A shotgun wedding.

Well, you do come across some interesting things when you start digging into the family history!  Here is the story of what must surely have been a shotgun wedding:

My GGG Grandfather, Joseph Zealey was born in 1836 in Hoxton, London Borough of Hackney, England, in 1836.  My GGG Grandmother, Mary Nunn, was born in 1824 in Badingham, Suffolk, England.

So when they married in 1850, she was 26 and he was 14!

At least, this is what we know at present.  They had a son, William born in 1851, so she may have been pregnant at the time of the marriage.   Mary's parents were William and Mary, and there is some conflicting information on census material.

So this is one case where I think we need to actually see the wedding certificate, and possibly the birth certificates.  Some of the information may be incorrect. This is when your sourcing will really pay off.  By looking at the source of information we may be able to sort out what is correct, possible, and 'iffy' information.

I start with something I know, and am sure, is correct.  In this case it is my direct ancestor, my GG Grandmother, Alice Zealey.  She was born in Shoreditch, London,  married in Epsom, Surrey, and died in Epsom, Surrey.  The primary source is the England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915.  This does not give us the name of Alice's parents however. 

We have confirmed census information of Alice from 1861 to 1891 where she was living in the Surrey area.  This is confirmed with known family information as well, and the father is listed as Joseph Charles Zealey, and wife Eliza.  The story is complicated as Joseph had two wives.

This is where a chronology of Joseph Zealey will help.  Fortunately the program I use gives you this at the click of a mouse.  When I look at it there is some confusion around who is the father and mother of whom, and when the marriages took place, and particularly there is no information of when the first wife died.  Here is what it looks like:

So the first thing I am going to do is order the marriage certificate of Joseph Zealey and Mary Nunn.
To do this I need a GRO Reference.  What the reference is, depends upon the year you are looking at, here is a table of what is needed and for when:

So, the first step is to search the UK free BDM for the certificate information (or look it up on your database if you have the information already).

Then, armed with that information, go to http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/most_customers_want_to_know.asp  and read all you need to know.  Then start an account and order online.  Cost is around $20 Aust.  Another way to do it is to find the information on Ancestry and order through them, but it is around double the price!

So we shall see what age Joseph is on the certificate, where he was born and  who his father was, that should solve the puzzle - I wonder if I have the right Joseph???


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