The marriage certificate for Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY arrived yesterday, and it has already been scanned and filed away. For once this appears to be a pretty straightforward marriage certificate, no unexpected surprises, in fact it confirms much of what I already know.
Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY were married on the 25th December 1840 (I wonder how much it would cost to get married on Christmas Day now?) at the parish church in Milton next Gravesend, Kent. Henry was a bachelor and Sarah a spinster, but unfortunately their ages are only given as “full”. Both gave their residence as Milton.
I was pleased to see that Henry’s rank or profession was given as “Cutler”, that ties in nicely with information from the census and baptism records from Alton, Hampshire. Not surprisingly Sarah has no rank or profession shown.
Henry’s father is William SHORNDEN, this matches the information from the Ospringe parish registers, and he was a labourer. Henry’s profession and the name of his father mean this provides a nice link between the Henry from Ospringe, Kent and the one from Alton, Hampshire, adding to the evidence that suggests they are the same person.
Sarah’s father was Joseph LAY, and he to was a labourer. Joseph would be another of my 4x great grandfathers. That leaves me with only three left to find, including Joseph’s wife.
Interestingly neither Henry nor Sarah signed their names, I am sure this led to much of the confusion with different surname spellings once they got away from their native Kent. The other interesting thing is that the witnesses were William and Mary Ann WICKER, could these be relations of either the bride or the groom?
So where now? Well there are still two questions to be answered:
1) Where and when was Sarah born and who was her mother? I have an approximate date of birth (1821), but no definite place for Sarah’s birth, Kent seems most likely, so I need to check all the baptism registers for the places previous mentioned, Milton next Gravesend, Ospringe and surrounding parishes for a daughter of Joseph LAY.
2) What about the two daughters that Henry and Sarah had, who are shown in the 1851 census as being born before the couple were married? These two girls were most likely Henry and Sarah’s daughters, but as well as checking all the above parishes for their baptisms, I need to check for a variety of different surnames as well. It would be nice to find the family in the 1841 census, but their appears to be very few SHORNDENs in the south of England that year.
This family are certainly one of the most challenging I have worked on so far, they are the first case I have in my tree of a name change, rather than just different variants. I do feel however that this is a story worth investigating and I will probably try and put together a full report on the family once more of the facts emerge.