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A Marriage Certificate from 1924 Leads to a Birth Record from 1864

Baptismal Record of Alvin Leslie Hill, 1864A while back, I cre­ated a Vital Records Checklist to cat­a­log all the obvi­ous records I had, and the ones I needed, to flesh out the most rudi­men­tary data, the births, mar­riages, and deaths of my ancestors.

This led to my send­ing out a request to the Clerk of the Valley County, Nebraska Court ( has sent my the mar­riage cer­tifi­cate for my grand­par­ents, Helen Kjerstine JOHNSON and Ernest Melvin HILL.

The doc­u­ment con­firms the rela­tion­ship of Ernest Melvin HILL with Mary Jane SCOTT (his mother) and Alvin Leslie HILL (his father), and out­side of cen­sus records, is the ear­li­est doc­u­ment I have found that does this. (My grand­fa­ther was born in 1895, which was prior to birth reg­is­tra­tion in Nebraska, and he died in 1933, before Social Security Registration required folks to get delayed birth certificates.

Witnesses at the wed­ding included Helen’s mater­nal uncle, “W. B. Gregg” (William Blakeway GREGG) and Ernest’s brother Alfred L. HILL.

It’s curi­ous to me if there was a rea­son that none of the three liv­ing par­ents of the cou­ple (Nels JOHNSON, father of Helen, and Mary Jane and Alvin) were listed as wit­nesses. Of course, the form only asks for two wit­nesses. And these were an older cou­ple (Helen was 30 and Ernest 29) at their first mar­riage, but one wonders.

I believe I have a news­pa­per account of the mar­riage. I would like to know for sure whether the par­ents attended. I assume they did, as they all lived nearby, but, I am not sure at this point.

The doc­u­ment pro­vides the fol­low­ing dates:

  • 12 November 1924 — Application for Marriage License
  • 22 November 1924 — Marriage License
  • 24 November 1924 — Marriage Certificate

This appears on a sin­gle page in what is no doubt a mar­riage book. However, the Clerk did not clar­ify the actual vol­ume. There is a nota­tion at the top, “55” and the page is pre-printed with “75,” so per­haps this is:

Marriage Record (Application for Marriage License; Marriage License; Marriage Certificate) of Ernest Melvin Hill and Helen Kjerstine Johnson, 24 November 1924; Valley County Clerk, Ord, Nebraska; Marriage Book 55:75.

(I may have to call them, or research fur­ther. Until then, I will add a ques­tion mark at the book number.)

Meanwhile, take another look at my Vital Records Checklist, I won­dered if I could find any­thing about the birth of Alvin Leslie HILL. Less than five min­utes later, I had the kind of instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion on Ancestry that pep­pers their tele­vi­sion commercials:

Alvin Leslie, son of Edward John Hill of Shefford and Alice Welch, his wife, was born the twenty fourth day of July one thou­sand eight hun­dred and sixty four and was bap­tised on the thirty first day of December by me. David Lindsay.”

Entry for Alvin Leslie Hill, 1864; Québec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621–1967 [data­base on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008.Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Québec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.

A two-fer! I now have a slight major­ity of the vital records (18 of 33) that I listed from my father, grand­par­ents, and great grandparents.

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