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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutley View Post
    The old folk often have memories that are right but not quite right.
    Have you considered a visit to Grandma with a large bottle of Port (or whatever the favourite tipple is) and a tape recorder, get her to talk, by whatever means you can. There may be a buried clue there somewhere.
    Tried that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutley View Post
    Arthur Lewis is a very common name but Arthur Walter Lewis is far less so. I don't know about driving you potty, it is me too.
    Please do let us know the results of Ivy's birth certificate and I hope to God it does not have a dash in the father column.
    Yes, there seems to be hundreds of Arthur Lewis', you would think Arthur Walter Lewis would stand out like a sore thumb. I have the same problem with Ellen Heath! If only she had a middle name.

    I think rather than trying to go at every angle, I'll do as Peter and yourself suggest and wait for Ivy's birth certificate, then go from there. ETA is the 16/4.

    Fingers crossed.

    I'm truly thankful for all your help and advice.

    Daniel

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    Hi, the birth certificate has just arrived for Ivy!

    It transcribes...

    Registration district: West Ham
    Sub-district of: Forest Gate
    County of: West Ham

    Born: 26 August 1895, 36 Elmhurst Road, Forest Gate, West Ham
    Name: Matilda Ivy
    Sex: Girl
    Name & surname of father: Arthur Walter Lewis
    Name & surname of mother: Ellen Lewis, formerly Heath
    Occupation of father: Mechanical engineer
    Informant: Ellen Lewis, mother, 36 Elmhurst Road, Forest Gate, West Ham
    When registered: 28 October 1895
    Signature of registrar: W.Davison

    Thankfully this proves some truth to it all.

    Where do I go from here though?

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    I have rechecked the marriage registers on FMP and there is no record of a marriage of an Ellen Heath to a Mr Lewis between 1881-1895.

    I also checked the marriage registers for marriages of Arthur Walter Lewis or Arthur W Lewis between 1881-1911. Strangely there are 2 in 1910 and 5 in 1911, and none before that.

    There are possible explanations as to why there is no record of the marriage:
    They were not married
    The records in the local registery were not passed to the central GRO records - unlikely
    They married outside of England and Wales
    Are bigamous marriages struck out of the register? I don't know whether this happens or not.

    So then I thought where was she in the 1891 census, because that might show that she was in service in a household with him or something akin to that. I cannot find her in the 1891 Census.

    In the 1881 she is a domestic servant in Lewisham – refs Piece:733; Folio: 125; Page: 39. In the 1871 census she is with her parents William and Charlotte in West Ham – refs: Piece: 1623 Folio: 104 Page: 45

    I think that it will be difficult to solve the mystery of bigamy or otherwise without finding a court record, or a newspaper report.

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    Thank you so much for looking Megan, I also rechecked and couldn't find anything in Ancestry's marriage registers or the census (nothing tangible so far anyway).

    I'd be interested to know if bigamous marriages are struck out of the register.

    The fact I can't find a solid record for Arthur is giving me a headache. Was it his real name? Was it just Arthur Lewis and not Arthur Walter Lewis? (Which means it could be any number of the Arthur Lewis' we've found so far). Or, is it the other way round i.e. Walter Lewis and no Arthur? Did he emigrate or change his name to avoid the law?

    If I find out, I'll let you know, although I think I may have been beaten here.

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    It might be worth ringing your local registrar and asking them what happens in the event of a bigamous marriage. If they are not struck out I think that I would be willing to guess that Ellen was never married and that this was just an elaborate ruse to cover it up.

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    Thankfully this proves some truth to it all
    Well, it proves that there's consistency in the claim about the father's name.

    There are possible explanations as to why there is no record of the marriage:
    They were not married
    I shall be very surprised if this is not the case.

    Are bigamous marriages struck out of the register? I don't know whether this happens or not.
    No they are not. In any case, they most probably weren't married so the question of bigamy didn't arise.

    Where do I go from here though?
    As previously suggested, you need to concentrate on proving that the man actually existed and, if so, whether they ever lived together as man and wife.

    I'm not claiming that's an easy task but it is sometimes productive to follow the money trail. In the first instance this means poor law records for any possible out-relief and petty session records for a possible affiliation order.

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