"P P Ref." in 1870 Parish Document


New Member
In the accompanying image, I have put three red dots in the left margin, to the left of three iterations of a priest's surname ("Warnute"?), a surname that in each instance is followed by what appears to be "P P Ref." I am pretty confident the "P P" stands for "parochus parochiæ" ("parish priest") but the "Ref." eludes me.

To provide you context for my question, I might note that it seems apparent that when the scribe has written one other priest's name, two of the times (see two green dots) that other priest's name ("Rwci...") is accompanied by "Coop" (which almost surely is short for "coop. loci" ("assistant local priest" or "assistant priest of this location/place," from "cooperator loci," meaning "assistant (priest [understood]) of this place (meaning, of this parish)). That likely meaning of that other abbreviation makes me think that the abbreviation "Ref." in the phrase "P P Ref." is some sort of adjective attached to describe the priest's role in performing a baptism in this parish.

So my question is: Do you have any ideas what the "Ref." in "P P Ref." stands for?

Thank you!


Gregorius Textor

Civis Illustris
I'm inclined to agree with Agrippa, but not sure. Earlier I was thinking, does parochus really mean priest? I would think Sac. (sacerdos) would be a more likely way of writing priest. But if it's a reformed church, then "priest" wouldn't make sense anyway. On the other hand, if it's a reformed church, wouldn't it be redundant to write "Ref." after the pastor's name?


New Member
Dear Gregorius and Agrippa,

I think you are both correct concerning the first "P" not referring to "parochus" (priest) but instead referring to "pastor," meaning apparently that the "P P Ref." in the parish record stands for "pastor parochiæ reformatæ" (pastor of the reformed parish).

I introduced the thought that the initial "P" stood for "parochus" but feel I now stand corrected. I introduced that thought in my original post based on common parish register use of the word "parochus" to refer to a Roman Catholic priest. (See, e.g., https://bit.ly/3cu3owN -- such as on page 293, for example, and elsewhere in the text, where the word "parochus" is referred to on at least 23 pages). Even in light of that source, however, your suggested alternative, "pastor," seems just as likely a meaning for the first "P" in the "P P Ref." under consideration, especially in light of what both of you have said concerning "Ref." Venn diagram: a "parochus" is a "pastor" but not all "pastori" are "parochi"; some pastors are not Roman Catholic.

The history underlying your two responses seems of course very well suited to support your responses. The impact of the Protestant Reformation was widespread and extended to Poland early. See:


http://www.ceceurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/CEC-Member-Churches-WEB.pdf (see pp. 161-1162)

Indeed, concerning the very parish register referred to in my original post (from Gorlice, Poland, far in the south of the country), the general geographical area and the general time frame may well have accommodated the presence then and there of a "pastor parochiæ reformatæ." Although not well supported, it is stated that "[d]uring the 19th century the number of Polish Reformed parishes shrank from 4 to just one in Kraków. There the Reformed shared the parish with Lutherans, and these became so dominant that from 1828 only Lutheran pastors were called to the pulpit, though a handful of Reformed survived." (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Reformed_Church.) Perhaps one such reformed pastor (maybe the pastor mentioned in the image from the parish register accompanying my initial post) served in or near Gorlice and perhaps may have been among the "handful of Reformed" that "survived." (See https://goo.gl/maps/cp8Upsu9N7Ww5j2KA -- the distance from Gorlice to Kraków suggests this scenario may be possible.)

There seems to be early evidence of the presence of the Reformed Church in Gorlice itself (see https://bit.ly/34KurkM) and the Reformed Church is present in Poland today (see http://www.reformowani.pl/index.php/welcome; see also http://www.reformowani.pl/index.php/the-history).

While there are modern efforts of some religious communities to recognize the baptisms of other religious communities (see, e.g., https://bit.ly/2VJMrI6), it appears perhaps that the parish register there is not evidence of any cross-faith recognition of the rite of baptism but instead the Gorlice parish church register attached to my original post actually may well have been a civil register that the Roman Catholic priest may have been required by law to use to record a baptism performed by a reformed pastor. Note on this account the following:

"Austria took possession of the southern part of Poland in 1772. Austria introduced laws in 1782 establishing Catholic priests as civil registrars. Then, in 1784, an edict by the emperor Joseph II required the Catholic clergy to make civil transcripts of church records. Catholic parish registers were designated as state records and a standardized Latin columnar form was issued. The parish register thus became the official register of births, marriages, and deaths. A transcript (duplicate) was made for state purposes. Separate registers were required for each village in the parish. Greek-Catholic and Roman-Catholic clergy were responsible for the registration of all vital records for all religions; Protestants were permitted to keep their own registers under the direction of the Catholic priest. Jews were allowed the same privilege in 1789. In the mid 1800s non-Catholics, including Jews and Protestants, were made responsible for their own vital records transcripts."

