Hampshire Genealogical Society

Marriage record problems

The records are not always correct!

Whilst doing a bit of checking on entries in the Hampshire Allegations for Marriage Licenses 1689-1837 I decided to do some checks with the HGS Marriage Index and found a few interesting variances.  Very rarely is the marriage date the same as the license date but in most cases the marriage was on the following day.  This was presumably due to the delay in getting the license from Winchester to the parish.  Presumably for some reason though it could also be a lot later because the allegation for Henry PAGE to marry Mary SIHAR or SILVER in Chilcomb was dated 10 May 1718, but the marriage date in the HGS marriage index when Henry actually married Mary SILVER was on 11 November 1718.   

At other times the name spelling can vary between the two sources although in some cases this is understandable.  For example, an entry in the allegations dated 12 October 1709 was for John CAWTE of Bishopstoke to marry Jane WATKINS in either Chilcomb, Twyford or Bishopstoke.  The entry in the Marriage Index was for John CAUTE marrying Jane WATKINS on 13 October 1709 in Bishopstoke.  A similar example was for John FOSBURY, a yeoman of Godshill, to marry Dorothy MONEY, the license was dated 4 October 1709 whilst the marriage entry on 5 October was for John HOSBURY to marry Dorothy MONEY.  An example of an error in the IGI, and subsequently also in Ancestry, is that the marriage of Joseph PAGE to Mary BROWNING in Chilcomb on 12 November 1789 was erroneously recorded as being in Whitchurch on the same date. 

A more extreme example appears to be where the allegation dated 4 July 1739 was for parchment maker William COLE of the Soke in Winchester to marry Elizabeth COLE also of the Soke at either St Maurice in Winchester, Chilcomb or in Winchester Cathedral.  William was aged 20 and Elizabeth was 23.  However, in the marriage index Elizabeth COLE married John MOUNTAIN on 4 July in Chilcomb.  The probability is that Elizabeth was the same person but that the allegation in the book named the wrong man, possibly an error by whoever compiled the book back in 1893. 

Another similar example was the allegation dated 1 July 1732 for John NEWLAND, a weaver of New Alresford to marry Hester WICKHAM of St John in Winchester at Chilcomb, Winnal or New Alresford.  When I looked for a marriage of John and Hester I couldn’t find one in 1732 but what I did find was a marriage of John NEWLAND to Hester BATCHELOR on 12 April 1732 in St Mary in Southampton.  In the allegation John was listed as a widower so is it possible that the allegation was for his second marriage to another woman named Hester?  If it was then his first marriage was very short.  What may or may not affect this is that there was a burial for a Hester NEWLAND in St Mary’s in Southampton on 19 May 1753.  If during the typing up of the marriage index the year 1732 became mistyped as 1753 that would explain a lot, if not then the mystery deepens.  Incidentally, there was also a Hester NEWLAND buried on 24 March 1751 in New Alresford who could have been his second wife. 

The only real solution to problems like these is to look at what was written in the actual marriage registers at the time.  It is also a lesson not to assume that information is correct until if at all possible it is confirmed from a second source.  If there is a mismatch then further research is required.  Another conclusion is that it appears that Chilcomb for some reason was often used for marriages where neither party was a resident in the parish. 

Roy Montgomery

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