14 April 2017

When Is a Marriage Not a Marriage?

In January I wrote about how to handle the facts in your family tree that don't add up in How Is That Possible? I like to use Family Tree Maker's bookmark feature to call attention to the people in my tree who have a problem with their facts.

Bookmarks remind me to check the facts.
Bookmarks remind me to check the facts.
Today I took a look at Francesco Cece who was born in 1805 in my grandfather's town of Basélice, Benevento, Campania, Italy. His facts included three marriages, which was not uncommon in the 1800s.

If your spouse died back then, you were going to remarry. If you had children, they needed a new mother or father, and if you were old, you needed a younger spouse to take care of you.

Francesco's three marriages were pretty close together, so I looked to see when wives number one and two died.

But wife number two was alive when he married wife number three, so something was wrong.

I decided to visit the online Benevento Archives to take a closer look at the marriage of Francesco Cece and Mariarosa Marucci.

I have not seen this a lot in my research, but Francesco and Mariarosa went through the process of publicly posting their intention to marry on 13 March 1831 and 31 March 1831.

They were granted permission to marry on 6 April 1831, but as you can see on their marriage license, the right column where their church wedding would be recorded was crossed out.

A handwritten note in that section of the page says that despite having a contract with one another, the couple were not united in marriage.
When I revisited this marriage record did I realize they never married?
When I revisited this marriage record did I realize they never married?

Mariarosa entered into another marriage contract nine months later and married Saverio Colucci on 1 March 1832.

Francesco entered into a marriage contract five years later at age 31 with an 18-year-old girl from another town, Donata Maria Fantetta. Each of them had lost their parents, so this could have been a marriage of necessity for young Donata Maria.

Sadly, this contract also did not end up in marriage for Francesco Cece.

I checked the marriage records all the way through the year 1860 and never again saw Francesco's name.

His first and only wife, Margarita Capuano, died at the age of 25, just six years after they married. They had no children.

I've removed my bookmark from Francesco, but I don't think I'll soon forget him.


  1. I love these stories DiAnn thanks so much for all your hard work!

    1. Thank you, Rose. I appreciate the feedback! I've been surprised at the places my research is taking me lately.

  2. So interesting!!! You are quite the detective.