The Solano County Genealogical Society will host a virtual Speaker Series presentation on Saturday, December 2, 2023. Our Speaker, Madeline Yanov, will present “Marriage by Blacksmith: Gretna Green Marriages”. This presentation begins at 11 a.m. Pacific Time
Madeline notes that In the world of romance, few places hold the allure of Gretna Green. Nestled in the heart of Scotland, this charming town has long been synonymous with elopements and whirlwind weddings. Literature and movies, immortalized the tales of star-crossed English lovers dashing across the Scottish border to escape the clutches of disapproving family members, have captivated the hearts of generations, but what lies behind this fascinating tradition? Instead of the conventional church weddings, the quaint town of Gretna Green bore witness to a unique tradition: blacksmiths forging bonds of matrimony over their anvils. What is the history that led to this intriguing custom? Were these marriages even
Join us on a journey that unravels the mysteries of Gretna Green. Did you know that the United States boasts its array of Gretna Greens, scattered across multiple states? While Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada may be familiar names in the world of quickie marriages, have you ever heard of Elton, Maryland, Crown Point, Indiana, Keokuk in Lee County, Iowa, or Tishomingo County, Mississippi? They too, were Gretna Greens at one point. Surprisingly, even New York City and Chicago were once considered as Gretna Greens. These American counterparts may hold the key to your ancestor’s missing marriage records.
Madeline will delve into the origins of Gretna Green’s popularity and unravel the stories behind its American counterparts. What motivates people to journey far from home to exchange their vows? Are these marriages even legally recognized? And where can one unearth the elusive records of these unions?
Madeline Yanov, the owner of Time Travel Genealogy, has more than 30 years of genealogy experience; specializing in American research. Since most Americans are descendants of immigrants, she is very familiar with European genealogy; specifically, Irish, British, the Slovak region, Russian, and some German. She also has been instrumental in locating and helping reunite adoptees with their birth parents.
Before becoming a full-time genealogist, Madeline was a paralegal whose expertise included the “discovery” of cases. This experience helped her in genealogy by analyzing what to search for and how to find it. She has a history and political science degree and uses those disciplines to tell the stories of her client’s ancestors. She believes that genealogy is more than just names and dates; it’s the stories behind our ancestor’s lives that make them real to us.
She was a weekly volunteer at the Oakland, Ca. Regional Family History Center until April 2023. Since 2011, she has been an indexer with FamilySearch.org. In 2017, Madeline was elected as Co-President, then President of the Contra Costa County Genealogical Society’s Board of Directors, after serving on the board since 2012. In addition to being a member of various local genealogical societies, she is a member of APG, the Association of Professional Genealogists. She enjoys traveling, meeting people and hearing their stories, and sharing her love of history and genealogy with anyone interested.
Guests are welcome to attend this free event held online with Zoom. If interested, send an email to email@example.com no later than 4 p.m., the day prior to the event to request an invitation.