I have picked a topic for my master's thesis here at good ol' USFSP. My main area of study is colonial Spanish St. Augustine, mainly during the Second Spanish Period (1784-1821).
I have decided to examine the application of the Spanish marriage law (the real pragmática de casamiento) in St. Augustine during that period. One of my questions is whether the law was applied differently by different governors. I have not got past the first governor of the Second Spanish Period, Vicente Manuel de Zéspedes, who appears to have been rather an old softie when it came to folks getting married.
Another question is to see how much the law was either bent or completely ignored! It prohibited interracial marriages, but there are documented instances when these did occur, generally of light-skinned mulattoes or octaroons with white Spaniards, and generally among the elites, who probably could get their way no matter what (also one of the questions I'll be looking at).
So I have more reason to go to Washington, D.C., and look at Spanish colonial sources at the Library of Congress, and will have to get onto lots of transcribing when I get done with this term.