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WAS IT USUAL TO LEAVE FATHER'S DETAILS BLANK IF HE WAS DEAD?

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WAS IT USUAL TO LEAVE FATHER'S DETAILS BLANK IF HE WAS DEAD?

Postby Brummie on Exmoor » Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:48 pm

I had a family marriage which took place in St Bartholomew's Parish Church, Edgbaston (known as Edgbaston Old Church) in 1839. Although the bride was definitely born in wedlock, her father's name and occupation is not listed. I thought it was a bit odd, but that was it.

Now, I have another marriage in the same church in 1849, and I have found the same thing applying. I had questions about the parentage of this second family member, so wondered if she was illegitimate.

However, because I can now see the records on line, on the new Ancestry images, I looked at other marriages in the same church, and found that lots and lots do not list the father's name and occupation. Although both my examples involve the bride, there are lots involving the groom too, or both bride and groom.

I cannot believe there is a positive epidemic of illegitimacy in Edgbaston, so there has to be another explanation. Could this be that if the bride or groom's father was dead when they married, their details were excluded?

I have not seen a huge evidence of this in other Birmingham churches, so it does not appear to be a routine practice in Parish records. Does anyone else have experience of this? Was Edgbaston abiding by the rules, or going it alone? Any thoughts or ideas?

Best wishes

Jane
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Re: WAS IT USUAL TO LEAVE FATHER'S DETAILS BLANK IF HE WAS D

Postby Sylcec » Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:06 am

Could it have just been a parish priest who was 'sloppy' about collecting all details? Or maybe one who didn't want the state (government) interfering any more in the workings of his parish? During the period you are talking about, it still wasn't compulsory to register events, so it rather looks as if the Vicar or Curate of Edgbaston only recorded all details if actually insisted on by the couple getting married.

Usually of course, as you recognise, the non-recording of a father's name on a marriage register would indicate illegitimacy.
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Re: WAS IT USUAL TO LEAVE FATHER'S DETAILS BLANK IF HE WAS D

Postby Brummie on Exmoor » Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:54 am

Hi Sylcec,

The bizarre thing is that this appears to have happened in this parish over decades! My 2 were in 1839 and 1849, but I found more just browsing through, into the 1850s. More than one curate was involved over these years, because I checked the names on my 2 to see if it was the same man.

Best wishes

Jane
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Re: WAS IT USUAL TO LEAVE FATHER'S DETAILS BLANK IF HE WAS D

Postby ciderdrinker » Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:48 am

Hi there
I've done quite a bit of research and St Bart's Edgbaston was definitely going it alone.There are countless marriages with no fathers ,page after page.My great great uncle married there in the 1850's ,a clandestine marriage as he and the bride where from Wolverhampton and he was already married.No questions asked seems to be the order of the day at Edgbaston.
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Re: WAS IT USUAL TO LEAVE FATHER'S DETAILS BLANK IF HE WAS D

Postby leslam » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:32 pm

1879 wasn't too bad, though the transcription of Horatio as Peater leaves a lot to be desired :-)


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Re: WAS IT USUAL TO LEAVE FATHER'S DETAILS BLANK IF HE WAS D

Postby Brummie on Exmoor » Sun Feb 05, 2017 1:02 pm

Some years after this posting was made, and after discussions about it in the magazine of the Birmingham and Midland Genealogical Society, it is clear that this was a special feature of St Barts. And apparently, it was some sort of protest by whoever was filling in the records, about the 'bureaucracy being imposed', and extra work therefore required, in filling in the details of fathers!

Have now found another glaring example too! St Margaret's, Westminster, went through a minor epidemic.

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Re: WAS IT USUAL TO LEAVE FATHER'S DETAILS BLANK IF HE WAS D

Postby 2012girl » Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:11 pm

Interesting post. I also came across something similar in Sculcoates parish in Hull in 1839. On searching the parish registers I was very disappointed to find the fathers name blank for a potential bride, I noticed that the grooms father was also blank, as were the two fathers names on the marriage above. On flicking through a few pages either side I realised that out of 20 people who married, only 7 of them had a fathers name listed. I also found it hard to believe that so many illegitimate people would be marrying within the space of 2 weeks. Some of the names were rather unusual so I was able to do some quick searches and found a few baptisms to indicate some of them were not illegitimate after all. Of the 10 marriages I looked at, none of them had both fathers named, though some of them had both fathers missing. As this seems rather arbitrary I wonder if the priest was not recording fathers who were deceased or if there was also some kind of protest, though if so why bother recording some and not others? I didn't search any further but suspect I would have found many more instances around that time.

I did trace the couple I was looking at but was unable to confirm if the bride was the lady I was seeking, she had died before the 1851 census so I was unable to get a specific place of birth for her. I suspect she may have been, her age at death would be about right, but I'm still lacking the proof. If she was my lady then her father was deceased at the time of the marriage
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Re: WAS IT USUAL TO LEAVE FATHER'S DETAILS BLANK IF HE WAS D

Postby Brummie on Exmoor » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:05 pm

I think the conclusion reached over the protest and the St Bart's records in Birmingham, was that father's details were added (in what amounted to a minority of cases) where there were LITERATE and perhaps slightly older brides and grooms, who had both the education to spot what was happening, and also had the bottle to challenge the priest/Parish Clerk and say "Oy, why are our Dad's details not being written on the record?". There was a view expressed that in those days, when church officials (either clerical or lay) were generally viewed with huge respect and deference, it would have required a bit of hutzpah to question what they were doing - or in this case, not doing. So, this is probably the explanation for the occasional record where all the details had been properly completed.

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