Posted by: vip | October 17, 2010

Marriages 1827-1900s: no December wedding bells

A dunce still. 5 years of reading church records but until Carcar convent clerk Yurii Silva Cabahug told me last week, I hadn’t realized that, per the records themselves, there were no weddings held during the month of December.

I was going over one such volume (Marriages Years 1827-1839) and after a couple of years noticed the absence of December records and when I remarked about this to Yurii, he confirmed that for me.  So I went over the book, and its contents, covering 12 years, did quickly bear out what Yurii said to be true:  There were weddings every month until November and then it’s straight to January of the following year.

Thursday, 14 October, I went back to Carcar and, while Cardinal Vidal was celebrating mass for the entire DST congregation in the church, for some minutes skimmed through the other marriage volumes of Carcar and it’s really true—no weddings on the month of December.

None until 1912 when an Anguay man and a Villasorda woman were married. And after that, again no weddings bells for December. The next “exception” was in 1922 for a Garces man and a Gantuangco woman.

And again none for December 1923, 1924, 1925 until 1926 for a Quijoy man and a Duarte woman. But no weddings again in December 1927 and 1928. I’d gone over most of those books already but the quaint trivia had never dawned on me…

—oO0—

Couple hours later I had hopped to Barili for lunch at a barrio fiesta there but made it a point after to check with the church records of the parish about December. And, yes, in the early years, there were no weddings on December but 1880s saw isolated cases.

Yurii’s counterpart in the convent office there, Rene Carreon, conjectured that no weddings scheduled for December may have been due to some superstition about December being the last month, the patapos of the year.  If people, even today, still look superstitiously upon the last quarter, the dying moon, as unfavorable for weddings or even moving house, what more the dying year? Paradoxically, however, the December weddings, when they did occur in Barili, mostly fell on the last days of the month itself, the 30th or the 31st.

Hadn’t the Spanish priests even eradicated folk superstitions by that time — 200 years into the evangelization, or were these actually European superstitions that the priests themselves had supplanted indio beliefs with? Because if one ever looked for an augur before embarking into a milestone event in one’s life, it does seem natural to look up to the heavens for guidance — and a dying moon hardly appears propitious. And only a strong superstition (yours or  a betrothed parents’) can sustain the month-longer wait.

About Rene. When I visited Barili more than a year before, Vicenta Vergara, who’d been a fixture of the convent office a good number of years longer than the church has been declared a shrine, introduced me to her “new” officemate, Rene Carreon. She said he was very interested in his Vergara ancestry, too.

Having Vergara blood myself, I asked him about his line and he showed me some honest-to-goodness collection of church baptismal and marriage certifications in a clearbook. He’s one of the very few who’s actually documenting their genealogy!

A family name, Guzman, looked familiar and since I’d brought along with me my Tigley (old spelling Tegley) family outline, from therein showed him that he, too, had a Tegley ancestor.

Only then did Rene discover he was 5 generations (and two surnames) removed from his Tegley great-great-great-grandmother.  As a study in our naming practices at the time, the Guzman husband of that 3G-grandmother was still identified as Alberto de la Torre on their marriage in 1837 (February), but soon had apparently began using the Guzman name himself and his pre-Claveria children were already baptized Guzman. In fairness to Rene, even if he’d seen that marriage record he may not have recognized the groom Alberto de la Torre would become his Guzman and the bride Juliana Petrona, a Tegley after the Claveria decree unless he subsequently saw later records bearing that out.

Anyway, Rene’s father is my fourth cousin in the Tigley family of Barili.

And thank you, Yurii.

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