Author Topic: A marriage that never was  (Read 404 times)

Offline Davedrave

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
A marriage that never was
« on: Thursday 06 December 18 13:02 GMT (UK) »
I suppose that things are rather easier now that more and more parish records etc can be seen online, but when I was looking for the marriage of Francis Lea of Shenton a few years ago I came across this interesting problem.

Francis and Sarah Lea had children baptised in Shenton. In his will of 1759 he referred to wife Sarah but did not name his  “four children”. The only Francis Leas I could find were either too young or seemingly too old to fit the bill, and I couldn’t find a marriage on IGI. His will also named a brother-in-law, in Staffordshire. Was this his wife’s brother?

At the record office one day I found an index to marriage licences. A Francis Lee married Sarah Oliver in Hinckley, 12th November 1744. This seemed unlikely to fit the bill. This family didn’t marry there. (They were connected with Market Bosworth, which is decidedly posher ;D).

The license proved a revelation (image below). Both were “above thirty” (he was 58!), and looking at the baptismal date of child one, Miss Oliver was in need of a voluminous bridal gown. I can see why they chose a discrete wedding-by-license away from home turf.

And the parish register? It is clear that Mary Robinson was a busy woman (bottom image). I would like to think that Francis was so full of the joys of Spring that he plied the parson liberally with ale, who then recorded the happy day in a state of inebriation, though it is possibly more likely that the register was simply filled in late on a Friday afternoon.

(Other evidence has since left no doubt that I have identified the correct Francis)

(Documents in The Record Office for Leicester, Leics. and Rutland)

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline Gan Yam

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 318
  • Going Home - exploring my past
    • View Profile
Re: A marriage that never was
« Reply #1 on: Friday 07 December 18 22:36 GMT (UK) »

His will also named a brother-in-law, in Staffordshire. Was this his wife’s brother?


Could be his sister's husband.
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline KGarrad

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 22,058
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: A marriage that never was
« Reply #2 on: Friday 07 December 18 22:48 GMT (UK) »
Could also mean a step-brother?

The term brother-in-law was a lot looser in times past ;D
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

Offline Davedrave

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: A marriage that never was
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 08 December 18 08:33 GMT (UK) »
The “brother in law” referred to was in fact the husband of Francis’s sister, but given that I could find no marriage for Francis in the places I expected it, I went on a wild goose chase for a while, looking for a possible marriage to a Sarah Heath. And if I hadn’t found Francis’s marriage licence (hiding in an index book at my record office), the marriage would forever have remained a mystery to me because of the parish record being incorrect. Fortunately, when I saw the original parish record entry, it was clear what had happened.

Dave :)