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Vuelva a Rastros Hispanos

Terms used in Diligencias Matrimonales (DMs)
Submitted by Gloria Cordova


Source: NM Prenuptial Investigations from the Archivos Historicos del Arzobispado de Durango. Rick Hendricks, Ed. & J.B. Colligan, Compiler. (1996) pp. 1-5. Rio Grande Historical Collections. NM State University Library.

Impediments of consanguinity, by canon law, included direct blood relationships to the 4th degree inclusive.

Direct line = series of individuals descending one from the other, (such as father & daughter or grandmother & grandson).

Also prohibited were relationships on a transverse or collateral line to the 4th degree inclusive.

Transverse line = when the blood relatives have a common ancestor(s) but do not descend one from the other, (such as brother & sister, aunt and nephew, or two 3rd cousins).

This line is referred to as equal or unequal depending on how the individuals relate equally or unequally to the common ancestor(s).

Canon law counts a single series of generations for a marriage. Thus siblings are related in 1st degree and first cousins in the second.

Whereas, civil law calculates one degree for one generation, so between two siblings there are two degrees and between first cousins there are four degrees. Similar prohibitions pertained to relationships of affinity in the same

Copula illicita was a related impediment to a marriage and referred to carnal intercourse, outside of or within a marriage, between individuals related in a prohibited degree.

Copula licita distinguished sexual relations that were permitted from those that were not.

Dispensations were granted to permit unions between close relatives by reason of …

angusti loci = the concept of a reduced population spread over small, remote communities with few potential marriage partners. 

Before the 19th century ecclesiastical authorities always granted the required dispensation for petitions received from New Mexico. 

Historical notes:
Mexico achieved its independence in 1821. 

In 1822, Rafael Acosta referred to himself as an espanol mexicanao, the fist individual to refer to himself as a Mexican in the Hendricks & Colligan diligencias.

Three years later, Guadalupe Mora stated he was a citizen of the Estados Unidos Mexicanos. 

It was far more common for individuals to identify themselves as espanoles or Spaniards. Eulalia Lopez was the last to do so in 1881 even though she had been born years after Spain lost the territory that became Mexico. In 1824 & 1825, prenuptial investigations for six Frenchmen took place in Taos. 

The investigation for on Anglo-American who married a local girl in 1836 is among the records.

There are no records in Durango for New Mexico marriages after September 1846.