Understanding the records. In New Hampshire, it has long been the job of the town clerk to record births, marriages and deaths. In the mid-1800s, a law was passed requiring towns to report about vital events to the state. Regular reporting of vital events became more uniform and effective in about 1905, when New Hampshire established a "Bureau of Vital Statistics," See, "New Hampshire Vital Records," [link now broken and removed] for reproduction of George F. Sanborn Jr., FASG, and Alice Eichholz, Ph.D, CG from Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
I access the early Rumney vital events using FamilySearch collections titled "New Hampshire Birth Records, Early to 1900," "New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947," and of course, "New Hampshire Death Records, 1654-1947." For the Rumney eighteenth and nineteenth century vital events, these collections represent images of card-like forms created and supplied by the town in about 1905, working from the various early town record books. The entry about William and Elizabeth's 1779 marriage record, from the FamilySearch collection, appears below.
A crack in the armour. If you look closely at the marriage record, above, you'll see someone crossed through Elizabeth's surname, "Preston." The name "Clark" appears faintly written below. Click on the image snippet below to see the strike-through and added notation more clearly.
Perhaps the alteration was made before the records were submitted to the state in 1905, or maybe a third party tried to change the record still later. From looking at the filmed images, we only know this additional "information" was added before the records were filmed by FamilySearch (1975-1976). If only they'd used a Bic, included their initials and dated the entry, huh!
Rumney's Vital Record Books. In 2008, I contacted Rumney Town Clerk, Linda Whitcomb, to learn what I could about the town records. Rumney had received a grant for the maintenance of the old records not too long before, so the records had all been placed in plastic sleeves and rebound. The clerk confirmed the town marriage books report the Major's wife's name as Elizabeth Preston.
A second set of books holds the key. In addition to the vital record books, a set of "Town of Rumney: Town Clerk Ledgers" exists. Linda described the ledgers as "town clerk notes from the late-1700s to the 1800s; notes about the goings on in the town."
Linda found the marriage recorded in the Town of Rumney: Town Clerk Ledgers B: 242. The record reports William Presson and Elizabeth Clark married on 10 May 1779!
So there you have it. A little more than 100 years after her death, Elizabeth has a surname. Maybe someday soon I'll have a snap shot of that entry. --GJ
Updated: 2013, to provide for new fonts and changes to the GenealogyBank related graphic.
 "Died," Elizabeth Preston obituary, The Sun, Dover (New Hampshire) Gazette, and County Advertiser, Saturday, June 27, 1807, pg. 3, col. 1; digital image, NewsBank, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 5 January 2008), "Historical Newspapers" collection.-->
 Registrar of Vital Statistics, New Hampshire, "Index to marriages, early to 1900"; for William Preston-Elizabeth Preston, married 10 May 1779, Rumney; database and digital images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : 16 Dec 2010), viewed as part of "New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947," cites film 1001291.
 Town of Rumney, New Hampshire (79 Depot St., Rumney, NH 03266) to GeneJ, information supplied telephonically by Linda Whitcomb, Town Clerk, 20 October 2008, for William Presson and Elizabeth Clark, married 10 May 1779, citing "Town of Rumney: Town Clerk ledger," book B, pg 242. Separately see, Daughters of the American Revolution National Society, Lineage Books of the Charter Members of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 152 volumes (18xx-1936); transcribed/database edition, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 2000+), 100 (1928): 12, entry for Mrs. Mary Wallace Morse, DAR ID 99032, "... [descendant of] William Preston m1 Elizabeth Clark ..."