Casas Menoras

The Casas Menoras, or Minor Houses of Merochas, are a widely varied group of mercantile and family concerns.  Ranging in size from a large family farm to a mercantile organization of significant size (but much smaller than any of the Casas Crantas), a Casa Menora is distinguished mainly by the ownership of land.  Many of the smaller Casas Menoras are less wealthy than some professionals in the city of Merochas, but because of their status under Merochasan law as a Casa, they may own land, while others may not.  This distinction is jealously guarded by the Casas Menoras, who are the greatest supporters of property restrictions.  Without the strict limits on land ownership in Merochas, many of the Casas Menoras would become nothing more than common farmers.
A note on distaff families:  all of the Casas Crantas, and quite a few of the Casas Menoras, have distaff branches of the families.  Distaff families are those that can trace descent from a daughter of the Casa through repeated (at least three) generations.  Once three generations (not necessarily consecutive generations) of a recognized family have intermarried with a Casa, that family acquires the status of a distaff branch (linea rueca) of the Casa.  Although intermarriage with a Casa itself grants some status, distaff families are considered members of the Casa itself, and acquire many, if not all, of the benefits that any member bearing the Casa name itself would have.
For this reason, Casas are quite cautious about the families to which they marry their daughters.  Casas are far less reluctant to marry their sons, since only that son's direct descendents will acquire the Casa name, and therefore membership.  Of course, the wife's family will have increased status in proportion to the status of the husband, but their relatives and descendents will not inherit much of that, if any, and have no claim on the Casa
Distaff families typically have very similar outlooks and philosophies as the Casa(s) to which they are connected.  Members of the Casas bearing distaff family names often occupy key positions in the Casa, and in some Casas, work harder for the success of the Casa than members that bear the name of the Casa.  Additionally, distaff family members are frequently married to members of the Casa (either of the Casa name itself, or to other distaff families), thus preserving the exclusivity of Casa membership. 
Many of the distaff branches of the Casas Crantas were once Casas Menoras (and some still hold that status), with their own lands held separately from those of the Casa Cranta with which they are associated.  Some have their own distaff branches, and thus the web of relations can spread out in complex and sometimes confusing patterns.  Several Casas Menoras are distaff branches of more than one Casa Cranta, while others may have distaff families that are connected to other Casas Menoras, which are themselves distaff families to another Casa.
This web of interrelationships between the Casas can make for hellish seating at banquets, but it does help to foster mutual dependency between the Casas, and reduces to a degree the bickering and low-level hostilities so prevalent among them.