View Full Version : Opinions please - age at marriage

Vicky the Viking
11-03-19, 19:14
My 2x ggf, Alfred Bunting, had a sister Eliza born in Dec 1842, in Aston, Birmingham. I have her birth certificate.
She's at home with parents in 1851 and 1861 then I lose her.
I haven't found a marriage or death that fits, so she's just left dangling from my tree.

Except that someone on Ancestry has hijacked my Alfred's parents. I initially dismissed this as a silly mistake, all too easy to jump to conclusions with incomplete info. But I'm beginning to wonder.

The offending tree on Ancestry belongs to what would be a direct descendant. She hasn't done her DNA and doesn't have Eliza's birth cert. Let's call the tree owner B.
B has based her assumption about Eliza's parentage on the father's name on her marriage certificate in 1874, and the fact that he is deceased by that date so no occupation given (which could be crucial in identifying the right person).
She also states her age at marriage as 22. This would make her born 1851-1853. Don't forget Alfred's sister was born in 1842. The witnesses' names are uninformative.

I tried to follow this Eliza through the censuses and she's pretty consistent with her age and place of birth - putting her actual birthday nearer to 1854/1855 and born in Barton. Warks. (Not exactly sure where this Barton is) B is definitely descended from this marriage.

I've tried to find other Eliza or Elizabeth births for 1851-1855 and not found anything looking like a reasonable possibility. I've tried looking for Eliza or Elizabeth in the 1861 and 1871 censuses and not come across any good leads. I'm actually beginning to wonder if the Eliza in B's tree really is the Eliza born in 1842. She's lied about her age to hide the fact she's actually 10 years older than her husband, and continued this deception for the rest of her life.
Do you think this is likely?

The actual marriage certificate is available on Ancestry in the Birmingham parish records collection, as is Eliza's baptism. Eliza's mum had other children born in Mar Q 1853 (girl, Emma) and Mar Q 1855 (boy, William) so I've ruled out another child called Eliza born in this period. The surname is sometimes spelled Buntting.

Sylvia C
11-03-19, 20:01
It is not unknown for someone to add or delete years form their age when there was a big difference in age.

I think the biggest change in age that I found when helping someone else with a problem was 15 ..... the man in this case lost 15 years on the marriage certificate. He was still about 5 years older than his bride. He kept up the fiction for at least 20 more years.

So, I would say it could be a very strong possibility that you are correct in thinking that this was your Eliza.

Have you been in contact with B to see if she has any other evidence/information that could help??

Olde Crone Holden
11-03-19, 20:15
My 2 x ggm was 13 years older than her husband and knocked 13 years off her real age. She continued this fiction until death, when her daughter told the truth to the registrar. So yes, very possible in my experience.


Vicky the Viking
11-03-19, 21:08
I've just realised that the Eliza in question is living next door to her mother in 1881. I think I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Doesn't help that B's tree is a bit of a mess with a couple of spurious children added in where she's accepted a hint for a different family. To make things worse, she has a sister-in-law also named Eliza.