Thursday, November 21, 2013

What day of the week were your ancestors married?

I recently read a fascinating post over at one of my favorite blogs, Czech Genealogy for Beginners. You really should read the whole post, because it is quite interesting.

Blanka Lednicka is the author if this blog. She wrote:
If you take careful look on the wedding dates and you translate them into days, you'll find out that about 95 percent of all weddings took place on Tuesday.

She goes on to cite John 2:1-2, where the marriage in Cana was described as being on "the third day." Thus the origin of this tradition.

Well, this statement really intrigued me. I decided to try to research it and discovered that not a lot is written online about Catholic traditions for which day of the week to be married. I learned that the only days that are specifically forbidden for marriage are the triduum: Maundy Thursday (just the evening), Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday.

This led me to think about if Mormons have any traditions about what day of the week you can marry. If you marry in the temple, which not all Mormons do, you will never be married on a Sunday or a Monday because the temple is not open on those days. Having the temple closed on Sundays allows for temple workers to participate in sabbath worship, while Monday closures are for family home evening. This LDS tradition was started when Joseph F. Smith designated Monday night as family time in 1915. I don't know when the temple policy to close on Mondays started, but I assume it was around then. I don't know for sure, but *think* that temples have usually been closed on Sundays.

I think this means that when our descendants do genealogy research for their Mormon ancestors who were married between 1915 and whenever (if ever) these policies change, they might extrapolate extra information by analyzing what day of the week they were married. For example, if you learn they were married on a Monday, you can know that they were not married in the temple. Doesn't mean they weren't faithful Mormons, but it might be a helpful clue.

I decided to test Blanka's statement by looking at several pages from the 1792-1848 Catholic Marriage register in Trojanovice. I found from an analysis of four random pages (hardly conclusive!) that yes, there does seem to be a disproportionate number of marriages that happened on Tuesday! For this village, for this time period, it seems to be closer to 50% than 95%, but still! That is so interesting!

I wonder what extra information about your ancestors you can extrapolate from knowing what day of the week they were married. Were they more or less devout?

I am so glad that Blanka wrote about this! I don't know where else I could have found this information.

1 comment:

  1. In Dutch Reformed churches in the eastern part of the Netherlands, children were almost exclusively baptized on a Sunday. Children who weren't may have been sickly.