Finding Mary’s maiden name

10 May

In theory it ought to be quite easy to find the maiden name of my 4x great-grandmother Mary, the wife of Thomas WELLER. I actually have a pretty good idea of what it is (NEWNHAM), but I just want to make sure before I explore the NEWNHAM line too far.

The reason it should be easy is because Thomas and Mary WELLER had three children (out of a total of twelve) who were born after the start of civil registration in 1837, so their birth certificates should give Mary’s maiden name.

The problem comes mainly from my reluctance to part with any money for a certificate unless I am certain it is the right one and making sure I get the best value for money. In this case that would mean getting the certificate for my 3x great-grandmother Mary Ann WELLER, because although I have no particular need to know her exact date of birth, if I am going to pay for a certificate it might as well be for a direct ancestor and not one of their siblings.

I have baptism dates for all three of the children concerned and know from the census where they were living and where they were baptised (Twineham, Sussex) so again in theory it should be a simple matter of checking the GRO Indexes and ordering the certificate.

Of course it is not that simple, no birth registration seems to exist for a Mary Ann WELLER, there is a Mary WELLER but not where I would expect it (Cuckfield Registration District) but in a neighbouring registration district. Close, but not close enough for me to risk my hard-earned £9.25 on.

So my next choice would be George Henry WELLER, the first and second name should be enough to make sure I get the correct certificate, more so than his brother Andrew. FreeBMD was a little uncertain about the page number, so I checked the image, several images in fact (on Ancestry, Findmypast and TheGenealogist) but I can’t make it out either.

Fortunately George’s brother Andrew WELLER turns out to be my saviour, the volume and page number are readable and the date and place match up. If truth be known I am not really interested in Andrew (apologies if he is your ancestor) but his certificate is the only one that I can safely order. The irony is that I already know his date of birth from the baptism register so I don’t even need to know that part of information.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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