Were the Witnesses to the Marriage an Unmarried Couple?

If there are two witnesses to a marriage and you can “figure out” who one of the witnesses is, consider the possibility that the other witness was the significant other of the first witness. Or the other witness could just be a friend of the couple of which you are unaware.

6 thoughts on “Were the Witnesses to the Marriage an Unmarried Couple?

  1. Jade

    Sometimes there were lots of witnesses, possibly representing a host of neighbors or members of a congregation. I have a pastor’s ledger wherein marriage witnesses were often members of the officiator’s family. There really are many possibilities.

    Reply
    1. michaeljohnneill Post author

      That’s true. It depends partially on whether it was a church wedding or a civil ceremony as well.

      Reply
      1. Jade

        Folks should not assume that marriage by a pastor or Elder was a church wedding in the sense of taking place ~in~ a church, even when something is entered in a church’s or congregation’s official records. Circuit riders could perform marriages in homes or school buildings on their routes, and then make entries in the record book for the next meeting-house they came to. This can be confusing for the records-seeker (and can be very confusing in such places as the Minisink, when marriages or baptisms might be recorded in places where the participants were not actually residing).

        As in all things genealogical, much caution should be brought to bear on conclusions.

        Reply
        1. michaeljohnneill Post author

          This is true. I replied too quickly and didn’t read my response well enough before hitting “submit.” Where I said “church wedding” I should have said “religious ceremony.”

          In some cases, licenses may make reference to the specific location where the marriage took place (eg. “home of bride’s parents), but often there is no such specific reference.

          Reply
  2. Doris Friedl

    Mom/Dad’s wedding. His brother, her sister were witnesses. Another sister and an unknown “friend – I assume” of Dad’s were also in the wedding party. Can’t find out who he is. My Dad had two other brothers at that time but neither of them look like the guy in the picture. (Varick-Friedl)

    Reply
  3. Carole Hammond

    Old Quaker records show the names of everyone who attended church the day that the couple stood up during the church service and recited their vows.

    Reply

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