On Saturday, January 12th, it will be the wedding anniversary of my second great-grandparents, Charles Schwenk and Marian “Mary Ann” Burd. They were married in 1871 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
This photocopy of the marriage certificate is from a file of family records and images that my grandfather had with his pictures. I do not know who has the original image, but my father believes that several family heirlooms and records were photocopied in the 1970s and given to my grandfather by one of his sisters.
This certificate confirms the marriage that I found in a complied book of marriage returns from the City of Pittsburgh: Charles Schwenk, age 24, married Mary Ann “Bird,” age 21, on 12 January 1871 in a Civil Ceremony by Samuel McMasters, Ald. Both Charles and Mary Ann were from Saltsburgh, Allegheny County (a village in North Versailles Township).
While it’s fantastic to find documents and abstracts about our ancestors, there is so much more that I would love to know about Charles and Mary Ann. I don’t have any pictures of them, or diaries or letters … but what if I could know a little more about their wedding?
Charles was a Civil War Veteran who applied for an invalid pension. In the many, many incredible documents that were included in his Compiled Service and Pension records, there is an affidavit that Mary Ann submitted for her widow’s pension. She needed to prove that she was married to Charles. The affidavit was from Isaac and Martha Mason and dated 3 March 1899.
That the soldier Charles G. Schwenk and Mary A Schwenk now a Widow were married on January the 12″ 1871 at Pittsburgh Pa. That said Mary A Schwenk was living with them at Saltsburg Pa at the time of her marriage to the soldier Charles G. Schwenk.
That after the return of the couple from Pittsburgh were the marriage took place, they had the wedding supper at their (Deponents House) and that they the Deponents participated at the wedding festivities held in honor of the said marriage.
That the said Mary A. Schwenk lived with them (Deponents) for about 2 years before her marriage to the soldier and know that she was not married prior to the marriage to the soldier above named.
That they know the facts testified to in this affidavit of their own Personal knowledge, having had an intimate aquaintence with Mary A Schwenk before and after her marriage to the soldier.
Wow! So now I know a little more about Charles and Mary Ann’s wedding. The wedding “supper” was held at the home of Isaac and Martha Mason in Saltsburgh, after they were married in the City of Pittsburgh. In the 1870 census, just a year before the wedding, Mary Ann was living with the Masons in North Versailles Township, and working as a domestic servant. Charles was also living in North Versailles in 1870 and was enumerated on the same day and only a few pages apart in the census book. Both were no longer living with their parents, and it appears that they met in Saltsburgh.
There is another interesting item in this affidavit that needs further research. One of the witnesses to this affidavit was Margaret Orris, who was Mary Ann’s sister. When Margaret Orris died in 1922, her obituary listed eight children including Mrs. Harry Mason. Harry Mason was the son of Isaac and Martha Mason, whom Mary Ann worked for and lived with in 1870. There seem to be some connections between the Burd, Orris and Mason families that need to be explored. Maybe that’s how Mary Ann found work with the Masons and ended up in Saltsburgh? Or maybe Mary Ann introduced Harry to her niece?
In the meantime, I’m happy to know a little more about the wedding of my second great-grandparents and how they celebrated this important event!
Have you found details about a wedding outside of a marriage record?
1] Marriage Certificate, Charles Schwenk-Mary Ann Burd, 12 January 1871; photocopy privately held by the author’s father, ca. 1975.
 Western Pennsylvania Genealogy Society, compiler, Marriage Returns City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA, 1870-1875. Pittsburgh: Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, 1999.
 Affidavit of Isaac and Martha Mason, 3 March 1899, Mary Ann Schwenk, widow’s pension application no. 586124, certificate no. 475533, service of Charles G. Schwenk (1st Sgt., Co. C, 82nd reg., Pennsylvania Infantry, Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications …, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
 1870 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, North Versailles, population schedule, McKeesport Post Office, p. 20 (penned), dwelling 137, family 137, Isaac Mason; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2014) citing National Archives publication M5393_1294; Family History Library Film 552793.
 1870 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, North Versailles, population schedule, McKeesport Post Office, p. 23 (penned), dwelling 156, family 156, John Rogers; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2014) citing National Archives publication M5393_1294; Family History Library Film 552793.
 “Former Creighton Woman Summoned by Death,” The Valley Daily News (Tarentum, PA), 17 February 1922; photocopy, Community Library of Allegheny, copied by library staff, 12 October 2012.