Check Local Newspapers for Info on Pre-Wedding

Using your local hometown newspapers have so many great potentials for family history information. One major area overlooked are the many events before a family wedding. Yes, you want the newspaper to announce and maybe even a wedding photo of the bride and groom but there is also much to be learned if you can locate articles in reference to the couple before a wedding.

Many times you can find an article where both individuals are written about for some charity work, their jobs, special visitors, or clubs and organizations they belong to. Then for sure an article or announcement of when the couple became engaged. You may have no idea of that date. You may need to search six months, a year or a couple years back from the actual wedding day. 

As you get closer to a wedding date, there will be articles about parties given for the couple, and bridal showers. Include checking another town if one of the couple’s family is from another location, a different county or state.

As you search of course check the bride’s maiden name, search using the groom’s initials, plus various spellings of surnames. Also, do a search using the bridge’s father’s full name and the groom’s father’s full name. This is especially important if the father’s surname is different than the bride or groom. Alos look for engagement and alter wedding articles with the surnames and dash between the two names. If it is the engagement the bride’s surname and a dash then the groom’s surname. For the wedding, it is the opposite. Example: Wilson-Harrison.

You need to be familiar with the various ‘words’ in reference to marriages that a newspaper may have used so you don’t overlook an article. There is: bachelor, betrothal, bridegroom, ceremony, civil ceremony, dowry, elope, engaged, fiance, groomsmen, intentions, maid of honor, marriage license, nuptials, proposal, spinster, trousseau, veil, vows, and wedding party.

Even if a couple eloped, one or both families would have something placed in their local newspapers so the community knew the couple was legally married

There are many online newspaper subscription services ( and Newspapers. Archive) but you can also check with the local family hometown county genealogical society or the public library for any vintage newspapers. Some announcements in the newspaper are short and others can be filled with all types of details, dates and names.

Photos: an Engaged couple in 1820s; Wedding announcement 1910;  Lengthy engagement announcement May 1915 in Florida;  and Wedding ceremony in 1906.

Related Blogs:

Two Families—A Wedding

Details Missed on Marriage Records

Hometown Newspapers

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