How Did My Ancestors Meet? The Story of George Kienlen and Margaret Dunsford


Have you ever wondered how your ancestors met? What circumstances had to happen to make you who you are? I thought this would make a good series of blog posts, but only if I can find the stories.


Prior to the 1920s, when people started "dating", courtship was more of a family ritual. Most of my ancestors lived near their future spouses or attended the same churches. When the young man and woman wanted to meet, it was done in the home (usually of the woman) or out in public with a chaperone.


I remember my grandparents, George Alexander Kienlen Jr. and Margaret Emily Dunsford Kienlen, as "old". When I was born in 1965, they were close to 70 years old. Born at the end of the 19th century, they married in their mid-twenties (in 1921) but did not have a child, their only child, until 1933. It would be another 32 years before they had a grandchild. They died when I was 9. I wish I had the chance to know them better.


I have always been fascinated by my grandparents and the times they lived through - both world wars, the depression, automobiles, television. I could go on. My grandma was likely among the first women to get to vote in this country (I hope she did!). They were also among those young adults first able to date rather than have a more traditional courtship.


My dad shared a little bit about his parents' lives before they married. He did not tell me the romantic parts, but what I learned also taught me a little about how St. Louis used to be, and how it has changed.





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