View Full Version : Was my Gt Grandmother a Bigamist?

07-02-2010, 11:44 AM

I think I have discovered that my Gt Grandmother Annie was married to two men at the same time. Her first husband, John Michael Robinson Lewis was my great Grandfather, they had 7 children - they were living together in Gloucester until at least their last son was born in 1897.

John must have moved up to Leicester before the 1901 census was out because Annie, in the 1901 census, was then living with Harold Nind in Tewkesbury and had the first of another seven children with him. John was listed as living as a boarder in Leicester.

I came across Annie and Harold's marriage details in the BMD register in 1915 and have just obtained John's death certificate - he died in 1928.

However, there are a couple of letters from Annie to the authorities in Harold Nind's WW1 Service Records explaining that her first married proved void? In other documents she describes herself as a widow.

The children from her first marriage seemed to move up and down between Tewkesbury and Leicester so I don't think that John Lewis being alive was a secret.

They weren't very well off so I shouldn't imagine that they had had a divorce - but is there an option for voiding the marriage?

Grateful for any help.


07-02-2010, 12:48 PM
Just a quick thought, though I have not explored the possibility.

Could John or Annie have been married previously and their marriage was void because one of the previous partners was the bigamist or was thought to have died but did not.

07-02-2010, 1:10 PM
This appears to be Annie's first marriage. She would have been about 16 years old? Do you have the certificate?

Marriages Jun 1886 Gloucester
volume 6a
page 507
Eskins-Howells Annie L
Howells Annie Lucretia E
LEWIS John Michael R

Peter Goodey
07-02-2010, 3:17 PM
It sounds as if you haven't got the second marriage certificate. You need to get it.

Have you searched probate records? Could be interesting!

07-02-2010, 3:59 PM
Thanks for replying both,

I have John and Annie's original marriage certificate, John is 21, listed as batchelor and Annie is 17 Spinster - so this must have been their first marriage. Interestingly, she is listed as Eskins Howells; however her birth certificate is just Annie Howells - her mother married William Eskins after her birth.

I've ordered her second marriage certificate - it will be interesting to see what she has on there. I read in some documents while visiting Tewkesbury that she had described herself as a widow.

There is quite a dialogue between Annie and the authorities within Harold Nind's WW1 records - one of the letters asks why Annie has used so many surnames. They refer to Eskins, Lewis and Nind (Nind as a maiden name) - I'm beginning to think she was quite a character. In one of the letters she asks whether they would take her 14 year old son into the service, four of her sons and her second husband already in the forces!

John Lewis eventually married his landlady in Leicester, Rebecca Smart and Rowland William Lewis - his son by Annie, married Rebecca's younger sister Ellen. Quite a family!

I've searched through the divorce records on the TNA but can't find any reference to any divorce.

Are probate records in the TNA?

12-02-2010, 7:00 PM
Hi again,

I have just received Annie and Harold's marriage certificate - she is listed as a spinster! Could John and Annie have had their marriage annulled - even after seven children? Should she have put these details on her marriage certificate with Harold? Or was she just a plain bigamist? Lots of questions!