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Don’t make assumption with GRO Entries

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Mick Loney
Posts: 166
Joined: 15 Jun 2020, 07:27

Don’t make assumption with GRO Entries

Post by Mick Loney »

When you find a marriage on the GRO index, don’t assume that it shows Bride’s maiden name, an easy trap to fall into.
The Bride may have been previously married (sometimes more than once).

If the couple had children shortly after the marriage, the GRO birth entries will confirm the mother’s maiden name. Using that information, you should be able to track her previous marriage/marriages.

If no children are available to check, then you will need to see the marriage entry in the Parish Register or buy the marriage certificate. The bride’s father’s surname is invariably the bride’s maiden name, but beware, it is not always the case. If her father died, she may have taken her step-fathers surname, and it may be her step-father who is on the parish register/certificate.

Finally, when you find a birth entry in the GRO index, it may be worth checking the reference number against Freebmd for other entries. Sometimes, when a child’s parents aren’t married, the child may be registered under both parent’s surnames, something you may not even be aware of! You could also discover an unknown twin who died between censuses. Twins generally have same page reference as each other, (but be aware that one may be on the following page)

It is this sort of detective work that makes genealogy so much fun :D

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AdrianBruce
Posts: 150
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 18:57
Location: South Cheshire

Re: Don’t make assumption with GRO Entries

Post by AdrianBruce »

Mick Loney wrote:
11 Jun 2021, 11:04
... the child may be registered under both parent’s surnames, something you may not even be aware of! ...
Point of detail m'Lud... Children aren't registered (for births in England & Wales) under any surname until 1969. They are indexed from their parents' surname or, sometimes, surnames.
Mick Loney wrote:
11 Jun 2021, 11:04
... Finally, when you find a birth entry in the GRO index, it may be worth checking the reference number against Freebmd for other entries. Sometimes, when a child’s parents aren’t married, the child may be registered under both parent’s surnames, something you may not even be aware of! ...
Good point - and it may be helpful to point out that the indexing rules for children with two unmarried parents listed on the birth certificate have changed over the years. (Exceptions to the following probably exist...)

The original GRO paper indexes (used for FreeBMD, etc) appear to have indexed such children under both parents' surnames.

The new GRO digital index appears to only index under the father's name in such cases. (Which is a pain in the posterior usually, since way too often that name is never used in later life. :x )

The local certificates held by Superintendent Registrars, and sometimes indexed on sites such as CheshireBMD, seem to have been indexed differently - I think that I looked at the CheshireBMD examples and the pattern seemed to actually vary over the years.
Adrian Bruce

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