Tag Archives: marriage

Marriage Announcements

You may have noticed that in October, Ancestry released a new database from Newspapers.com “U.S., Newspapers.com Marriage Index, 1800s-1999.” I have found the database to be a fantastic resource. From the Corporate blog:

“The Newspapers.com Marriage Index collection adds to the world’s largest, searchable digital archive of newspaper published historical wedding announcements. Since the early 1800s, newspapers across the country have been publishing rich information about engagements, marriage license applications, wedding announcements, and more.”1

I have been using the database for a couple of months now and I have to say I am quite impressed with some of the articles that I’ve found that I missed during other search sessions. I can’t say why I missed them, except that this database is narrowed down to marriage announcements only thereby narrowing down results you might otherwise get by doing a general search at Newspapers.com. I have found that it weeds out some of the “noise” for me in search results, allowing me to more easily spot articles that pertain to my research.

Of course, not every database is going to be flawless. And while machine learning algorithms can help, nothing beats human eyes and interpretation of the articles as we see them. So don’t rely solely on this database, especially if you know something should be there. However, it can help eliminate some of the chaff (we have millions of pages of digitized newspapers these days!) and perhaps bring forward some items you didn’t know existed.

If you have an Ancestry account, go to the card catalog and type in “U.S., Newspapers.com Marriage Index, 1800s-1999” in the title field, or the link directly to the database is here.2

I hope you find this new index as valuable as I have.

1. See “Ancestry® Debuts World’s Largest, Searchable Digital Archive of Newspaper Published Historical Wedding Announcements,” Ancestry Corporate (https://www.ancestry.com/corporate/blog/ancestry-debuts-worlds-largest-searchable-digital-archive-newspaper-published-historical : viewed 9 February 2021), published 19 October 2020.

2. Please note that Newspapers.com is a separate subscription from Ancestry unless you have one of their combined subscriptions. Also, if a newspaper article is in a newer issue of the newspaper, it might fall under their “Publishers Extra” subscription which is a separate fee. Among other things, this extra fee covers the extra licensing fees required to publish newspaper images that are still under copyright.

Love and Marriage and Death – And Suicide

Sadly, some couples find their lives too difficult to continue living, for a variety of reasons. This phenomenon of the suicide pact is not new. The couple below were engaged to be married yet decided to commit suicide by strychnine ingestion:

Salem Star-Journal, Salem, Ohio, 30 October 1903, p1.
Salem Daily News, Salem, Ohio, 2 Jun 1891, p1.

Suicide pacts are not just for the young. The following older couple decided to commit suicide together because of financial difficulties and ailing health.

Sandusky Star-Journal, 30 October 1903, p1.
Sandusky Star-Journal, Sandusky, Ohio, 30 October 1903, p1.

Probably the most tragic are the murder-suicide incidents. This young man felt that he would never be enough to marry the girl he loved and was so distraught that he felt that the only solution was to kill her and then himself.

The Marion Star, Marion, Ohio, 9 May 1894, p1.
The Marion Star, Marion, Ohio, 9 May 1894, p1.

Sometimes love is so strong and so mind-bending that logical and clear thought seems to escape some. Of course we can’t know for sure what was going on for these couples but their love tied them together even to death.


Love and Marriage and Death – Dying together

I don’t know about you, but it seems like there are a lot of couples who die very closely together. It could be coincidence, it could be they were both equally unhealthy at the end, it could be just my romantic notion that sometimes people are just so in love that they can’t live without each other. Who knows, but here is another example:

Charles Urban died just two weeks before his wife of 30 years:

Mrs. Charles Urban obituary, Advertiser-Tribune, Tiffin, Ohio, 3 Aug 1933, p5 c7.

Love and Marriage and Death – S. C. Dimick

The Marietta (Ohio) Daily Leader, 3 May 1901, p.3.
The Marietta (Ohio) Daily Leader, 3 May 1901, p.3.

Samuel Cook Dimick moved to Wood County, Ohio from Lyme, New Hampshire in the 1870s. He married his wife, Mary Marshall in Lyme in 1860 and they spent the next 41 years building a life together. Their family only brought them 2 children, both sons, one who sadly died at age 19. Mary died at the end of April 1901. According to Samuel’s obituary he died just one week later: “He said that he had planned everything for his wife’s comfort and pleasure and now that she was gone he had no desire to live longer.”

Love and Marriage – Getting a Good Wife

The Bismarck (North Dakota) Tri-Weekly Tribune, 2 April 1878
The Bismarck (North Dakota) Tri-Weekly Tribune, 2 April 1878

“Marriage is not about age; it’s about finding the right person.” Sophia Bush
(Read more at BrainyQuote.)
There’s nothing that says “love” like going to look for a good wife. There must have been a shortage of “good women” in North Dakota in 1878. Well, it wasn’t a state yet, but part of the Dakota Territory in 1878. Statehood for North Dakota occurred in 1889. The population was sparse (and continues to be) for the area. And I imagine there really was a lack of “good women.”

1880 Census, Dakota Territory
1880 Census, Dakota Territory

In the 1880 Dakota Territory census, Phillip W. Lewis is listed with his wife, Mary, and their son, John (age 1). And where are Phillip and Mary from? Virginia. I think Phillip found his good woman.

Love and Marriage and Death – An Introduction

brideandgroomThey are the reason we are here. A man and a woman came together and made babies and from that day forward genealogists everywhere have been having a hey day putting the long forgotten family puzzles back together. Of course we all know that they didn’t have to be married for the baby to be made. However, some of my favorite obituaries concern couples who were married for a long time. I have also enjoyed finding newspaper clippings concerning marriages, finding love, courting, and the like. It makes the names and dates and the imaginings we all get about our ancestors a little more real, a little more fun, a little more like us.

This next series of posts will involve things having to with love, marriage, couples and unfortunately, the inevitable: death.