Surname on marriage certificate is not maiden name

(28 Posts)
whataboutbob Sun 26-Apr-15 14:58:09

I have been researching my father's family tree (I learnt everything I need to know about my mum's from my gran who I was very close to). It's been a lot harder to know anything about Dad's, sadly now he has dementia so i can't ask him anything.
Anyway, I was surprised that on his mother's wedding certificate (marriage to his father, my paternal grandfather) , her surname is not her maiden name as per the register of births. Yet there is no evidence of a prior marriage for my grandmother, to another man bearing said surname on wedding certificate. How should this be interpreted? Thanks.

DanaBarrett Sun 26-Apr-15 15:00:23

Is it possible she was adopted? Informal adoptions were quite common way back when.

whataboutbob Sun 26-Apr-15 15:06:28

Gosh I hadn't thought of that. Her birth certificate does list her as being borne to the person we always thought was her mother, my father's grandmother. That lady also brought up my Dad and his siblings as she lived with my paternal grandparents (her daighter and son in law). There was never any mention of my paternal grandmother being adopted, but then again i guess there wouldn't be. One thing I know about Dad's family is they have a talent for secrets.

ProfYaffle Sun 26-Apr-15 15:06:35

Are you sure you've got the right records? The correct marriage cert and birth record?

If so, which name is her father's name? The birth record or the marriage?

whataboutbob Sun 26-Apr-15 15:08:23

Her father's name (a quite unusual old Anglo saxon one) is on her birth certificate. But on her marriage certificate it's a different (Scottish) one.

LIZS Sun 26-Apr-15 15:09:23

Were her parents married?

whataboutbob Sun 26-Apr-15 15:12:39

Yes there is evidence her parents married I found a wedding certificate online. by all accounts too dad's grandmother (whom he adored) was a very old fashioned lady. She was a second wife to a widower who was 20 years her senior. Married in Victorian days.

Onetwothreeoops Sun 26-Apr-15 15:23:58

if the fathers name is different on the certificates it sounds like one of them is the wrong one.

Onetwothreeoops Sun 26-Apr-15 15:25:50

Is it possible your grandfather married twice and both women had the same Christian name?

whataboutbob Sun 26-Apr-15 15:29:50

OK there have always been rumours in the family that my Dad's older brother is not the son of my paternal grandfather. It's true he does not look like the other siblings. But oddly, the date of my paternal grandparents' wedding makes my grandmother at least 4 months pregnant with him on the day of the wedding.
I was wondering if the surname on the marriage certificate is that of the father of her eldest child (my uncle) and whether she just changed her name to this man's surname, maybe by deed poll, to cover up illegitimacy. But would my grandfather have agreed to marry her knowing she was pregnant with another man's child? I don't know what to think

Onetwothreeoops Sun 26-Apr-15 15:34:30

With her fathers name being different are the first names the same? Does the surname match the one she is using or is that different as well?

whataboutbob Sun 26-Apr-15 15:37:58

Yes her first name is always the same. The surname (maiden name) on her marriage certificate is not one I'd ever seen before. After her marriage to my grandfather she was always known by his (my) surname.

ProfYaffle Sun 26-Apr-15 15:39:55

Have you tried searching on the name she gave on her marriage cert to see if there are any other families with that name in the area? Could give you some clues.

whataboutbob Sun 26-Apr-15 15:41:15

Thanks prof yaffle that is a good tip. I'm off to the record office next week.

capsium Sun 26-Apr-15 15:42:27

Could she have been married more than once?

capsium Sun 26-Apr-15 15:42:37

Could she have been married more than once?

whataboutbob Sun 26-Apr-15 15:43:38

I guess so Capsium but there is only 1 wedding certificate for her on the online records.

ProfYaffle Sun 26-Apr-15 15:46:28

It could be that there is a 2nd marriage and it's just difficult to find - mistranscribed or something. Maybe try searching for the death certificate of a man with that name which could be her 1st husband.

capsium Sun 26-Apr-15 15:46:33

Could her mother have been married more than once and she changed her maiden name to match her mother's new married name?

whataboutbob Sun 26-Apr-15 15:50:38

Thanks both for your good suggestions. I guess her mother may just have married twice- after all she would have been widowed young as her husband was 20 yrs her senior. Excellent clues to follow up. I must admit i get carried away with the more dramatic/ transgressive possible interpretations.

Liney15 Sun 26-Apr-15 18:14:13

I was tracing DH family tree and found that they used 2 surnames interchangeably. 1 was used in marriages and the other in census returns etc. Made research interesting initially and eventually found that it was due to an illegitimate birth.

whataboutbob Sun 26-Apr-15 21:19:18

As the surname on my grandmother's wedding certificate is a scottish one I logged in to Scotlandpeople using the code kindly provided by a mumsnetter on another thread. No record of her ever having married in scotland, to a man of that surname. No record either of her mother ever having married someone of that surname.
There is however a man of that surname, living in london in 1911, having been born in scotland, and with the same first name as my uncle, Dad's older brother. I am wondering whether he is the father. Am I being fanciful? He would have been about 20 years older than her. Shame there are no more recent censuses available than 1911!

taxi4ballet Sat 02-May-15 22:15:43

Have you looked at the names of the witnesses on the marriage certificate? They are very often relatives and can sometimes confirm whether you have the right certificate.

Sometimes it also helps to work sideways. If your dad's mum had any siblings (your dad's uncles and aunts) then it might be worth looking for details about them too.

If there are rumours in the family about paternity, remember you can't always rely on people in the past telling the truth to the registrar, (or indeed people in the present telling the absolute truth to you)!

Also, if someone's parent died when they were very small and the remaining parent re-married, then they might have always known their step-parent as their real one, and used that name.

HarrietVane99 Sat 02-May-15 22:25:30

I had a similar problem. Turned out the woman in question switched between using her actual father's surname and her stepfather's surname. I was only able to track her because she and the man she married had relatively unusual first names.

Incidentally, there was no legal adoption in the UK until, I think, the 1920s. Before that it was just private arrangements between families.

whataboutbob Mon 04-May-15 20:06:57

Thanks everyone. No sign of that surname on the wedding info from free BMD being anywhere in the family. It's a Scottish name that is very much anchored in Aberdeen, there were only a handful in London in the 1911 census and I think then there were 2 men that could have been the father of her 1st child- assuming it was not my paternal grandfather (right age group). However no death in England for 1 of them, and the other one was probably a bit too old, very much married and seems from some documents about him held at Kew to have been quite a respectable guy. Maybe the actual father of her child went back to scotland. Then if you look at ScotlandsPeople there are just too many men of that particular name to try and catch up with him.
However I went to Kew last week and was told that in 2 years something v similar to a census for the 20s and 30s is coming out so that'll be helpful.
I know it sounds a bit odd, as if I've decided what the story was so many years ago. My paternal grandparents would be turning in their graves if they could read this. However i think it could account for some of the attitudes passed down to their children- my father and his siblings.

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