Tag Archives: GRO

Have I found the marriage of Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY?

25 Oct

Having just discovered the maiden name of Henry SHORNDEN’s wife, the next step was to use this information to try and find a marriage for Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY.

It didn’t take long to find a likely marriage in the GRO BMD marriage index, the problem is that it shouldn’t have been in the marriage index.

Both Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY were amongst those individuals married in Q4 1840 in the Gravesend Registration District. The International Genealogical Index has an entry for the marriage, which confirms that they were married to each other on the 25th December 1840 at Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Milton by Gravesend, Kent.

The problem is that according to the 1851 census there were two children born before the 25th December 1840, including my 2x great grandmother Harriet.

This raises several questions, such as it this the correct marriage? If it is then were the two children’s parents Henry and Sarah, or was one of them married previously? There are many possibilities, the two children may even be adopted.

The next step will be to check the marriage details, and see if I confirm that this is the correct marriage. Probably the easiest way to do this will be to order the marriage certificate, but I could also try and get hold of a copy of the marriage register entry.

Ordering two birth certificates for my Christmas Tree Project

8 Oct

Last night I ordered two birth certificates from the GRO as part of my Christmas Tree Project. Both were in an attempt to find the maiden names of two of my 4x great grandmothers.

The first was for William GEERING, my 3x great grandfather (who may or may not have married Ellen NICHOLLS). His birth was registered in the Lewes Registration District in Q3 1843. I am sure it is the right William GEERING because I have his baptism in Lewes around the same time.

The only problem with this one was reading the page reference, it looks like 383 to me, but that middle number is not clear. I am expecting that it will show his mother’s maiden name as RICHARDSON, as that is the closest match I can find for a marriage between Richard GEERING and Eliza.

The marriage took place in Brighton on the 7th June 1829. To be honest if the marriage was in Lewes, Sussex I would probably have accepted it, but Brighton is just that bit further away so I want to be certain.

The second certificate is for Alfred George MITCHELL, he was the younger brother of my 3x great grandmother Harriet MITCHELL. His birth was registered in the Cuckfield Registration District in Q1 1841.

I wouldn’t normally bother with getting the birth certificates for siblings of my ancestors, unless I was doing an in depth study of the family, but Harriet was born three or four years before the start of civil registration in 1837. Annoyingly I already have the birth date for Alfred George MITCHELL from his baptism record, but he was the easiest of Harriet’s brothers and sisters to locate in the indexes.

I am expecting this one to show that his mother’s maiden name was SMITH. My heart sank when I was searching for possible marriages and found the most likely one was between George MITCHELL and Mary SMITH in Cuckfield, Sussex on the 29th September 1828.

I suppose it inevitable that I would come across a SMITH in my direct ancestry eventually, I just hope there weren’t too many SMITHs in that part of Sussex at that time.

Another birth certificate arrives, but doesn’t really help

18 Sep

Great excitement usually accompanies the arrival of certificate from the GRO (well at least for me anyway) and today was no exception. The envelope contained the birth certificate for William GEERING my 2x great grandfather.

William was born in Lewes, Sussex in 1868 that much I knew already, more precisely it was on the 24th August 1868 in Sun Street, Lewes. Sun Street is an address I hadn’t come across before in my research, but apart from the exact date and place the reason I wanted this certificate was to find out his mother’s name/maiden name.

I had previously been unable to locate a marriage in the GRO Indexes for William’s parents, and with a name like GEERING it should have been easy. I hoped that having his mother’s maiden name would help in the search, but so far it hasn’t.

In the space for the mother’s name it says Ellen Geering formerly Nicholls. I am pretty certain it says NICHOLLS, it would take quite a stretch of the imagination to make it anything else. So this implies that William’s father (also William) had married Ellen NICHOLLS, but still no entry in the marriage index is forthcoming.

I switched to the census, perhaps I could find Ellen NICHOLLS in the 1861 census (her future husband was unmarried in 1861) but nothing obvious stands out. There is one possible hit in 1851, but that is not really in the right area.

I tried the GRO Birth Index, and again no Ellen NICHOLLS in the right place or time frame, this really is starting to look very mysterious. The 1871, 1881 and 1891 census all give her place of birth as Chiddingstone, Kent and her age is pretty consistent, giving her year of birth around 1848.

So what has gone wrong here? Why is Ellen causing me such a problem? At least I have a maiden name now, but it is a maiden name that I don’t feel I can trust, at least not until I see it in writing somewhere else.

So what next? I need to widen all my searches on both the census and the GRO Indexes, in case one of the pieces of information is wrong and try some different census indexes. I need to visit the East Sussex Record Office and search the parish registers for a marriage entry (maybe it missed the GRO Indexes) and also for any sign of banns for the husband because I am sure he would have been in Lewes.

Such a disappointment to not have all the pieces fit into place, this looks like it could be a major obstacle to finding all my 4x great grandparents. Then again I wouldn’t want things too easy, would I?

GRO marriage index now fully transcribed on ancestry.co.uk

3 Jul

I went on the ancestry.co.uk site last night to check the GRO index reference for the death certificate of Henry Herbert HEMSLEY (see my post about our mini-heatwave) and discovered that they have now transcribed all the GRO marriage index as well.

I wasn’t supposed to be doing any new research at the moment, just tidying up some of the stuff I have already done, but this is going to help answer some of my queries with tracing some of my more recent relations such as second and third cousins. I am just glad that the weekend is approaching fast.

Like they have previously done with the birth index, the marriage index is now in two separate sections, 1837-1915 (transcribed by FreeBMD) and 1916-2005 (transcribed by Ancestry), although previously 1984 to 2005 was already searchable by name.

In my opinion the GRO BMD indexes on ancestry.co.uk are proving to be one of the most valuable databases on the whole site. They provide a quick and easy (although not cheap at £7.00 a certificate) way to access information for a period (1915 to 2005) where there is virtually no other information readily available to the general public.

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