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A woman is not an aunt to her son-in-law, but does зять have an alternate meaning other than son-in-law, or тетка have an alternate meaning other than aunt, such that a woman can be тетка to her зять?

I want to know whether there is any support for the possibility that the two women listed in these two records are the same woman:

В духовных росписях (исповедных книгах) ... прихода ... уезда ... губернии за 1820 год имеются следующие записи:

  • вдова Евдокия Лаврентьевна (фамилия не указана) – 48 лет

  • зять ее Иван Осипович (фамилия не указана) – 33 года


В ревизской сказке за 1834 год (8-я ревизия) среди государственных крестьян деревни ... сельского общества ... волости ... уезда ... губернии значатся:

  • Осип…

  • его 1-й сын Иван

    • ныне лет (1834 год) – 45

...

  • Ивана Осиповича тетка Авдотья (отчество не указано)

    • ныне лет (1834 год) – 63

Is it significant that an official record uses тетка instead of тётя?

I have precedent for another woman in a later generation (Осип’s great granddaughter) who is named Евдокия in the confession records and Авдотья in the revision records, and in her case it is clear that it is the same woman.

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    Sidenote: зять has indeed a meaning other than son-in-law. It also means brother-in-law (sister's husband). – Abakan Jun 3 '18 at 10:26
  • It seems that years and ages do not add up in the two quotes. Might be just a clerical error. – andrybak Jun 9 '18 at 8:25
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Is it significant that an official record uses тетка instead of тётя?

Тётка is a more official form, so it was more appropriate to use it here.

I have precedent for another woman in a later generation (Осип’s great granddaughter) who is named Евдокия in the confession records and Авдотья in the revision records

Авдотья is a simplified form of the name Евдокия (which is of a greek origin). In principle, from the bureaucratic point of view, the different name forms should be considered different no matter what, however, in practice the situation where one person goes under two names/forms isn't absolutely extraordinary.

I want to know whether there is any support for the possibility that the two women listed in these two records are the same woman

Well, she must be named as "тёща" (mother-in-law), not "тётка" (aunt), however, it won't be a surprise if such a small mistake was done. So, of course, that was possible (or, I should say, quite probable).

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  • That makes sense, because the revision record starts with the oldest living member of the family and goes out from there. This one starts with Осип, then his sons, then Осип's wife Аксенья, then Осип's son's wives and children, and finally Авдотья. So if Авдотья were either Осип's sister or Аксенья's sister, then she'd be listed with her relationship to them rather than her relationship to Иван. She could not have been married to Осип’s brother because he died age 10, and if she was married to a deceased brother of Аксенья it seems unlikely she would be included in Осип’s revision record. – Lee C. Jun 4 '18 at 0:04
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Since all the original records are handwritten, there's a slim chance that тётка is simply an erroneous reading of тёща written illegibly, but to be able to corroborate this conjecture the actual text needs to be examined.

On the other hand the gap between the ages of each person in two documents is different, in the 1st it's 15 years, while in the 2nd it's 18, could be an error but could also have significance.

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  • Which person are you referring to? In the first record Евдокия is 48 in 1820, so she was born in 1771 or 1772, depending on whether the confession record was compiled before or after her birthday. In the second record Авдотья is 63 in 1834, so she was born in 1770 or 1771, depending on whether the revision record was compiled before or after her birthday. So there is no discrepancy, but I have often seen a discrepancy of 2-3 years between two different records of clearly the same person. – Lee C. Jun 4 '18 at 0:05
  • indeed, there's inconsistency in each person's ages between the two records relative to the indicated year of these records compilation, in the 2nd record the man is younger than he should have been by two years and the woman is older by one (which can be explained by the time of the record compilation during a year as you say), that's where varying reciprocal difference between their ages comes from, which therefore i guess is not significant – Баян Купи-ка Jun 4 '18 at 6:46
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    The discrepancy in ages might be explained by times when the recordings were made. E.g., from 1-VII-1770 to 1-VI-1834 there'd be 63 "лет" (full years), to 1-VIII-1834 there'd be 64. On a side note, you're lucky these records are even that consistent. There are examples where obviously the same person isn't aging for several years. :) Also, peasants might be not too precise about the day of their children births (sometimes even about the year). – yury10578 Jun 4 '18 at 19:57
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Well, "тетка" (written with "e", BTW) wasn't considered an "improper" form of naming the relative in the 19th c. language (and even more so when peasants were considered).

In some regional dialects "тетка" and "дядька" were considered a polite form of addressing an unacquainted person older than the speaker, even in the 20th c.

In this case, the old woman might have gone to live "on her son-in-law's bread" ("идти в приживалки"), and so was named just like the older woman in the records.

I doubt the possibility of mixing up the hand-written "тк" and "щ". The 1st one has 4 vertical elements and nothing under the baseline, the 2nd one has 3 vertical elements and the loop under the baseline.

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  • Could тёща for тётка be a typing mistake, compounded by autocorrection, rather than a reading mistake? I have another transcript from the same archive where after listing a couple's names and before listing their children the archivist types "дели их" rather than "дети их", and this is likely a typing mistake rather than a reading mistake. – Lee C. Jun 4 '18 at 18:41
  • I'd rather say clerical/note-taking error, although printing error's a possibility, too. – yury10578 Jun 4 '18 at 19:51

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