Friday, 12 January 2018

My Complaint Filed with Spain's Ministry of Culture

Here is the English text, the original Spanish version already having been blogged here:

A few days ago at the National Historical Archive, when I asked about obtaining copies of a 19th century record, I was told by a member of staff that the Urgent Photocopy Service (a policy that allowed archive users to obtain up to 50 copies a month within 24-48 hours) has been 'suspended indefinitely' and, perhaps as a result of this, the backlog wait time to receive any amount of copies requested through 'normal' service is now around SIX MONTHS.

In these conditions reprographic services at the principal archive operated by Spain's Ministry of Culture are not merely unworthy of the 21st century; they don't even limp up to the benchmark for the 20th century. I am certain this is not the fault of the searchroom staff; I'm not sure whether what is lacking are photocopy machines or supplemental, even temporary, staff to operate them, but neither seems like they would require a heroic effort to provide. I think this lack of material and/or human resources reveals officialdom's disinterest, if not disdain, for archives mainly but also for researchers. Let's imagine a hypothetical research project requiring work in several different archival units of records. Suppose they are especially long bundles of documents, perhaps written in one of the more challenging hands (such as the 'encadenada' script used by the Inquisition) which really puts our palaeographical skills to the test. Well, in what would be normal conditions for the year 2018, a researcher could: either request, using the Urgent Photocopy Service I mentioned above, copies of the most crucial pages in the record, have them in hand within 48 hours and then take as much time as needed to decipher them; or, take his or her own photographs of whole record (paying, if the archive charges it, the appropriate daily fee for use of a camera) and then later select and work on the passages of interest; or, order photocopies of the whole thing and then spend extra time on the records, nights and weekends - but not after having had to wait for half a year to even get started! Under current conditions the only way to work with the records at all is to spend however many hours it takes on-site at the archive, conditions detrimental in many ways to researchers: those who travel from outside Madrid will have to pay for more nights at a hotel; those who aren't students or researchers on a grant will have to take more time out from their other obligations to spend more hours sitting at a desk in the searchroom. Those who have doubts about the meaning of a specific abbreviation or have trouble making sense of some ancient record's archaic syntax won't be able to take home a copy to spend more time with, but instead will have to make snap decisions about the contents, with all the possible pitfalls that come with rushing one's work. I have no doubt that such logistical hurdles will lead to more than one research project being abandoned altogether, owing to the sharp increase in the number of hours they require researchers to spend on-site at an archive, compared to what it could and should be.

And all this when Spain's government happily pours millions into the bottomless pit of bailouts for banks and toll roads. Further comment is superfluous, shame sadly lacking.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Queja al Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte

En los próximos días acudiré al Archivo Histórico Nacional aquí en Madrid para devolverles, debidamente rellenado, este formulario que me dieron para reclamar por la absurda situación que atraviesa el servicio de reprografía en dicho archivo. Reproduzco aquí una imágen del formulario, con los datos personales ocultados, donde podrán ver mi reclamación escrita en el mismo tamaño de fuente que emplea gran parte del formulario. Pero, para que resulte más fácil su lectura a quienes visiten mi blog, reproduzco aquí el texto íntegro; y por el gran interés que los archivos españoles despiertan en estudiosos de todo el mundo, próximamente reproduciré aquí el texto en inglés.

Cito: Hace pocos días en el Archivo Histórico Nacional, al interesarme por obtener fotocopias de cierto documento del siglo XIX, el personal de sala me informó de que se halla "suspendido" el servicio de fotocopias urgentes (que antes permitía a los usuarios obtener hasta 50 copias al mes en un plazo apróximado de 24 horas) y que, tal vez como consecuencia de esto, el tiempo de espera para fotocopias "normales" ahora roza los SEIS MESES.

