As all Roman Catholic clergy are obliged to do, the priests who staffed Mission Santa Clara kept meticulous records about the sacraments at which they officiated.
Over the past few decades, mission sacramental records have proven to be of inestimable value in helping scholars reconstruct the rhythms of life in pre-1850 California. These different kinds of records offer clues about daily life at Mission Santa Clara.
Careful examination of these records has enabled anthropologists to recover the size and location of a number of indigenous villages, and thus has immeasurably increased our knowledge of native California before the arrival of the Spanish in 1769. Our understanding of the patterns of authority and deference in the Hispanic community has similarly been enhanced by a careful study of these records.
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