Why a 1911 Registry Office Wedding? #unitedkingdom #general

Michael Sharp

Not all synagogues had a licence from the authorities to certify weddings.

My parent's own wedding in 1952 had to be certified at the local registry office after the synagogue ceremony

The United Synagogue website has a facility to search for the Chief Rabbi's authorisation for their synagogue wedding and the certificate it holds will give details of the synagogue where the ceremony took place and their Hebrew names

Michael Sharp

Jill Whitehead

I do not know about register office weddings in early 20th century, but I do know that it was not uncommon for marriages to take place at home, certainly in Scotland. My great grandfather's niece was married at his home in Edinburgh. He had come over in 1870 aged 15 with other siblings and cousins who were younger than him.   He married his cousin in 1877 in a synagogue in Edinburgh, but his niece (sister's daughter) had come over in the 1890s after her mother's and father's deaths, and represented a "poorer"  part of the family. She was married in 1906 at home with my great grandfather as witness.  This did seem to be a pattern with other similar instances ie poorer members of families coming over later being married at home. The first instance of Register Office weddings in my family was in the 1930's. 

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK


I found a similar story in a newspaper clipping (available during the IAJGSG Conference on one of the paid sites).  I have attached the article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch in 1910.

Apparently, my very proper Great Aunt Rose tried to elope with the love of her life, Herman B. Gotteib in 1910.  Her mother grabbed the couple, took them home, called the Rabbi, and there was a small wedding at the house that evening.

This is all very far away from the Liverpool registry office, but the article mentions that six of Rose's first cousins had already eloped.  Rose was born in Latvia.(Rachel Poole mentions that part of her family was from Latvia, too.)

I wonder if we are overthinking this.  I wonder if young couples at the beginning of the Modern New Era of the Twentieth Century just wanted to skip some of the ornate rituals of a very traditional Jewish wedding.  Having a Rabbi at the Registry office might be a simple compromise.

It's not proof, but something else to consider.

Peggy Mosinger Freedman
Atlanta, GA

Sheila Toffell

Very often, when Jewish married couples arrived in the UK at that time, they didn't have any legal documents and that could've meant no Ketubah. In addition, because of restrictions in the country they were coming from, they might not have had a civil marriage at all. No civil marriage? No legal docs as proof of marriage. This was important bc  local rabbis were encouraging  couples who were in dire straits to obtain legal documents so as they could get  financial assistance. So even if they had married in Eastern Europe but had no documents to prove it, they would have to get a civil license and a Rabbi would officiate at a Chuppah to cover the bases. It is possible that Flora and David did have a Ketubah or maybe got married in a Jewish ceremony in the UK without a license bc they didn't know they needed one or couldn't afford it but needed a civil acknowledgment to get some financial aid. 

Sheila Toffell
Glen Rock NJ
Researching from the Ukraine: Brezenov (Kirovograd region), Korsunsky, Kramer, Bogomolno Stavische, Tarasche areas , Kiev region.  From Poland: Gembiki, Lakumski, Rachwalski, Wilichinsky (Slesin, Skulsk, Sompolno and Izbika Kujawski area),  Tafel, Tofel, Toffel (Josefow nad Wisla, Opole Lubielski and Krasnik (Lublin region)



Perhaps the bride's parents had an objection to the marriage and the synagogue required their permission. The couple's only alternative would have been a civil marriage (or Gretna Green?), if they were both aged 18 or older. 

I would also look at the D.o.B. of their first child, to see if this was a 'marriage in haste'. That may be a clue as to why the bride's parents objected.
They also may have objected because they wanted their daughter to marry someone else or didn't approve of the groom for some other reason.

There may have been a problem for them to provide sufficient evidence of her being Jewish (not having her parents' ketubah?), so the synagogue wouldn't allow them to be married there.


1911 Registry Office Wedding - Why?

This partially relates to another of my posts today - but this focuses on the marriage of Flora Levin (Florie Levien)  and David Lurie in 1911.  I was really surprised' to see that they had been married in the Registry Office in Liverpool and that the line 'according to the rites and ceremonies of' had been crossed out. Flora's uncle was Rabbi Lewis Levin/e was in Liverpool at this time and his son Nathan Levine was a witness.  Nathan also became Rabbi or Rev. The second witness was also a wider family member. I could be wrong, but this suggests that it wasn't a registry office wedding because they had married out of faith. This family was known to disown anyone that did in later years. The bride is described as a spinster and the groom as Bachelor. I haven't been able to find a marriage authorisation either. Why would a marriage authorisation not be given? Could this be why it was a registry office wedding?
Rachel Poole

Searching: LEVIN/E- Belarus, UK, SILVER - UK, Russia/Poland, COHEN- - Latvia, UK, LYPSYZC/LIFSHITS/LYONS - Belarus, UK, USA