Archive for May 17th, 2018

May 17, 2018

Alegata Are Genealogy Time Machines — #Genealogy #Polish #ChurchRecords

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Early Alegata: 1823, 1826, 1827…

       Opatowiec Parish in Kielce Gubernia

Stanczyk loves alegata. Let’s see you have Birth (urodzony/chrzest), Marriage (małżeństwo/słuby, zapiowiedzi), Alegata, Death (Zgony/Śmierci). The cycle of life via church records (sacrements). Reading alegata are very interesting indeed. Sometimes its like gossip… “Do you know who is getting married here?” Other times its solemn, like the death of a soldier. But it is a time machine of sorts, that allows you to see backward and on rare occasions forward. It is this time machine capability that may help you locate missing records.

What are Alegata?

Alegat is a Polish word of Latin origin, from allegatio, “sending someone as an intermediary; a citation of proof; a submitted document.”

It is not only an interesting relic of phraseology from ecclesiastical language, it provides great potential genealogical documents of significance. This word, seemingly forgotten and archaic, is currently undergoing a rebirth, precisely because of genealogy. Many beginning researchers do not know about the existence and meaning of these documents. Alegata is the plural of Alegat. Sometimes they are found at the end of church books as loose pages. When they are found in their own books, they are called Alegata or Aneksy. They are most common in the former Russian-Poland partition. As is shown in the picture (by red arrows) they date to just after the Napoleonic Era.

What were Alegata Used For?

These are Polish Church documents to establish an eligibility for a church sacrament. Most often they are used for marriages. Their purpose is often to document a death and thus making the widow/widower eligible to remarry in the church. Sometimes its used where the groom (most often) if from a remote/foreign parish is a baptised Catholic. I have seen a few other purposes: name change, soldier’s death, etc. Often the inquiries in later years are from courts or remote Polish parishes and are forms.  However, for the genealogist, they can fill in the gap for a missing church record. Often because of the marriage aspect, they can help you (the genealogist) track movements of your ancestors across parishes. In the coming articles, we’ll look at a few examples.

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