Mystery Marriage or Record Keeping Mistake? Maria Chardoulias Halvangis (1894-1951)

A mystery is brewing on the Halvangis/Chardoulias branch of my family tree. A document was brought to my attention by a distant cousin of mine (shared DNA: 11 cM across 1 segment). She and I share some family history, although our precise connection is not yet know.

The mystery involves my great grandmother, Maria Chardoulias Halvangis (1894-1951). Here she is standing with my great grandfather, Vasilios Demetrio Halvangis (1891-1937).


The document in question is their marriage registration in the city of Waterloo, Iowa in 1919. You can read about their marriage here: Greek Couple Weds in Waterloo - 1919.

Here are some closeups of the relevant sections.


Now, I have seen this document dozens of times but apparently I missed a key detail. This document shows that Vasilios and Maria were married in Waterloo, Iowa on February 22, 1919. This fits with all the information I have ever seen.

What doesn’t fit (and what I missed) was the notation on line 17 that says this was Maria’s SECOND marriage! In fact, the document suggests that she married another Halvangis man before she married my great grandfather.

Line 12 indicates her name as “Maria Halvange”. Line 13 is for for “Bride’s maiden name if a widow” and it lists “Maria Tsardoulias” which I would expect. Everything else (e.g., parents’s name, location, age, etc) fits with what I have known for some time.

Based on this document alone, if true, Maria Tsardoulias was married once to a Halvangis man, became widowed, and then married another Halvangis man, my great grandfather, Vasilios.

There is NO other evidence however (that I have found yet) that backs up this conclusion. I’ve never heard mention of any previous marriage in any discussion I have ever had with any family member. That said, there likely were other Halvangis men that COULD have been Maria’s 1st husband.

An alternate, and simpler, explanation is that this is just a record keeping mistake. These types of mistakes happen with some regularity. Perhaps the recorder of the information misunderstood or wrote it down incorrectly?

When Maria arrived from Greece in 1916 she was listed as “Maria Tsardoulias”, “single”, and a “housewife”.


“Single” and “housewife” don’t seem to fit with each other.

Was she married and widowed in Greece before she came over? That seems possible, but unlikely. She likely would have been listed with her married name if so.

Was she married and widowed in the U.S. sometime between 1916 and February of 1919? Again, possible, but why have I NEVER heard of this and why have no records indicating such been found?

Was she only married once and was this a result of shoddy record keeping?My money is on this explanation at the moment. I think that this is likely a very curious mistake.

That said, I am open to other explanations. I would need to find some additional information (marriage record, newspaper clipping, etc.) to be convinced.

What do you think?

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