Con esto el servicio reprográfico en el decano de los archivos españoles no sólo no llega al siglo XXI, sino que ni es digno del siglo XX. Seguramente esto no es imputable a los técnicos de sala; ignoro si lo que falta son fotocopiadoras o personal para operarlas, pero aportar una cosa u otra no parece requerir un esfuerzo heróico. Creo que esta carencia de recursos materiales y tal vez humanos pone de manifiesto el desinterés, cuando no el desprecio, de la oficialidad por lo archivos, en primer lugar, y más aún si cabe por los investigadores. Pensemos en una hipotética investigación que requiere la consulta de varios legajos. Acaso son legajos muy extensos, puede que con una letra (la temida "encadenada") que pone a prueba nuestra pericia paleográfica. Pues bien, en unas condiciones normales para el año 2018, el investigador podría: o pedir fotocopias urgentes de la sección que le interesase, para un par de días más tarde, llevárselas y descifrarlas tranquilamente; o hacer sus proprias fotografías de todo el documento (abonando, si el archivo lo requiriera, una tasa por el uso de una cámara) para luego identificar y sólo descifrar los pasajes relevantes; o bien, pedir fotocopias del todo, si hiciera falta, para acaso dedicarle horillas extras los fines de semana o festivos ¡pero no tener que deshojar la mitad del calendario antes de tenerlas en mano! Con la situación actual la única forma de consultar los documentos es presencialmente y pasando en el archivo las horas que hagan falta, perjudicando de muchas maneras a los investigadores: quienes acuden desde fuera de Madrid tendrán que costearse un hotel durante más noches; quienes no sean estudiantes, o investigadores a tiempo completo, tendrán que ausentarse de sus lugares de trabajo o de estudio para pasar más horas en su pupitre de la sala de consulta. Quienes tengan dudas sobre alguna abreviatura, o la sintáxis arcaica de un documento, no podrán llevarse una copia para meditar sobre su correcto descifrado, sino que tendrán que decidir en el acto sobre su contenido, con los posibles errores a los que conduce la prisa. No dudo que este obstáculo logístico lleve a la larga a abandonar más de un proyecto de investigación, al incrementar sensiblemente el número de horas que obliga al estudioso a pasar en un archivo, frente a lo que debiera y pudiera ser.

Y esto en la España en que el gobierno alegremente vierte millones al pozo sin fondo de los rescates de bancos y autopistas. Sobran los comentarios y falta vergüenza."
 

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Irish in Spain (X): Some C18th Marriages in the City of Málaga

At Málaga's parish of Santiago on 16 Nov 1733, 'Don Ricardo Colvel' widower of 'Doña María Caliwill' married 'Doña Leonor de Burc' widow of 'Don Patricio Fisomons'. Bride and groom were both residents of the city. [Marriages, Book 12, P. 14]

Also there, on 15 July 1736, Don Daniel Donoban, of 'Ross Carbry', Ireland, Bishopric of Cork, legitimate son of Daniel Donoban and Cathalina Reagan his wife, married Doña María Talbot, legitimate daughter of Guillermo Talbot and Doña Maria Kins Kalagh his wife. The witnesses were Patricio Canisbro, Patricio Ronan and Diego Magdemara. [Marriages, Book 12, P. 61 verso]

These two families intermarried again: at the same parish, on 12 Nov 1742, Don Timotheo Donoban, native of Cork in Ireland, son of the same Daniel and Cathalina, married Doña Cathalina Talbot, a native of Dublin, son of the same Guillermo Talbot and María 'Quinchelli'. The ceremony was performed by Friar Eguardo 'Makena', described as a 'lector jubilado en el Convento de San Agustín'. [Marriages, Book 12, P. 111 verso]

The 'Patricio Ronan' who witnessed the 1736 marriage above, may have been the same man who himself married at Málaga's Cathedral three years previously: on 21 June 1733 Don Patricio Ronan (though the margin reads 'Ronar'), native of 'Dungarbainel' in Ireland, legitimate son of Don Thomas Ronar and Doña Juana Lincon, married Doña Margarita Plunket, resident of Málaga, widow of irishman 'Don Francisco Chamberlan'. The witnesses were Don Timotheo Magdemara and Don Diego Magdemara, residents of Málaga. [Sagrario, Marriages 1729-1752, P. 37]

