You Know When They Married – Newspapers Give the Details of What Happened

March 7, 2016  - by 
Marriage Record

I was searching for the marriage certificate for the wedding of Bessie M. Bryant and Henry L. Fitch – 23 November 1912, St. Albans, Vermont.

I went to FamilySearch and found confirmation of their marriage. That site does not have a copy of the actual wedding certificate – but does have a copy of the index card outlining the facts of the marriage. It gives me the essential who, what, when, where and how.

Could I find out more about their wedding – and about them?

Turning to GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, I quickly found their wedding announcement and it brings these facts to life.

It was as if I were attending the wedding.

GenealogyBank St. Alban's Daily Messenger

This newspaper article gives me more of the facts:

  • The middle names of the bride and groom
  • That the wedding took place at her father’s home on Congress Street
  • The wedding was at 8:30 p.m., in the parlor
  • About 35 guests attended – many of them are named along with the cities that they were from
  • The couple was going to live in Springfield, Massachusetts
  • The details of the wedding ceremony, how everyone was dressed, and the reception
  • The best man, maid of honor and others were named
  • The minister was named along with the name of his church

The article also provides these details:

“…the bride and groom standing in the archway composed of asparagus ferns and white chrysanthemums.”

“The bride…was gowned in white chiffon with silver bead trimming, and made over white satin; she wore a veil, fastened with orange blossoms and jasmine, and carried a bouquet of bride roses and lilies-of-the-valley. Her ornament was a string of gold beads, the gift of the groom.”

The details of the wedding go on and on in this article.

And so do the newspaper articles about them.

The bride Bessie was mentioned in dozens more newspaper articles that told of her activities or those of her family.

Only newspapers give these details. GenealogyBank is an essential tool in our search to document the lives of our ancestors.


Image Source #1: FamilySearch

Image Source #2:, Saint Albans Daily Messenger (Saint Albans, Vermont), 25 November 1912, page 7


Thomas Jay Kemp is the Director of Genealogy Products at GenealogyBank. Tom is an internationally known librarian and archivist. He is the author of over 35 genealogy books and hundreds of articles about genealogy and family history. An active genealogist, he has been working on his own family history for over 50 years.

Tom previously served as the Chair of the National Council of Library & Information Associations (Washington, D.C.) and as Library Director of both the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.


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  1. I am looking for a birth record for Vincent Charles Oddo. He was born Feb. 20, 1913 in Philadelphia, Penn. Also would like to know who his father and mother where.

    Thank you,

  2. I don’t understand why Family Search Blogs are being used as advertisement for another for pay site