View Full Version : Getting married after 1837

14-07-2006, 8:10 AM
Hi All

I have googled, and googled but can find no answer to my questions
I am hoping that somebody here may know a bit about the history of the registrations.

1)If someone got married in the 1860's to 70's, Would they have had to prove who they were. Would they have had to have produced the birth certificate.
If they did not have a birth certificate, how would they have been able to prove who they were?, or similarly if they married in a church, would just the banns be all they needed to marry, or would they have to prove to the registrar who they really were?

2) When registering a child, would they have had to have proved they were married, or could a man register the child in his name and give the mother as married to him, when she was maybe just living with him.

How did somebody prove the child was actually his, or that this child actually existed? did they have to have some form of proof from the midwife or doctor?

Hopefully somebody knows


Julie Tyrell
14-07-2006, 8:42 AM

I can answer question 2, no they don't have to prove they are married.

From birth certificates of my relatives the certifcates imply that the mother is married to the father, example, Annie Smith formerly Jones, when in fact they were never married.

Hope this helps a bit,

Peter Goodey
14-07-2006, 9:30 AM
The answer is no to both questions.

Why not tell us what's puzzling you?

Guy Etchells
14-07-2006, 9:47 AM
No proof necessary, life was simpler in those days people believed ones word.

Why should one have to prove who they were, names could be changed at the drop of a hat, simply by using a new name.
The whole point of banns was the congregation would know the people concerned and if there was an impediment to the marriage.
If someone wished to be responsible for a child they accepted the responsibility, as simple as that, there was no incentive to claim for a child which did not exist, no social security or child benefit etc.

It was actually a far more secure system than we have today and inestimably more secure than ID cards which if forged are accepted without question.

14-07-2006, 10:05 AM
thanks for your help guys

The problem being a GG Grandmother that changed names at the drop of a hat.

One more thing that puzzels me is,
Base born children were stigmatised, how come the mothers then didnt invent fathers for them instead of putting father unknown on the birth certs.


14-07-2006, 3:06 PM
We are searching for my wife's mother's mother's family, a task which is proving difficult because there is no father named on my wife's mother's birth certificate. The reason we have been given, and it makes sense to me, is that if a woman is not married to the man she claims to be the father of the child then he cannot be named on the birth certificate without his consent and in our case this was not possible because the man in question was killed in WW1 before the baby was born.

We have also been told that the same situation applied to many, many women as a result of the large number of men killed in WW1 & of course there was no DNA in those days.

To what extent things have changed, and when thay changed, I do not know but it does seem reasonable that some kind of proof should be required for such things. For example take the requirements for getting married in Lanzarote as my daughter did recently. She had to present her birth certificate, her passport, her certified UK notice of no objections, a letter from the British Consulate saying the marriage was in compliance with UK law and an official letter from her home town council confirming her address & identity. Likewise for the bridegroom, all incidentally with certified translations into Spanish. Also at the ceremony itself statements were required from two Lanzarote witnesses who have known either the bride or the groom for at least two years.

Whilst this does not preclude forgery it must reduce the risk of stolen identities and false claims. I say this because we initially got the wrong mother, all because the actual mother declared herself to be older than she was and used her "known by" name rather than her birth name when she got married with the result that, based on the info on the wedding certificate, we had been looking for someone else, rather fruitlessly too.

So guys, what should it be?

Regards, Lanzaman

Peter Goodey
14-07-2006, 4:40 PM
The current requirements can be seen on any local authority website or the GRO website.