Checking the Date of a 1916 Marriage Leads to a Mild Discovery

On 7 March 2016 my great-grandparents would have been married 100 years. That’s not how has transcribed their marriage date from the records of Immanuel Lutheran Church near Basco in Hancock County, Illinois.

The database indicated their marriage frederick-ufkesmarriage-ancestrydate was 7 May 1916.

That’s not the correct date and that’s not the date given in the marriage record from the church.

The church record indicates their date of marriage was 7 März 1916. That’s March, not May.

The error makes me wonder how many other entries have the incorrect month of an event in this database.

There are the usual warnings here about checking the original and making certain the transcription was performed correctly.


Immanuel Lutheran Church, Marriage Records from 1916; digital image on

In attempting to correctly interpret the date of the marriage, I read through several other entries on the same page the marriage register. There was another entry that struck my interest:

Gerd Janssen Ufkes married Trientje Maria Bruns on 12 November 1915. Gerd was a brother to Frederick who married in 1916. The witnesses to the wedding were listed as Fritz Ufkes and Teni Janssen–my great-grandparents who were married a few months later.

Nothing earth shattering, but I might not have discovered it had i not got to looking at the date of the marriage more closely. When Frederich and Trientje were married a few months later, Trientje’s brother Hinrich Janssen and her cousin Teni Adams were their witnesses.

It always pays to read the entire image as well.


For more about the ELCA records at and using them, you can order my webinar.


2 thoughts on “Checking the Date of a 1916 Marriage Leads to a Mild Discovery

  1. A related issue is when persons use the date listed in a marriage index in Cook County, Illinois (which includes Chicago). That date refers to the date the marriage license was issued – not the marriage date. Have seen way too many of these errors in

  2. Shirley E. Weller says:

    There are so many errors in Ancestry that I believe those who transcribe the original records are totally untrained. So often when I bring up a census page with the original handwriting, it is obvious what the name was, but Ancestry has stored it as some unintelligible variation of a name that makes no sense! Much is lost because of this. My best example: Barnes being filed away in the National Archives for 150 years as “Bonds”!!!!

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