52 Documents in 52 Weeks #31 – Shirley Westra’s Wedding Announcement

Person of Interest: Shirley Ann Westra
Relationship: 1st cousin 1x removed (my mother’s first cousin)


Source Citation: “Miss Westra is Bride,” marriage announcement, the Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), 27 June 1961, p. 12, col. 5; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/218844987/ : accessed 07 April 2017), Historical Newspapers Collection.


Document Description: This is a digital image of a marriage announcement that ran in the Courier-News of Bridgewater, New Jersey. The entire newspaper page for this day has been digitized and these are the screen clippings.


Document Scans/Transcription:
Miss Westra Is Bride
Bedminster – Miss Shirley Ann Westra, daughter of Mrs. Herman Westra of Springdale, R.D. 1, Newton, and the late Herman Westra, became the bride recently of James Gregory Conroy, son of Mrs. James Conroy of Main St. and the late James Conroy.

The ceremony was performed by the Rev. George Everett in St. Elizabeth’s Church, Far Hills. A reception followed in the home of the bride.

Given in marriage by her brother John Westra of Newton, the bride wore an ice blue brocaded satin gown with a sequin crown and illusion veil. She carried a bouquet of carnations.

Mrs. John Westra of Newton was matron of honor. She wore a blue silk organza over taffeta gown and carried a bouquet of white carnations.

Mrs. Jerome Bird of Far Hills was bridesmaid. She was dressed identical to the matron of honor.

Best man was Harry Metzler of Bedminster. Gary Westra of Newton was an usher.

The bride is a graduate of West Morris Regional High School, Chester. The bridegroom attended Bernards High School in Bernardsville and is employed in Perrone’s Shell Station, Bedminster.

Following a wedding trip to Atlantic City, the couple will reside in Springdale, R.D. 1, Newton.


Analysis: This short article in the newspaper is a treasure trove of genealogical information. From it, we learn the following information:

  • Shirley Ann Westra’s father was Herman Westra
  • Herman Westra passed away before the wedding in 1961
  • Shirley Ann Westra’s mother was still alive as of the wedding in 1961
  • Shirley Ann Westra’s mother resided in Springdale, New Jersey, on R.D. 1
  • Shirley Ann Westra was married around June 1961
  • Shirley Ann Westra married James Gregory Conroy
  • Shirley and John Conroy were married in Far Hills, New Jersey, at St. Elizabeth’s church by the Reverend George Everett
  • James Gregory Conroy’s father was James Conroy
  • James Conroy passed away before the wedding in 1961
  • James Gregory Conroy’s mother was still alive as of the wedding in 1961
  • James Gregory Conroy’s mother resided in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Main St.
  • Shirley Ann Westra had a brother named John Westra
  • John Westra was married prior to the wedding in 1961
  • Shirley Ann Westra graduated from West Morris Regional High School in Chester, New Jersey
  • John Gregory Conroy graduated from Bernards High School in Bernardsville, New Jersey
  • John Gregory Conroy was employe at Perrone’s Shell Station in Bedminster, New Jersey
  • Shirley and John Conroy lived in Springdale, New Jersey in 1961

What we can’t get from the announcement is the exact date of the wedding. While the announcement ran on 27 June 1961, the article only says that the couple was married recently. It may have taken a while for the article to get into the paper. We also can’t discern the name of Shirley’s mother, James Gregory’s mother, or John Westra’s wife. Just based on this article, I suspect that Gary Westra was another brother but the article does not explicitly tell us this information.

We also get some small details about what the bride and some of the wedding party were wearing. I had to look to see what an illusion veil is and it seems to be a veil made of a very gossamer fabric. From the picture of Shirley that accompanied the article, we can see the type of bouquet she was carrying and the style of her dress.

This is an original document in that the wedding announcement appeared in the paper and we seem to have a digitized, true copy of it. This information found within the article is both secondary and undetermined since, most likely, the reporter/editor or typesetter did not witness the wedding firsthand.  They are relying on information that someone else provided to them. The evidence is a mixture of direct and indirect depending on the research question asked.

CONCLUSION

Newspaper wedding announcements are some handy documents to ferret out for genealogical information. Be aware, though, that wedding announcements can range from very lengthy to very short. It depends on how much information was provided to the newspapers and/or whether the marriage occurred in a church or the couple eloped. This was a nice article that allowed me to enter a husband for Shirley Ann Westra into my family tree. It filled out a few leaves on a branch of the Westra tree.

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #8 – John and Laura Repsher’s 50th Wedding Anniversary

Persons of Interest: John and Laura Repsher of Analomink, Pennsylvania
Relationship: Great grand uncle and wife


Source Citation: “Open House Marks Golden Anniversary,” The Daily Record (East Stroudsburg), 27 February 1956, p. 5, cols. 4-5; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/82838805 : accessed 02 December 2016), Historical Newspapers Collection.


Document Description: An announcement in a newspaper about the 50th wedding anniversary celebration. The entire newspaper page for this day has been digitized and these are the screen clippings.


screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-12-48-am

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-12-34-amDocument Scan and Transcription: Open House Marks Golden Anniversary
Analomink – The 50th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. John Repsher was on Monday, February 20 but the celebration in their honor was held this Saturday afternoon with an open house in the POS of a A Hall for about 100 guests.

Mr. and Mrs. Repsher were married February 20, 1906 at the East Stroudsburg parsonage by Rev. C. B. Johnson.

Mrs. Repsher, the former Laura Staples, was born in Analomink on December 9, 1887, daughter of the late John D. and Caroline Hallett Staples. Mr. Repsher was born in Pocono Lake on May 17, 1882, the son of the late John and Caroline Bonser Repsher.

