Six Dots to Marriage

Do you have a family tree that looks like this?

If you were in Greece and planning to marry a person who had the same last name and  who was from the same village, this diagram might be on your marriage license. It represents the abbreviated pedigree charts of the engaged couple and would indicate whether their marriage could be performed by the Orthodox Church.

Marriages are not permitted between people who are closer than  six dots to each other (approximately third cousins). To simplify understanding the relationship, the village priest could create this chart which would show the couple’s connection to each other, back to their common ancestor.

This is how we would read the chart:  count the number of dots between the groom and the bride, including their common ancestor. If the groom was the second generation dot and the bride was the second generation dot, the 5-dot connection meant that no marriage could occur.

If the groom was the second generation dot and the bride was the third generation dot, a marriage could occur because the couple has a 6-dot connection.

This is the document which revealed this interesting and important rule.

Sparta Marriage Record #199, year 1930

In this letter requesting permission for marriage, the bride, Anastasia, is a 4th generation dot (left side) and the groom, Vaselios, is a 3rd generation dot (right side). Counting up the triangle to the common ancestor and down, there is a 7 dot connection. This meets the minimum of 6 and the marriage can be performed.

I love that the priest put an arched row of tiny dots to ensure that the chart could not be misread. Documents like this are a reason why I love digging into old records!



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