Time to search for the actual date of our double wedding! Fortunately, the state of Pennsylvania has cooperated with Ancestry.com in releasing many of their public records. Although not all documents are available at this time, Pennsylvania birth, marriage and death records are continually being updated with new information.
Now that I knew the identity of our wedding couples, I did a general search using the names of both grooms, leaving open the date of the wedding. Yes! Success! The marriage licenses issued for Peter Dallachiesa and Riccardo (labeled as Richard in the photo) Fedrizzi were easily accessible online!
The licenses were both issued on January 23, 1909 with the marriage date set as February 13, 1909. Now we had the exact date of our group photo and confirmation through public record. This later date made much more sense as Tillie Genetti had now been in the United States for over two years and by this time was most likely participating in social gatherings with family and friends. I made the correction to our Photograph page with the double wedding officially taking place on February 13, 1909. According to Google, this date fell on a Saturday.
If we look a little closer at Riccardo and Angelina’s license record, we see an interesting mistake. Errors are common as I have often found name, spelling and date mistakes in many public records – especially in rural communities where correct spelling was not all that important. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to find several sources to confirm historical information.
In this case the birth date of Riccardo Fedrizzi is stated as December 17, 1897. Hmmmm – that would mean our groom was only twelve years old at the time of his wedding! Luckily, someone later spotted the error and made the correction using a side note next to the record. The year of his birth had been transposed and should have been 1879 – making Riccardo a respectable 29 year old groom. His bride, Angelina Cologna, was 23 years old.
With our mystery solved, I wondered how the story of Lucia giving birth became associated with this photo since Albert’s birth date did not match that of the wedding. Maybe one of Raffaele and Lucia Genetti’s other children had been born on that day. Since Albert was second to the youngest, the only possibility would be his little sister, Anna Ottilia.
Returning back to our Ancestry records, I soon located Anna’s birth record. It was dated January 9, 1909. Well that was close to our wedding date, but obviously a month prior to our nuptial event. Apparently somewhere along the line a creative family historian had attached a fanciful story to the photograph and the legend stuck.
On a final note, look closely at Anna’s birth record. There are two mistakes – her middle name is incorrectly spelled as is her father’s name! So much for accuracy! I guess that’s the job of a family genealogist – to find and correct the errors of by gone days.
In our next blog post we will begin exploring individual stories connected to our wedding photograph.
Part 5 coming soon!