Author Topic: Mistakes on marriage records  (Read 793 times)

Offline Zaphod99

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Mistakes on marriage records
« on: Wednesday 28 April 21 15:31 BST (UK) »
I am at loggerheads with a relative. We have what I believe to be my great grandmother's marriage record, with her father's name slightly wrong, let's say possibly misheard a bit like 'Josh' for 'Joseph'. My relative refuses to accept that mistakes on marriage records occur, so she won't accept any research that relies on this document. Looking for "mistakes on marriage records" here gets three threads, but I am looking for something more substantial, that will show mistakes are even made on important formal papers.

Zaph

Offline rosie99

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Re: Mistakes on marriage records
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 28 April 21 15:36 BST (UK) »
Josh is often used as an abbreviation for Joseph.  Like Jno for John
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Re: Mistakes on marriage records
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 28 April 21 15:57 BST (UK) »
I have a very unusual surname in my tree. If it occurs then it's one of mine!

In the late 1880's a daughter married and the father (who should be John) is down as James.
But with John's profession.

I take it they didn't notice that on the cert,or they couldn't read well enough to see that it was wrong.
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Offline Milliepede

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Re: Mistakes on marriage records
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 28 April 21 16:00 BST (UK) »
How big an error was it?  Could the father have had a middle name or a nick name that was used for example.

Mistakes happen everywhere and that's a fact of life.  Don't fall out over it  :)
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Online BumbleB

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Re: Mistakes on marriage records
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 28 April 21 16:39 BST (UK) »
You say that the marriage certificate is for great grandmother - so not recent.  :)

As a matter of interest did both parties sign the register?  If not then they probably wouldn't realise that any error had been made.
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Offline Tickettyboo

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Re: Mistakes on marriage records
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 28 April 21 16:41 BST (UK) »
Errors do occur on official certs, depending on how accurate the information given was (its always to the best of the informant's knowledge), how well it was heard, whether or not the informant could read and spell it if asked etc.

Difficult to hazard an opinion without knowing the details.

Other points to check are witnesses (?known relatives?), ages of bride and groom, occupations for all concerned, including fathers.
Is the info for the bride all as expected?
Are there any (no matter how much of a long shot) other options in the marriage index?
Given the groom's age are there any other births around that time that could possibly be this man with the 'not quite right' Dad's name? Is there any record of perhaps a baptism for a child with the groom's name with a father's name that matches that on the marriage record?

Did the groom have siblings? what do their marriages say about their father's name? Maybe it wasn't his 'Sunday' name but a sort of nickname he was known by?

Proving something that all adds up is a lot easier than trying to ascertain if there was an error on a cert donkey's years ago. If you have exhausted all other avenues/ possibilities and have other plus points for this being the right marriage sometimes the best you can do is to say that 'on balance' its likely to be the correct record.

Not something to fall out over though. Your relative, like you, has to come to their own 'on balance' conclusion based on the info they have. The fact that you don't agree is just a difference of opinion.

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Offline Josephine

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Re: Mistakes on marriage records
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 28 April 21 16:43 BST (UK) »
Zaph,

I've got one marriage record (for my husband's ancestors) that has the fathers' occupations switched.

Another marriage record (my great-grandparents') states that the bride's father was an actor (he was a bricklayer).

The marriage records for the children of one of my ancestors either lists their father's actual given name or his nickname and his occupation varies. I've found documentation for the names and the occupations but, without those, I would not be certain these were all children of the same man. (It took a while to put it all together.)

I've got marriage records for the children of two other ancestors: some list either a different given name or a slightly different middle name or an entirely new middle name for their father.

One of my husband's ancestors was illegitimate. Her marriage record lists a father's name that turns out to be her own surname (her mother's maiden surname), plus her stepfather's given and last names (for example, let's say her surname was Cook, and her stepfather's name was John Smith: her father's name was recorded as John Smith Cook). I don't know if she gave his name as such, or if the minister misunderstood, but it took me a while to sort that one out, too.

My great-grandmother gave birth to my grandmother in a maternity home. In her papers, her father was listed as dead (he wasn't) and she also gave them the name of a half-brother, which sent me on a merry chase, only to learn that he wasn't related to her in any way.

My great-grandfather's sister was married twice. Her first husband died. Her marriage record to her second husband gave her married surname as her maiden name. She had children with her second husband. On those children's birth registrations, she listed her first married surname as her maiden name. I was in touch with one of her grandchildren, who informed me that his parent's birth record listed the mother's maiden surname as (the first husband's surname), therefore I was barking up the wrong (family) tree and we were not related. In this case, I had other family records and knowledge of her surname from her second marriage, and it's an unusual name, so I didn't give up on trying to prove the relationship. Later, I was able to purchase copies of the birth records from the GRO, and three out of four had been amended to list the mother's actual maiden name.

People -- including clerics and registrars -- made mistakes; people gave differing information based on their own personal knowledge; and sometimes people lied. When every single detail doesn't line up correctly, the best we can do is make our case for why we believe a record is the correct one. Someone else might not accept our reasoning but that's okay.

Regards,
Josephine
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Offline Pheno

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Re: Mistakes on marriage records
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 28 April 21 16:52 BST (UK) »
Mistakes are made even relatively recently.  My parents married at a London church in the mid 1940's.  They followed a marriage between another couple with the same first names, but different surnames.

When the certificates were received my Dad was married to the other woman and my Mum was married to the other man.  It is really only because by then everyone was literate that the mistake was spotted but they could easily have the kept the incorrect certificate had they not realised.

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Offline Zaphod99

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Re: Mistakes on marriage records
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 28 April 21 18:25 BST (UK) »
Josh is often used as an abbreviation for Joseph.  Like Jno for John

That was just an example. I could have said George/Geoff or Albert/Bertram, different but close enough for easy soundalike confusion, or copying error.

More welcome please. I might sway my cousin. Ta for so far.

Zaph