Sunday, November 11, 2012

XVII Century Dowry

We continue working with the Notarial Records and we will review the genealogical information we can find in an early XVII century dowry. I have blanked the names, but I will summarize the most relevant sections in the document.

“In the name of the Lord. Amen. To anyone reading this dowry and wedding contract, I Martin XXX son of Martin XXX and Catalina XXX his wife, my parents that have passed away, resident in the village of Portonovo…”

“… I have agreed with Juan XXX, farmer, resident at San Estevo de Noalla that he will marry to my sister Alberta XXX according to the teachings of the Church of Rome …”

“… as it is hard for the husband to take care of his wife and the children God may send them, I will give you, first the blessing of our Lord and mine too, and 50 ducados [around US$ 7.000 in today’s money] plus two beds of clothing…”

“… After your marriage to my sister I will pay 20 ducados on St. Michael’s in September this year of 1621, and the remaining 30 ducados I will pay half in 1622 and the other half in 1623…”

“… and if a dispensation would be required from the Holy See I will pay for the costs so that you can get married to my sister…” [this is an uncommon clause in the dowry documents, therefore it indicates that groom and bride were family and a dispensation may be needed]

“… I, Juan XXX accept this dowry and I give my commitment that I will get married to Alberta XXX as mandated by the Council of Trento and if I do not get married to her I will pay her an amount similar to the one detailed above. And if our marriage gets dissolved without legitimate heirs I will return the dowry…”

“… as we do not know how to sign [most people did not know] we beg the priest of San Estevo de Noalla, that is present, to sign for us in our name…”

As we can see these documents provide a lot of genealogic information as well as contextual information relevant to complete a profile of the researched lineage (geographical locations, properties they owned, wealth, etc. )