It's been almost a year now and I have not had the chance to carry out the family profile that I promised in http://barbaravassallo.blogspot.com/2007/07/fenech-buttigieg-1696.html.
May I now explain the problem that I have met and how I plan to find evidence to prove a possible alternate situation that may have led to the records met.
Refer to Figure 1 below, which depicts an event timeline of a normal family:
A couple are born, marry, and have kids. For them to be legally recognised, they ought to be born AFTER the marriage. Each sibling is expected to be born at least 9 months after the previous sibling (9 months being the gestation period of humans) unless the siblings are twins (or triplets or quadruplets, etc) and are born on the same occasion (as for siblings 2 and 3 above). Another case is when the child is born prematurely - but they did not have incubators back then so they would have died on being born.
Now the evidence found so far shows that my ancestor Rosa was born BEFORE her parents' marriage. Figure two below demonstrates this:
This is after having searched for the marriage of Lawrence and Gratia prior to 1694 with no success and only finding a record of such a marriage in 1696, 2 years later.
This could mean that Rosa was born out of wedlock, even though there is no such record of this in the parish archive but rather the mother is specified as being the wife, and the bride is specified to be a virgin.
Now all this could only be true if the parents of Rosa were NOT married in the SAME parish but were married somewhere else, which would explain the missing marriage record prior to Rosa's birth.
But why is there a marriage AFTER the birth? This could be if there was ANOTHER couple named Lawrence Fenech and Gratia who married in the same parish where Rosa was born. The Figure below should help explain this:
But how can it be proved?
The only tool available is the fact that siblings need to be 9 months apart. What I plan to do is to take a family profile: that is finding all the children born to Lawrence Fenech and his wife Gratia to try to find overlapping births - which would indicate two parallel couples in the same parish.
In which case I would need to identify which parish were Rosa's parents from, maybe by looking at the godparents of the children who might be specified to be from some other parish.
Wish me luck!