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    Default Catholic Marriage Registers & incomplete info

    I have looked at a couple of differing Catholic Church marriage 'registers' pre 1870. One is handwritten in book form and contains no parents names. Another is a standard register book but again with the parents names blank throughout. Is the parent information likely to have been recorded and if so is it worth ordering a marriage certificate from the GRO?

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    If they were illegitimate their fathers will not be recorded on any marriage certificate, no matter where it comes from, unless the bride and groom actually name the father to the registrar.

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    It is always worth ordering the marriage certificate from the GRO. If the father was named at the marriage then that name should be on the certificate. If there is no father named then you will need to order the birth certificate of the person to see if he is named there.

    Marriage certificates are never superfluous.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megan Roberts View Post
    If they were illegitimate their fathers will not be recorded on any marriage certificate, no matter where it comes from, unless the bride and groom actually name the father to the registrar.
    In that case EVERY Roman Catholic married in Staffordshire in the 1840s 50 & 60s was illegitimate! They weren't using standard register books and none of the entries record the Fathers. What I want to know is if the copy sent to the GRO actually did!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladkyis View Post
    It is always worth ordering the marriage certificate from the GRO. If the father was named at the marriage then that name should be on the certificate. If there is no father named then you will need to order the birth certificate of the person to see if he is named there.

    Marriage certificates are never superfluous.
    It isn't my tree and I'm trying to work round the fact the person possibly uses two first names - I have a possible first marriage under a different first name but it has no Fathers names recorded. Unfortunately the Groom was born c1821 so pre registration and either in Ireland or Bilston, Staffordshire so he could be anybody !

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    Catholic marriage registers prior to 1837 are not common. There are two possible reasons, fear that records would be used to persecute Papists (Catholics) and the state required that all marriages had to be solemnised in an Anglican church to be recognised in law. The fear element diminished post-1791 when priests were permitted to minister to their flock. The requirement for marriage in the Anglican church was under Hardwicke's Act 1754. This was superseded by the Marriage Registration Act that came into force in 1837. This permitted non-Anglicans to be married legally in their own chapels provided the Registrar was present to record the event in his registers. Catholic marriage registers are a completely separate record of the events. They are a record of the priest's pastoral work and so initially recorded what he felt sufficient. These registers would vary from priest to priest, and sometimes between records by the same priest. This was recognised by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales in 1855 when they recommended that preprinted registers should be used. The clergy would enter the details in the spaces in the registers, and this could vary from publisher to publisher. I have seen an instance where a printed register was used from 1855 but a hand-written one was used when that printed one was full.

    I would follow Ladkyis advice and get the civil marriage certificate. The one from the local Register Office will be a copy of the original Registrar's entry rather than the GRO where the register is several copies away from the original.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch in Notts View Post
    In that case EVERY Roman Catholic married in Staffordshire in the 1840s 50 & 60s was illegitimate! They weren't using standard register books and none of the entries record the Fathers. What I want to know is if the copy sent to the GRO actually did!
    That isn't what I said or meant.

    It depends whether or not the church in question was an authorised place for a legal marriage to take place. Prior to 1754 a Catholic marriage did not have the same legal effect as an Anglican marriage, and up until 1837 most Catholics also went through an Anglican ceremony fulfil the demands of law.

    Under the marriage act of 1836 a clear procedure was laid down for Catholic marriages. They had to be proceeded by civil preliminaries and take place in a certified place of worship that had been specifically registered for the solemnization of marriage.

    So the upshot of this is that it is probably that a civil registrar would have been involved and therefore the civil marriage certificate may well be very different from the religious one, but equally it might not be.

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    To add to Megan's note, after July 1837 marriages in a Catholic chapel were only recognised in law if the Registrar was present and recorded it in his civil register. I have seen an entry in a Catholic marriage register that stated “Sent away. Registrar not informed”. This requirement for the Registrar to attend marriages in non-Anglican chapels continued until 1898 when Authorised Persons could be appointed to these chapels to act for the Registrar. These Persons maintain the civil register for that chapel and in Catholic churches there is a separate, religious marriage register. Catholic chapels generally did not appoint Authorised Person until about 1960 and when one is appointed two sets of registers are maintained - church and civil.

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    Thank you both. So a separate person made a record for the local registrar which may well provide more information than that provided within the Catholic Church Marriage Register. That is what I wanted to know. Since yesterday I have sadly managed to rule out the marriage that I was potentially looking at and am now annoyingly back at the beginning again!

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