I had three genealogical goals for 2012:  get organized, stay organized, and write a semi-monthly blog.  I’ve failed miserably at the first two but I think I can at least start – yes, it’s already April – on the third.  But what to use as a title?  Some quick Internet research later, and I’ve come up with Genealogical Gallivanting.


  1. an account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or from older forms
  2. regular descent of a person, family, or group of organisms from a progenitor or older form
  3. the study of family pedigrees
  4. an account of the origin and historical development of something; see ge·ne·a·log·i·cal and ge·ne·a·log·i·cal·ly

gal·li·vant also gal·a·vant

    1. to roam about in search of pleasure or amusement
    2. to play around amorously; flirt


This week, thirty-six years ago, I was a bride.  I don’t think April is a popular month for weddings (my parents married in April, as did a mere handful of distant cousins on my family tree) even though a Victorian wedding rhyme carols, “Marry in April if you can, joy for maiden and for man”.  Today I read an article touting the statistic that the average age of couples marrying for the first time has risen substantially in most industrialized countries, and suggesting that contributors are (1) the general acceptance of cohabitation before marriage and (2) that women are generally better educated and better paid than their grandmothers. 

Statistics can be molded to almost any conclusion.  Is it that women are better educated and better paid than their grandmothers, or that they might be better educated and better paid than their potential husbands?  Is it that society no longer frowns at couples who “live in sin”?  Is it even true that today’s young women are older when they marry?

The average age of first time brides in Canada last year was 29.5 years.  I was almost 21 when I married, and my mother was an eighteen year old bride in the 1950s.  But my two grandmothers were aged 20 and 23, back in the mid-1920s.   And my great-grandmothers ranged in age from 17 to 25 when they first became married women.  Surprisingly, the “eldest” great-grandmother, Mary Ann, married in 1881 while the other three married in 1895, 1900 and 1902.  Perhaps of more relevance was that the “youngest” great-grandmother, Charlotte, lived in the heart of London in comparison to the more rural homes of the others. What part does geography play in the decision to marry?

So, are modern women waiting longer to marry?  Not if you look at my family tree.  And not if you look at the statistics on the website http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/SLT/society/family/marriage.html which show the average age of brides in the years 1647-1719 as 29.6 years old. Maybe modern women are unknowingly replicating the marital patterns of their 9x great grandmothers?