[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] godparents and witnesses to baptisms

Günther Böhm GHBoehm at ish.de
Tue May 30 12:17:11 PDT 2006

Ohgrmtns at aol.com schrieb:

>does anyone know if there was a custom/tradition  related to the choosing of godparents? Where they family? Good family friends? Did the same pertain to the witnesses of a baptism?
Hello Kristen,
speaking of Germany in 19th century and backwards, godparents could have 
been distant relatives but had to be at least members the same social 
group ("Stand") of the village or its vicinity. If the childparents were 
poor, they tried to get a more prosperous relative or at least (!) his 
wife as godparents. If the childfather was a miller, the first godfather 
(levans) was a miller of a neighboring village. If he was a 
Gerichtsscholze (Schultheiss, Dorfrichter = village mayor), the first 
godfather was at least a neighboring village mayor. If there was no 
childfather, there were just women (preferably virgins) as godparents. 
Witnesses of baptism were of minor relevance as they had no further duty 
to take care of their godchild.


More information about the Ger-Poland-Volhynia mailing list