Author Topic: How did BMD announcements work in the 1800s?  (Read 305 times)

Offline QueenoftheWest

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How did BMD announcements work in the 1800s?
« on: Thursday 03 June 21 16:50 BST (UK) »
This is a bit of a random question but I have consulted Google and not found any conclusive answers so I decided to post here in the hope that someone more knowledgable than I could help.

My 4 x great-grandparents were a little... unconventional  ;D My great-grandfather, Edward, was 74 and my great-grandmother, Ann, was 25. It's a long story but you can read here if you are wondering how this situation arose:

https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=845918.msg7139770#msg7139770

In my head, I thought that this probably happened fairly frequently in the 'olden days' but apparently not as the editor of the newspaper found it so remarkable that he added in their ages. The ONLY couple with their ages listed.

A few things jumped out at me - Ann's age is wrong, she was born around 1789 so would have been 25, not 18; Edward's is more-or-less correct. Some of the ladies have their fathers listed and others don't, was there a reason behind this? Ann's father wasn't an esquire but the Hart family was respectable.

Where did the newspaper get this information? Did people write-in to make an announcement? I'm interested to know if Ann shaved a few years off her age and Edward thought she was 18 or if this was just an error. I'm not quite understanding how the newspaper would know their ages - I understand including an age in death announcements (Ann had her real age on her death announcement) but why a marriage announcement?

Sorry if this is a silly question but I'm very curious!

Queenie  :)

Edit: Forgot to add that it was in the 'Bristol Times and Mirror.'

Ecclestone - London & Middlesex/Surrey
Hamlin/Hamlyn - Long Sutton & Martock, Somerset
Head - Marlborough & Alton Priors, Wiltshire
Laurance/Lawrance - London & Middlesex/Surrey
Minson - Kingstone, Somerset/Symondsbury, Dorset
Owsley - Buckland St Mary, Somerset
Salisbury - Dowlish Wake/West Dowlish, Somerset

Offline Girl Guide

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Re: How did BMD announcements work in the 1800s?
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 03 June 21 19:16 BST (UK) »
I would suspect that somebody either in the family or some other person alerted the newspaper because of the large disparity in ages.

It would be up to the person writing the item as to how much was included.  The amount of space required was probably also taken into account.

The standing of the family in the community would probably also determine how much information appeared in the article.

Again I would suspect that the ages would be down to the person providing the information.  One has to assume that the person either didn't know Ann's age or couldn't remember it accurately.

Quite often if you compare the same article in different newspapers you would probably find differences in the information provided.  Some are sober, others like to be more 'lurid'.

The news is what you make it, you only have to look at todays papers to see that.  There's upmarket and downmarket, take your pick.  ::)
Ashford: Somerset, London
England: Devon, London, New Zealand
Holdway: Wiltshire
Hooper: Bristol, Somerset
Knowling: Devon, London
Southcott: Devon, China
Strong: Wiltshire
Watson: Cambridgeshire
White: Bristol
Windo - Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire

Offline QueenoftheWest

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Re: How did BMD announcements work in the 1800s?
« Reply #2 on: Friday 04 June 21 14:23 BST (UK) »
I would suspect that somebody either in the family or some other person alerted the newspaper because of the large disparity in ages.

It would be up to the person writing the item as to how much was included.  The amount of space required was probably also taken into account.

The standing of the family in the community would probably also determine how much information appeared in the article.

Again I would suspect that the ages would be down to the person providing the information.  One has to assume that the person either didn't know Ann's age or couldn't remember it accurately.

Quite often if you compare the same article in different newspapers you would probably find differences in the information provided.  Some are sober, others like to be more 'lurid'.

The news is what you make it, you only have to look at todays papers to see that.  There's upmarket and downmarket, take your pick.  ::)

Thanks, Girl Guide.

Queenie  :)
Ecclestone - London & Middlesex/Surrey
Hamlin/Hamlyn - Long Sutton & Martock, Somerset
Head - Marlborough & Alton Priors, Wiltshire
Laurance/Lawrance - London & Middlesex/Surrey
Minson - Kingstone, Somerset/Symondsbury, Dorset
Owsley - Buckland St Mary, Somerset
Salisbury - Dowlish Wake/West Dowlish, Somerset