Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A marriage license isn't a marriage return

Ol' Myrt's maternal grandparents were divorced. I only remember seeing Lowell Simpson FROMAN one time in my life. When we lived on the house on Perkins Lane in Seattle, he came to visit. I remember him sitting on a black and yellow folding chair in our downstairs family room, though I couldn't have been more than five at the time.

Grandma Frances Irene GOERING was close to us, and we stayed in contact even after our move from Seattle to Rockville, Maryland in 1962. Grandma never spoke of her first husband. For us kids, grampa on that side was Dana "Mike" A. McDonnell, whom she married after meeting at Alkai Point one hot summer day. He stepped up to protect her from rabble-rousing boys who were splashing around in close proximity. I attended the guest book at their wedding, held at our parents' home, then on 55th in the Laurelhurst area, on the lake east of the University district. But I digress.

Evidence of my mother's parents was found in my mother's genealogy papers with a listing of 25 February 1925 as the wedding date. I always listed the location as "of Wenatchee, Chelan, Washington" since the 1930 US federal census enumerates them there and it is the earliest reference I had to date of them as a couple. Lower [Lowell] S. FROMAN is listed as head of household, with Frances his wife, and my mother as his 18 month old daughter. Looking for marriage records in Lowell and Frances' birth places proved fruitless.
(Platte County, Missouri and Lucas County, Iowa, respectively.)

Imagine my surprise when the little "turning leaf" on my semi-private online Family Tree at indicated a possible match with a marriage license (shown above) in a collection titled Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2007. Original data: Missouri Marriage Records. Jefferson City, MO, USA: Missouri State Archives. Microfilm. Note the date on the marriage license is the 9th of February 1925. Their marriage was reported in my mother's circa 1951 compiled genealogy to have taken place on the 25th.

I wonder just how many marriage licenses failed to be used, what with runaway brides, cold feet and all that?

This document at Ancestry only lists my unusually-named grandparents as receiving a license to marry, but does not prove a marriage took place.

I clicked to turn the page at the ancestry site, and did not find a place on any form where the clerk could subsequently enter the marriage date info as provided by the minister or justice of the peace, a typical marriage return. Apparently, Jackson County, Missouri keeps those in a different record group.

Other states have a form with the license on top, and room for the marriage return data to be included on the bottom once the clerk receives the info after the ceremony. That sort of ammended entry would prove a marriage took place.

For me, I at least know to look at other Jackson County, Missouri marriage records for evidence the marriage did indeed take place following the issuance of this license.

Failing to locate such a document, another avenue would be to look at King County, Washington divorce records, as surely the date and place of the marriage would appear in the file.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

1 comment:

  1. months ago I tried to tell you that Jackson county marriage records are online directly from the county and you can see the first page that is omitted in Ancestry's records!!