(See https://bit.ly/3ajQ1xu.)

I believe the contributions by both of you may well be leading us to a reasonable understanding of the reference to "P P Ref." and if you have further thoughts they indeed are welcome.

Thank you.

Gregorius Textor

Civis Illustris
it appears perhaps that the parish register there is not evidence of any cross-faith recognition of the rite of baptism but instead the Gorlice parish church register attached to my original post actually may well have been a civil register that the Roman Catholic priest may have been required by law to use to record a baptism performed by a reformed pastor.
This makes very good sense. If it is a civil record, that would explain the need for the "Ref." Do you also find anything like "Luth." in there?

It's hard for me to read anything in this document, but can you tell what is written at the top of the column "Dies et Mensis" directly under "Nat." and "Bap."? Does that help to explain the names in that column in the entries below?

Also, do we find "P. P. Ref." only in the entries marked with red dots? It seems to me that in the columns "Religio" (subdivided into "Catholica" and "Acatholica") the check marks (if that's what they are) are the same in these three entries as in all the rest. Does that mean that these three baptized persons were Catholics? But if they were Catholics, they wouldn't have been baptized by the Reformed pastor, would they?

I was doubting whether the Reformed church would be called a "parish" since I've only heard that term in Catholic and Anglican circles, but your fourth reference in post #3 here supports the possibility of a "Reformed parish." Okay there.

From the beginning, I assumed that this was a church record, and specifically a Catholic Church record. I wonder what other things we're assuming that aren't so. Can you tell us anything more of the nature and provenance of this document and how you found it or came to have it that might help here?


Civis Illustris
The fact that the register requests the religion of the one being baptised would suggest to me that this is a civil record. Each of the baptisms you highlight are clearly marked with the religion being Catholic, so the priest concerned is definitely a Catholic priest.

Gregorius Textor

Civis Illustris
I'm agreeing with jaffa's interpretation after comparing the Nomen Baptisati and Sexus columns -- the diagonal line is a checkmark.
So, then, it looks like not only the three highlighted, but all the baptised persons on this page are Catholic.


New Member
Thank you all. I agree with the analysis by Gregorius Textor and jaffa, helpfully supplying their astute observations about the markings in the "Religio" column (for "Catholic" and "Non-Catholic"), clearly indicating that all three entries marked with the red dots are Catholic baptisms. (The markings in the Catholica column indeed are the equivalent of check marks.) The suggestion this might be a civil record is noted and will be taken into account in further evaluation.

Gregorius asks about the possible appearance of "Luth" in the document, presumably suggesting, if it appears, a possible reference thereby to the Lutheran religion. But it does not appear. The suggestion/surmise we have dealt with in previous posts is that if any other religion is involved it may posssibly be the Polish Reformed Church (which is neither Catholic nor Lutheran). See links above.

Gregorius also asks about "Dies et Mensis" in the second column. That's Latin for "Day and Month." The three red-dotted entries are for (1) April 1 ("Nat." = born) and April 3 ("Bap." = baptized), (2) April 6 and 6, and (3) April 12 and 12. (The formatting of the columns for "Day and Month" is poorly designed and forced the record keeper to hand write the name of the month across the columns.)

The word "parish" is more universal than only Roman Catholic. England has her civil parishes; Louisiana has its 64 parishes (think "counties"); the Church of England, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Lutheran churches, some Methodists, and Presbyterian churches also have congregations and their geographical areas known as "parishes."

I do not see "P P Ref" anywhere else in the document. And so I remain stumped about the abbreviated phrase "P P Ref." My abiding opinion/suspicion, still open to correction and further help that might come, is that the "P P Ref." phrase is added behind the priest's/minister's surname (written across the "Nat." and "Bap." sub-columns that appear under and as part of the "Dies et Mensis" column), serving as some sort of adjectival combination intended to modify (or characterize or describe) the priest/minister.

Further thoughts are most welcome.