Margaret Wright, a site visitor from Australia, sent me this old wedding
photo. The wedding took place on 30 April 1919 in St John's Parish Church,
Yeovil, Somerset, England. Margaret's father
was Australian and her mother English.
Margaret sent me some details of the people in the wedding party photo.
1919 Wedding Photo Genealogy Details - Bride and Groom : Margaret Natalie
("Meg") Woollen, and Walter Harvie ("Robbie") Robinson (Australian).
Back Row L to R - Mrs Hilda Norris, the brides's eldest sister and heavily
pregnant with second child; Jock Bruce the Best Man and a Scotsman. Jock
emigrated to Queensland, Australia prior to the outbreak of First World War
and had joined the Australian army. He went through Egypt and France with
the groom Walter and they remained lifelong friends. Mrs Emma Woollen
the bride's mother. Edward Woollen the bride's father.
Front Row: Edith Woollen the bride's younger sister aged 16. Groom and
Bride. The flower girl Rosamund Norris was the bride's niece, and Hilda's
daughter. Hazel Woollen on the far right is the bride's youngest sister,
Right - The 1919 bride and her mother. Her mother wears an outfit which
would have been at the height of fashion in 1916 in UK.
Margaret also wrote "I remember my mother telling me that
as it was an end of World War I wedding, material was very scarce. Her dress
was made of tussore silk, with floating silver lace panels down the sides,
and inserted around the neckline and bodice. She made all the dresses
You may notice that her shoes or what you can see of them, were in
keeping with the era... My mother said that when she arrived from
England at the end of 1919 the fashions in Australia were a little behind
those of Europe, and the dresses were more voluminous and longer."
Margaret later wrote to me with some lovely comments about memories of her
"I wish you had known my dear mother - she lived to 95 after coming to
Australia in a small "brides" ship with her husband and plonked down on a
banana farm in hot, humid Queensland. She had three sons and then me. She
loved the challenge but oh! how she longed for home. It was 30 years
before she went back to England, just in time to see her mother, but not
her dear dad.
She was a wonderful dressmaker and so elegant right up until she died,
and still retained her peaches and cream complexion - never went out without
a hat - "I'm not going to get brown, leathery skin like the Australian
ladies", she would tell me. Also she would say "You will regret sunbaking
one day Margaret" - and all her predictions have come home to me!
Meg's wedding veil is a mobcap style usual for the decade. The dress the
bridesmaids wear is also a typical style of about 1917-1920. Right - Meg the
bride's younger sister Edith.
This wedding photo left was sent to me by a USA site visitor Pat Gariepy,
who is a specialist collector of Military social history images.
old wedding photograph is a picture of an American soldier with his new
English bride, the most likely timeframe when it may have been taken is
Patrick explained the two chevrons on the soldier's left cuff (shown
again right) means the soldier spent between 12 and 18 months fighting in
France in the First World War, where he would have gained a chevron for
every 6 months foreign service completed.
A chevron on the right cuff, means he was wounded and a chevron would be
added for each occasion on which he was wounded. This iconography of symbols
would instantly give another soldier reference clues about any soldier he
met alive or dead.
Most other brides wore either suits, a good best dress or a formal white wedding
gown dependant on the formality or informality of the wedding. Since no
other parties are present in this photo, and the bride wears a costume suit, it is quite
likely that this couple were married away from their
usual home with few guests present.
This fashion sketch illustrates what a typical magazine of the period suggested as
desirable formal wedding attire for the bride of 1919. The
reality was often that her wedding dress was a serviceable suit.
These fashion magazine suits below
are all from late First World War era. Note how similar the
are to those
of the wedding suit above, which is known to be from 1919. The
military wedding photograph further below is undated, but most likely dates
to 1917 -1919.
Here we see a Canadian Machine Gun Corps sergeant (CMGC 1), complete with a crop,
arm-in-arm with his new bride in York, Yorkshire, England.
The costume suit silhouette of the woman wears bears an uncanny similarity
with the known 1919 dress in the military wedding picture above. The size of
the bride's bouquet is also very similar and her hat is a comparable width.
Whilst the suited bride above wears her white blouse under her collared coat, the
second bride below wears her blouse collar over her jacket lapels, but
essentially the apparel style is in a very similar vogue.
Patrick told me that this was a WWI Canadian soldier's wedding of a
Canadian Machine Gun Corps sergeant with his new bride in York, Yorkshire. (CMGC
He also explained that for soldiers of this regiment riding crops were a required
part of their uniform, and were not an
affectation. Furthermore the men were required to wear their uniforms when off duty.
The reverse side of the postcard on which the wedding image was printed bears
the message below. From what I can decipher, the writing suggests that the image is
from Mr and Mrs A. Bates, and they were married last December. The December is
probably 1918, or maybe 1919. One hopes they had a long and happy life
A few facts like those on the card above can be very helpful in genealogy
1919 was a time of both great happiness and sadness. The First Great War
of 1914-18, the war to end all wars was over. But so were the
lives of many young men and civilians too.
Great mourning and loss was felt through Europe, Australia, Canada and
the USA. But there were also celebrations, and this old photo was one of a WW1 Victory party at Hebburn
and passed to me by
For others grief would follow them all their days. I recall my grandmother
sadly telling me her two brothers were killed in the Great War, but until
recently knew little of the details.
Details of wounded/dead soldiers from the Great War can be traced now by
using the Commonwealth War Graves Commission using the link
http://www.cwgc.org/. At CWGC I found
interesting and heart wrenching details of two of my great uncles killed in the
Somme. Until this information was put online, I had no idea where the burial
place in France was. So you may find the link very useful for all sorts of
war related information.
A Few 1919 Facts
Lady Astor was elected as the first female MP in Britain.
Suzanne Lenglen shocked Wimbledon when she played in a short dress.
June 28 1919 The Treaty of Versailles was officially signed to end
World War One.
Margot Fonteyn the ballet dancer was born.
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For more information about Wedding Photos click below:-
Old photos can be useful when tracing family members and narrowing down
search dates. These photo pages may help you put an era to your
If you have old wedding photos please send them to me and if suitable I will
add them to this pictorial section of social history.
OLD WEDDING PHOTOS
For superb Victorian or Edwardian re-enactment costumes in USA, try the reproduction costume range at:
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