The importance of cross-checking your information.

It is so important to cross check our information at all times, to use every available source in our quest to learn more about our ancestors.  A recent search for a marriage of Anne to Edward prior to 1917 proved, frustratingly, negative.  Anne gave birth to a son, Patrick, in 1917 but died within a few days of his birth. As a result, her history was lost to Patrick and granddaughter. This was an attempt to reclaim Anne’s history.

Extensive searching did not reveal the marriage in either the UK or Ireland. In an attempt to narrow down the search, we wondered if the couple had been identified in the 1911 Census.  Deciding what is relevant and what is not, is a very important part of assembling a project.  Filtering and assessing facts can be the making or breaking of a project.

Although the quest was for the marriage of Anne and Edward, we decided that knowing where either of them was in 1911 might give us some clues. Unfortunately, given Anne’s surname, there were too many persons of that name in 1911. We had nothing to narrow down the search for Anne, other than her age. 

We had, however, very specific information on Edward as to place of birth, so we focussed on trying to identify him in the 1911 Census.  As it turned out, Edward, the father of the child born in 1917, appeared to be married to another woman in 1911.  All earlier work in learning about Edward as to his parentage and crucially, his place of birth, paid off here.  Information gathered helped to successfully identify him in the 1911 Census. 

In fact, Edward had married a widow, complicating our search for him in the records. If the certificate we have identified proves that this is our man, we can then move on to search for the death of the wife we saw in 1911. We expect to find the death of Edward’s first wife, before 1917. 

So, a simple search for a marriage record required much more extensive searching than could at first be envisaged.  To get a result, we needed to garner information not just on Anne, but on Edward too. And  the journey is not over yet…..

By Carmel Gilbride 

Expert Researcher