52 Ancestors 2015 #23: Weddings & Anniversaries

Week 23 (June 4-10) – Wedding: June is time for weddings. Write about a June bride in your family or highlight a favorite wedding photo. Maybe there’s a serial marry-er in the family — that could be a fun post!

My favorite wedding photo? It would have to be the one of my parents. Amusing fact? I fit into that dress when I was twelve. It is a gorgeous dress – but there was no way I could wear it for my wedding when the time came – Mom was a tiny thing.  She was 18 and Dad was 21.  They celebrated their 50th Anniversary in 2011 and it was a wonderful chance to honor the hard work and love they held for each other – two years later, Dad was gone.

Charles & Elizabeth Eldridge October 21, 1961

Charles & Elizabeth Eldridge October 21, 1961

When we do genealogy research, a marriage license or church record is a gold-mine for information. It has been a treasure to find information on these joinings that are done for love, for money, for power, for so many reasons.

Finding out my great-great-grandfather, Henry Graff, had been married before he married my great-great-grandmother Ellanora Boelling was a huge surprise – but also connected me with two cousins that I appreciate and enjoy getting to know through our research.  He left his first wife, Anna (and their daughter), within months of their marriage on July 31, 1884, and married Ellanora on January 11, 1885 before he’d divorced Anna. He was with Ellanora for 26 years until her death in 1910.


Henry Graff – 1885 – Wedding photo

Ellanora Boelling wedding photo 1885

Ellanora Boelling wedding photo 1885

Anna Agusta Lee

Anna Agusta Lee – Henry’s first wife

My grandparents, Edward Dewey Graff and Helen Adelaide Reynolds, were married on February 5, 1939 in Canterbury, Connecticut. He was 22 and she was 18. They stopped at a diner and had a bowl of beef stew, then Ed took Helen back to her parent’s house. They didn’t live together until three months later when a cousin let slip that they had married.

Edward D Graff -1938 age 22

Edward D Graff -1938 age 22

Helen Reynolds Graff

Helen Reynolds Graff (not sure how old Helen is in this one)

Her parents did not think Ed was good enough for Helen – but they were married for 55 years when Ed died. They survived the loss of their first two children and raised the next five to be some of the most fascinating and differing adults I’ve had the pleasure to grow up knowing.

Ed & Helen Graff

Ed & Helen Graff

For the longest time, we didn’t know when my great-grandparents – Helen’s parents – had married. I found their marriage certificate just recently – it was September 8, 1919 in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Harry Nelson Reynolds and Hazel Pearl Roberts.

Hazel Roberts - Harry Reynolds Marriage License

Hazel Roberts – Harry Reynolds Marriage License

Harry & Hazel Reynolds 1960

Harry & Hazel Reynolds 1960

They had forty-four years together before Harry’s sudden death in 1963. Hazel never remarried again.

Like my parents, Elizabeth & Charles, and my grandparents, Ed & Helen, my great-great-grandparents also celebrated their fiftieth anniversary.

Hazel’s parents, John Milton Roberts and his wife, Carrie Evelyn Hawkins, were married in Wesley, Maine on July 24, 1886. Carrie was 17 and John was 28. The photo below is from their 50th wedding anniversary in 1936.  John died three years later in 1939, Carrie in 1949.

1936 - Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary

1936 – Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary

These couples truly believed in the ’til death us do part’ line of their vows and if not for them – I would not be here.


About T.K. Eldridge

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3 Responses to 52 Ancestors 2015 #23: Weddings & Anniversaries

  1. Dave (Hawaii) says:

    A treasure of information, photos and memories. For me personally, the wonderful memories began with your great-grandparents, who gave me a place to sleep on the weekends grandparents who took me into their home, fed me awesome meals, took me to the lake and coast and other places and to church as I sure needed it, and your Mom and Dad who were a tremendous source of support getting through some rough times and most of all showing me what love and a belief in something great than themselves has meaning in life. The love that your Dad and Mom shared is rarely seen. My wife Karen noticed it to and adores your Mom. Even the 9 mile walk back to the Nike site at Foster Center at 2AM in cowboy boots from the house on Cook Hill Road is a fond memory. Thank you for sharing this with me. It means a lot.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. pen4hire says:

    Lovely collection! Your mother looks so sweet and your father so, well, manly in those photos! I did get a little depressed reading how soon after their 50th or 55th anniversaries your ancestors died, since my husband and I just celebrated our 55th. 🙂

    • kessara says:

      Wow! Congrats on your 55th! My dad fought cancer for five years before he died. Mom is still going strong. The love they shared, the work they put into their marriage is an example I wish I could have followed.

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