Besides seeing the unusual aspect of the name ‘Valentine’ as a given or surname in genealogy, this February holiday is also a great opportunity to learn a little bit more about any family ancestors or relatives who were born or married on or near Valentine’s Day. If you see a couple who married around that date, it was more than likely related to the holiday. One couple in 1917 married on February 10th, but it was during a pre-Valentine’s Day party held at a friend’s house. The couple decided to surprise all their friends by arranging for a minister to be at the party and who then performed the wedding. This party turned out to be an extra special celebration for everyone.
Recheck any family heirlooms, documents, records or letters that might relate either to a February wedding, an engagement or a baby born on that date. Some famous people born on Valentine’s Day include Florence Henderson, the actress; Jack Benny, the comedian and John Barrymore, the stage actor. Looking into your own family lineage can make for an intriguing investigation.
Look at the traditional Valentine’s Day symbols like ribbon placed on cards, flowers and packages. This custom started in the European Middle Ages when the royal knights were given a ribbon from their sweetheart for good luck going into a tournament. Related is the use of lace as a decoration which when translated from the Latin language means to snare. A true lover’s knot was very popular in England and America in the 18th and 19th century. This was made with two cords knotted together with a single knot in the center. These items just might be on some cards, journals or letters of some ancestors.
If you are the family history researcher, yet you always manage to convince your better half to go along with you to the library, family history center, cemeteries or courthouses; then Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show your appreciate. If your spouse is looking for any suggestions of a Valentine gift for you, drop a strong hint of acquiring a database subscription you may not have such to Ancestry.com; Newspaper Archives.com; Find My Past (U. K.); OneGreatFamily or WorldVitalRecords.com
If an aunt, uncle, grandparents or parents are available to interview, this holiday is a great time to get them to reminisce about their school days and what was done when they were children on Valentine’s Day. Remember how the exchanging of Valentine cards with classmates was such a big thing? Yet, as it turns out it was the teachers who received the most Valentines.