Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My Twice-Married Great-Great Grandparents

I've written before about how in Austria-Hungary, many couples had a religious wedding and were considered fully married by their communities; however, they never civilly registered their marriage, so their children were considered illegitimate.  In fact, I believed my great-great grandparents (Shmuel Moshe Rutner and Rochel Fuchs) were in this situation, as their children whose births were registered in civil records only listed a mother.
Birth of Mendel Fuchs (Rutner), 1900

As seen in the above image, the top section which should have the father's information is left empty.  And in fact, Mendel used the surname Fuchs until his death in Dachau.

In 1918, Shmuel Moshe and Rochel officially married--although they were already grandparents.
Marriage of Shmuel Moshe "Mosko" Rutner and Ruchel Fuksz, 1918
At this point, their children would have been legitimized; in fact, their son Abraham had married in Budapest several years earlier using the name Fuchs, but a notation was made after his parents' wedding stating that he could now use the name Rutner--which he did, for the rest of his life.

But it turns out that Shmuel Moshe and Rochel's marriage had actually been recorded years earlier.  I've been going through some new (to me) records.  And this one jumped out at me:
Marriage of Smil Moz. Rutner and Ruchel Fux
On March 27, 1884, a marriage was recorded between "Smil Moz. Rutner" and "Ruchel Fux."  Shmuel Moshe was 28 years old, and Rochel was 18.  (The crossed-out abbreviation before "Ruchel" would imply she was a widow, but the notations on the right say she was single, and Smil Moz was a widower--which I already have documented.)

So Shmuel Moshe and Rochel's marriage had been registered from the start.  So why did they have to get re-married 34 years later--and why were their children considered illegitimate?  I'd welcome ideas.

(Footnote:  Check out the marriage just below that of my great-great grandparents.  That would be the remarriage of my 50-year-old great-great-great grandmother Malka Wizel!)

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

Want to get future blog posts emailed to you automatically?
Enter your email address:


  1. Funny. I have recently located records showing a similar situation for another couple. They married first in Galicia and many years later in Bukovina - both part of the Austrian Empire. You beat me to a similar blog post - and I have thae same question: what gives?

  2. Fascinating! I hope someone has a theory on this.