Monday, January 28, 2013

Newspaper Wedding Reports can be useful

Aldenham Parish Church - Where the wedding took place
I spotted a report of the wedding of Miss Georgianne Royd and George Finch at Aldenham in 1867 because it was one of the earliest references to photographs taken by Frederick Downer of Watford.  However a note of the family and bridesmaids, followed by look up in the census returns, shows how Rev Charles Leopold Royds (vicar of Aldenham in 1851 - 1881 censuses), Rev. Richard Mountford Wood (curate then rector of Aldbury 1851 -1881 censuses) and Rev George Finch (vicar of Leverstock Green 1881 and 1891 censuses) were related.

In practice mentions of weddings and funerals are only very brief before the abolition of the newspaper stamp duty in 1855, and Mr Average and his wife are unlikely to be mentioned, beyound perhaps a simple name and date. After 1855 the number of different papers increased and the number of pages also increased  so there was more space - and this example for 1867 (see actual text) is longer than most from this period. Toward the end of the century papers were still bigger, and competition was significant and, for example, there were very long list of names in connect with the Cox double wedding at Harpenden in 1893 or John Marnham's funeral in 1903. However after the First World War more papers started to include photographs - and lists of attendees tailed off.

Basically, if your ancestor had some standing in the town were a paper was published it is always worth checking local press when you have a date for a marriage or funeral between about 1880 and the First World War. Outside these dated you might be lucky, as in this Aldenham case - but don't be surprised if there is nothing.

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