Thursday, March 18, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Town Marriage Records

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to "show-and-tell" some of the treasures found in the papers of my parents and their families. I scanned some of these papers in the February Scanfest, and recently converted some of them to JPG format.

When I wrote to the Westminster, Massachusetts Town Clerk to obtain birth, marriage and death records for some of my Seaver ancestors, they sent two pages of information. The first was the "Certificate of Marriage" that extracts the information from the original town record, Here is the certificate received for the marriage of Benjamin Sever (1791-1825) to Abigail Gates (1797-1867) in 1817:

Here is a photocopy of the page from the Westminster town record book for this marriage (the specific marriage of Benjamin Sever and Abigail Gates is framed in light blue):

Note that two dates are provided in the town records. The first is the notice of the Intentions to marry (15 February 1817) and the second date is the actual date of marriage reported to the town clerk (2 March 1817). Unfortunately, the record does not name the parents of the bride and groom, or their birthplaces.

While the extracted data on the marriage certificate is considered sufficient for heritage and lineage society membership, it is really a derivative source. The original source is the town record book entries.


Sanjay Maharaj said...

I got married 4 years ago and I was comparing my marriage certificate to the one you have posted. What stirkes me is that the two certificates are similar in style and layout.Somethings never change.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

Yes, Sanjay, I was married in Massachusetts 25 years ago, and the certificate hasn't changed at all! Thanks for posting this Randy, and for reminding us of the importance of looking at the original record!