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