Monday, January 23, 2012

23 January 1845: Marriage & Death Announcements from Around the State

On this day, the following marriage and death announcements appeared in the Southern Banner:

(click on image to enlarge)

The announcements are not only covering local marriages and deaths, but from all around Georgia. A smaller population, and the need to fill all the space in each week's paper, made publishing such notices a normal practice by many early newspapers. 

The wide scope of such announcements is also why we advise researchers not to limit themselves to the newspapers from the city or county where their family lived. Many counties did not have their own newspaper in the 1800s in Georgia, and even those that did have gaps in their collections, have not been abstracted or digitized, or maybe were lost entirely over time. 

The dates for the deaths are from January ("instant" or "inst" indicates the same month as published), while the marriages are from both January and December ("ultimo" or "ult" indicates the previous month). 

The marriages, as was the custom at the time and often today, were held in the bride's home county. This tradition makes such announcements an important part of tracking where to look for marriage certificates and maternal lines, especially when the county where your family "has always lived" has few of the vital records you would expect to find. 

Two people from "Clark" county with the last name of "Lester" were married on the same Thursday. Much like the Carlton siblings two years earlier, it is possible this brother and sister married on the same day. Because these couples were wed in 1845, we can use the 1850 United States Census to peek in on their lives just a few years later. 

In 1850, Josiah (now 26) and Emily (now 23) Lester were living in High Shoals with their three-year-old daugher Elizabeth J. and one-year-old daughter Regina E.; Josiah Daniell (now 23) and his wife Elizabeth Susan (now 21) are living in Watkinsville with their three-year-old son James W. and one-year-old son Young H. The name of the younger son could indicate that the family was Methodist (if the child was named for Young L. G. Harris).

Though it is difficult to find Absalom Gray in the 1850 Census, in 1860, he is now 56 years old and still living in Griffin, with a different wife, 45-year-old Mary A. Gray. The two children in the house, Mary J. E. Gray (21 years old) and Francis A. Gray (18 years old) would have been born to Sarah before her death.

It's worth your time to check several papers when trying to find reference to an ancestor or that maternal line that seems to have just disappeared into the past. 

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