Friday, November 11, 2016

kominík : chimney sweep

Master chimney sweep and his apprentice boy in Italy, from Wikipedia.

My colleagues and I transcribed a parish record for an Italian chimney sweep in Choceň which I thought was fun an interesting. I had not considered Italian chimney sweeps in 1740’s Bohemia as a possibility. But apparently Italian chimney sweeps in Bohemia were not rare birds. On page 3 of this article, there’s one named Bondini in Tábor.

Here is the record:

Transcription:
z Maýlandu
a
Chocznie
6
Febru
arý.

[1743]
Donat Bonda
pocztiwý Mladenecz
komýnickej.
Dorota pocztiwa
Panna pozustala
dzeza Lukase, Ma.
tausska z Choczinka.
on le ze Wlach
z Maýlandu
rodilej

Ohlassenj bilý ponejprv w Nedielý dewýtnik. Podruhe w Nedielý
prwnj po dewýtníku. Potržetý na Ocziptowanj Panný Marýe.
Swiedkowe a druzba byl: Jan Sparný bednařz Choczℓ,
Jan Kumpesst z Chocinka. Anna dczera Jana Benesse
družiczka Ssenkyrže panczko-domskýho. Oddawal. Idem
Waczlaw dolan. Copul. P. Medhardus Klobusa
Scholarum Piarum.
česky překlad
Z Maýlandu a Chocně

Donát Bonda, poctivý mládenec kominícký.
Dorota poctivá
Panna pozůstalá
dcera Lukáše Maj[touška]
Janška z Chocinka.
On ale z Vlach z Maílandu rod dalej.
ohlášeni bily ponejprv v Neděli devítník. Podruhé v Neděli
první pro devítníku. Potřetí  na očištováni panny Marie.
Svědkové a družba byl: Jan Spurný bednář Choc[?],
Jan Kumpošt z Chocinka, Anna dcera Jana Beneše
družička šenkýře Pansko-domskyho. Oddaval. Idem Václav Dolan. Copul. P. Medhardus Klobasa Scholarum Piarum.


Interesting Vocabulary words
Maýland : Milan

“z Vlach” : from Italy
rodilej : rodilý : born in, originating/hailing from
ponejprw = ponejprv = nejprve, poprvé = for the first time
“Devítník”:Septuagesima, first of the three Sundays in the Pre-lenten season, 9th Sunday before Easter
“První po devítníku”: Sexagesima, the second Sunday of the season, 8th Sunday before Easter
Očišťování Panny Marie”: Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
Translation:
from Milan and Choceň
6 February
Donat Bonda, honest chimney sweep
Dorota, the legitimate maiden daughter of Kulaše Majanška of Chocinka.
But he hails from Milan, Italy
[They] have been announced [for the] first time on the Devitnik Sunday. For the second time on the first Sunday after Devitnik. For the third time on the [feast of the] Purification of the Virgin Mary [2 February]. Witnesses and groomsmen were Jan Sparný, cooper [of] Choc[en? and] Jan Kumpošt of Chocinka, Anna the daughter of Jan Beneše [as] bridesmaid innkeeper in the [manorial house?]. [something about the person who officiated the wedding] Medardus Klobusa [of the] Pious School.

I don’t envy this guy’s task of trying to trace Donát Bonda to Italy, but it does lead to some really interesting questions:
  • Why was Donát in Bohemia?
  • Did he come with his family?
  • What was his connection to the community of Choceň?
  • How did Donát and Dorota communicate, if one was Italian and the other Czech?
  • Or had Donát been in Bohemia most of his life? Did he speak Czech?

A cursory look at him in the land records does not reveal much. We transcribed and translated the following record:

Land records:
fol. 71
Donata Bonty
na chalupu v panský půdě za Chocenkem stojící
po Lukášovi Matouškovi, přiženivše se k jeho
dceři Dorotě, nastoupenou, kterou jakož jest sobě hned
Léta Páně 1744 dne 2. Marti s patřící k ní celou
přináležejíčností knihami purgrechtními za dědičnou
dá(?)
za sumu hlavní dle předešl[ého] zápisu … 50 ß
[...]

Donata Bonty
The “chalupa” lying in the manorial land of Chocen passes to [Donata Bonty] from Lukáš Matoušek, through marriage to his [Lukáš’s] daughter Dorota[.] It now being the year of our Lord 1744, on 2 March, this hereditary property together with all the accessories was recorded in an entry in land books.

For the amount of the principal under the previous entry... 50 ß

If this were my family, I would certainly try to find other land records, for example the original marriage contracts. These might survive, even if they are not digitized.

I found a really interesting book called The Habsburg Monarchy’s Many-Languaged Soul: Translating and interpreting, 1848-1918 by Michaela Wolf, translated by Kate Sturge.  There was a whole section on chimney sweeps.


Of the skilled tradespeople, the chimney sweeps had the longest tradition within the Monarchy. Documentation of the first master chimney sweep in Vienna, Johannes of Milan, dates to 1512, and from the sixteenth to the late nineteenth century the chimney-sweeping trade was almost entirely in Italian hands (Ricaldone 1986, 135-6).

I hadn’t considered chimney sweeps to be “skilled tradespeople” before. Apparently there is an entire festival for Italian chimney sweeps, though. Probably my perception of sweeps as poor workhouse boys basically enslaved to apprentices in horrific working conditions comes from Charles Dickens and Orson Scott Card. But apparently in the German/Habsburg states, sweeps belonged to guilds. I imagine the conditions were much (well, at least slightly) better.


I wonder if any of those guild records survive. If this were my ancestor, I would definitely look into that. They probably do. Guild halls totally exist today in Prague, so why wouldn’t they elsewhere across the country?

And no post about chimney sweeps would be complete without a reference to Bert from Mary Poppins.

Or you know, if you prefer Broadway:



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