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Troy
19 October 2006, 09:31 AM
Hi---

I am in the process of entering a lot of family data from a relative and have noticed that there are a lot of weddings on-or-near Christmas day; in the 1800 years primarily).

I am curious as to if there is a "history" behind this, or was it simply that more of the family was together at or on Christmas day making the wedding more of a family event than it would have been at some other date.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated to help me more fully understand our family's history.

Thanks.

Troy---

Bob Goode
19 October 2006, 01:26 PM
Hi---

I am in the process of entering a lot of family data from a relative and have noticed that there are a lot of weddings on-or-near Christmas day; in the 1800 years primarily).

I am curious as to if there is a "history" behind this, or was it simply that more of the family was together at or on Christmas day making the wedding more of a family event than it would have been at some other date.

Troy---

Hi Troy,

My ancestors also had many wedding dates around Christmas but not necessarily on Dec. 25. I have tried to find a documented source on possible reasons, but only have read or had discussions with family and friends that since people probably gathered together, it was more suitable to wed. The time period your mention, most of my ancestors lived in rural areas. I am not sure if Christmas weddings would be more prevelant in my family history if they lived in cities.

It would be interesting to read if anyone has read, from a researched source such as a social history, reasons for weddings on or around Christmas.

Otherwise, I think a good ol common sense approach that everyone gathered together is the most logical reason.

Bob

Troy
19 October 2006, 01:33 PM
Thanks for the response Bob.

Maybe we will hear from others on this interesting topic....hope so.

Troy---

marnen
19 October 2006, 01:46 PM
My parents married on 30 December. Christmas wasn't directly significant (both sides of my family are Jewish), but they did choose the date since my mother was on winter break from medical school. I believe that tax-year considerations may also have played a part in choosing to have the wedding in December, not January; I'm not sure.

Troy
19 October 2006, 03:26 PM
Marnen---

Thanks for the interesting information on the subject.

Troy---

Bob Goode
19 October 2006, 04:07 PM
Addendums to my previous post

Marnen's comment is relevant to today's society, while I am not sure about the tax implications, but with travel being so much more accessible and rapid, I can see individuals picking college breaks, in so much as I was married over spring break. (ahh-the 1960's) But these are anecdotal situations for both Marnen and myself and are contemporary.

However, the initial point of Troy's post related to the 1800's. I just did a search in my Reunion file on wedding dates and the 1900's tend to have very random dates associated with weddings (alas, more in June), while the 1800's did have many more dates around Christmas. As stated earlier, this was true in rural settings. I did not have any ancestors (that I know of) in large cities during that time period.

So, did Troy and myself, come across a fairly common event in the 1800's, and did the practice of marrying in late December become less common, and more random, as we move closer to present day society? Could this also be associated with different regions of the country? I noticed Troy is located in Virginia and most of my early ancestors are from Virginia and Kentucky. And as Troy asked, is there a "history" associated with Christmas weddings in the 1800's?

Bob

Nick
19 October 2006, 04:45 PM
Well, I find this very interesting. I have just extracted 637 precise marriage dates (I have omitted GRO marriages which are not accurate to the month) from my Reunion file, all before 1900, nearly all English, and analyzed them:

Jan 7%
Feb 8%
Mar 7%
Apr 11%
May 9%
Jun 10%
Jul 7%
Aug 8%
Sep 7%
Oct 7%
Nov 9%
Dec 9%

There is 1% point out due to rounding. But this conflicts with the argument in this thread... Any comments? Has anyone else actually analyzed their marriage months? I'd be interested to know.

Ronald N. Gowe
19 October 2006, 06:41 PM
Interesting that this question has come up. Having just been in the process of reviewing my file for consistenancy, one thing I did notice was that there were many weddings on, or very near, Christmas. These took place starting in the late 1700's in Nova Scotia, mostly in Cumberland County, which at that time was very rural.

Betty Miessner
19 October 2006, 07:00 PM
Possibly has something to do with Christmas festivities?
Up here in New England during the 18th-19th centuries marriages were quite often held around Thanksgiving which was a major holiday. Puritans/Pilgrims didn't celebrate Christmas as other states such as Virginia would have.
Betty M.

genealogist.lily
19 October 2006, 08:51 PM
Possibly has something to do with Christmas festivities?
Up here in New England during the 18th-19th centuries marriages were quite often held around Thanksgiving which was a major holiday. Puritans/Pilgrims didn't celebrate Christmas as other states such as Virginia would have.
Betty M.

What amazes me the most - is that Ministers of the day were willing to conduct weddings on Christmas Day. Today, they would rather spend time (apart from church services) with their families - and rightly so! In my file of 50,074 in (mostly) Eastern Ontario, there are 29 couples who married December 25. With 24 entries on Christmas Eve. I have 38 couples marrying on Dec 31. But New Year's Day "wins" with 49 couples marrying on that date. Interesting question!

