M is for… Matched (Marriage Certificates) #AtoZChallenge

I’ve already covered Birth and Death certificates, so the final essential tool for any family historian has to be the marriage certificate.

The certificate that I am going to use is that of my Great, Great Grandparents, James Martin and Claris Grant and it’s from June 1884. The handwriting isn’t too clear on it (another common pitfall for the family historian!) so please do bear with me…

Martin James & Clari marriage cert

The top of the marriage certificate tells you what type of ceremony it was, in this case it the ceremony was held at a Register office in Hanover Square in the borough of Middlesex, so it was not a Church wedding. Does this tell us something about the couple? Were they not religious? Did they have to get married at a Register Office as they had to get married quickly?

After the date of the marriage (April 1884), the next column shows us the names of the couple, James Martin and Clarie Isabel Grant. This column should help you a lot, but in my case it just adds more questions as this has to be at least the fourth different spelling of the bride’s name that I have seen. It’s variously been Claris, Clarice, Clarie or Clari on the census and death certificate, and has proved something of a dead end for me! Still going…

The next column shows the ages of the couple, then the condition which is whether they had been married before or not etc, so in this case they are Bachelor and Spinster.

The Groom’s profession is next and we can see that he was in the Army Medical Corps, so it should in theory be a bit easier to track him down in military records, but with a relatively common name, it can get tricky. No column for the Bride’s occupation I see…

After the residences of the couple, the final two columns show their fathers’ names and occupations which is very handy in tracking back another generation. Sadly for me, James’ father’s name is John Martin, so nice and common, but one ray of light is that he served in the Royal Navy, so might be easier to find in Naval records.

So there we are, a bog standard guide to certificates. If there’s anything I’ve missed or anything else you’d like to know, then please get in touch.


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2 Responses to M is for… Matched (Marriage Certificates) #AtoZChallenge

  1. sandy says:

    Location has a great deal to do with the information available on any certificate, birth, death, marriage. Many things were standard from on local to another, and certificates contain information supplied by people…and not always consistent information. Spellings…I’m nodding, so many people couldn’t read and write and so to have a variation of spellings is common; though it does make you crazy while doing genealogy. Best ever I found on spelling…husband ad wife buried side by side in a family graveyard (on the family farm) with 2 different spellings for the last name. lol

    Good luck in your research.


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