Thursday, March 13, 2014

Marriage Banns

Learning About Marriage Banns 

The tradition of Marriage Banns came to the New World from religious practice in countries of the Old World.

 When I attended a mock ceremony at a (Denison-Gallup) family reunion a few years ago, I noticed that the notice of this marriage was posted on a pole outside the tent. I wondered how many people noticed it so I took a photo of it and blogged about it. It amazes me that it is my MOST read blog post. As of today, more than nine hundred people have read it even though there was no photo of a gravestone included.

In my genealogical research and reading books about certain types of records, I have come to understand that it may not be possible to find a record of marriage but you might find a record of banns.  Marriage banns are NOT evidence that a marriage took place. They are separate from an actual marriage record.

Title Page (page 1) of Marriage Banns for the Parish of St. Chad in Saddleworth (

In my recent travels, I stumbled over a new group of databases from the area of Manchester, England. This group of records have wonderful images attached and on the main page of this group of databases ( calls them "data collections") is a resource of explanation of what is contained in these databases. From now on, I will spend more time reading these explanations which were minimal in the past when I did so much of my research. Going back over and over is hard to do.

The database "Manchester, England, Marriages and Banns 1754-1930" gave me BOTH the banns and the marriage of my ancestors, John Scholfield and his wife Hannah Fox who are buried in the Raymond Hill Cemetery in Connecticut.

Photos by Brian Zoldak, used with permission
What I knew about this couple was from a undated, not sourced newspaper clipping (transcription) found in my family Bible. 

With the great help of others, I have researched this couple from their arrival in New England down to me. 

Because, John and his brother Arthur, came to build the first woolen mill in America, they are "famous" and that makes it easy to find out more about them. If only the spelling of the name Schofield had been consistent, they would have been a whole lot less trouble.

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