View Full Version : Dead or Alive?

28-05-2006, 7:57 PM
I found the man that was married to my gg grandmother on the 1841 Staffordshire census and noticed that he was not born in the county. Eight years later he married at the same place but eight months after that his wife married again as a Widow, I did a local search for his burial with no luck so I searched the complete Death index for England and nothing, although there was plenty of people by the name of Maddocks there was only two Joseph’s, one was 12 months after my time frame and the other (which I sent for) was not him.
For some reason in my desperation I searched the 1851 census and found a Joseph Maddocks in the next county with the right age and the right occupation (Blacksmith)
What am I to think? His burial was not transcribed, the marriage was annulled, or my granny married under false pretences?
Does anyone know if there are records of annulments? And if so how would she be described on the new marriage entry Single? Widow?
Any help please

Rod Neep
28-05-2006, 8:10 PM
The largest clue that you give here is "8 years".

If the couple separated... let's just say that he left and went away. Then legally, if she has not seen him for 7 years, then she may marry again.

It appears that's just what she did. And, it would not have been out of order for her to call herself a widow at the time of her second marriage.


28-05-2006, 8:18 PM
Divorce prior to 1858 was a very rare and expensive process, involving a bill being introduced before the House of Lords.

If this is your chap, if his wife had remarried whilst he was still alive a couple of possiblities exist. He may have done a runner and she thought "what the heck" and got married again (she may not have seen him for 7 years and he was considered dead); or (and I'm not kidding), he may have sold her. This old practice did occur occasionally, and involved leading a woman by halter to a market to take offers for her purchase.

She could be described as almost anything on the second marriage certificate, it all depends on what she told the vicar.

Have you checked for variant spellings of Maddocks?


28-05-2006, 9:09 PM
No, what I meant was that he was found on the 1841 census before he married as he married Dec 1849 then his wife married again as a widow Aug 1850, just 8 months after her first. so the time he was married was only short. I have tried all spellings for Maddocks. When I found a Joseph Maddocks on the 1851 census it states he was born Lincolnshire therefore the 1841 census would be correct.
What a Mystery


29-05-2006, 2:09 PM
Thank you both for your thoughts on this subject, I am thinking seriously about her being sold Geoffers as I have read about this practice at Bilston market place and this is the place where they lived. Finding such a record is probably impossible unless it was recorded in some news article, anything on cd I could try Rod?


29-05-2006, 2:21 PM
"Finding such a record is probably impossible"
Probably, yes - but the parish register is worth a look, you never know.
For example, in one Essex PR I came across an entry on the lines of (ficticious detail because I can't remember it):
23 May. Baptised Sarah the daughter of Richard Watts and his Wife brought home from Colchester in a halter.

30-05-2006, 3:23 PM
That was a good find, hope I'm that lucky but I will certainly look