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Marriage Cert Interpretation

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

Anthony William

Anthony William Report 10 Nov 2020 09:13

If a father's name and occupation appear on a GRO Marriage Certificate does this signify that he was then still alive?
Background - three siblings had between them 5 marriages dating from 1839 to 1873. In every case the GRO marriage certificate indicates the same father's name and occupation with no mention of him being deceased. The father does not feature in any censuses or list of recorded deaths.
Any observations would be welcome.

Tony Bryant


ErikaH Report 10 Nov 2020 09:26

It depends on how the question about the father was worded. If no reference was made to his mortality, the respondent may have simply not volunteered the information.

One assumes that he did not witness any of the marriages?

Did he and the mother of the siblings actually marry?

If not, his identity may remain in doubt.


KathleenBell Report 10 Nov 2020 11:10

Have you looked for a parish burial of the man before the date of the first marriage (in case he died before 1837 when registration was introduced).

Would you like to give us his name and an area so we can have a look?

Kath. x

Gwyn in Kent

Gwyn in Kent Report 10 Nov 2020 17:59

When my grandparents married in 1900, full details are given of their fathers, with no mention of whether or not they were deceased but I already had the death certificate of the bride's father, who had died when she was 3 years old.

I only believe with certainty, if the father signs as a witness and even then one has to be certain that it is him and not perhaps his son or other relative. Comparison of signatures can help then sometimes.

Would your man's occupation mean he worked away from home?
I have a seafarer who married 3 times, but is on only one census at all and that's with his first wife and child.

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 10 Nov 2020 20:30

When my grandfather married first in 1896 his fathers name was given but no mention of deceased

I spent ages and wrong certs trying to locate him on the 1891 and 1901 census as when granfather married gran in,1909 his father was then stated as deceased

Grt grandfather died in 1884 and his wife lived with another man and married him in 1894

On the 1891 census they were all under the new husbands surname so not immediately identified


ArgyllGran Report 10 Nov 2020 21:31

Information on BMD certs is only as good as the informant's knowledge or belief.

My grandfather was the informant on his brother-in-law Joe's death cert in 1929, and stated that Joe's father was deceased.
I assumed that was so, and spent years, off and on, trying to find his death.

It was only when the 1939 Register was made available that I found him by accident while browsing. He was alive and well, with a second wife whom he hadn't married until after Joe's mother's death in 1926. He didn't die until 1943.

I knew Joe's parents weren't together on 1901 and 1911 censuses, but had thought it was just by chance that he (Joe's father) happened to be visiting his own mother on both dates.
However, they must have separated between 1891 and 1901.
My grandfather, who had only married into the family in 1914, clearly believed he had died.