A Little Bit of Incompleteness in a Marriage Affidavit

It can be frustrating when documents are incomplete.

This marriage affidavit signed by Theodore Trautvetter in his application for a marriage license is undated and does not contain the signature of the Clerk of the County Court. It also does not contain the full name of Trautvetter’s wife. A comparison with other affidavits in this record series (Hancock County, Illinois, marriage licenses) indicated that the “subscribed and sworn” section was usually filled out.

Only her first name and middle name are listed. While it’s technically not “incomplete” in the true sense of the word, Trautvetter only signed “Theo” for his first name (hinting at a diminutive) and didn’t quite spell his last name “completely” either. The last name seems a simple error, he signed his entire last name on other documents and was literate.

The affidavit was filed for record on 29 March 1872. That information is on the reverse side of the affidavit. It seems reasonable that Trautvetter made out the affidavit on the day it was recorded. The recording information also lists Theodore’s wife-to-be as Johanna Hannah, again leaving out her surname (which was Schildmann).

One can’t assume because the preprinted part of the year of the affidavit was 186_ that the item was made out in the 1860s. It was not uncommon for forms to be used until the forms ran out, even after the decade had long past.

This record reminds us of at least three things:

  • looking at records in context
  • any record can be incomplete
  • copy the entire record



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