Church Metrical Books … Embellishments, Oddities, and Notations #2

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Today’s Church Metrical Book meme is on Marginalia. This margin note is from the birth of Tomasz Elijasz (Record #130) born (ur.) 6-September-1881 in Pacanow parish. Tomasz was the son of Ludwik Elijasz and Elzbieta Miklaszewski.

Your eyes are not fuzzy, both record and the marginalia are written in Cyrillic (Russian). Stanczyk loves reading marginalia, because it is almost like gossip. I read it from the context of the vital record of the birth. “So little Tomasz. I see you are going to grow up and marry(malz.) Marianna Wojczyk on 19-February-1912 and it will be recorded in the Pacanow church book as record #34 of 1912 Marriages.”

It is almost like you are acting in the role as a cleric angel for God. You know the future of this little baby!

Now I like these margin notes because I can often find the female Elijasz being married off. Once they are married, I often lose track of them, so these margin notes may be a last chance to find them until I see a death notice, if I do not have their marriage record. Since this is Russian-Poland, the records are in Russian from 1868-1918. Sometimes, the margin note is in Polish (say if the marriage happened in/after 1918). So you will have a Russian birth and Polish marriage notation.

So how is it that not every birth  record has a margin note? Well the list of possibilities should include…

  1. The baby died in infancy or childhood
  2. The “baby” emigrated before being married
  3. The “baby” never married before dying
  4. The “baby” got married somewhere else (in another parish/country or perhaps only a civil marriage)

Every once in a while you will see a priest still record the marriage if it was in another country or parish and the catholic priest of the remote locale wrote the priest in Pacanow. Not always, but sometimes this happens.

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