Wedding Bell Blues

The big 3 in genealogy are birth, death and marriage records.  Don’t be sad or frustrated if you can’t find marriage records on people you’re searching for in the counties you’d expect.

Think of a young woman born in Philadelphia, who moved to New York at age 16 to attend university.  She resides in New York for nearly 20 years after that, more than half her life, before choosing a husband.  New York is a fabulously expensive place to make a wedding, and a Philadelphia wedding will cost her family significantly less.  Only 100 miles from New York, where the groom’s family will travel from, Philadelphia is also close to her parents and their families, making it a most satisfactory destination for her wedding.  After their nuptuals, the couple resides in New York and has their only child there.  All current searches for the woman would lead to New York.  How would you know to look for her marriage records in another state?

Some people have a “destination” wedding on a beach in Tahiti or Cancun.  Others have “Gretna Green” marriages transacted in a jurisdiction that was not their residence.   This might help them to avoid restrictions or procedures imposed by the parties’ home jurisdiction, to avoid public scandal or to consummate a quick, surreptitious union.  In the United States, these towns have famously included Elkton, Maryland, Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Never rule out the birthplace of a person as a potential wedding site, for the very reasons I’ve given! You just have to look for clues that may lead you to different locales.

© 2012 Copyright Billie Elias

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About Billie Tekel Elias

Author of upcoming book, Pearl's Party...and you're invited.
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2 Responses to Wedding Bell Blues

  1. Boomdeeadda says:

    Thats really good info, thanks for posting.

  2. Everything you said here right and informative. Thanks for sharing!

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