Today, finally, I found the time to go to Attard parish church again, and started the family profile. My plan was to find out all the offspring having parents Laurentius Fenech and Gratia, and try to find out whether there were two couples or just one - possibly by finding some overlapping pregnancies.
I started by finding Rosa Maria Fenech's birth record again: 16 May 1694.
Then I found the marriage of Laurentius Fenech and Gratia Buhagiar: 13 Oct 1696
I started looking for siblings to Rosa Maria from 1694 onwards, and found:
8 Aug 1697 - Catarina Barbara Fenech
12 Oct 1699 - Maria Coranda Fenech
15 Sept 1702 - Porcha Fenech
13 Sept 1706 - Anna Hieronyma Fenech
19 June 1709 - Joanna Caterina Fenech
16 July 1711 - Jacobus Vincentius Fenech
Then I searched till 1721 but there were no more births.
It wasn't gonna be easy: there were no overlapping pregnancies.
So I searched for siblings BEFORE 1694. If, as I was assuming, they had a child born out of wedlock, it would be the one and only mistake... but I had to rethink my assumptions: I found FIVE more children born to the couple. They were, working backwards:
10 July 1690 - Angelica Fenech
11 Oct 1682 - Domenico Biagio Fenech
9 Nov 1681 - Joseph Fenech
18 Jan 1678 - Domenica Fenech
8 Dec 1674 - Maria Fenech
All born to a Laurentio Fenech et Gratia, coniug. (his wife). I searched as far back as 1660 but could not find any more births to the above couple.
In view of this fresh evidence, spanning a range of 37 years (1674 - 1711), it seems that there really were two couples with the same names, bath in succession, rather than in parallel - and Rosa Maria Fenech was one of the latter children of the elder couple.
With this in mind I set forth to search once more for the elusive marriage of Laurentio Fenech et Gratia, the real parents of Rosa Maria Fenech, my 7GGrandma. I had failed before, but maybe I had given up too early, starting, unknowingly, from the youngest of their children, rather than from their eldest - which is now known : Maria Fenech. So I started again, looking from 1674 backwards till 1662 but the search bore no fruit. I searched later than 1674 just in case fate wanted to have a laugh and have the couple really born children before getting married. But again I found no such record. It is true that in those years the parish registry is a bit tattered, with loose pages. There may have been some missing pages - but then the months are all there, so probably not. The couple were not married in Attard.
So, after all, the mystery of whether Rosa's parents married after her birth has been resolved, with a negative answer. There were two couples in Attard, with the same father's and mother's names. I still have a missing link as I have no details of Rosa's real parents' marriage - but at least I have cleared their name.