I'm not going to hazard a guess at the Gaelic spelling of any of these names, but their English renderings may be: Richard Coldwell (or Richard Caldwell?), Mary Caldwell, Eleanor de Burgh, Patrick Fitzsimmons, Daniel Donovan, Catherine Reagan, Mary Talbot, William Talbot, Mary Kinkelly (or Mary Kilkenny?), Timothy Donovan, Catherine Talbot, Patrick Ronan, Thomas Ronan, Joan Lincoln (or Jane Lincoln), Margaret Plunkett, Francis Chamberlain, Timothy Macnamara, James Macnamara. The registers containing the records cited above are to be found in Málaga's excellent Cathedral Archive.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Genealogical Oddities (LV): Hampshire Gent in C18th Malaga Spain

Ceiling of Málaga Cathedral. Photo by Matthew Hovious
In 1776, "Don Guillermo Ybuelin" of "Southampton in the county of Hampshire, England" son of Don "Mateo Ybuelin" and Doña "Ysabel Sivers" married, at the Sagrario chapel of Málaga city cathedral, Josefa Mandly, a native of Málaga, daughter of Don Mathias Mandly and Doña Isabel Rosa de Rueda. The witness was one Guillermo Lovejoy.

I wonder if someone familiar with Hampshire genealogies may be able to connect this man with his English family. He seems to have been the progenitor of the large Huelin family existing still today in Málaga and elsewhere, and as long ago as 1968 I find a Spanish researcher referring to him as William Welling, but have no way of knowing if this is actually the correct English form of his name.


SOURCE: Archive of the Cathedral of Málaga, Cathedral (Sagrario) Marriages 1776-1792, P. 9

Friday, 28 April 2017

Curiosidades Genealógicas (LIV): Rama Espúrea de Tronco Condal

Colegiata de Santa María la MayorMuchas veces en los archivos, algo interesante e inesperado surge cuando estás buscando, entre miles de renglones escritos, otra cosa. Así fue con esta pequeña curiosidad que encontré entre los registros sacramentales de Antequera (Málaga) y que comparto aquí por si pudiera ser de utilidad a algún investigador que al intentar reconstruir su descendencia se topara con la falta de este eslabón.

En la Colegiata de Santa Mayor de Antequera, el 10 de mayo de 1770, fueron bautizados los gemelos Francisco de Paula José María de los Dolores y José Francisco de Paula María de la Soledad, inscritos como hijos de padres no conocidos, siendo sus padrinos Don José Luís Sánchez y Doña María Caballero y Serbantes.

Pues bien, según reza nota marginal al lado de las partidas, éstas fueron enmendadas el 9 de diciembre de 1791 por virtud de mandamiento del Provisor y Vicario General del Obispado de Málaga, reflejándose que los padres fueron el Sr. D. Lope José de Cárdenas y Vargas, Conde de Valdehermoso de Cárdenas, y "cierta mujer soltera".

FUENTE: Archivo Municipal de Antequera, Colegiata de Santa María Bautizados 1765-1777

Friday, 10 February 2017

Genealogical Oddities (LIII): A Somerset Family in early C19th Spain

The church of San Jorge, La Coruña
[photo: Diego Delso, delso.photo, License CC-BY-SA]
On 13 May 1812 at La Coruña's parish of San Jorge, a boy named Juan Francisco Pedro Regalado Tark was baptised. His parents were named as Jorge Pedro Tark and Isabel Hovié, both natives of the parish of St Mary Magdalene in the English city of Taunton. His paternal grandparents were stated to be Roberto Tark and María Ilman; the maternal grandparents, Guillermo Hovié and Francisca Whitelock.

This couple had at least one more child, baptised at the same church on 18 Nov 1813: Antonio Román Tark, in whose record all the particulars given are essentially the same except that his mother and father are described as natives of 'a suburb of London', and the priest has had some difficulty with the maternal grandmother's name, which he renders as 'Huithiloefi'.

I assume the English names of the adults mentioned above would be: Robert Tark, Mary Ilman, and Frances Whitelock, but I cannot hazard a guess as to what surname was intended by 'Hovié', unless perhaps it was actually a French or Huguenot surname.

SOURCE: Archivo Histórico Diocesano de Santiago de Compostela, Baptisms 1806-1813 of the parish of San Jorge in the city of La Coruña, p. 268 verso; and Baptisms 1813-1818, P. 52.