Monday, April 22, 2013

Who Got Married Here?

I am looking forward to attending my first National Genealogical Society Family History Conference in Las Vegas in two weeks.  It is fresh on the heels of the New England Regional Genealogical Conference in Manchester, NH, where I had a great time conversing with other bloggers in person and attending a few sessions on Thursday.  I had to cut my stay short to attend my son's wedding. An exciting event to add to the family tree!

I don't see a session on the NGS program covering "Las Vegas Weddings" - maybe there should be.  You see, after meticulously planning my first trip to Las Vegas - a week-long vacation - around the NGS conference in May, my son surprised me with an announcement that he was getting married in Vegas in April!  In this way, my first trip became my second trip and I scrambled to figure out how to organize a brief weekend jaunt.

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau, an average of nearly 100,000 marriage licenses are issued there annually. Well over 1,000 of them generally take place on Valentine's Day.   I checked the web page for the Clark County License Bureau and confirmed that they are open daily until midnight to serve the romantic public.  Numerous chapels with a wide variety of themes are available, as are the facilities of the resort hotels.  I was much more of a traditionalist when I married and will admit I never considered an Elvis wedding.  My son and his lovely bride did!

It proved to be both a fun and touching event, pictured above.  The wedding package at the Graceland Chapel included a reproduction of the wedding certificate of Elvis and Priscilla Presley. As a genealogist, that was of much less interest to me than my son's wedding certificate.  Of course it lists the names, dates of birth, and residence of the parties.  Parents' are listed (he spelled mine correctly.) This license came from Virginia, where he is currently living.  I looked closer.  It was executed on March 1, 2013.  It was signed by a Virginia Civil Magistrate.  Wait a minute!  The ceremony that we had just celebrated, although it had all of the words and legal standing, was NOT a wedding.  Technically, I suppose it was a renewal of vows.  Vows that were officially taken seven weeks earlier!

Is this a genealogist's nightmare?  I have a certificate and therefore the date and place of marriage.  A future researcher might find this certificate again someday by searching indices.  The groom is  Massachusetts resident, stationed in Virginia in the U.S. Army.  The bride is a Slovakian, temporarily working as an au pair in Maryland. There is no telling where they may move next.  Rumor has it that there may be yet another wedding in a European church next year.  Without the stories to go with this marriage, the photographs may lead to all kinds of erroneous assumptions.  Good thing this is going on my blog.  The internet is forever...

P.S. When you don't tell Mom the whole story, she will eventually figure it out.