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GRO Marriage Register shoes spouse with 2 surnames

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GRO Marriage Register shoes spouse with 2 surnames

Postby Captain Mike » Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:52 pm

In researching a friends maternal line, I have come across a GRO marriage record that shows 2 different surnames for the bride separated by an "or". I.e. Lewis or Johnson. Why would that be? Grateful for an explanation.
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Re: GRO Marriage Register shoes spouse with 2 surnames

Postby ksouthall » Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:00 am

The bride is likely to have been married before, hence the two surnames. One is likely to be the maiden name and the other, the previous married name.

An alternative is that the bride could have used the names of both her father and her adopted father or her stepfather, depending on her circumstances. One name could be the name she is known by, e.g. that of her stepfather, and she may list her birth father in the father's details; or vice versa.

The certificate should tell you if she was a spinster or not which would hopefully tell you which was the actual case.
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Re: GRO Marriage Register shoes spouse with 2 surnames

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:32 am

I thought that the result of being married before was just to be indexed under her current name (prior to this marriage). That's certainly the case in 1854 with my 4G GM. I didn't think that it generated an "X or Y" entry - though those are seen elsewhere, certainly - so it sounds like one of the other options. It might even be that she is recorded as "Lewis or Johnson" on the certificate because, for some reason (possibly like those above), she's known by both names.

Note that this refers to the GRO indexes - local Superintendent Registrars might have operated differently.

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Re: GRO Marriage Register shoes spouse with 2 surnames

Postby ksouthall » Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:31 am

In post 1912 marriages, I have seen cases where the surname has been given as XXXXX or YYYYY on a number of occasions. I guess this is because more detail is provided.

I will check my family tree and see if I can find an example.
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Re: GRO Marriage Register shoes spouse with 2 surnames

Postby SoozOne » Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:33 am

My paternal grandfather's third marriage in 1943 had two names Forth or North for his wife. For a long time I thought it was a matter of not reading the written name. On further investigation it turned out one was her maiden name, the other her divorced previously married name.
On the other hand my maternal great grandfather's wife in 1875 was named as Andrews. I didn't find out till very recently when I got a copy of my grandmother's birth certificate that her mother's maiden name was actually Lewis, previously widow Andrews. So her Andrews tree which was unsurprisingly proving a tad difficult was scrapped and I started again with the correct Lewis line.



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Re: GRO Marriage Register shoes spouse with 2 surnames

Postby ksouthall » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:23 am

Thanks for finding an example Soozone. It's definitely later marriages where this occurs.
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Re: GRO Marriage Register shoes spouse with 2 surnames

Postby AntonyM » Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:15 pm

How it is indexed all depends on how the names are shown on the regsiter entry.

The only name required to be shown is that which the person is known by at the time of the marriage - but sometimes previous names might be shown as "formerly" or alternative names as "otherwise" in which case the entry will be indexed under each.
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