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3 Nov 2015

1939 Register - wife swap

Mr Richard and Mrs Louisa May Bowman raised four kids together but were never married.
Twenty years earlier, Richard Bowman had married the real Louisa May, and the pair had gone their separate ways.  Richard took up with another Louisa May (not her real name), while the real deal found love in a different part of the country.

The 1939 Register for Kent shows Richard with the fake Louisa May.  When he has a heart attack at the wheel of his lorry, both ladies choose to remarry under the name Louisa May.  This was the first indication of an inaccuracy in the official record - one the registrars would have missed.

I tried to understand how a lady could marry two different men in different areas at the same time, with two separate death records, with ages at least a decade apart.  Before deciding it was impossible!  There had to be two individuals.  Kent Louisa was royally faking it, putting the pretend maiden name on her kids' birth certificates.

She even stuck to names that the real Louisa had given to her kids.  As the real Louisa was using Bowman for her kids by the new man, and the fake Louisa (calling herself Bowman) was recording the real Louisa's maiden name on her kids' birth certificates, and they were BOTH using the same Christian names for their kids - it was a right royal mix-up.

Richard and Louisa May are in Kent in 1939.  The real Louisa was miles away with her new partner.  Richard's migration path is in orange.

It's only, as ever, on the fake Louisa May's deathbed, that honesty prevails.  Well, mostly.  She is still listed as Louisa May Bowman.  She still tells a small porky about where she actually dies.  But the probate entry reveals......

ALSO KNOWN AS Millie!  Then the obituary says she's Millie, and the burial clerk calls her Millie as well.  There's no hiding place, girl....

The 1939 Register gave me July 1901 as the birth date for Millie. Searching all the women born July 1901 with the forenames Millie H E yielded only one birth.  I've found you, Millie.  But, she disappears utterly from the records, not even showing up in 1911, until she 'becomes' Mrs Louisa May Bowman circa 1930.

While the real Louisa has evolved into someone entirely different, quietly playing the piano and nurturing musical talent at another southern location.  Her grandson had no idea of the family in Kent.

Thanks to 1939 Register for quietly resolving these potentially awkward family mysteries.
(Note, as this 90 year-old wife-swap is still pretty recent, Bowman is a pseudonym.)

1 comment:

  1. I have since found 'Millie' in the 1911 under her stepfather's name. (Of course her mother never married said stepfather.) I belatedly work out that the stepfather is living with the couple in 1939.


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