A Romanian 19th century document from the Vidin region


  • Annemarie Sorescu-Marinković Institute for Balkan Studies, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade, Serbia




Romanian language, Bulgaria, Cyrillic script, Ottoman empire, 19th century, personal archives


By bringing to the readers’ attention an unpublished Ottoman era document in Romanian, issued in 1861 in Rabrovo, a village in the Vidin region, back then under Ottoman rule, the article tries to shed light on the wider historical and sociolinguistic context of the Romanian-speaking population south of the Danube in the 19th century. The document is a donation-adoption act by which a Romanian man gives one of his sons for adoption to his brother, who does not have heirs. The document is handwritten in Romanian, using Cyrillic script, signed by the chorbaji, mayor and eight witnesses, and stamped by the Turkish administrator. Though very short, it reveals several important facts about the Romanian-speaking population in Ottoman Bulgaria and its origin, the language used in communication and writing, family relations, etc. Coming from a family archive, this document of great emotional value for its owner, has also undisputable linguistic and historical significance.

Author Biography

Annemarie Sorescu-Marinković, Institute for Balkan Studies, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade, Serbia

Annemarie Sorescu-Marinković is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Balkan Studies, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, in Belgrade. She holds a PhD in Philology from Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca (2009), and is a linguist and anthropologist dedicated to the study of Romance-speaking populations in Central and Eastern Europe. Her domains of interest are sociolinguistics, anthropological linguistics, language acquisition, migration studies and folklore. Annemarie Sorescu-Marinković has edited and co-edited various books on the Romanian-speaking communities in the Balkans (Torac – Metodologia cercetării de teren (2006), Boyash Studies: Researching “Our People” (2021), The Romance-speaking Balkans: Language and the Politics of Identity (2021)), authored a monograph on the Vlachs of Eastern Serbia (Românii din Timoc astăzi. Ființe mitologice (2012)), and numerous articles and book chapters on related topics. She is member of the Gypsy Lore Society, European Academic Network on Romani Studies, Folklore Association of Serbia and Balkan History Association (Scientific Board).


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How to Cite

Sorescu-Marinković, A. (2021). A Romanian 19th century document from the Vidin region. Swedish Journal of Romanian Studies, 4(1), 187–198. https://doi.org/10.35824/sjrs.v4i1.22480