Lily in Canada

STEVE
20 October 2006, 01:32 AM
Hi---

I am in the process of entering a lot of family data from a relative and have noticed that there are a lot of weddings on-or-near Christmas day; in the 1800 years primarily).

I am curious as to if there is a "history" behind this, or was it simply that more of the family was together at or on Christmas day making the wedding more of a family event than it would have been at some other date.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated to help me more fully understand our family's history.

Thanks.

Troy---

Stop and think. It's getting REALLY cold. The days are as short as they're gonna get. There ain't no TV. No movies or electric lights either. No central heating. It's getting COLD alone under the covers. By now everyone's pretty much locked in the house most of the time. You are getting sick and tired of hearing your brothers and sisters squable. Having someone under the covers to help you heat up the old bed and having some new, and fun, games to play starts to sound pretty darn good!

<evil grin> STEVE

martha
20 October 2006, 03:05 AM
Hi Troy,

My ancestors also had many wedding dates around Christmas but not necessarily on Dec. 25. I have tried to find a documented source on possible reasons, but only have read or had discussions with family and friends that since people probably gathered together, it was more suitable to wed. The time period your mention, most of my ancestors lived in rural areas. I am not sure if Christmas weddings would be more prevelant in my family history if they lived in cities.

It would be interesting to read if anyone has read, from a researched source such as a social history, reasons for weddings on or around Christmas.

Otherwise, I think a good ol common sense approach that everyone gathered together is the most logical reason.

Bob

I did a quick survey of just one of my family databases. Out of 84 weddings in the 1800's with exact dates, 34 were in December, but of those the majority [20] were around the 4-5 December and the rest were 23-27 December.

Martha

Martha

Frank Mitchell
20 October 2006, 03:33 AM
Hi---

I am in the process of entering a lot of family data from a relative and have noticed that there are a lot of weddings on-or-near Christmas day; in the 1800 years primarily).

I am curious as to if there is a "history" behind this, or was it simply that more of the family was together at or on Christmas day making the wedding more of a family event than it would have been at some other date.

Troy---

In 1800s England the working week was usually weekdays and Saturday mornings. I don't think marriages were performed on Sundays, so taking a day off to get married meant a loss of wages, a serious sacrifice in those days.

For this reason the majority of marriages were arranged during holiday periods.

This was probably true in other parts of the world too,

Frank

Tom Robinson
20 October 2006, 03:48 AM
I am in the process of entering a lot of family data from a relative and have noticed that there are a lot of weddings on-or-near Christmas day; in the 1800 years primarily).
Were they working-class ancestors? I've found this in my travels before, which explains some of my relatives marriages:

Q1: What is a penny wedding?

A1: Penny Weddings were common in the East End of London during the 19th and early 20th century. Most working class people only had Easter and Christmas as holidays, working six and sometimes seven day weeks. This meant they had little time or money for getting married so batch weddings were quite common. In these weddings a batch of between 6 and up to 20 couples had a common wedding service where only the actual binding words were said individually. The penny was the amount each couple contributed to make up the total fee paid to the church.
http://www.eolfhs.org.uk/help/eolfaq08.htm

Ken Ozanne
20 October 2006, 04:32 AM
Hi---

I am in the process of entering a lot of family data from a relative and have noticed that there are a lot of weddings on-or-near Christmas day; in the 1800 years primarily).

I am curious as to if there is a "history" behind this, or was it simply that more of the family was together at or on Christmas day making the wedding more of a family event than it would have been at some other date.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated to help me more fully understand our family's history.

Thanks.

Troy---Troy, others,
You must live in a city. Winter is the time for weddings if you want to grow enough food to survive the winter. Christmas is a holiday when people wouldn't have gainful work anyway. Enough said.

Best,
Ken

Troy
20 October 2006, 01:04 PM
Thanks to everyone for the responses.

Troy---

baddorfdeb
20 October 2006, 06:04 PM
These days, a wedding is often at Christmas because of (a) having time off already and (b) the family is already getting together at someone's house, so they won't have to do more travelling for a wedding.

Jean Doane
21 October 2006, 11:54 AM
...have noticed that there are a lot of weddings on-or-near Christmas day; in the 1800 years primarily).Dear Troy:

When my inlaws were married in 1937, it was during the Great Depression, and the only day off possible was Christmas Day. That was the reason they gave us for their choice.

Jean Doane

MarilynKay
21 October 2006, 02:16 PM
I've never noticed a preponderence of Christmas-time weddings

Lil
23 October 2006, 10:55 PM
Another factor could be that in rural areas in earlier years, the circuit preacher might not come around for months, and weddings were conducted when he was available. Some couples also may have been living together while awaiting his return.

Lil

Troy
24 October 2006, 08:34 AM
Thanks to everyone for providing some insight into this interesting topic.

Some very good reasons have been offered, many of which I certainly had not thought of; and it helps to understand what may have been the main reason there were so many Christmas Day weddings in my family during the 1800's primarily (rural settings for the most part).

