Seu Juris

Seu Juris

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[Research Journal #6, Entry #10]

As you may recall, I found an interesting note in the baptismal records. In a couple of entries where Felicianno was listed as a godparent, his name was followed by the term “seu juris”. I asked other Portuguese genealogists what this term meant.

Seu juris roughly “I swear” or “I swear this his him. That was very interesting! Why would the Priest have to swear to the identity of Felicianno when he was born in the village of Maia and probably never left.

I found a possible answer in a baptismal entry in 1837. This entry was for Manoel, son of Jose de Mello Castanho and Maria de Jesus. My Portuguese is not the best but the line went as follows:
…seu tio Felicianno de Mello, soldado no Batalhao desta todo nesta ilha…

his uncle, Felicianno de Mello, soldier in the battalion here on this island
(or thereabouts!)

Aha! My Felicianno had been a soldier in 1837. Could this explain why he seems to have disappeared? He appears as a godparent around 1835 and waits to marry until 1840. Did Felicianno leave the village of Maia for a considerable amount of time? Then when he returned, people aren’t quite sure of his identity. The Priest swears in the official records that this his him.

Things started to fall in place. This disappearance might mean Felicianno was much older than I thought. I might have to go back much further in the records to solve this mystery.

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