Sunday, January 26, 2014

You should translate the notes!

Yesterday, Blanka Lednícka wrote an excellent blog post about marriage notes in Czech Parish registers. She proved to me that the notes that sometimes are included in marriage registers should not be overlooked. They may contain valuable information about marriage banns, birth certificates, or church dispensations.

I admit, I am guilty of frequently overlooking this information. It is probably for exactly the reason that she noted - these notes are difficult!

I'm really glad that she posted this information. Using her example as a guideline, I found a marriage record that I am working on for my own family and tried to transcribe the notes.

Here is a direct link to the register page for this image:

Ich gefertigter Pater der minderjähriger braut habe zu dieser ehemeine einwilli-
gung gegeben. Urkund dessen meine und zwe[i]ger [zwei gar?] zeugen Namensunterschrift.

+++ Valentin Folta Vater.
Eduard Jakob. Namens fertiger
Johann [Kozenk jeicje?]
Frantz Mikolisch [Svidek?]

I, [?] Father of underage bride gave my consent before the following two witness whereof I testify with my name and signature.

+++ [his mark] Valentin Folta, father
Eduard [?]
Johann [Kozenk-something]
Frantz Mikolisch [?]

Well, not a perfect transcription or translation. Also, this doesn't add a whole lot of new information about this particular family. But it does add some depth of meaning to this record. I didn't realize that the legal age for women to marry without their father's consent was older than 19 in 1842 Vítkovice (in Moravia).

Which lead me to this disturbing wikipedia article on Marriagable age. Looks like New Hampshire is the state with the youngest marriageable age for females. "A female between the age of 13 and 17 years and a male between the age of 14 and 17 years can be married only with the permission of their parent (guardian) and a waiver."


This leads me to wonder what historical US marriageable ages were, and if they caused any problems for Czech immigrants in the United States. If they came from a place where the marriageable age was much higher, perhaps the parent's generation would have been shocked and horrified that their children could legally and lawfully marry so much younger.

Texas Czech communities were insular and tight-knit. People married others in their community and stayed there for generations. Case in point: I am the fourth generation Texas-Czech. I was born in Texas, which is remarkable in our increasingly mobile culture here in the United States.

I doubt norms in marriageable age would have created widespread problems for the Czech immigrants, at least at first. People were probably just trying to survive in a strange country.


  1. I expect that many immigrants may not have known exactly all of the laws until they found the need. Not every state in the US has the same age of marriageability. Your parents met in Philadelphia and moved to Texas where you were born so your dad could hold a job there.

  2. It is true; it isn't as if my dad was born in, raised in, and never left Texas. He was just both and raised there, which certainly had a huge impact on his decision to stay there.