Wednesday, February 14, 2024

99 Valentine's Days Ago


My grandparents, Stanley Elmer Allen (1904 - 1982)  and Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (1905 - 2001), were married on Valentine's Day 14 February 1925 in Hamilton, Massachusetts.  The photo you see above is from their 50th anniversary party in 1975.  I often wondered why we never had a wedding photograph for my grandparents.

I started my genealogy journey as a teenager.  In the mid 1970s (near to the anniversary party event) I became interested in my family history due to the book "Roots" and the Bicentennial.  I took a genealogy class at the local community college and learned to start our family history by documenting myself, my parents, and grandparents.  When I got to my grandparents 14 February 2925 wedding certificate, and then the birth of their first child in June 1925, I quickly learned why there were no wedding photos.  My grandparents were married in the parsonage, not the church, with little fanfare, and started their life together. Was it a "shotgun wedding"? Did they elope? 

Stan and Gertrude's marriage thrived, and they had seven children and 29 grandchildren. Most of the descendants were present at that 50th wedding anniversary party.  The event took place at the Commodore restaurant in Beverly, Massachusetts, a business that ceased operations long ago.  There were many photos taken that day, and the black and white photo you see above was in the local newspaper. It was a huge family event that I still remember! 

My Dad snapped this photo at around the same time the newspaper photo was taken, as Nana and Grampy posed with their cake.  Did they have a wedding cake in 1925. 

My grandparents and their seven children

My first cousins at the party (grandchildren of Stan and Gertrude)

My grandparents lived next door to each other before their marriage. It was the mythical "girl next door" romance.  I don't have a photo of my grandfather in his youth, but he was very handsome.  Here is my grandmother's high school graduation photo below. She was very pretty, and only 19 at her marriage.  

Was it planned for them to marry on Valentine's Day, or just serendipity? After discovering my grandparent's marriage documents, I've since discovered many "shot gun weddings" in my family tree. They were very common in the 1700s and 1600s.  Do you find this to be true, too?  


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "99 Valentine's Days Ago", Nutfield Genealogy, posted February 14, 2024, ( accessed [access date]). 

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