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11 August 2013

How Did They Meet?

While often we really do not know how our marrying ancestors met, it can sometimes be a helpful "brick wall breaking" exercise to think about possible ways they did meet? Were their parents neighbors? Did they meet at church? Did they meet at school? Did someone travel a distance for a temporary job? Was one of them in the military?

Even if you really have "no way of knowing," just thinking about possible scenarios may get the genealogical wheels turning in your head.


  1. Looking at some of my Belgian ancestors I've learned that the longer distance one may go to find a spouse the higher 'class' or simply richer the person may be. Journaliers (day-laborers), farmers, and craftsmen more often would find their spouses in the same or nearby communes. Innkeepers, mayors, or just plain noblemen were more prone to cross political boundaries to find their spouses.

    Then there was the one pair of immigrant Belgians who came from opposite ends of the class spectrum. He was a lawyer and perhaps a notary; she was a maid. But then their story became part of the family lore as she was the maid in his father's household.

  2. Yesterday, I went to the town where my grandparents met. It's a small town of about 800 in the Oregon high desert country. My grandfather came from Sweden to live with his newly divorced sister, and my grandmother's brother lived in the same small town. Was she just visiting? Or did my great uncle play matchmaker? I have no idea why she was there, but it sure was fun walking around the town yesterday!