JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen query on Polish law re children of unmarried parents #general

Helen Gardner

Dear Genners,

With immense thanks to Tomasz Jerzy Nowak, I now have a translation
of the marriage of my great grandparents Szlama Ajzengold and Ruchla
Laja Rakower on 26 October 1862. It turns out that the bride and
groom already had two children born out of wedlock, and the transcript

... Also, the spouses declared that, through the actual act of
matrimony, in accordance with Article two hundred and ninety-one of
the Civil Code of the Kingdom of Poland guaranteeing {children born
out of wedlock} the rights and status equal to that of children
lawfully born, they recognized their both daughters, that is to say,
Chaia Sura who had been born here in Warsaw on the sixteenth day of
June of last year, and Udla, who had been born in Warsaw on the
thirteenth day of July of the current year, both of whom had been
mutually begotten by them during their pre-conjugal relationship, as
their own daughters....

Although I have found many references to the Polish Civil Code, I
have not been able to find any reference to article 291 as it was in
19th Century Poland. A friend told me that as long as there was no
conflict with Polish law, Jewish law was recognised as valid, and
that this would be an example of Jewish law on the status of the
children being accepted by Polish law.

If that is correct, I would imagine that article 291 covered the
acceptance of Jewish (or other?) law under approved circumstances,
rather than any reference to children born out of wedlock, and that
for non-Jewish children born out of wedlock the provision of rights
and status equal to that of children lawfully born would not apply.

I would be very grateful if someone could amplify this for me, and,
if possible, tell me what article 291 actually said. Direct replies
to me at are fine, unless the moderator
thinks this is likely to be of interest to others on the list.

Helen Gardner

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