Research Tip of the Week.

Recent searches have put the spotlight on recorded addresses on marriage records.  Over a number of separate cases, the question arose as to   how much weight we might attach to the address given for the bride or groom as to its being their likely place of origin.

One of the first documents I obtained in my early days of genealogy, was the marriage certificate of my great grandparents which took place in Wexford. The certificate gave an address for each party to the marriage, which I took at face value.  Using that information, I explored this townland, visited the church, examined the headstones in the adjoining graveyards, attempting to make connections.  What I had not done until recently was view the corresponding church record of this marriage.  With the parish registers online, courtesy of the NLI, I decided to view this record and was richly rewarded with some additional information.

Yes, there was the address for both the bride and the groom as recorded in the civil certificate.  But the priest had recorded, in the parish register, quite different addresses for the fathers of both the bride and groom. This is commonplace in Dublin records, but we don’t see it so often in rural parishes.  Each father’s name had an accompanying townland address, some five miles distant from the place given for the couple. The address given for my great great grandfather was exactly the place identified by my aunt in conversation many years ago as to the origins of her maternal grandmother. This was the first time I had documentary evidence to prove that this was a very accurate oral history.

It was clear to me that my great grandparents had both left their homes to work.  They married in the church adjacent to their workplace and not their place of origin. This is an important consideration when searching for our ancestors born before 1864. Just because a woman marries in a particular church, does not necessarily mean that is her parish of origin, even when the marriage takes place within the known county of origin. Fortunately, in this case, the priest recorded where the couple’s parents lived and this has now provided me with more accurate information as to which parish is likely to hold their baptismal records. Plus, of course, the fun of checking to see who is living in these identified townlands in 1901, with the attendant possibility of identifying cousins who remained in Wexford long after my ancestors came to Dublin.

By Expert Researcher,

Carmel Gilbride.

carmel gilbride


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