Witness to Events Forty Years Ago

Military widow’s pension application files often contain evidence regarding their marriage to the soldier. If the widow is fortunate, she has (or can easily get) a certified copy of her marriage record. In other cases, the widow may have to rely on testimony of individuals who were present at her wedding.

If the marriage took place forty years before the statement and a significant distance from where the widow resided, ask yourself:

  • Why was this person at the wedding–were they a relative?
  • How did the widow find this person all these years later–did they keep in touch?
  • Are they still living near each other (but in a different state) all these years later. Why?

It’s great when a deposition or affidavit from a witness provides evidence of your ancestor’s date and place of marriage–or even their maiden name. But don’t let your excitement over locating that information cause you to overlook another potentially big clue: the witness themselves.