Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Delayed Austro-Hungarian Marriages

Many Jews living in the Austria-Hungarian Empire, particularly Galicia and Maramaros, either never were legally married or only got legally married when it was necessary.  The couples had Jewish ceremonies and they and their communities considered them fully married.  However, the government didn't, leading their children to be considered illegitimate and called by their mother's (maiden) surname.

My great-great grandparents (Shmuel Moshe and Rochel Fuchs Rutner) were having children together by the 1881.  However, the fact that they weren't legally married led to their children being considered as born out of wedlock.
Mendel Fuchs (Rutner) Birth Record, 1900, Dulfalva, Austria-Hungary

As an example, their son Mendel (named after his grandfather who had died just over a month earlier), was registered only as a child of Ruchel Fuchs.
Closeup of Mendel Fuchs (Rutner) Birth Record, 1900, Dulfalva, Austria-Hungary
Mendel was born in June 26, 1900 to Ruchel Fuchs of Dulfalva (currently Dulovo, Ukraine), who was born in Felso-Nereszmieze (new town for me!).  She was 35 years old.

Eventually all of the Rutner/Fuchs children were later legitimized in the eye of the government:
Shmuel Moshe Rutner & Rochel Fuchs Marriage, September 1918
My great-great grandparents Mosko (Shmuel Moshe) Ruttner and Ruchel Fuksz were married in September 1918, when they were in their 60s and 50s respectively--well after they were already grandparents!  All of their parents are listed as being deceased at the time of this belated marriage.

Their marriage legitimized their children, many of whom were adults with families of their own by this point.
Abraham & Amalia Rutner Marriage, March 1918--Page 1
Son Abraham had been married in Budapest several months earlier.  His marriage record named him as Abraham Fux (not Rutner) and listed only his mother Ruchel.  But a new notation was added on the second page of this record:
Abraham & Amalia Rutner Marriage, March 1918--Page 2
First, above the signatures it says, "adding Ruttner as a 'known by' name for the groom."  The final column, with text added later, says: "The groom's surname is not "Fux", but "Ruttner", the 8th column's entry of "the groom is known by the surname 'Ruttner' is null and void, and the corrective notation is added that the groom's father's name is 'Ruttner Mózes'. (Capital city mayoral decree 39045/1921) dated 1921 April 21." So Abraham was officially recognized as legitimate when he was nearly 30 years old.

Another example can be seen on the 1913 birth record of my grandmother's older brother, where his mother's name was given as "Fuchsz," not Rutner, as she was still considered illegitimate.

And also thanks to this delayed civil marriage, I have a new town to research!

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Feel free to follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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  1. Also prevalent in I have found many instances in my family.

  2. I like to look on the positive side. Imagine, if they had been legally married from the beginning they wouldn't have produced all these documents which made their story more interesting. ~ Cathy