Last week, after finding my Yorkshire-born great-aunt may not have died in infancy, I set out to find out for sure. Result!
Intriguing to find out that she married the son of a ‘gentleman’ with a swanky French-sounding name when she was 19, just before a census. Wow – how posh is my family getting!? Not! It does explain why we hadn’t found her straight away in the records.
Until earlier this year I’d thought that the late teens had been the normal marriage age in previous centuries. However, back in July I read an interesting article in Family Tree by Rebecca Probert about debunking marriage myths where she’d found that the mid-20s were more the norm for marriages at that time (mid-19th century).
Hmmm. So why the young age? Why the hurry? Shock! Well, not much of a shock, actually, but possibly two sets of angry parents. Six months after the happy couple tied the knot in West Yorkshire, the first of many children arrived.
Well, his Dad may have been a gentleman but the son was an iron turner, later a mechanic. So there’s the hint of an untold human story – was he cast out in disgrace? Was it a story of forbidden love coming good? Were there huge tensions on a young couple expecting their first child? The latter, probably. As to the other questions, this is reality not fiction, so unless I contact their descendants I’ll never know.
But what I do know is that none of these online discoveries would have been possible without the digitising work of the West Yorkshire Archive Service. So thanks, once more, to another dedicated local service who actually help make genealogy interesting and affordable – and who prevent my blood pressure going through the roof when I scream at the sight of another damn b/m/d index!