Kinsearching June 14, 2009




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Since June is the month most often associated with weddings, we hope you will enjoy the miscellaneous tidbits about marriages in this column. For example, an interesting announcement appeared on page 3, column 4 of the 6 Aug 1914 issue of The Kansas City Weekly Journal, published in Kansas City, MO. It is fascinating not only for the couples taking their vows but also for their connection to inventor Thomas A. Edison. (Surnames are capitalized for emphasis.) Under the headline "Marries When Son Weds, Mother Is Bride, Too, at a New Jersey Double Wedding," the article describes the 5 Aug 1914 event in East Orange, NJ:

     "Before the same altar in the same house and by the same clergyman, a mother and son were married at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William M. BALLENTINE of 24 North Burnett Street, East Orange, when their daughter became the bride of Clarence M. DAILY and Mrs. Maud DAILY became the bride of Silas CARPENTER of Park Ridge, a suburb of Chicago.

     Both ceremonies were performed by the Rev. Dr. Charles TOWNSEND, pastor of the First Presbyterian church (sic), Orange. The young people were married first with the bridegroom's mother and prospective stepfather as matron of honor and best man. The older couple were (sic) then married with the young people as the attendants.

     Clarence M. DAILY, the first husband of Mrs. CARPENTER, died twelve years ago from the effects of burns received while experimenting with the X-ray for Thomas A. EDISON."

     Genealogists who are researching Slavic roots in the Sooner State may be interested in reading the article, "Building a New Life: The Polish Settlers of Harrah, Oklahoma." Written by Agnieszka Kemerley, it appears on pages 206-227 of the Summer 2003 (Vol. LXXXI, No. 2) issue of the historical journal, Chronicles of Oklahoma. Included in the article is a wedding photograph of Andrew and Mary NOWAKOWSKI.

     The marriage items below may be found on page 1, column 6 of the 1 March 1836 (Vol. 6, No. 617) of the Albany Journal, published in Albany, NY. (Surnames are capitalized for emphasis.)

     "At Providence on the 19th inst. by the Rev. Benjamin H. PITMAN, Mr. John R. FITCH, merchant, of Lansingburgh, to Miss Dotia WADSWORTH, daughter of Josiah WADSWORTH, Esq., of Hope, Montgomery co. (sic), N. Y.

     In Syracuse, Onondaga co. (sic) on the 16th inst., by the Rev. J. T. TODRIG, John B. IVES, to Ann Eliza, eldest daughter of B. Davis NOXON, Esq."

     Comedians often make jokes about cousins marrying cousins. However, experienced genealogists discover, sooner or later, that all families have "cousin couples" in their ancestry. (If we all descend from Adam and Eve, how could it be otherwise?) Even in early America, marriages between close relatives were common and usually occurred for two main reasons. One was the importance of keeping property, especially land, in the family. The other was the limited choice of individuals eligible to become spouses. Since families tended to live near each other, they were inclined to move together when migrating to a new location. Once settled, most people never ventured far from home due to a variety of reasons including obligatory work on the farm, bad roads, or threat of Indian attacks.

     An advantage (or perhaps a disadvantage, in some cases) to marrying cousins who resided nearby was that relatives were usually well acquainted with each other so they knew what their "life partner" would be like. Although marriages between close kin are prohibited in some states or countries today, they remain customary in many societies. You can search for websites on the subject. An example is the lengthy article at

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