Following a Hunch
|My great aunt's 1942 marriage.|
My oldest cousin from that family was born in 1948. The online marriage records from their hometown of Colle Sannita only go as far as 1942. It seemed unlikely that Assunta married any earlier than 1946, but I decided to take a look anyway.
What a huge payoff I found in 1942! Much to my surprise, Assunta and her husband Donato announced their intention to marry in September 1941. They married in February 1942. Their marriage documents confirmed their birth dates for me, too.
Finding More Clues
But 1942 wasn't finished surprising me. Paging through the marriage documents for that year, I saw two more brides named Iamarino. Checking my family tree, I realized they both belonged to me.
|Filomena is 2 years older than her Aunt Maria, |
and each married in 1942.
Then I found Filomena Iamarino's marriage. Filomena was born two years before Maria Iamarino, but she was Maria's niece! Her grandparents were Teofilo Iamarino and Filomena Pilla.
More mind-bending revelations.
Finally, 1942 gave me the marriage of Vincenzo Pilla and Teresina Piacquadio. They were already in my tree with no details. I knew their names only because a distant cousin, the nephew of Teresina Piacquadio, had given them to me. Now I have more facts and proof.
In one whirlwind session, leafing through one town's marriage records for one year, I found four marriages that matter to me.
Adding More Facts
This highlights the importance of finding more than your direct ancestors. Marriage records give you another data point for those ancestors and help fill in the gaps.
- When I visited Assunta's children in Italy in 2005, they showed me the remains of Grandpa's house. It's on the property of one of Assunta's children. Grandpa left Italy in 1920.
- In 1922 when Assunta was born, my great grandparents lived at Via Leandro Galganetti, 46. Google Street View shows that address as a pile of rubble now, far from Grandpa's house.
- In 1942 when Assunta married, the family lived in Decorata. That's past Grandpa's house, and a good distance from Via Leandro Galganetti.
This expands what I know about my great grandfather Francesco. He came to America five times, leaving his family behind in Italy. He must have earned money and gone back home each time.
Now I can add to that profile that the family moved around within their town. They didn't stay in an ancestral home.
How much will your family history benefit from looking in all directions for relatives?
Don't stay only on the straight and narrow path. Each data point you find paints a richer portrait of your ancestors.