Guerrilla Genealogy: Hunting Down Wedding Guests

nelson-scheiber-wedding-minneapolisDo you have a branch of your family that resembles a tangle of Christmas tree lights?

I do. One of my great-grandmothers, Severina Elizabeth Nelson, was a Norwegian from Freeborn County, Minnesota. If you’re familiar with that part of Minnesota, you know that pretty much everyone around there is Norwegian (or Danish). Either way, there are patronyms. If you’re a genealogist, patronyms are not your friends.

This particular grandma brings additional challenges. Her mother died when she was four, and her dad died when she was a teenager. Her two brothers had only one child between then, and that child died as a young woman. That means there aren’t a lot of people left to provide clues on my grandma’s family.

Fortunately, I do have one secret weapon: A wedding guest list. This grandmother got married in 1913, and she had one of those books where the wedding guests sign their names. I know not everyone signed it, because the number of people in the photos exceeds the number of people in the book…but it’s a great start. The groom’s line is well-documented, so the unknown folks are all possible relatives of my grandmother. For that reason, I’ve decided to research every single person on this list, to see whether any of might be relatives of my grandma. I’m also going to try to locate pictures of each person, so I can identify as many people as possible in the wedding photos.

I’ve seen baby books and wedding shower books with lists of people who gave gifts, funeral guest books, and other lists of people connected to a particular event. Have you ever used a resource like this to help find family connections? 


Here’s the part where I submit the names of the guests to the Google Gods. If you’ve found this post because you searched for one of these names, please contact me. I have photos and info to share, and we might be cousins, so yay!

  • Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Nelson [Allert Nelson and Ferol Cora Wright Nelson]
  • Mabelle Ruden [later Mabel Seliger]
  • Edward Scheiber
  • Gladys Scheiber
  • F. Scheiber Jr. [Frank J. H. Scheiber]
  • Evelyn Vasataka [child’s handwriting—others on the list are spelled Vasatka]
  • Irma L. Scheiber
  • Viola M. Scheiber [later Viola Dall]
  • Lu Scheiber [Luella Woolery Scheiber]
  • Kathryn Bieloh
  • A. V. Scheiber [Albert Valentine Scheiber]
  • Mary L. Scheiber [Mary Leonora Holthusen Scheiber]
  • Kitty Scheiber
  • Martha Erickson [later Martha Swanson]
  • Fred W. Scheiber
  • M. C. Ness [Martin C. Ness]
  • Wilda Ness [Wilda Nelson Ness]
  • Mrs. C. Vasatka
  • Mr. L. K. Grisbach
  • Mrs. L. K. Grisbach
  • O. A. Vasatka
  • Maud Haney
  • Nina Wright [later Nina Lauby]
  • Edie E. Vasatka
  • Miss M. Grisbach
  • Miss Lena Vollrath [later Lena Korp]
  • Mrs. Malshaw
  • Adele Malshaw
  • Mr. George Korp
  • Mr. M. Rosengren
  • Miss Carrie Oakland
  • Mr. and Mrs. William Vasatka
  • Mrs. B. R. Christy
  • Genevieve Christy

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