Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Mystery to Unravel

One of the things that I most enjoy about genealogy are the global connections that emerge. From one town in Poland, I have developed connections around the world. Currently I am doing research for a woman in Australia whose husband came from Radom, the same town in which my grandfather was born. Yesterday I spoke with two Brits on Skype who are interested in visiting Radom and I shared what I knew from my visits there. And as I translate Russian records for my Australian friend, I am drawing on a gentleman in the UK for assistance. Meanwhile in my own town, I've developed a close friendship with a survivor from Radom. I love the idea that the connections from that town radiate around the world and I am part of that web, often in the middle of it as I do the website for those researching their roots.

As I do research for others, I often stumble across new mysteries and am working to untangle one currently. I recently received records that I had ordered from the archives in Radom for my Australian contact. Among those records were the marriage of her husband's great-grandparents, the birth of their children and the death of his great-grandmother. But something was unusual. The children were born in the late 1800s and the marriage occurred in 1903. In 1904 the great-grandmother died. What does that mean?

One gentleman who helped me with the translation said that perhaps it was a marriage allegata which I believe is attesting to the fact that a marriage occurred. Now my guess is that the great-grandmother was ill at that time and they thought it best to make sure there was a clear trail in the event of death. Our original theory was that there had been a religious marriage, but not a civil one, but we soon learned that was not the case. Interestingly two of the children had the same record date for their births. Now I learned from my own family that meant not that they were twins, but that they had delayed in reporting one of the births until the second one occurred.

The plot thickened when a second translator advised me that one of the birth records noted that it was the father's fault that it was late because he had "annulled" the marriage. The word for annulled was not clearly written so we are continuing to translate other records looking for further clues. We then translated the marriage record which clearly stated that this was a religious marriage and they cited their children's names and birthdates. In addition they included the following language: "With this marriage act (the bride and groom) recognise (the children) as their own, andon the basis of the article 291 of Civil Code of the Polish Kingdom guarantee them the status and the rights of lawful children."

Documents tell a story, but we need to connect the dots. Perhaps this is one for which we will never fully know the underlying story.

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