Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Witness

Using witness as its own event in my Legacy family file
They have a role at baptisms and christenings (and throughout the child's life), they sign their names to (among other legal documents) marriage certificates, naturalization applications, wills, and deeds, and often serve as character references in land records and court matters. Today it is all about witnesses (sometimes called sponsors in sacramental documents) and if you are not making a note of them in your transcriptions and your Legacy family file, you should. Why? Because in most instances a great deal of thought went into choosing the witness(es), there were certain requirements and expectations about their roles and, in each instance, they were in attendance at the event - in the role of an observer and authenticator.

Where legal documents were concerned the witness had to observe the signing, be credible, reliable, not have a financial interest, and be able to authenticate the signature of the parties. There were often age and sometimes gender requirements. Where sacraments were concerned, the witness accepted the responsibility to assist with the child's religious upbringing and they had to be at least 16, be validly baptized (usually in the same faith), and could not be one of the parents.

For our baptisms, confirmations and marriages, my family tended to use siblings as witnesses/sponsors. For deeds and other land issues, they often used their neighbors. For naturalization paperwork, they most often used co-workers and the earlier arrivals (who had already been through the process). Until Legacy version 8, witness was a specific event (most likely these individuals were already in my family file as siblings, parents, or married-ins, although I do have a few unlinked individuals). In version 8, the witness designation can be listed as a "role" in the corresponding event if you use that feature.

Legacy introduced a new feature in version 8
where "roles" were included in events/facts

You can add, edit or delete roles and customize the sentences.
Is this a feature you make use of?

Do you make use of witness - either as an event or as a role?

See you back here tomorrow for the letter X!

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