Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Marriage of Samuel Bray and Susanna Ball

In looking over the documents that I have on the Bray family, I realized that I did not have the marriage record for Samuel Bray and Susanna Ball, my 3rd great grandparents. They also happen to be first cousins. Samuel was the son of John and Nancy Bray while Susanna was the daughter of James and Margaret (Bray) Ball. John and Margaret were the children of Henry Bray.

I don't know how I missed getting their marriage record when I was last there in 1999! Anyway, on the drive back to Indiana from Nelson County, Kentucky I stopped at the courthouse in Owenton, Owen County, which is south of Gallatin County which is directly across the Ohio River from Switzerland County, Indiana. On the south wall of a small room in the Clerk's office were several shelves of marriage books. There was a very large marriage register that simply listed the marriages in date sequence, giving the names of the brides and grooms for each marriage and stating whether a bond had been filed.

Looking closely at the books on the shelves I saw that there were some books of Minister Returns and for Permissions. After a bit of searching, I found the books for the time period that Samuel and Susanna were married - 1821. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the book for the Permissions as it contained the original documents! The individual slips of paper were encapsulated in plastic with four or five per page and they were filed by year, sort of.

Susanna Ball would have been 23 years old and Samuel Bray was 24 at the time of their marriage. Since she was over the age of 21, I really didn't expect to find a permission slip, but it was quite interesting to look at the documents. So it was pretty cool when I found the small slip of paper where James Ball gave his consent for Samuel Bray to marry his daughter! The only other record that I had that she was the daughter of James and Margaret was a transcription of Bible pages in Margaret's widows pension file. The only factor that I can think of as to why a permission slip would be needed for their marriage is that they were first cousins. What other reason would there be for needing a permission slip if both parties were over 21 years of age?

“I do hereby certify that James Ball consented in my presence that Samuel Bray Should intermarry with his daughter Susannah Ball. Augt 29th 1821. Jacob Ball.” (Owen County, Kentucky Permission Slips 1819-1853 accessed May 19, 2012.)
Having had success with the Permission Slips, I moved on to the Minister Returns. It also contained the original documents, which were somewhat larger slips of paper encapsulated in plastic.

“Kentucky Owen County
I James Medley a minister of the gospel legally authorised to Solemnize marriage do Certify that pursuant to a licence Issued from the office of the Clerk of Owen County Court I this day joined in marriage Samuel Bray of the state Indiana and Susannah Ball of said County given under my hand this 29th day Augu 1821 [signed by] James Medley” (Owen County, Kentucky Minister Returns 1819-1836 accessed May 19, 2012.)
The drive from Bardstown to Owenton on the state roads through the hills of Kentucky was beautiful - especially with the sunshine and blue skies. But the icing on the cake was finding these documents... it was definitely a fruitful day. And yes, I had to restrain my enthusiasm while at the Clerks Office but a little “happy dance” ensued once I got out to the parking lot!

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The Marriage of Samuel Bray and Susanna Ball," Kinexxions, posted May 23, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

1 comment:

Kathy Reed said...

I am still catching up on my blog reading following the NGS Conference. Just read four of your posts. Didn't know you were heading to Kentucky post-conference. It sounds like you had a great experience. Loved meeting you.