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Question about description of burial in Mexico

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By rmfpdx - Posted on 13 October 2020

I have a direct ancestor who died in Aguascalientes in 1788. Her burial record says that she received "sepultura ecclca. [ecclesiastica] con cruz basa en fabrica de dos pesos." I'm not sure if it's "basa" or "baja." In either case, I have no idea what this means. Could someone please shed some light on this? Thank you.

You can see the record here: "México, Aguascalientes, registros parroquiales, 1601-1962," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-63V3-TPN?cc=1502404&wc=M6QX-Q66%3A64894201%2C64894202%2C65513401 : 30 September 2020), Rincón de Romos > San José de Gracia > Defunciones 1783-1790, 1798-1844 > image 31 of 444; parroquias Católicas, Aguascalientes (Catholic Church parishes, Aguascalientes).

Rick Fernández

Hello! It says "cruz baja". Depending on how much money someone paid for a burial it could have "cruz alta", apparently quite expensive and for people who had money and a good social status, which was a ceremony with all due respect and mournful symbols. Cruz baja was the standard burial (I suppose "en fábrica de dos pesos" would mean that was the price they paid), while "de limosna" was a burial made with no charges due to the lack of resources the family of the deceased had. I hope this helps!

That is so helpful and makes total sense. Thank you so much!

That is great and interesting information. How and where did you learn that information? I would like to know to learn so that I know what I’m actually reading on these old documents.

Thank you,
Esther

Hi!! Well I am currently having a lot of trouble with my family in Michoacán; they moved a lot so it's been hard keeping track of them, and the only thing I know for sure is about their apparent social position due to these kind of clues, such as the "Don" and "Doña". I came across this very same thing in the burial of many of them: "cruz alta", "todas las insignias", "doble solemne" and "enterrado en tramo principal", so I thought it would pay off to dig deeper in that issue, as well as how the colonial society worked.

This (https://www.cultura.gob.mx/turismocultural/cuadernos/pdf16/articulo11.pdf) is an article on death in Mexico, which talks a bit about this in page 10. I also found this (http://www.nuestrosranchos.com/archives/2003h2/msg00168.html) which talks about the issue.

Family search has a small say on the topic (https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/es/Entierro_de_cruz_alta,_de_cruz_baja_y_de_limosna) in Venezuela, and this (https://www.redalyc.org/jatsRepo/127/12761653001/html/index.html) is an article about practices in Argentina. Not quite the same, but being latin america and catholic church we can assume there must be at least some simmilarities.

I also found out that the elements sometimes mentioned in the registries (such as "incensario" and "capa") are mourning elements still used in Semana Santa (idk if you translate if to Holy Week?) along with the color purple. I guess it talks a lot about the real importance that high class people had as opposed to the rest of the population, and how money really could afford the highest honors. It's a topic that could potentially give a lot of depth to our investigations, I think :)

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