Old newspapers offer a goldmine of genealogical information. Two of my favorite sites for exploring old newspapers are newspapers.com and newspaperarchive.com. Since discovering them I have spent many hours searching for my family's stories.
A few weeks ago I came across a real gem from the Waterloo Evening Courier, in Waterloo, Iowa on February 24, 1919.
[UPDATE: As of September, 2018 I finally have a photograph of Maria and Vasilios.]
Here is the text of the wedding announcement of my great-grandparents William (aka Vasilios) Halvangis and Maria Chardoulis (also spelled Chardoulias or Tsardoulias), with the actual newspaper clip following.
No one in my family had seen this article before. Most were surprised at how ornate and festive the occasion seemed to be given that our ancestors were recent immigrants from Greece with presumably only modest means. The article offers a beautiful description of Greek religious and cultural traditions. Enjoy!
A beautiful and impressive services was read at St. James church Saturday evening when Rev. John Panos officiated at the marriage of Miss Maria A. Chardoulis and Pvt. William D. Halvangis. Promptly at 8 o’clock the priest stood before the altar and faced the wedding party, which included Miss Euphrasia Hamyianniakis as bridesmaid and the bride’s cousin, Aris Johnson, attended the groom, while the best man was John G. Vakendis, nephew of the bride.
The service, which lasts about an hour, is liturgical in character, interspersed with responses from the antiphonal choir and is full of picturesque details. The sacred number, three, typical of the trinity, occurs frequently, as in the exchange of rings, crowns, and repeating of the benedictions. A Greek woman is spoken of as crowned when her marriage is mentioned. Bride and groom wear crowns of orange blossoms and during the ceremony the crowns are tied together. It is the best man’s privilege to exchange crowns and rings and when not engaged in these duties to hold special wedding candles, which, with the crowns, are thereafter cherished by the bride and enclosed in a glass case. The ceremony includes partaking of the eucharist by bride, groom and best man and ends wit a triple procession around the altar, before which all is solmen (sic), but during which rice, candy, and money are showered on the couple.
After the church service the guests went to the home of the bride’s brother, George Chardoulis, where supper was served, the dishes being cooked in Greek style. Late in the evening the American Guests retired, but according to customs the Greeks continued the festivities all night and the following day, refreshments being served at frequent intervals. Music was by an orchestra and chorus, bridal and religious hymns predominating.
A public reception will be given all this week for the bride at the home, 221 Seventh street west, during which all her friends are expected to call. The groom was recently discharged from Camp Jackson, S.C., which he entered as a volunteer.
The bride’s gown was of white georgette, embroidered with silver and with it she wore a full length veil, fastened with a spray of lemon buds. She carried roses and lilies. Her reception gown is of dark blue crepe de chine with self color satin bands. The bridesmaid wore navy blue georgette.
Perhaps one of the people below actually wrote this announcement. We'll never know but it is interesting to think about.
What is the oldest marriage record you can find in your family? What does it tell you about who you are or where you came from? Was there anything that surprised you? What did you learn about your family that you didn't know before?
I would love if you shared your stories below!