This will be a short post (probably), as time is of the essence today. I finally started in on my pile of stuff to file, beginning with the marriage license for my great-great-grandmother Lena Beilstein's first marriage, to David Marion Briscoe. While I was looking at the license, I went through and noted the names of everyone mentioned - Lena and her parents, Jacob Beilstein and Amelia Wachter; David and his parents, Thomas Briscoe and Martha Ann Barney (spelled Barny in the license). I then saw that the witnesses were David Barney and Mrs. Susan Barney. Given David Briscoe's mother's maiden name of Barney, I figured they were probably relatives, and did a little digging. Before long, I found some records (Ancestral File, and some census records) that showed David Barney was the brother of Martha (Barney) Briscoe, and Susan was his wife. Isn't that what genealogy speakers/teachers always say - check the witnesses' names for relatives? Once again, they are right.
I was about to close the license, but thought I'd check to see if it was a minister that performed the marriage or a justice (just out of curiosity). The officiator turned out to be a "minister of the Gospel," who says he performed the marriage at his own residence. I found that pretty interesting, as I don't think I've ever seen that noted on a marriage license before. I then looked at the minister's name - Arthur Barney. It seemed a little too coincidental to have another Barney involved. I went back and found him in Ancestral File, which listed him as another brother to Martha and David. I also found him in the 1900 census living in Carbon county, Montana, where the marriage was performed, and his family members listed in the census matched those listed in Ancestral file. So not only was the marriage witnessed by family of the groom, the ceremony was performed by a minister who also happened to be the groom's uncle.
I still don't know anything about how Lena and David Briscoe met. But it's interesting that David's family was so involved in their wedding, especially since Lena's family was probably still in Nebraska at the time. It's also kind of sad, since she and David were only married for a couple years (she married her second husband, Clarence Johnson, in 1907). But it adds a little more dimension to the wedding, to think of at least some family there to celebrate. Maybe David Briscoe's immediate family was in attendance as well, as they lived in the same city. I wonder what they thought of this 19-year-old young man, marrying a 15-year-old girl who lived so far from the rest of her family. Maybe one day I'll find the answer.