Down a long-ago aisle
Dorothy Wiggs' compilation of New Brunswick marriages
from 1882 to 1901 is filled with names, dates and details
by Ruby M. Cusack
Of  late, weddings have been the topic of most conversations in this household.  All of this talk has made me stop and fondly remember the preparation for my own wedding several years ago. It also makes me think of family weddings that I have attended or even those I have read about in newspaper articles.

Today, wedding receptions are catered to, invitations are printed, wedding cakes are ordered, limos are hired. Hours of planning go into this special day.

Although many brides nowadays decide on china patterns and pick their silverware, the girls of yesteryear started at a very young age to sew, crochet, knit, quilt and embroider things to place in their hope chest.

In the years gone by, love blossomed - usually between a girl and boy within walking distance of one another. Weddings provided the opportunity for family, friends and neighbours to gather to celebrate this happy occasion. A wedding supper was often served at the home of the bride with the food being prepared by the family of the bride's mother. Charivaris for the newly weds provided entertainment for many in the community.

Newspaper accounts of weddings are full of details. You could read about the dresses worn by not only the bride and bridesmaids, but quite often of the mother-of-the-bride and the bridegroom's mother. Very descriptive phrases are used to describe the bride, the groom and the table decorations. A list of those attending and the gift they gave are a real jewel of family information.

Hours are spent by those researching their roots to find the date of a marriage. Thanks to Dorothy Wiggs, marriages for New Brunswick for the years 1882 to 1901 have been indexed. (Most of the marriages took place 1887 to 1901)

This cumulative index of marriages was compiled from the records of vital statistics which are designated as RS 141 at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. Researchers should note that the index includes the name of all bridegrooms and the maiden name of all brides. In the case where the woman was divorced or widowed, all former names have been included in the index. This Cumulation includes 58,712 names.

The indexes include all names, (the witnesses can often lead us to other relatives), date of marriage, and all references necessary for the researcher to locate the item on microfilm. It is interesting to note that the marriage certificate on microfilm are signed by the bride and bridegroom, which often helps greatly with deciphering the proper spelling of their names.

An example from the index: William Thomas Gibbon married Jennie Belle Foster, Year/Month/Day - 1900/12/05, Book B4/1900 SJ (Saint John County), Page Number 1693,Microfilm # F15593.

This cumulative index 1, Marriages 1882-1901, in book form, as well as the reels of microfilms of marriages certificates are available for viewing at the New Brunswick Provincial Archives in Fredericton.

Dorothy Wiggs has certainly given us a hope chest of marriages for New Brunswick.

* * *

August, 2000:  Index to New Brunswick Marriages, 1887-1925  is on a searchable data base on the PANB site at

Queries have been grouped together to cover the year 1998 and can be viewed at Queries-1998

Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.

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