Who Filled Out a NYC Marriage License in the 1920s #usa #records

Carl Kaplan

Who filled out a marriage license in New York City in the 1920s? I am asking because I just obtained marriage licenses for two of my grandfather's brothers. For groom's mother, there are the following entries:

Mollie Bienenstock (1925) - correct
Margaret Bienstock (1924)

I know lots of mistakes were made on census forms, and other documents, but in this case I would have thought it would have been the groom, or someone with the
groom watching. In both cases they have the grooms' signature. It's not a big deal, but quite interesting, that they couldn't get their mother's name straight.
Carl Kaplan

KAPLAN Minsk, Belarus
EDELSON, EDINBURG Kovno, Lithuania

David Gordon

I can't speak for NYC, but my great-grandfather was a rabbi in Washington DC from the turn of the century until the mid-1930s and over the last few decades I have been returning original licenses and marriage certificates to families from a collection that he kept and that I inherited.  In most cases, he filled out the license (and the certificate) himself.  Where the handwriting is not familiar I have no way to be certain but suspect that it was a clerk of the court where the application for the license would have been filed.  Keep in mind that although the groom may have provided information on an application (either in writing or orally), the license itself is not likely to have been in his hand.  My two cents.  Good luck.

David Gordon
Chicago, IL
GORDON, Butrimonys; HORWITZ, Lapichi & Smolevichi 


I believe that the city clerk filled out the application with the couple giving the information but in at least three cases I know of, the name of the mother is incorrect.  In two cases the groom gave their step-mother's name because they had been raised by her.
My father who left home very young and married late in life, used the clerk's first name because he could not remember his mother's name; therefore, I know that the clerk's name was Margaret.
Georgia Haken
ROSENBLATT, Wehrda, Germany, Savannah, Georgia.

Michele Lock

I just checked the marriage certificates for 5 siblings of my grandfather, all who came to the US between 1910 and 1925. The names of their mother was the following - 
Minnie Cohan
Miriam Colon
Mary Collins
Mary Collen
Mary Lock

Only the 2nd one was accurate. I think the variety was a function of the siblings 'Americanizing' their mother's given name and the clerk mis-hearing the name by the siblings who spoke with accents, 
I have a great uncle here in the US who gave his mother's name as Ida Abrams on his marriage certificate. I found the original Russian/Hebrew marriage record for this woman, and her real name was Chaje Rabinowitch.
I have a great great grandmother who did come to this country, and she herself used the given names Minnie, Mollie, Mamie and Minnie in census records. Her Yiddish name was Michle. Her gravestone says Mollie. Her New York death certificate says Mamie. In a similar vein, a great grandmother of mine herself used the names Ruth, Sarah, Fannie and Louise Leapman in this country (!!!). Her children simply have 'Mother Leapman' on her gravestone. Find-a-grave lists her name as 'Unknown Leapman'. Her Yiddish name was Rochel Frieda, which is on her gravestone in Hebrew letters.
What I have found is that for women's given names in this country, there is a wide variety and it's not really clear to say which is correct or incorrect. I myself have had a difficult time explaining this to a second cousin who has a large family tree on Ancestry. 

Michele Lock

Lock/Lak/Lok and Kalon in Zagare/Joniskis, Lithuania
Olitsky in Alytus, Suwalki, Poland/Lithuania
Gutman/Goodman in Czestochowa, Poland
Lavine in Trenton, New Jersey and Lida/Minsk gub., Belarus


I have a copy of my grandparents' Staten Island marriage license and marriage Certificate of 1926. The Affidavit for License to marry was completed by each grandparent (from the Groom, from the Bride).
The New York State Marriage License was completed by the City Clerk.
The Marriage Certificate was completed by the Rabbi with the witness signing by himself.

Barbara Cohen