woodchal wrote:You say "They had 3 daughters & are listed everywhere as married ... apart from John’s army discharge papers where he’s shown as single but next of kin is ‘friend Nelly Titford’"
What is the date of the discharge papers - if its after the "non-wedding" I think you already have your answer.
The unmarried father can be named on the birth certificate (if they are present at the registration). From the GRO all 4 children have the father(s) named, though the maiden name given by Nelly varies.
Nelly's eldest daughter (b. 1888) shows Thomas Hays as father and mother as Ellen Hays formally Obart (she didn't marry this Thomas fella)
Next daughter (b. 1892)- John Lucas as father and mother as Ellen Lucas formally Obart
Next one (b. 1896) - John Lucas father, mother Ellen Lucas formally Titford
Last one (b. 1898) - John Lucas father, mother Ellen Lucas formally Titford
Johns army papers show he enlisted April 1916 and discharged in January 1919
Nelly is shown on her death cert as Nelly Lucas, widow of John Lucas
Even though they did have the banns read, I believe my original thinking that they didn't get married at all ... for whatever reason. They lived as a married couple and as far as anyone was aware (family included), they were married.