298 Years Ago Today

On August 10, 1715, two hundred and ninety-eight years ago today, John Stearns (ca. 1692-1765) and Deliverance Bigelow (1695-1762), my 7th great grandparents, were married in Watertown, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts.

Marriage Record of John Stearns and Deliverance Bigelow
Marriage Record of John Stearns and Deliverance Bigelow

A transcription of the marriage record above reads as follows: “John Stearns and Deliverance Biglow Both of Watertown were joined in Marriag August of 10th 1715 by Mr. Sammuel Argier Minister in Watertown.”

Following their marriage, John and Deliverance remained in Watertown for a few years, where their first two children were born. By about 1720, they relocated to Worcester, Worcester Co., Massachusetts, where they had at least nine more children.

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80 Years Ago Today

On July 18, 1933, eighty years ago today, Harry Carl Hamilton (1891-1960) and Goldia “Goldie” Mae Worthington (1912-2006), my maternal great grandparents, were married in Boone Co., Arkansas.

Marriage Record of Harry C. Hamilton and Goldie M. Worthington
Marriage Record of Harry C. Hamilton and Goldie M. Worthington

An interesting item found on the record for their marriage (shown above) is the fact that Harry claimed he was 38 years old, which would have made his birth year 1895, when he was actually 42 years old, being born in 1891. Although the difference in his real and reported ages is not that significant, perhaps a 38 year old marrying a 21 year old sounded a little better to them (or just Harry) than a 42 year old marrying a 21 year old. It is also possible that Harry made the change in order to prevent people from his past tracking him down, something he wanted to avoid by all oral accounts.

Following their marriage Harry and Goldie lived in Harrison, Boone Co., Arkansas, where they had the first two of their seven children. In about 1941, Harry relocated his family to Oklahoma, where they had their remaining children.

180 Years Ago Today

On April 11, 1833, one hundred and eighty years ago, Thomas McLaughlin (1809-1891) and Margaret Wilson (1812-1891), my 5th great grandparents, were married in Knox Co., Ohio. Following their marriage, Thomas and Margaret relocated to Licking Co., Ohio, where they had nine children.

Marriage Record for Thomas McLaughlin and Margaret Wilson, 1833
Marriage Record for Thomas McLaughlin and Margaret Wilson, 1833

Record Transcription: “I do hereby certify that on the 11th day of April AD 1833 by virtue of a license from the clerk of the Court of Common Pleas of the County of Knox Thomas McLaughlin and wife Margaret Wilson were legally joined together in marriage by Me a Justice of the Peace in and for said County given under my hand Jacob Spurry, J. P.”

Thomas McLaughlin (1809-1891) and Margaret Wilson (1812-1891) were the grandparents of Eva Flora McLaughlin (1863-1899), who married Samuel L. Beeney (1857-1929). Eva and Samuel were the parents of George Benton Beeney (1890-1970), the biological father of my paternal great grandmother, Maxine Elizabeth (Davis-Kernan) Smith (1912-1992).

340 Years Ago Today

On April 6, 1673, three hundred and forty years ago today, John Lapham (ca. 1635-1710), my 8th great grandfather, married Mary Mann (ca. 1640-1712), the daughter of William Mann (ca. 1610-1650) and Frances Hopkins (1614-1699), at the Friend’s Meeting House in Newport, Providence, Rhode Island.

A page from Aldridge's Laphams in America (1953) showing the marriage date of John Lapham and Mary Mann.
A page from Aldridge’s Laphams in America (1953) showing the marriage date of John Lapham and Mary Mann.

Sources: Numerous sources show this date as the marriage date fo John Lapham and Mary Mann, including New England Marriages Prior to 1700 by Clarence A. Torrey and Elizabeth P. Bentley (Genealogical Publishing Company, 1985), The New England Historical & Genealogical Register and Antiquarian Journal, Vol. 18 (S.G. Drake, 1864), and Laphams in America (1953) by Bertha Bortle Beal Aldridge. They all, it should be noted, seem to be based on records of the Society of Friends. However, the original records of Newport were completely destroyed during the American Revolutionary War.

Fearless Females Challenge: March 5 – How They Met

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month.

Prompt for March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

Although I do known how my parents met, this blog is focused on the ancestries of my grandparents. I will instead talk about how my grandparents met.

My paternal grandparents, William Kernan (LIVING) and Margaret Ann Lapham (1936-2004), were married in 1952. According to my grandfather, they met almost two years prior to their marriage, when Margaret was babysitting with one of her cousins, Carol Morgan. Knowing that a friend of her boyfriend was single, Carol got her boyfriend to bring his friend, William, over to the home they were babysitting at, and he introduced William to Margaret. It was a blind date set up. Soon after, they began dating each other and eventually realized that they were meant to spend their lives together—it was, as my grandfather recalls, “love at first sight.”

