Author Topic: Witnesses on marriage certificates  (Read 794 times)

Offline Brutushedge

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Witnesses on marriage certificates
« on: Monday 04 December 17 22:10 GMT (UK) »
Could someone just help clarify this.

On all the marriage certificates I have found, the fathers of the bride and groom are listed, but are not necessarily the people who witness the marriage with their signature or mark. There presumably is no guarantee that the said fathers are even present at the marriage, or am I wrong? Also, is there any indication that the fathers are even still alive, or do I recall seeing a case where a bride's father was listed with the words "(dec)" after it? Was there any legal necessity to declare a father deceased when including his name on a certificate?

Sorry if this is pretty basic stuff, but it's still all quite new to me.

Thanks.

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Offline chempat

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Re: Witnesses on marriage certificates
« Reply #1 on: Monday 04 December 17 22:22 GMT (UK) »
You are not wrong.

The fathers' names are recorded but they do not have to be there, and they do not have to be recorded as deceased even if they are, if the question has not been asked, or the information not volunteered.

(I thought it was traditional for the best man and chief bridesmaid to sign as witnesses, not the Fathers)

Also, people lie.

(I assume we are talking about England and Wales, and in most years of 19th/20th century?)

https://www.family-tree.co.uk/how-to-guides/getting-started/what-information-can-be-found-on-a-marriage-certificate

Some discussion:

http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=672660.0

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Offline CaroleW

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Re: Witnesses on marriage certificates
« Reply #2 on: Monday 04 December 17 22:25 GMT (UK) »
Quote
There presumably is no guarantee that the said fathers are even present at the marriage,

That's correct

Witnesses can be anybody - friends/relatives/even "professional" witnesses (ie) church members who witness various ceremonies

Quote
Also, is there any indication that the fathers are even still alive, or do I recall seeing a case where a bride's father was listed with the words "(dec)" after it? Was there any legal necessity to declare a father deceased when including his name on a certificate?

Depends how the question was asked etc

If the vicar just asked for fathers names - then that's probably what he got.  There was no requirement to declare whether father was deceased unless possibly where the couple were minors

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Offline Ayashi

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Re: Witnesses on marriage certificates
« Reply #3 on: Monday 04 December 17 22:32 GMT (UK) »
There's no guarantee that the father even existed either! Illegitimate people sometimes made up the names of their fathers or used the name of a different relative.  ::)

Offline Brutushedge

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Re: Witnesses on marriage certificates
« Reply #4 on: Monday 04 December 17 22:34 GMT (UK) »
Thank you all for this information.
That is what I thought, and it clarifies a lot.

Offline EdCan

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Re: Witnesses on marriage certificates
« Reply #5 on: Monday 04 December 17 22:48 GMT (UK) »
Also fathers profession may or may not be accurate. Same goes for ages of bride and groom

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Offline Brutushedge

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Re: Witnesses on marriage certificates
« Reply #6 on: Monday 04 December 17 22:59 GMT (UK) »
Yes, I have found lots of discrepancies in ages on the certificates and on censuses.
Thanks again to you all for clarifying this, and for the links to the articles.

Offline cristeen

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Re: Witnesses on marriage certificates
« Reply #7 on: Monday 04 December 17 23:52 GMT (UK) »
Brides may also be described as spinster when they were actually a widow; and presumably the same applies to grooms  :)
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Offline Ayashi

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Re: Witnesses on marriage certificates
« Reply #8 on: Monday 04 December 17 23:56 GMT (UK) »
In summary I guess don't believe anything  ;D