Things that make you go “hmmm …” — 10 Comments

  1. In the Netherlands, being married sometimes entitled you to benefits, like higher pay while serving in the military.I know of Catholic people who waited a couple of years to get married so they could save money for a big wedding. The civil ceremony did not “count” in their eyes but dud bring in some extra money.

  2. Oh, now that’s an angle I hadn’t considered, Yvette. I’ll have to check to see if he was in the military – I don’t think he was (he is listed as a bricklayer on pretty much all the census records I have, and not shown as a veteran on the 1930 census), but it doesn’t hurt to look, right? They also could have done it to save money or get some other benefit at the time – I’ll have to look into that too. Thanks!

  3. Similar thing with one of my sisters. He was in military about to be sent overseas. They eloped to Okla at the end of June. Church wedding was in August, was in the planning stage in June. Turns out if they weren’t married 90 days before he was shipped out she couldn’t go with him. They made the 90 day mark and she got to go with him. Didn’t know about the elopement until they were divorced.
    This also explained several of their actions and why she wasn’t jumping up and down over wedding preparations in between the civil and church weddings.
    They may have also gone against family wishes and gotten married. Then the family came around and wanted the church wedding to ‘make it right’/

  4. I’ve found several French Catholic couples on my husband’s side of the family being married by a JP. In their case, I think it was because they were in a more sparsely populated area (rural western OH in the mid 19th century), and the priests traveled all over, so you may have to wait a fairly long time if you wanted a church wedding.

    • I hadn’t considered that either, Emily. While Camden, NJ isn’t exactly rural, I’m not sure if the priest was always there either. My money is still on a “secret” wedding preceding the church wedding. I just have to figure out why.

  5. I’ve known Catholic people who married non-Catholics and had two ceremonies, one in the Catholic church and another following their spouse’s preference, either in another church or with a JP.

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  7. Wasn’t the JP in Gloucester City and the church in Camden? Does one of them have a Gloucester connection? Otherwise, I’d assume elopement until proven otherwise.

    • I’ll consider that, Claire, but Gloucester City is only a few miles from Camden, so it could just be a matter of convenience. Both of them lived in Camden, and it could be that was the only JP available at the time. I’m going to do some deeper digging (when I have time) and see if I can find mentions of anymore children … that may answer the question about the JP … especially if there was a child born between May and December.

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