My maternal grandparents, Harry “Lee” Hamilton (LIVING) and Alberta Sebok (LIVING), were married in 1954. According to my grandmother, they meet when one of her friends cancelled a movie date with Lee, which he found out about after arriving at her house. Alberta was there visiting her friend, and she, not wanting to face Lee, told her to go instead. Lee agreed. Following this, the two dated some, but Lee was serving in the U.S. Navy and the Korean War had already begun. Before shipping out, Lee asked her, while at a dance, to marry him when he got back. When he got back, the two got married.

Photo of Lee and Alberta Hamilton, taken in 1954 in front of Lee's ship
Photo of Lee and Alberta Hamilton, taken in 1954 in front of Lee’s ship

Although I do not know how each of my great grandparents met, I do know how one set of maternal great grandparents did. The parents of my maternal grandmother, Albert Sebok (1903-1968) and Irene Vera Balla (1913-2006), were both living in different states prior to when they first met–Albert in California and Irene in Texas. Irene’s father, Alexander Balla (1886-1950), wanted his children (particularly his daughters) to marry Hungarians. He even went to the extreme of advertising that he had eligible daughters, placing ads in local newspapers and advertising it on a billboard. When Irene was ready to start looking for a husband, her father was contacted by one of his sisters, Zsophia, who was living in California with her family. Her husband, Peter Sabo, worked for the railroad, and he worked with a single Hungarian man, Albert, who was looking for a wife. Zsophia asked her brother to send a photo of Irene so Albert could see what she looked like. They sent the photograph below. Albert liked what he saw and wanted to meet her. So, Irene went to California to stay with her aunt and uncle, at whose home she met Albert. The two began dating, and where married soon after (on June 17, 1935 in Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Co., California). The photo that caught Albert’s attention always made my great grandmother smile, so much so she kept it for the rest of her life.

Irene Balla, 1930s
Irene Balla, 1930s

Fearless Females Challenge: March 4 – Marriage Records

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month.

Prompt for March 4 — Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.

I have marriage records for both my paternal and maternal grandparents. However, I currently only have details about and some photographs of the wedding day for my paternal grandparents.

My paternal grandparents, William Kernan (LIVING) and Margaret Ann Lapham (1936-2004), were married on June 28, 1952 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon.

Marriage Certificate of William and Margaret Kernan
Marriage Certificate of William and Margaret Kernan

Their wedding was reported in The Milwaukie Review,  a local paper in Oregon. The service was held at St. Peter’s in the company of family and friends, and was officiated by Rev. Patrick J. Dooley. Margaret was given away by Willard Graber, her stepfather. She wore, the article states, “a white slipper satin gown with two panels of lace down the front.” Her bouquet was of white orchids, carried upon a white prayer book. The maid of honor was Gloria (Lapham) Graber, Margaret’s older sister. Her bridesmaids were Deldalyn Kreisman, William’s sister, and Carol Morgan, her cousin. William’s best man was Robert Kreisman, his brother-in-law. The ushers were Donald Rowlands, William’s stepbrother, and Calvin Wellin, Margaret’s uncle.

Article about their wedding (1952)
Newspaper clipping about William and Margaret Kernan’s marriage, 1952
Group Photo from the Wedding
Newspaper clipping of the group photo taken at the wedding of William and Margaret Kernan, 1952

My maternal grandparents, Harry “Lee” Hamitlon (LIVING) and Alberta Sebok (LIVING), were married on January 24, 1954 in Las Vegas, Clark Co., Nevada. The ceremony was officiated by John V. Lytle, Justice of the Peace of Las Vegas, Nevada. I currently do not have any real details about the wedding day itself or any photographs from the wedding. They were divorced in 1975 in Orange Co., California.

Marriage Certificate of Lee and Alberta Hamilton
Marriage Certificate of Lee and Alberta Hamilton
Photo of Lee and Alberta Hamilton, taken around the time they were married
Photo of Lee and Alberta Hamilton, taken around the time they were married

257 Years Ago Today

On February 28, 1756, two hundred and fifty-seven years ago today, Solomon Lapham (1730-1800) and Sylvia (Lapham) Whipple (1731-1805), my 6th great grandparents, were married, it is claimed, in Dartmouth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts.

Marriage Record for Solomon Lapham and Sylvia (Lapham) Whipple
Marriage Record for Solomon Lapham and Sylvia (Lapham) Whipple

Although it is widely accepted and published as their marriage date in various publications regarding the Lapham family, the above record, it is worth pointing out, states that February 28, 1756 was the date for which Solomon and Sylvia entered their “intentions of marriage.” I have not yet located the actual marriage record, nor have I found any proof that they were actually married on this same date. It is my belief that this date is maintained as their marriage date because this is a case in which only a marriage intention exists to prove that their union took place. (To read about marriage intentions, see the entry on the subject in the Encyclopedia of Genealogy.)

