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Jillian W



Joined: 10 Nov 2020
Replies: 25
Location: Great Britain

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Post Posted: Wed Jan 31, 2024 7:07 am      Post subject: Latin Descriptions
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I’m currently searching through church books for Slovakia during the late 1700’s; so far I’ve only come across a couple of occasions where occupations have been given for male ancestors, both on burial records - murarius [mason] and monitor [miller].

The majority of men and woman have been referred to as either Servilis, Pleb., Libertinus, Honestus Iuvenis/Honestus Viddus and Honestus Virg./Honestus Vidua.

Is it possible to determine from these Latin words/phrases what type of occupation these people would have likely held or perhaps their status within the village?

Any explanations would be appreciated.

Jillian
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dnowicki
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Joined: 28 Dec 2011
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Location: Michigan City, Indiana

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Post Posted: Wed Jan 31, 2024 10:18 am      Post subject: Re: Latin Descriptions
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Jillian W wrote:
I’m currently searching through church books for Slovakia during the late 1700’s; so far I’ve only come across a couple of occasions where occupations have been given for male ancestors, both on burial records - murarius [mason] and monitor [miller].

The majority of men and woman have been referred to as either Servilis, Pleb., Libertinus, Honestus Iuvenis/Honestus Viddus and Honestus Virg./Honestus Vidua.

Is it possible to determine from these Latin words/phrases what type of occupation these people would have likely held or perhaps their status within the village?

Any explanations would be appreciated.

Jillian



Hi Jillian,

There are several corrections based on the rules of Latin grammar to your reading of some of the terms. Here they are with the corrections & meanings.

Servilis = of or pertaining to a serf
Pleb.: could be the abbreviation for plebs = common people or plebius = a commoner or (much less likely) plebanus = pastor (of a parish)
Libertinus=a freedman (a person who had been emancipated from his feudal obligations)
Honestus* Iuvenis=an upright/decent* young man/bachelor
Honestus* Viddus: should read honestus* viduus=an upright/decent* widower widower
Honestus* Virg.: should read in full honesta* virgo = an upright/decent* maiden
Honestus* Vidua: should read honesta* vidua = an upright/decent* widow

Note: *Latin adjectives have 3 genders: masculine, feminine, & neuter. In the adjective used here the gender specific forms/endings are honestus, honesta, honestum. Since a maiden and a widow are both females the adjective must appear with the feminine ending—honesta. In vital records the adjective was used to describe a person’s status and was used to indicate that the individual was a peasant

I hope that this provides the information you need.

Wishing you continued success,

Dave
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Jillian W



Joined: 10 Nov 2020
Replies: 25
Location: Great Britain

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Post Posted: Wed Jan 31, 2024 10:25 am      Post subject: Latin Descriptions
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Hello Dave,

Thank you so much for the above information; in the cases where an occupation has been given for an individual, such as miller, is it likely that the man could still be classified as a peasant or would he be considered a "step above"?

Jillian
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dnowicki
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Location: Michigan City, Indiana

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Post Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2024 9:16 am      Post subject: Re: Latin Descriptions
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Jillian W wrote:
Hello Dave,

Thank you so much for the above information; in the cases where an occupation has been given for an individual, such as miller, is it likely that the man could still be classified as a peasant or would he be considered a "step above"?

Jillian


Hi Jillian,

The short answer to your question is that occupation and social status are not the same. Occupation involves a skill set which an individual used in daily life whereas social status was based on one’s position in society at the time the person lived. While occupation and social status overlap they are not identical and occupation does not automatically change one’s social status. The answer also depends upon the time and the location where the record was composed. During the time before the peasants in Slovakia were emancipated from their feudal obligations (1848) a peasant certainly could be a miller although his social status still remained that of a peasant. If the miller was a resident of a town then his social status probably would have been that of a burger or a townsman rather than that of a peasant but his occupation would have remained a miller.

I hope this helps to answer your question.

Wishing you successful researching,

Dave
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Jillian W



Joined: 10 Nov 2020
Replies: 25
Location: Great Britain

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Post Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2024 9:31 am      Post subject: Latin Description
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Thank you very much for your help on this subject.

I'm trying to put together a 'picture' of this family to that I can try and find out where they moved from - every piece of information is so useful. Thanks again.

Jillian
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