Sunday, October 3, 2021

Finding Great Aunt Jennie's Marriage Cert

My great aunt Jennie Katz Farkas (1886-1974) was an important linchpin in my Farkas family.

She married my grandma's older brother, Alexander Farkas (1885-1948) on Christmas Eve, 1916. Both were in the clothing business--he as a salesman, later a garment manufacturer, and she as a designer for his clothing lines. 

Jennie and Alex never had children. Both were deeply involved in community activities and family events. By retelling their stories, I aim to honor their memories and let future generations know a bit about them.

Idea for a Family Circle

As the Great Depression took hold, it was Jennie's idea to have a regular get-together of the children and grandchildren of the Farkas patriarch and matriarch (Moritz Farkas and Leni Kunstler Farkas). Moritz and Lena (my great-grandparents) were the original immigrants to leave Hungary for New York City, and they were also Jennie's dad-in-law and mom-in-law.

Thanks to Jennie, the Farkas Family Circle began meeting in March, 1933, later changing its name to the Farkas Family Tree. Ten times a year, the Farkas family gathered for food, conversation, games, and sometimes serious business (such as pooling money to buy burial plots). I have the written minutes of the meetings, a time capsule of family history.

In 1959, the family historian dedicated the tree's annual meeting report to Jennie, saying:

In her own quiet way, she was probably more responsible than any other in the birth of the Farkas Family Tree. Since the inception...she has been just about the most ardent supporter...and just about the most regular attender of meetings.

Three steps to Jennie & Alex's marriage cert

I know a lot about Jennie and her husband Alex, and I even have the fun group photo taken at their wedding in 1916. Jennie could see a fashion in a magazine and replicate it on her own, no pattern needed. In fact, she sewed the dresses for many a Farkas wedding in the 1930s and 1940s.

Although I have the transcription of Jennie and Alex's marriage certificate, I never saw the actual handwritten New York City cert until I took three steps today. 

Step one was to use the new Family Search interface to locate the record of Jennie and Alex's marriage cert. It was linked to a digitized microfilm not yet indexed but visible to me in my bunny slippers at home. Yes!

Step two was clicking through the unindexed images of licenses from that period of 1916. Happily, certs from September to December were together on a single microfilm. However, there were 1200+ certs in that microfilm, not in chronological order. Click, click, click...

Step three took me 769 clicks but I successfully landed on their marriage cert, shown at top. Note that "Jenny" is the way her name is shown on the front, which was not written by the bride or groom. On the back, the signature clearly says "Jennie Katz." I downloaded front and back for my records, and for further investigation.

"Aunt Jennie" is how she was known in the family, and "Jennie" is how she's recorded in my trees, with affection and respect.


"Steps" = the theme of Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors challenge for week 39.


  1. It is fascinating that someone who married into the family is the very one who had the idea for the family meetings and get-togethers. Thank-goodness for Aunt Jennie.

  2. 769 clicks! Not sure I'd be that patient!!

  3. That's a lot of records to look through! I envy your patience.