It should also be noted that although the above marriage record refers to her as “Silvia Whipple,” she was in fact Sylvia (Lapham) Whipple, being first married to Ephraim Whipple (ca. 1725-?). The nature of how her marriage to Ephraim ended remains something of a mystery, as only sketchy information has been found. Some accounts, including Bertha Bortle Beal Aldridge’s Laphams in America (1953), claim that Sylvia and Ephraim were divorced and that Ephraim also went on to marry a second time (to Priscilla Appleby), while others claim that Sylvia was Ephraim’s widow at the time of her marriage to Solomon. No definitive death date appears to have been found for Ephraim Whipple as of yet, nor has a marriage (or marriage intention) record for a second marriage for him been found.

Given that her maiden name is Lapham, she and Solomon were related. Research shows that Sylvia was Solomon’s 1st cousin, 1x removed, with both being descendants of John Lapham (1635-1710) and Mary Mann (1640-1712). Sylvia was John and Mary’s great granddaughter (through their son John, and his son Thomas), while Solomon was their grandson (through their son Nicholas).

172 Years Ago Today

On December 27, 1840, one hundred and seventy-two years ago today, Nils Larsson Stålberg (1810-1889), the son of Lars Larsson (1767-1842) and Maria Olofsdotter (1774-1845), married Maria Lisa Andersdotter (1821-?), the daughter of Anders Mattson Trast (?-?) and Elisabet Hjerpe (1793-?), in Sunne, Värmland Co., Värmland Province, Sweden.

Marriage Record for Nils Larsson Stålberg and Maria Lisa Andersdotter, 1840
Marriage Record for Nils Larsson Stålberg and Maria Lisa Andersdotter, 1840

Nils and Maria are my 5th great grandparents, being the parents of Lars Magnus Nilsson Stålberg (1842-?), who was the father of Anna Elizabeth Stålberg (1869-1918), who was the mother of Wilhelm Percy Wellin (1895-1977), who was the father of Alice Lucretia Wellin (1916-1985), who married Theodore Alexander Lapham (1910-1955) and was the mother of Margaret Ann Lapham (1936-2004), who married William Kernan (LIVING) and was my paternal grandmother.

137 Years Ago Today

On December 21, 1875, one hundred and thirty-seven years ago today, Theodore Frelinghuysen Stearns (1844-1930) married Anna Eliza Backer (1854-1919) before a Justice of the Peace in Alameda Co., California. Both were living in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland in Alameda Co., California.

tfstearns-aebacker-marriage-cert1875
Marriage Certificate of Theodore Stearns and Anna Backer

Following their marriage, Theodore and Anna moved to Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon, where they four children between 1885 and 1891: Maudena, Vena, Theodore, and Curtis. Theodore and Anna’s marriage did not last much longer after 1891. Theodore, according to statements Anna made when she filed for divorce, “willfully and without cause deserted [Anna Stearns] on October 2, 1901; and has ever since remained away from [her], and that [he] treated [her] with cruelty and inhumanity, thereby rendering [her] life burdensome.” Anna’s request for a divorce was granted, and their marriage was “dissolved” on November 7, 1902. Both Anna and Theodore remarried following their divorce.

Photo of Theodore and Anna Stearns in Portland, Oregon
Photo of Theodore and Anna Stearns in Portland, Oregon

Theodore Frelinghuysen Stearns (1844-1930) and Anna Eliza Backer (1854-1919) are my 3rd great grandparents, and were the parents of Maudena Elizabeth Stearns (1885-1936) who married George Edward Kernan (1884-1960).

105 Years Ago Today

Alexander & Julia Balla marriage record

On September 9, 1907, one hundred and five years ago today, Alexander Balla (1886-1950) and Julia Molnar (1885-1962), my 2nd great grandparents, were married in Brooklyn Borough, New York City, Kings Co., New York.

Both Alexander and Julia were born in Eszény, Hungary (now Eseny, Romania). Julia came to the United States in 1902, joining her sister to work as a maid for a family in New York. Alexander came to the United States in about 1904, working aboard the ship to pay for passage. According to oral family history, Alexander and Julia knew each other in Eszény, and were reunited in New York while attending a Hungarian church social in Brooklyn. Oral family history adds that once they were engaged, the family that Julia worked for paid for their wedding because Julia had become so close to the family.

Alexander & Julia Balla later in Life

Following their marriage, they remained in Brooklyn briefly before moving to Rochester, Buffalo, and then LeRoy, New York, where Alexander and Julia ran a boarding house. Following the birth of their fifth child, they moved their family to Pineland, Sabine Co., Texas, where Alexander was a farmer and worked for the railroad in the manufacture of railroad ties. Alexander and Julia had ten children together, eight of which lived to adulthood.

Alexander Balla (1886-1950) and Julia Molnar (1885-1962) were the parents of Irene Vera Balla (1913-2006), my maternal great grandmother, who married Albert Sebok (1903-1968).