Kentucky Gretna Greens–Where you can look for Ancestral Marriages

Checklist of Specific Kentucky Gretna Greens:
__Crown Point IN, for couples from Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio
__Cincinnati OH, some licenses were issued, no returns were submitted to the place of residence. Many persons stopped in Cincinnati to work before moving on to a different place.
__Maysville KY, a river town on the Ohio River
__Aberdeen OH, across the river from Maysville KY
__Pike County KY

In 2001, I received a letter from the son of Charles H. Browning of Evansville, Indiana. He described his father’s Obituary Notice Index of more than 200,000 cards taken from the Evansville Press and Evansville Courier and Press, 1906-1990.  These cards were scanned into a computer database.  Then the obit notices from 1991-2000 were added by entering them directly into the Browning Genealogy Database.

Next, the database was loaded onto the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library website http://browning.evpl.org.

Charles H. Browning (d. 2007) spent more than 50 years also indexing important entries from these newspapers and adding details from other sources (I suspect including mortuary details from the Browning Funeral Home).  He did 40,000 cards on World War II veterans and his People of Evansville study yielded 537,000 cards.  These two databases are part of the Vanderburgh Public Library, Local History Database.

All of these cards are available to you online! These truly remarkable genealogy resources can be accessed online.  You can choose standard search, advanced search, or keyword search on the search menu.  And an individual print screen appears.   No library code or access card is needed.

The Local History Database also includes scanned images from the newclippings files which the library maintained for many years–still an on-going project.  The Browning Family members and the staff of the Browning Funeral Home keep these Charles H. Browning projects current.

Searching this file for marriages could open your Kentucky pedigree–Evansville is a River town where people from surrounding counties in Indiana and across the river in Kentucky ran away to be married.  What a find–a long, lost, gretna green wedding!  And if you make a find, the Library staff can supply a copy of the newspaper entry for you.

Why does a couple choose a Gretna Green for their marriage?

  1. Cheaper, and sometimes no fee at all is charged as long as the couple stayed the night at a local hotel.
  2. No paperwork. The officiator charged a nominal fee, and did not report the marriage. The only records are often account books where the cost of the wedding was posted.
  3. No bond was required to cover reasons the marriage should not be performed.
  4. No waiting period between the time of issuing a license and the performance of the marriage. Spur of the moment decisions could be made.
  5. The excitement of having the marriage completely under the control of the couple, without interference from family, friends, church, or the government.

Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle   http://arleneeakle.com

PS  I now have a computer template to enter the marriages from my own marriage database.  Stay tuned!  As soon as it is ready to be searched, I will announce the database in my blogs.

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