Sunday, February 25, 2024

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Did Your Ancestors Meet Their Spouses?

Tonight's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge is a category of question I did not ask my relatives!

Come on, everybody, join in and accept the mission and execute it with precision. 

1.  How did your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and other greats meet each other?  Do you know any details?

2.  Tell us about your ancestors meeting each other in a comment on this post or in a Facebook post.  Please leave a link on this post if you write your own post.

Okay, here's what I know.

I wrote about my how my parents met in a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post in 2015.

I am pretty sure my paternal grandparents, Bertram Lynn Sellers, Sr. (1903–1995) and Anna Gauntt (1893–1986), met while both of them were working at the silk mill in Mount Holly, New Jersey during the early years of the Depression.  My hypothesis came about because in the 1930 census, I found both of them enumerated as employed at the silk mill.

I wrote about how one set of my maternal great-grandparents, Joe Gordon (c. 1892–1955) and Sarah Brainin (c. 1885–1963), met in a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post in 2019.

With all the family stories I heard from my mother and her mother while I was growing up, I don't remember ever being told how my maternal grandparents met.  I know they both lived in Brooklyn, but I'm pretty sure they went to different synagogues.  I guess that's a big hole in my family knowledge.  And I just realized that my grandmother told me how her parents met and how her daughter (my mother) met my father, but not how she met my grandfather.  Hmmm, suspicious?

My paternal grandmother's parents might have met through my great-grandmother's older brother, Frederick Dunstan (1868–1932).  He immigrated to the United States first, about 1888.  My great-grandmother Jane Dunstan (1871–1954) arrived in Philadelphia in October 1890 and married my great-grandfather Thomas Kirkland Gauntt in Burlington County, New Jersey in September 1891.  That has always seemed awfully fast to me, so I've suspected introductions might have been made before her arrival.

I would not be surprised if some of my ancestors on my mother's side met through arranged marriages, particularly on my grandfather's side of the family.  His family was very Orthodox and very traditional.

I'm still trying to determine who my paternal grandfather's biological father was, but the leading candidate was a traveling salesman, so that's as good of a guess as any as to how he met my great-grandmother, .  She lived near Philadelphia, and that's certainly a place a salesman might have gone in the early 1900's to make a buck.

Any pairings beyond these would be even more wild guesswork on my part, so I think I'll stop here.


  1. Well, you know quite a bit, too. I guess you'll have to dig deep to figure out the maternal grandparents.

    1. I know! This post made me think about which cousins would be good ones to ask. I'm going to ask my uncle also, but he tended not to pay attention to this kind of information, so I'm not feeling optimistic about finding out from him.

  2. Maybe your grandmother had an arranged marriage, too? Perhaps it seemed too old fashioned to her to mention when you were growing up.

    1. I can't rule out the possibility entirely, but I don't think it's likely, because her family was pretty assimilated. But now that I'm thinking about it, I wish there were some repository where information about arranged marriages were kept!


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