View Full Version : Proof of age and identity
20-04-2005, 8:01 AM
I know this has been asked in a slightly different form, so forgive me for asking it again.
In the 19th century (about 1896 to be more precise) for a couple to marry would it have been necessary for either partner to provide any kind of proof as to their age and/or name, or indeed their parents?
I ask because I have a little mystery with a relation who does not seem to exist prior to her marriage in 1896 where she gives her name, age and the name of her father. The only trouble is that I can't find any trace of her prior to this date: no birth record, no census entries. The usual searches on different spellings and ages haven't thrown anything up.
Right now I'm wondering if she might have been born illegitimate and registered under her mother's name, and only "adopted" her father's name at the time of her marriage.
20-04-2005, 9:43 AM
I know this has been asked in a slightly different form, so forgive me for asking it again. In the 19th century (about 1896 to be more precise) for a couple to marry would it have been necessary for either partner to provide any kind of proof as to their age and/or name, or indeed their parents?Not unless the cleric involved asked for proof. I have a similar instance where a chap was born illegit about 1810 (the exact date escapes me offhand) and the register notes the alleged father's name. He married (CofE) in 1838, using his father's surname. In another case, a relation was born illegit, when he married he named his grandfather as being his dad - I've found several other instances.
I ask because I have a little mystery with a relation who does not seem to exist prior to her marriage in 1896 where she gives her name, age and the name of her father. The only trouble is that I can't find any trace of her prior to this dateAny clues from the witnessses to the marriage? Does the father turn up on any earlier census returns - or in 1901? If you could post the details John, someone may be able to check their own records or make specific suggestions.
20-04-2005, 9:59 AM
How long is a piece of string?
You are asking a question with no answer or rather numerous answers.
Was it a civil wedding, church, non-conformist; in a city or village parish ; by licence or banns?
Depending on the circumstances there could be different requirements or answers, some due to a particular vicar's whims or knowledge others due to law.
More information in the question may lead to a more accurate answer.
20-04-2005, 10:34 AM
Sorry, I could indeed have provided a bit more information.
From information I have been given, the wedding took place in December 1896 at the Registry Office in Whitehaven between Sarah Jane PRITT (the elusive relative) aged 24 and John LEESON. The father was given as Isaac PRITT (coalminer) and the witnesses were John PRITT and Maggy TAYLOR.
Isaac certainly shows up on previous and subsequent censuses; he also had a son John born in c1878 -- but there were several other John Pritts (cousins) around at the time as well.
One other train of thought is that she might have been given one name at birth, but adopted another name in life. It is possible that Isaac and his wife Jane HOWE lost a child (Sarah) at a very young age just before their daughter Elizabeth was born. Elizabeth shows up on the census records of 1881 and 1891. I need to get copies of the birth and death certificates here to be able to confirm or deny this line of inquiry.
20-04-2005, 8:07 PM
In some of the Scottish Birth and Marriage Civil records, registered in the small town of Dunbar, the Registrar has been very helpfull for future researchers. Presumably, after the people being registered had left the office, the Registrar had scribbled over the certificate in pencil, that they were illegitimate!! Obviously in a small town like Dunbar, the Registrar was able to know everthing about everyone.
08-06-2005, 2:07 PM
My experience of marriage certificates is that they are so unreliable as to names, ages, addresses, names and occupations of fathers etc that is hard to believe that much, if any, proof was required. This is particular the case where illegitimacy is involved. One of mine gave an uncle's name in place of his unknown father, leading me an interesting wild goose chase, believing his mother to be his aunt (if you get what I mean!). Another seems to have changed his middle name from Ernest to Edward, and they all seem to lie about their ages.
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