From July 1837 (when civil registration of marriages began in England), it was possible to marry in a Register Office, a non-conformist chapel or a Catholic church which had been licensed for marriages.
A new register book was used, with space for two marriage records per page, and included much more information than previously.
- The year
- The place of marriage, including the parish and county
- Register entry number
- The date “when married”
- Name & Surname of groom and bride
- Age of groom and bride
- Condition (e.g. bachelor, spinster, widow, widower)
- Rank or profession (occupation) of both (although it was common for a bride not to be employed)
- Residence at the time of marriage (both groom and bride)
- Father’s name & Surname (of both groom and bride)
- Rank or profession of father (of both groom and bride)
- whether by banns, or licence
- Signatures of the groom and bride (or their marks)
- Signatures of two witnesses
- Signature of the person performing the ceremony
(Mothers’ names were not stated).
Note: whereas it is possible to get a copy of a marriage certificate from the local Register Office, or from the GRO, these are always copies (hand written or typed) of the original, and not an actual photocopy of the original, even though some might look old! If you want a copy of the original, with the original signatures of your ancestors, then obtain a photocopy of the church marriage register from the County Record Office. It is also a lot less expensive than obtaining one from a Registrar or from Southport.
Compare the original signatures of William Neep and Emily Cadman on the original document above, with those on the copy from the Register Office below.
A Register Office copy has uniform handwriting! It is simply a hand written copy of the original document.
It is much more satisfying to own a photocopy with the original signatures.