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Happy 157th!

Will anyone remember to celebrate your 157th wedding anniversary? It may seem a silly thought, but if it wasn’t for this particular marriage, I wouldn’t be here. So I certainly take a moment to celebrate.

In yesterday’s mail I received an eagerly anticipated marriage record– it is a photocopy the County Register documenting that my great-great-grandfather Lorenzo Hennagin and Nancy King were joined in marriage in Carroll County, Illinois on April 15th, 1854.

(I sooo wanted to be writing this post a few days ago.)

As with many of these old register records, the captured information is minimal–in addition to the names and date, the only non-civil information is that the “Authority” given to wed was with the consent of the bride’s father, given that the bride was around 14 years old at the time (he was about 22).

(I’m pretty sure, although this is purely speculative, that she was the sister of a fellow that married one of Lorenzo’s cousins.)

So, in addition to receiving a nice piece of documentation for the genealogical collection, this paper is also a copy of the oldest vital record in my possession so far. I recognize that by most standards this record isn’t that old, but given the prohibitive costs typically involved in procuring such documents, I’m rather far behind on securing them.

Which is why I would like to take a moment to champion the Illinois Regional Archives Deposit System, or IRAD. In addition to the birth, marriage, and death certificates available in the state, it contains access information to many court, land, and probate records. While you won’t be able to search for a record directly, it will point you to the repository that holds them. And fortunately, those repositories (in my case, Northern Illinois University’s Regional History Center) are staffed by a nice group of volunteers (i.e., graduate students) willing to perform a short search for you for free on a particular record. They even sent me the copy above for free!

So, I close with another nod to my great(x2) grandparents and to IRAD, and if anyone out there has a John Rinewalt and Margaret Meiller from the same Carroll County in their tree, give IRAD a look, as your record shares a page with mine.


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