I may be grasping at straws here, but I am hoping someone has better knowledge of the intricacies of the Italian language than I do.
I am having a difficult time finding a marriage record for my gggrandparents Antonio Fabrizio and Filomena D'Agostino of Dragoni.
Their first child was born in 1884, and so I was looking for the record in the years directly preceding this date. It wasn't there.
Maybe they were married in another city, but I noticed something unusual on the birth records of their children. Instead of listing Filomena as "sua moglie" of Antonio, the birth records list her as "sua leggittimo moglie."
Is there a reason for this use of "leggittimo?" I have never seen this on any other records in the past. It is used on the records for their first three children, then suddenly stops by 1893.
Now I am wondering if they were not technically married when their first children were born? Perhaps there was some sort of "common-law" marriage like in the US?
I have asked almost the same question in the past. The term "sua legittimo moglie" I was told is an ancient bureaucratic Italian term that really means his wife. If you look at the other birth records, you will see they all use the same term.
For me it just depends on the individual (clerk) who is completing the registration. For some the words 'sua moglie' is sufficient because (probably) everyone in the village knew they were married... and another clerk was intent on declaring that they were 'really married' so he wrote "sua leggittimo moglie."
Having said that, it may also be that their marriage was recorded by the church where it took place but not by the comune too! But when the children were baptized the proof that 'they' were legitimate was a church document of their parents marriage.
Thank you for the input. I wonder whether the church would have a record of the marriage? Has anyone had any luck with church records? I am new to Italian genealogy and my experience is limited to the LDS microfilmed records for the villages themselves. How would I go about accessing church records? Is this something I can ask for in writing, or is it something that would have to be done in person?
Parish priests are in total control of their parish records and its a hit or miss thing. Some priests say " No can do for a varierty of reasons" which may mean he does not want to do it or is seeking a generous donation or an offer to hire someone (a nephew?) to do the research.
It used tobe before the US dollar went down in value the Mormon church people would recommend $15.00 (now $25.00) per record sent to you by the good fathers who would do you the favor.
The correct sentence is "sua legittima moglie" (one "g" and ending in "a").
It means that they were legally married (with a civil marriage, the only officially recognized by the State. This is valid for marriages that took place after 1866, because for previous periods, when the "Stato Civile" didn't exist in almost all Italy, it was considered valid also the religious one, the only existing in fact).
i did not have great success in getting a reply from the local priests, so i chose to hire a researcher in italy. he has been helping me in about a half a dozen or so towns for a couple of years and so far has had access to all church records. one parish priest would not let him photograph the records however. while it isn't inexpensive, it is a great means to find lots of information for your family lines.
my ancestors also came from dragoni for a period, about 1850-1910. i have all of the records on permanent loan so if there are names and records for which you are searching let me know and i can check for you. many times the birth records will identify the hometown of each spouse in addition to that were they lived. so there can be clues there as well.
Thank you for the offer to check the Dragoni records for me. I actually have some of the records on temporary loan myself - but I realized recently that I may have missed a few when ordering. I am headed to the library again on Tuesday, and I may take you up on your offer when I figure out exactly what I am missing....
On a sidenote, my ancestors also seem to have only been in Dragoni temporarily. I think that the earliest were there by 1830. Most came from Caiazzo and Piedimonte. Do you have any insight into possible historical reasons for this movement? My other Italian line is from Calabria, and they were in the same village for hundreds of years - so I was surprised to see so much moving around on this side.
The names that I am researching are Morelli, Fabrizio, Calvanese, Puorto, & D'Agostino. It seems that most of them migrated to Connecticut.