apparent
> connection by blood or marriage (and I have the family pretty well
> The question has arisen as to whether we can make any assumptions
> about these people whose names appear with much greater frequency as
> marriage witnesses. Were they simply more popular? considered more
> religious? In the case of the relative, there is no indication of
> higher social status or money, although family stories say that he
> loved to dance, so he may have been a friendly sociable fellow. In
> contrast, siblings of his seldom appear as marriage witnesses in the
> records, and when they do, it's almost always for another sibling's
> One related question--these people named in the marriage records as
> witnesses--always 2 men--would they have been the same as the best
> man (druzba) and the zvac (inviter)? Sorry if it seems like the
> answer should be obvious, but with the difference in time and place,
> I try not to make assumptions, even for seemingly obvious questions.
> So my question stands.
> Thanks for any insights,
> Julie Michutka
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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