When two sources are sometimes better than one

13 Jul

Yesterday I showed you an example of a newspaper report for a wedding (my grandparents wedding as it happens), now I wouldn’t want you to think that newspapers were better than having a marriage certificate.

They provide two different records of the same event, and hopefully they don’t contradict each other. What they will do however, is record two different perspectives of that event.

There is one key fact on the marriage entry in the parish register that the newspaper report doesn’t mention (other than their ages) and that is the groom’s father’s name. Until last year the identity of my grandfather’s father was a mystery.

No father’s name was recorded on his birth certificate, and I hadn’t been able to find a baptism record, but to my surprise there it was on the marriage entry in the parish register for Keymer, Sussex. I have since found one other source, a school record, with this name so I am pretty confident it is correct.

That discovery opened up a whole new branch of my family tree, and if I hadn’t checked the marriage entry I would never have known. If I had known the date of the newspaper report I could have worked out the date of the wedding (the Saturday before publication) so I would probably have not needed (or bothered) to check the marriage entry.

Always remember that information on an event may be recorded in more than one source and whilst some of the details may overlap, some may also be unique to that source.

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