Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Marriage Record of Alexander Whittle and Rachel Morley in 1840

Previously, I found the online database entry (in the English Marriages, 1538-1973 collection on FamilySearch Beta) for Alexander Whittle and Rachel Morley in Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire on 17 August 1840.  I also found the certain entry in the English Civil Registration for Marriages in 3rd Quarter of 1840 on the  website. 

While I was in Salt Lake City two weeks ago, I obtained an image of the actual parish register record of this marriage. 

The source citation for this record is:

Church of England, Parish Church of Bolton-le-Moors, Parish registers for Bolton-le-Moors [Lancashire], 1590-1974, Marriages 1837-1841 - FHL BRITISH Film [1966480], 1840: No. 309, Alexander Whittle and Rachel Morley.

The particulars from the entry in the parish records include (underlined items are handwritten):

1840.  Marriage solemnized at the Parish Church in the Parish of Bolton le Moors in the County of Lancaster.

No:  309
When Married:  17th August 1840

Name and Surname (Groom): Alexander Whittle
Age (Groom):  full age
Condition (Groom): Bachelor
Rank or Profession (Groom): Sawyer
Residence at the Time of Marriage (Groom): King St.
Name and Surname of Father (Groom) : Alexander Whittle
Rank or Profession of Father (Groom): Sawyer

Name and Surname (Bride): Rachel Morley

Age (Bride): Minor
Condition (Bride): Spinster
Rank or Profession (Bride): ----
Residence at the Time of Marriage (Bride): Lum St.
Name and Surname of Father (Bride) : Illegitimate
Rank or Profession of Father (Bride): ----

Married in the Parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies in the established church After Banns by me, P.R.Robin, Curate.

This Marriage was solemnized between us, /s/ Alexander Whittle, Rachel Morley her /X/ Mark

In the Presence of us, /s/ James Ganoe [??], /s/ James Systrot

This is an Image Copy of an Original Source record written by the curate that performed the marriage very soon after the event.   It is Primary Information and Direct Evidence of the marriage.  From an evidence standpoint, it doesn't get much better than this.

Because I knew the date, it was relatively easy to find this record on the microfilm.  This church performed many marriages each year - this was number 309 in 1840 in mid-August, so there were probably about 500 to 550 marriages in the entire year.

1 comment:

Audrey Collins said...

Thanks for posting this, it's a very nice example. But look closely; marriage register entries were written when the marriage took place, complete with actual signatures of the bride, groom and witnesses, so it's even better than you thought, because you have an actual sample of Alexander Whittle's own handwriting! Not Rachel's though, because she only made her mark.

This is so much better than a copy ordered from the General Register Office, and not just because it costs less. The copies sent to the GRO were made by the curate, vicar, or whoever, some time after the wedding, and they sometimes made mistakes, occasionally serious ones.

Another interesting thing about this entry (and the other one on the page) is that in the space for the father's name the curate has clearly written 'illegitimate'. Rather brutal, but at least you know where you stand! Usually this was just left blank, which can be misleading. Some vicars, particularly in the early years of registration, were just very sloppy record keepers, and didn't bother filling in this bit at all. This can send genealogists off on completely the wrong trail, looking for an illegitimate birth entry for someone whose parents were perfectly respectably married.

The Rev Robin's signature doesn't match the rest of the handwriting on the two entries, but it looks very like that of the witness who appears on both entries (I think his name looks like James Liptrot, by the way). I wonder of he was the parish clerk?