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23 Dec 2013

Getting past missing marriages or incorrect marriages in family history

I have been bedevilled by missing marriages that slow the whole research programme down.  I proved Marjorie Joan Sargeant from Croydon married as Margery J (in distant Plymouth).  I found Stephen N Waller marrying as Stephen N Wallis, Jonathan Gibson as Jonathon Gilson, Marian Thomson as Marianne Thomson; Harriet Hichens as Harriette Hickens; Conrad Spencer as Conrad Spenser.  I observed Ella H marrying as plain Ella, Elizabeth as Lizzie, Samuel as Sam.  Not to mention Miriam C becoming Caroline M and Gladys P becoming Peggy G.  These reversals of forenames can be tricky to spot.  Most times findmypast’s excellent marriage index can help you find these as it automatically looks for initials as well as full names.

The Sargeant marriage was particularly gratifying as I used the birthdate from Ancestry as the key reference, as shown.  Unfortunately it’s not possible to use this approach on findmypast as you need to know the married name of the party – with over a million British surnames to choose from, this could take you a lot of guessing.

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