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zieds1mazs.gif (257 bytes) Malania's child

3 Names: Galaktionov, Engelhardt, Neumann

This is a letter (1852) of the Order Court in Valmiera [Wolmar] to an Orthodox Priest with permission to bury the corpse of a child born out of marriage and evidently killed by the mother right after the birth.

As it was the usual practice for the documents in German received in an Orthodox church, this document also bears its translation in Russian on the second page what was rather helpful for understanding of a rather original panmanship of the German text.

The text of the document in German:



den 27. Septbr. 1852.

No 5846.


Vom Kaiserl. Wolmarschen Ordnungs-Gericht wird attestirt daß laut veranstalteter Untersuchung, die bei dem zum Petschorschen Kreise des Plescowschen Gouvernements gehörigen Färber Emeljan Galachtianow im Dienst stehende Magd Malania welche rechtgläubiger Confession aus demselber Kreise gebürtig unter dem Pastorat Burtnek im Kalneek Gesinde wohnhaft ist in der Nacht vom 25 s dies. Mts. heimlich ein Kind geboren und im Viehstall verborgen hat und daß nach der veranstaltaten ärtzlichen Section der stillen Beerdigung nichts entgegen ist.

Ordnungsrichter C. v. Engelhardt.


My translation:

Ministry of

Order Court in

Sept. 27. 1852.

No 5846.


The Royal Order Court in Valmiera confirms that, according to the appropriate investigation, the maid Malania, who is in service of the dyer Jemeljan Galaktionov from Peèori apriòíis of Pskow gubernia, born in the same apriòíis, belongs to the Orthodox confession and lives in Kalnieki farm of Burtnieki Pastorate, has secretly given birth to a child at the night of the 25th day of the current month and has hidden it in the cow-house; and that after the medical section of the corpse the Court has nothing against its quiet burial.

The judge of the Order Court S. v. Engelhardt.



Comments: The maid Malania was from Pskow province where at that time serfdom still existed. Obviously she was a serf and for this reason had no family name and could be mentioned in the document only by her first name.

I suppose that in the Pastorate Burtnieki a kind of textile factory was organized at that time, and the dyer Galaktionow was invited to work there, but I do not know for sure. He should have been a free person, because his estate was referred to as a dyer i.e. an artisan, not a peasant, and he had the name.

The forensic investigation of the corpse was important to answer if the child was born alive and then killed, or it was born dead. The experts of that time could find the right solution of the problem without any difficulties. They knew that a piece cut off the lung of a child killed after the birth floats in water, and the dead-born child's lung sinks. You well realize why, do you?

In any case, the child was not baptized before its death, and this is why only quiet funeral was possible and may be not in the cemetery but somewhere nearby.


© Bruno Martuzâns. 1995-2002