Tuesday, June 7, 2016

NYC Marriage Records: 1908-1929 Application, Affidavit, and License

New York City marriage applications, affidavits, and licenses 1908-1929 became easier to obtain with the recent release of indexes and their subsequent publication online thanks to the group Reclaim the Records.  These documents are separate from the Certificate and Record of Marriage and can be obtained via mail service through New York City Municipal Archives.

About six weeks ago I requested through postal mail the application, affidavit, and license for the couple Robert Paul Shaw (1904-1964) and Jane Louise Sonntag (1911-1975).  They lived at 23 Appleton Place in Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey, but were married in 1928 in New York City.  (This is not unusual.  If you cannot find a marriage in New Jersey, check in New York City.)  Below is the marriage record.

Both bride and groom were easily identified in the images of the index for the year 1928.  The indexes are browsable by year, not searchable with text.

Below are the four pages I received pursuant to my request.

The additional records were ordered because Jane Sonntag's parents are confusing.

Jane's mother was Annabel Birney, born about 1865, probably in Westchester County, New York.  Her parents were Charles Hanfield Birney (1814-1893) and Mary Lennon (1827-19??).

In the 1930 census for Verona, Essex County, New Jersey, Annabelle Day is age 52 and widowed.  With her is daughter Jane, Jane's husband, and their new baby.

Annabel died February 16, 1944 in Montclair.  One death certificate was incomplete and filed under the surname Day with "Sonntag" in parentheses.  The other was completed and filed under Sonntag with "Day" in parentheses.

Annabel's entry in the 1910 census is elusive.  She may have been living with Arthur Sonntag in New York City.

In the 1920 census, Annabelle may be enumerated as Ann I Birney, age 48 and married, residing at 247 West 44th Street in New York City, living and working at a furnished rooming house.  With her is daughter Jane L Birney, age nine years and 1 month.

So what became of Arthur Sonntag, the father of Jane?  Jane was under 18 years old when she married Robert Shaw, requiring parental consent.  On the Certificate of Consent, Annabel B Sonntag wrote, "Father whereabouts unknown for past 14 years."  This makes the 1920 census entry for Ann I Birney more appealing as the correct Annabel.  She may have separated from Arthur Sonntag around 1914, when Jane was a toddler.

Certificate of Consent
New York City Municipal Archives

Various candidates for Arthur Sonntag are under review.  In the New York City marriage index, I do not see any marriages for Annabel Birney.  She may have married twice; first to Arthur Sonntag and then to John Day.  The plan is to check for these marriages in New Jersey, which requires a trip to the Archives in Trenton.

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