Between the 18th and the end of the 19th century profound transformations affected the mechanisms of marital relations and the family all around Western Europe. The present volume focuses on fundamental aspects of marriage and family as they evolved during this time-frame, such as attitudes towards consanguinity, classification systems, the impact of migrations. It aims to demonstrate that the process that lead to the construction of the contemporary notion of family saw many changes and continuities, giving rise to unpredictable and unique outcomes, and partially shaping - although with different times and modalities - the modern world.
Marriage Prohibitions: Between Religion and Science
J. Bestard, F. Estrada, M. Ausona,
The article presents an apparent contradiction in the marriages of the city of Barcelona in the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Using the dispensation documents of marriage between kin of the Archive of the Diocese of Barcelona we show an increase of endogamous marriages in the city of Barcelona. There is a significant increase during the second half of the 19th century, which slowed down at the beginning of the 20th century. This trend is particularly puzzling in a context of urbanization and industrialization. Itis not however an exception to the general trend in Europe. Other researches show the same pattern not only in Catholic countries, but also in Protestant ones. We analyse the causes of this matrimonial behaviour. We present also thereasons given by their protagonists as they appear in the matrimonial dispensations documents of the Catholic Church. Finally we describe the medical and biological discourse about dangers to health and the inheritance of certain diseases that consanguineous marriages can cause. Marriage is not disciplined only by the religious doctrine of the Catholic Church. New secular actors enter the formation of a moral discourse on the definition of a good marriage.
Keywords: Marriage – Endogamy – “Cousin Marriage” – Incest prohibitions – Social Classes – Urbanization – Modernisation – Natural inheritance – Morality
This article initially shows how in French dictionaries during the centuries of early modern and modern period the definition of sobriquet – a nickname added to a name and surname – gradually lost its character of hereditary transmission and acquired a mocking, offensive or injurious purpose attached to a particular individual. However, the few existing sources that include continuous reference to sobriquets show on the contrary the persistence of a hereditary transmission, sometimes even into the 19th century, usually in a direct line of descent. The nickname was part of a classificatory system that completed, at the local level, the more limited significance of the name and surname, and allowed everyone to be situated in relationship to others in terms of kinship (blood-relations) and alliance (affinity). This practice was likewise flexible, capable of adapting itself to short-term demographic changes but also to longer and deeper trends. A man could change sobriquet several times according to the deaths of his siblings and heiresses could pass on the sobriquet of their family. Someone who left their social group abandoned their original sobriquet, while rich branches of families distinguished themselves through the refusal of any “mocking, offensive or injurious sobriquet”.
Keywords: Nickname – Sobriquet – Surname – Anthroponomy – Kinship – Alliance – Consanguinity
In Anglo-Saxon and German-language research, kinship has repeatedly been declared insignificant as a factor of nineteenth-century progress and modernisation. Such a view has stemmed in part from the heritage left behind by nineteenth-century sociologists, philosophers, and intellectuals. Over the past ten-to-fifteen years the field of historical kinship research has grown more internationally diverse and has clearly shown that kinship can no longer be considered an “archaic” principle and attributed solely to ‘strange’, far-off cultures. Based on this assumption the contribution aims at, firstly, tracing possible contexts of this phenomenon of kinship’s being more or less newly “discovered” and, secondly it discusses open questions, differences and varieties in time and space as well as research perspectives regarding marriages among close kin. The analysis of administrative procedures and the institutions involved proved to be crucial for the understanding of prospective couple’s chances to obtain a dispensation.
Keywords: Kinship – Modernisation – Marriages – Dispensation – Administrative procedures
Ecclesiastical Regulation of Kinship and Marriage Dispensations in Spain (18th-19th centuries)
J.F. Henarejos López, F. Chacón Jiménez,
The following analysis focuses on the study of matrimonial dispensations in Spain during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The discourse on the part of the Church on consanguinity has been characterized by a strong restriction on the closest degrees of kinship. Matrimonial dispensations become a necessary practice for the regulation of kinship and consanguinity, which is interpreted as a way to correct forbidden alliances. The theory of impediments has a multiple dimension, in which the union of the flesh as a marriage prohibition begins to be distorted in the eighteenth century. The transgression of the norm and the transcendence towards the public sphere of this type of forbidden marriages reflects a socio-cultural and civilization change. The main cause of this change is manifested through the different agents of change, ranging from the Diocese to the highest spheres of the Church. We conducted a tour through the main Roman courts with the aim of knowing their evolution.
Keywords: Dispensations – Marriage – Consanguinity – Kinship – Spain
On “Proliferations”, Changes and Permanences: Marriage between Relatives in the North and West of Spain (1701-1900)
F. Manzano Ledesma, J.C. Rueda Fernández
This work focuses on the quantitative and qualitative analysis of marriages between relatives (by blood or marriage) in the north and west of Spain during the eighteenth and nineteenth century. The question that we intend to answer is, at first, simple: what specific weight did this type of marriages have with respect to the total number of marriages contracted between 1701 and 1900 in the marital scene of the selected area? To answer this question will also allow us to approach three issues of importance: first of all, to identify in the long term the existence of explosions, retreats and changes of tendency of this type of betrothal; second, and, considering the extensive geographical area of the study, to analyze the interregional and interprovincial differences observed, and even to deal with a comparison between marriage between rural and urban relatives; and, finally, to fit the results obtained in the debate on the evolution of the Spanish family, in general, and marital behaviour, in particular, in its long transition towards modernity. To answer that questions we have used the parish books that contain the sacramental marriage certificates of different areas in the Principality of Asturias and the provinces of León, Zamora and Salamanca.
Keywords: Marriage – Matrimonial dispensation – Consanguinity – Affinity – Kinship – Inheritance – Social history – Family history – Spain