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Original scientific paper

Godparents and Marriage Witnesses in the Drenovci Parish (1870-1871)

Ankica Džono Boban orcid id ; Zavod za javno zdravstvo Dubrovačko-neretvanske županije, Dubrovnik, Hrvatska
Irena Ipšić orcid id ; Sveučilište u Dubrovniku, Dubrovnik, Hrvatska

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Based on the analysis of baptismal and marriage registers of the parish of Drenovci in Slavonia for the years 1870 and 1871, this article examines baptismal and marriage practice with emphasis on the selection of godparents and marriage witnesses. The results show that baptisms in the parish of Drenovci were generally performed shortly upon birth as the bulk of children were baptised on the day of birth (76.7%), while every fifth child was baptised on the day following the birth (21.7%). Without exception, the ceremony was witnessed by one godparent only, either male or female, which was in accordance with the regulations of the Tridentine Council, the number of godparents being restricted to one or two persons at the most. With regard to the gender structure of godparents, godmothers prevailed (in 69.4% of baptisms), and in most cases were married women (72%), that is, the ratio between married and unmarried godmothers was 3:1. On the other hand, marriage ceremony was always witnessed by two persons, male without exception. A pattern of godparent selection (governed by social and kin relations, or material motives) has not been established, while a vertical choice of godparents could not have been applied due to the homogeneous population structure, mainly agrarian. This explains the dominance of horizontal network of both godparents and marriage witnesses.


baptism; marriage; godparent; godparenthood; Drenovci; 19th century

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