Select Page

And reasons for loving libraries

Nothing about the divorce has ever surprised The Legal Genealogist.

My parents — who were married 73 years ago tomorrow — were as different as chalk and cheese.

He was formal German immigrant. She was folksy U.S. southern — of the West Texas variety.

He was raised as an only child, his only sibling having died before he was born. She was the fifth-born of 12 children, and the fourth of 10 to survive to adulthood.

He was a college graduate, with a degree in engineering. She dropped out of high school to work in the war effort.

He liked fried chicken livers and limburger cheese. She liked fried okra and biscuits and gravy.

He fell asleep watching the 10 o’clock news. She fell asleep watching the sunrise.

Even in appearances they were total opposites. He was blue-eyed and blond, at least as a child. She was dark-eyed and dark-haired — and pretty close to three inches taller.

No, it wasn’t a surprise at all that they divorced. The surprise was that they stayed together as long as they did — and since they’d been married 26 years when they called it quits, I always kind of wondered if they just wanted to see what kind of a 25th anniversary party the kids would throw for them.

Be that as it may, that marriage is just one of the reasons why — as a genealogist — I so adore libraries.

Because it was at the library in Golden, Colorado, that I finally got the details of that marriage.

You see, the marriage record I’d received from Jefferson County, Colorado, had nothing more than the absolute basics: the date, the names of bride and groom and two witnesses, and the utterly illegible signature of the minister who performed the marriage. No church identification. No specific location for the marriage.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m glad to have the marriage record. But hey… I’m a genealogist. I want more.

At the time I began that research, of course, none of the local newspapers was online. And the marriage didn’t make the big leagues, the Denver papers.

But when I managed to grab a day or two on a western trip to get to the Golden, Colorado, Public Library… oh yeah.



Today, you can read it online now at the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. On page 5 of the January 22, 1948, Colorado Transcript.

At the time, it was only on microfilm.

Only at the Golden library.

Where a pair of very helpful librarians helped me find it.

Miss Hazel Irene Cottrell of Golden, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clay R, Cottrell of Midland, Tex., will be united in marriage to Mr. Hugo Herman Geissler of Chicago, at an informal wedding to be solemnized in the First Presbyterian Church in Golden at 4:30 o’clock Saturday afternoon, January 24.

The Rev. Lance A. Mantle will perform the double ring ceremony … Miss Cottrell will be given in marriage by her cousin, Mr. Fred Gottlieb of Santa Fe, N.M., and her sister, Miss Carol Raye Cottrell will attend her as maid of honor. Mrs. George W. LeMaire will be soloist. Professor George LeMaire will be the bridegroom’s best man.

Yes, there’s more, but that’ll give you a taste.

Sigh… we really do love libraries as genealogists.

This is just one of the reasons why.

Getting a taste for the chalk and cheese that were my parents, at their wedding, 73 years ago tomorrow.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Chalk and cheese,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 23 Jan 2021).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email