They had five children of whom four are living: Mrs. Robert Van Vliet and Mrs. Russell Transue of Analomink, Ross Repsher of Quakertown and Lester Repsher, at home. They have 9 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-12-13-amThe Repshers have always lived in Analomink and are members of the Analomink Methodist Church. Mr. Repsher worked for many years at the lumber dock owned by C. A. Coleman. When that was disbanded he went to work for Line Material Company and was retired about a year ago.

For the party, the hall had been decorated with festoons of gold crepe paper. Tables were decorated with gold table cloths and doilies and gold candlesticks. At the table for the guests of honor, bouquets of gold carnations and marigolds flanked the wedding cake decorated with figures of a bride and bridegroom.

Refreshments were served and the guests of honor received many gifts.


Analysis: This particular wedding anniversary announcement is a genealogist’s dream article. It is chock full of information related to the John and Laura Repsher family. Birth dates, birth places, maiden names, husbands, and parents abound! I did have a question on what the “POS of A Hall” was. Turns out I learned about a new organization when I went to find out what this meant. It stands for Patriotic Order Sons of America. According to their website:

“The Patriotic Order Sons of America was organized December 10, 1847 to preserve the Public School System, The Constitution of the United Sates and our American way of life. It was incorporated by an Act of the Pennsylvania State Legislature, February 27, 1867. The subordinate unit, Washington Camp #150 was chartered by the Parent Corporation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, May 21, 1871.”

I consider the online copy of a page from the Daily Record to be an original document even though it’s been digitized. As long as the content does not appear to be changed during the process (whether that’s copying, scanning or digitizing), the digital copy can be considered as good as the original. This article looks to be completely untouched as part of the entire page that’s been digitized. I’ve clipped portions of that page so that I can insert it into this article and so that you could read the print.

The information in the article is mixed in nature with both primary (firsthand) and secondary (secondhand, hearsay) information found. Assuming Laura and John were the informants, they would know what children they had together and the listing of Mrs. Robert Van Vliet, Ross, Lester and Mrs. Rusell Transue would be primary. Both John and Laura’s birth dates are secondary as neither would remember being born but they are relying what other people have told them about their birth dates, places, and parents. Their wedding date is primary information; they were both there and remember quite distinctly where and when they were married and who performed the ceremony.

The evidence is direct (explicit) related to John and Laura’s marriage. It answers, quite succinctly, the question, “When were John Repsher and Laura Staples of Analomink, Pennsylvania, married?” There is also direct evidence related to their births but since that is secondary information, further evidence should be found to corroborate the dates.

From the information in the article, we can construct a basic family group.

John Repsher (son of John and Caroline (Bonser) Repsher, born 17 May 1882, Pocono Lake, Pennsylvania) married Laura Staples (daughter of John D. and Caroline (Hallett) Staples, born 09 December 1887) on 20 February 1906 at East Stroudsburg. They had the following children:

  1. ________, daughter, married Robert Van Vliet
  2. ________, daughter, married Russell Transue
  3. Ross, son
  4. Lester, son
  5. ________, child died before 27 February 1956

CONCLUSION

This is a robust 50th wedding anniversary announcement with lots of excellent genealogical information both of primary and secondary nature. It helps fill in some blanks in my family tree in that I didn’t have Laura Staples’ mother’s name. I’m treating the online, digital copy as an original, just like I’d inspected it at a historical society or at the publisher’s archives.

Sepia Saturday – February 2017 – Joseph and Beatrice Guirreri

The Sepia Saturday site has switched back to weekly posts so I’ve chosen one of the February posts, their number #353, to write about as my monthly Sepia post. It doesn’t match where I ended up on my Sepia postings (#363) because I wanted weekly posts to finish out my posts for the 2016 year.

Sepia prompt photo shows a beautiful photo full of light and shadows. It is the steps of Inglesia in San Tomas, Guatemala, and comes from the files of the State Library of Florida. This photo is from 1938.

My photo is from 1976.

Jodi, Jill and Jenni Strait with Lisa and Mike Ulmer.

Like the prompt photo, my family photo is full of shadow and light. You see the shadows of a person (most likely Mom or Aunt Sadie) taking the snapshot, a railing in the foreground and another figure on the right. You see the shadow of the kids. You see the shadows of the trees in the back. You see all of the kids squinting into the sunshine that lights our faces. And we’re sort of arranged in the same arch pattern as the prompt.

I know what the event is that caused someone to photograph the grandchildren of Beatrice Strait and the grandchildren of Joseph Guirreri together. It’s my grandmother Beatrice’s wedding to her second husband Joseph on 03 June 1976 which took place in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey.[1]

Bea and Joe on their wedding day

I am ashamed to admit, though, that I remember absolutely nothing whatsoever about this day! I was 10 years old on that day. Memory is a very fluid thing and apparently this was not a memory I chose to store in my long-term memory banks. Try as I might, I can dredge up nothing about the ceremony, the church, what people were wearing, or the reception afterwards. I know the reception happened because there are photos of that too! Here, Beatrice and Joe are photographed enjoying their beautiful wedding cake. My sister Jenni’s arm is seen on the right-hand side and she’s wearing the same outfit as our group grandchildren photo above. You can bet that I didn’t miss getting a piece of cake on that day either.

So much for me being a reliable eyewitness. I wouldn’t even be able to cite this as personal knowledge in a formal citation. Even though photos show that I was a firsthand witness and most likely participated in the procession, since I see the flowers in our hands in the group photo. But the prompt photo did give me an opportunity to share those wedding day photos with you. No matter what I do or don’t remember!


[1] Elaine (Struss) Feret, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr. and Caroline Repsher nee Bonser – Addenda”; (Handwritten family group sheets, Whippany, New Jersey, 1995-2013), p. 15; privately held by held by Jodi Lynn Strait, Tucson, Arizona, 2017.