INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCHING INTO GENEALOGICAL HISTORY (IRgH)
Emphasis placed on women
From which other families have women married into your family?
If in genealogy the emphasis is placed on women in general or even on a particular woman, the limits to research soon become evident, unless the study centers on a well-known noblewoman of high standing. The further back we go on the time line, the more women disappear in obscurity.
In church registers before 1875 women used to be listed under their own family names. But already in the 17th and 18th century parish registers may use first names only. Going further back on the time line, there is the impression that the father must have born the child as quite often the mother’s name appears completely unknown. On the other hand, when entering marriages the clergymen seemed to have no choice but to register the woman’s family name, too. The only thing is that dates of marriages were often registered later than dates of births.
If we consider pre-reformation times, we easily observe that everyday life was dominated by men to such a degree that names of women hardly ever surfaced. Despite all this – they do occur, for example in books of yahrzeit (anniversary of a person’s death) or taxlists, amongst others. In order to track women of historical stature, another look at the church registers seems indispensible. With regard to women, there are two aspects to this:
- The one aspect is to examine the original families from which women married into what became their own families. This approach is certainly fascinating as it may promise some surprises. There may be the sudden discovery that one’s own blood is mingled with the one of another family, never thinking there would be a relationship between the two.
- The other aspect is even more unconventional. That is, instead of going back tenaciously on the male lineage, one may go back equally tenaciously on the female lineage, thus facing some surprises as to where one will end in time and place, and also with regard to the family unit as such. This approach, however, may need considerably more time and effort, as, in fact, women used to move to the domicile of their husbands. If we trace the women over several generations, we will find that their domicile changes from one generation to the other. If in the church register there is no information on the woman’s descent, we must needs rely on our own experience as to the spread of family names and trace the woman in question in some other places that seem plausible.
Service package 2
The church registers serve as the basis for all individualized historical research. The IRgH offers to trace back the direct male ancestors on the basis of one and the same church register right down to the the first entries. The following basic conditions must be met:
- No influx from any other church parish
- No illegitimate child whose father is not known
- There are no persons of that same generation bearing the same first and family names.
If one only of these conditions is met, the line of direct ancestors cannot be traced back on the basis of the church register. In this case additional documents have to be consulted which is likely to cause extra work and thus extra costs.
- In Switzerland CHF 300 all-inclusive
- Abroad CHF 300 plus additional charges
Service package 3
Exclusive female ancestors
The IRgH offers to trace back the line of direct female ancestors on the basis of various church registers right down to the first entries therein. The following basic conditions must be met:
- The family name of the wife is mentioned in the parish register.
- The wife’s place of origin is mentioned in the parish register.
- There are no female persons of that same generation bearing the same first and family names.
If one only of these conditions is met, the line of direct female ancestors cannot be traced back on the basis of the church register. In this case additional documents have to be consulted which is likely to cause extra work and thus extra costs. As the brides would leave their family’s house in order to move to their future husbands, they would often leave their original parish, too. For this reason, more than one church register will be consulted. The amount of additional work resulting from this is not very easy to assess, and thus the exact charges cannot be given. However, the IRgH will be pleased to offer overall charges that are acceptable to either side.
Costs: All-inclusive charges according to arrangement