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"Hacerle ojo"

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By gnzlzspd - Posted on 24 September 2009

Mal de Ojo:

I remember seeing a little boy in Mexico, wearing an object around his neck. It had a thick oval shape and it was dark brown in color, I believe it was called "ojo de venado" a deer's eye. To me it looked more like some kind of seed about an inch in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. According to the mother, it was being worn for protection against "mal de ojo" The "ojo de venado" could be purchased (I don't know if they can still be found) where herbs were sold, or from "yerberos" people who sell herbs in the street or local mercado. I personally don't believe in witchcraft, but evidently some people still do.

John Gonzalez

J. Antonio Camacho

I do not believe that it is witchcraft; it seems to be more superstition than anything.

"Mal de Ojo" is an inherited belief from Europe - also known as the Evil
Eye. Essentially, it is believed that some people have the ability to
either consciously (curse) or unconsciously inflict pain upon someone based on
their thinking jealous thoughts or wishing harm upon others while looking at
them. It is believed that the concept originated in the middle east.

In Mexico, the primary ones who are deemed vulnerable are very young
children. I remember my family believing this, and would invite the person to
touch or hold the baby. I also remember that if a child had an eye
infection, it was believed they had "mal ojo".

Originals not really original.

Having spent considerable time with the Pilot.FamilySearch images of
christening records of Rincón de Romos and San José de Gracia,
Aguascalientes, I have reached a few conclusions I hadn't really
expected before.

There are a lot of inconsistencies in the records - mistakes or errors
- which I had first believed were mostly due to incomplete or
inaccurate information from the parties involved: in other words, the
informants were not well informed. But the kinds of mistakes (I've
been able to correlate many multiple references to the same
individuals in several families) suggest something else: namely, that
the mistakes (and there are many of them) are copying errors.

For example, many of the mistakes are names that look very similar but
do not necessarily sound similar: like Castorena for Contreras, Chavez
for Chaires, Filomena for Florencia, Montoya for Mendoza, and many
more. Even though the handwriting is clear, it must have been copied
from handwriting that was not. I have even seen similar mistakes
within the same record, where for example the name in the margin looks
similar to but is not the same as the name in the text.

What further supports the conclusion that many errors are copying
errors is the organization of Rincón and San José baptismal records.
In any given month, the records for that month consistently begin with
records "En la parroquia de San José de Gracia ... bautizé ... en la
Yglesia de Rincón de Romos". These begin with the first of the month
and continue through the end of the month. Then, without any break,
but usually an inserted heading, the register goes back again to the
first of the month and lists records "En la parroquia de San José de
Gracia ... en la Yglesia de este lugar", that is, the chapel in San
José. These also continue to the end of the month, and then the
records for Rincón begin again for the following month.

The only way these records could occur in this order is if they were
copied from some other books or papers. That would also explain the
types of errors that are present - the scribe couldn't read the
other's (or his own) handwriting. That the original registers might be
copied and the copies become the only known "originals" is of course
no surprize, and was probably quite commonplace. Temporary records
were made and then "permanentized" into another register, or old books
became worn and tattered and were copyied afresh - for which we can be
thankful. Who knows when the records were copied - it may have been
months or more than a hundred years after the real originals were

I have heard that priests sometimes carried the books with them as
they journied to various localities within their jurisdiction, and
recorded the events directly into the registers. You can imagine how
such volumes might quickly become worn and damaged. I expect too, that
some head priest might combine the records made by several assistants,
creating the official registry.

Anyway, the bottom line is that it appears that many of the bautismos
from Rincón de Romos and San José de Gracia were copies, which
explains the types of errors often present in them. Knowing this
affects the way I interpret the records. The marriage records,
however, (some of them) seem to be more consistant, and perhaps were
more original. In my mind they carry more weight or credibility than
the baptismal records, particularly as to parents's names, although
one would normally expect the reverse to be true.

Studying these records has been a revelation. I'm recognizing more and
more handwriting idiosyncrasies. The other day, my wife and I were
both puzzling over a name in 1888 that looked like Erenpas when all of
a sudden I realized it was Campos. I would never have thought of
Campos had I not known it was a common name in the area, and also the
peculiar way this particular scribe sometimes made his C's. Once I saw
the name as Campos, I could not see it as anything else. I'm sure
everyone who studies these records has had similar experiences. If
only someone would tell those people to be more consistant with their
a's and o's, so I could tell hijas from hijos ... or better yet - why
didn't they just use a typewriter!

On another topic, I am a little puzzled by the term "auciliar". Rincón
de Romos was originally an auciliar de San José de Gracia. But San
José de Gracia is also sometimes written as "la yglesia auciliar de la
parroquia de San José de Gracia" at a time when San José de Gracia was
really a parish in its own right and not an auxiliar of anything,
except perhaps of the diocesis, if you can think of it that way. I'm
wondering if the term auciliar was used rather loosely, and as such
has no particular significance.

Best regards,

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