Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Which Day Did your Ancestors Get Married?

I decided to look up the day of the week on which each of my ancestors got married and this has added some interesting background and questions to my family story.

None of my ancestors (at least those for whom I know wedding dates) were married on a Saturday, the day I have always thought of as a traditional day to be married.

My grandparents were married 15 Aug 1906, a Wednesday. My grandfather had his own shoemaker shop in NJ and so I wonder why he would have been married on a workday. I find it an intriguing question.

My great-grandparents, farmers in Hungary, were married on 19 Jun 1870, a Sunday. Now this makes sense as these farmers worked their fields every day except Sunday, the day they attended church. The only surprise to me is that they were married in June before the harvest was in, but this is probably more a matter of when the priest was available.

My husband's great-grandparents were married in Belfast, Ireland, on 26 Dec 1865, a Tuesday and also Boxing Day. I know that Boxing Day became an official holiday during the reign of Queen Victoria, but I'm not aware if there is any significance to being married on Boxing Day other than it might have been a day off from work for the couple.

Back to the U.S.

My husband's grandparents were married on a Wednesday in 1901 in Pennsylvania. He worked for the railroad.

Another of my great-grandparents were married in Pennsylvania on 21 Apr 1889, a Sunday. My great-grandfather worked in a factory when the work week was 6 days long. Sunday was his only day off from work.

As I kept checking the wedding dates of our U.S ancestors, I find that all in my family tree in the 1800's were married on a Wednesday with the exception of two couples on Tuesday and one on Sunday. None on Saturday.

Were most people married on a Wednesday in the 1800's? Did everyone already know this but me? Or is my family unusual? Did this Victorian poem about weddings really reflect popular thinking of the time?

"Monday for wealth
Tuesday for health
Wednesday-the best day of all!
Thursday for crosses
Friday for losses
Saturday-no luck at all!"

If you want to learn the day on which your ancestors were married so that you too can ponder why your ancestors married on the day they did, you can use the Day of the Week Calculator .

The calculator used the Gregorian calendar so be aware of when the calendar changed from the Julian to Gregorian calendar in the country for which you are performing the calculation.

You may also start wondering as to why your ancestors chose the day they did for a wedding day, how difficult it must have been to get married on a work day and how difficult it may for others to attend the ceremony.

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