Also, I am guessing that 'maybe' after several such weddings had been performed on Christmas Day, that a Family Tradition may have evolved and have played a factor.

Again, thanks to everyone for helping me to achieve a better understanding.

Troy---

Marilynn
24 October 2006, 10:50 PM
One must remember that Christmas was not a big holiday in the early 19th century or before. It was not celebrated as it is today.

Marilynn

Nick
25 October 2006, 04:27 PM
One must remember that Christmas was not a big holiday in the early 19th century or before. It was not celebrated as it is today.

Marilynn

Thank you Marilynn for reminding us of that. I was inspired to look at Samuel Pepy's Christmas days: no presents, no trees, no Santas - no big deal. Just church and a good lunch.

On Christmas day 1662, Samuel actually went and worked in his office (but not in any other year). And here is one of his Christmas days appropriate to this thread:

"25 December 1665: To church in the morning, and there was a wedding in the church, which I have not seen many a day, and the young people so merry one with another; and strange, to see what delight we married people have to see these poor fools decoyed into our condition, every man and wife gazing and smiling at them..."

But still, the statistics I posted earlier in this thread belie the claim (in England at least) that there were any more marriages around Christmas than at any other time of the year.

marnen
26 October 2006, 02:28 AM
Thank you Marilynn for reminding us of that. I was inspired to look at Samuel Pepy's Christmas days: no presents,
Right. The English custom has been to give Christmas-boxes on Boxing Day (26 December). Or so I thought, anyway. The Wikipedia article implies that the situation is not as cut-and-dried as all that.
no trees, no Santas
Right again. The tree is a German custom, introduced to Britain probably around 1840, thanks to the German Prince Albert (see http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/dickens/pva/pva63.html ); the phrase "Christmas tree" is first recorded in 1835. I wouldn't be totally surprised if the custom took hold in parts of America before that, considering the large number of German immigrants, but apparently the custom dates from the 18th century, even in Germany -- too late for Pepys.

Santa is Dutch, and while he came to America with the Dutch settlers, he was apparently not conflated with the English Father Christmas (who indeed predates Pepys) until Victorian times.
- no big deal. Just church and a good lunch.
Well, the Puritans had actually outlawed Christmas celebrations in 1647, and while they were legal again after the Restoration in 1660, they were apparently frowned upon.

(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas for more.)
On Christmas day 1662, Samuel actually went and worked in his office (but not in any other year).
"25 December 1662: Ebenezer complains that there is none other to do the work since the decease of his late partner..."

And what is a nice Jewish boy like me doing writing about Christmas customs, anyway? :D

Bob Carroll
26 October 2006, 02:23 PM
But still, the statistics I posted earlier in this thread belie the claim (in England at least) that there were any more marriages around Christmas than at any other time of the year.
My file, mostly New England, almost all with a reasonably valid source, not from LDS ancest file.
Total of some 6264 marriages with a Month stated.
780 December marriages. 740 with a day of month date. By far the highest in Dec and any month, is Dec 25 with 85 ; Dec. next high Dec 24 with 56, then Dec 28 with 31.
Almost all are in 1600s and 1700s only 2 of the Dec 25 marriages were after 1800, so it is not a new thing at all.

December by far the highest month. Next was Nov with 755; then Jan 581.

May not be big holiday time, but clearly Christmas and winter months favored in New England.
Bob C.

andrewcairns
26 October 2006, 06:40 PM
Right. The English custom has been to give Christmas-boxes on Boxing Day (26 December). Or so I thought, anyway. The Wikipedia article implies that the situation is not as cut-and-dried as all that.

I'm Australian, and we were always taught that Boxing Day was the time when the rich put new and semi-used articles in boxes to be distributed to the poor. It was seen to be a very important part of the wealthy's 'duty to the poor' (although why they couldn't express that throughout the rest of the year in similar fashion is beyond me!). The ladies would gather together in their finery and spend a great deal or time, care and effort filling boxes while enjoying the social occasion.

I don't think the Wikipedia article expresses this aspect very well at all. Instead, it sort of expresses a range of possibilities and let's the reader pick which one suits best. So far as we Aussies are concerned, there's only one true origin of the holiday.

Nowadays, the Boxing Day holiday is all about having fun. It's one of the few holidays on which most businesses remain closed and most families are actually together in one place. The Boxing Day test match in Melbourne is HUGE, but so is the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race which also starts on this day every year.

martha
28 October 2006, 04:53 AM
I'm Australian, and we were always taught that Boxing Day was the time when the rich put new and semi-used articles in boxes to be distributed to the poor. It was seen to be a very important part of the wealthy's 'duty to the poor' (although why they couldn't express that throughout the rest of the year in similar fashion is beyond me!). The ladies would gather together in their finery and spend a great deal or time, care and effort filling boxes while enjoying the social occasion.

(...)



OHHHHHHHH!! I always thought boxing day had something to do with pugilism and I could never fathom that as a holiday! (Well, what do Israelis know about British holidays?) Thanks for straightening me out!

Martha