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Age given on Marriage certificate - accurate?

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    Age given on Marriage certificate - accurate?

    Hello everyone

    Would an age given on a marriage certificate be accurate? or taken with a pinch of salt as on census returns etc.

    I have a marriage certificate for my great grandfather from October 1876 giving his age as 33 which indicates he was born in 1843

    1861 census he is 20 born about 1841
    1871 census he is 28 born about 1845
    1881 census he is 36 born about 1846
    1891 census he is 46 born about 1845
    1901 census he is 56 born about 1845
    1911 census i can't find him

    His death certificate in 1916 gives an age of 76 which indicates he was born in 1840

    I have not been able to find a correct birth record as yet.

    Just how much leeway would be acceptable?

    thanks
    ffynnon

    #2
    It is only as accurate as he was when he told the Vicar / Registrar!

    Was his bride quite a bit younger than he was?

    Do you have him on the 1851 census?

    What was his name? What area was he born in?

    Remembering: Cuthbert Gregory 1889 - 1916, George Arnold Connelly 1886 - 1917, Thomas Lowe Davenport 1890 - 1917, Roland Davenport Farmer 1885 - 1916, William Davenport Sheffield 1879 - 1915, Cuthbert Gregory 1918 - 1944

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      #3
      sometimes they are correct, and sometimes not!.. guess it just depends how truthful they wanted to be.. I have grooms that are 20 yrs older than their brides yet shave off at least 12 yrs to make it look more acceptable!

      re the death, that information is only as reliable as the person registering the death knew.. maybe they didn't know him at all and had to guess,

      try throwing a name and area at us for him see if we can find anything...

      and also list which ones you have already looked at and are not him.
      Julie
      They're coming to take me away haha hee hee..........

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by FFYNNON View Post
        Hello everyone

        Would an age given on a marriage certificate be accurate? or taken with a pinch of salt as on census returns etc.

        I have a marriage certificate for my great grandfather from October 1876 giving his age as 33 which indicates he was born in 1843

        1861 census he is 20 born about 1841
        1871 census he is 28 born about 1845
        1881 census he is 36 born about 1846
        1891 census he is 46 born about 1845
        1901 census he is 56 born about 1845
        1911 census i can't find him

        His death certificate in 1916 gives an age of 76 which indicates he was born in 1840

        I have not been able to find a correct birth record as yet.

        Just how much leeway would be acceptable?

        thanks
        ffynnon
        Might depend on the age of the bride - if the gap would look too great then maybe he shaved some years off to make it look better - I have one in my tree who married in 1733 giving his age as 37 and then in 1735 giving his age as 30 !! his bride the second time was only 19 so he must have thought he would look too old - either that or he'd been spinning a yarn all along

        The other thing to think about is the fact that it is only on the marriage that he is giving the information, in the census someone else possibly gave it and then someone else wrote it down so scope for error. People also did forget their age in those days as there was no requirement to keep giving and proving it as we do now.

        Margaret

        Comment


          #5
          My G-grandmother was married 20 Mar 1884 at Cookham RO, Berks, by Licence. Her age was given as 26. In 1891, her age is given as 33; in 1901 she's 43; in 1911 she's 53.

          Given that set of info, it's not immediately obvious that her death record is d 1940q4 Marlbro', age 89, and that she appears in 1881 to be 27, in 1871 she's 21, in 1861 she's 9, and in 1851 she's 2 months old, so her birth registration was b 3 Feb 1851 Ashton Keynes. I wasted a lot of time looking for her in earlier censuses and in the GRO birth index on the basis of the marriage record.

          The reason for the age-shrinkage? Her husband was only 20 (b 13 Apr 1863, Barkingside).

          By 1901, they were living apart. By the date of my grandparents' marriage, on 21 June 1916, my great-grandfather was described as "station master, dec'd". He worked for GWR (until he was sacked!) and then for the underground, but I don't think he ever achieved "station master", and he didn't die until 11 Oct 1917.

          I'm pretty certain that it was my Errant Grandfather, who emigrated - to the USA, according to my research - who was claiming to be 34 when he was 50, and his bride claimed to be 19 when she wasn't quite 15. Clearly that age-gap was socially (at the very least) unacceptable - and in the State where they married there had been a law recently enacted making 16 the minimum age for a legal marriage: people had been prosecuted earlier that year for participating in an under-age marriage.

          As has been said, certificates are only as reliable as the person supplying the information, and there were all sorts of reasons why you might want to tweak the facts, and social pressure could be a considerable influence.

          Christine
          Last edited by Christine in Herts; 10-04-13, 19:12.
          Researching: BENNETT (Leics/Birmingham-ish) - incl. Leonard BENNETT in Detroit & Florida ; WARR/WOR, STRATFORD & GARDNER/GARNAR (Oxon); CHRISTMAS, RUSSELL, PAFOOT/PAFFORD (Hants); BIGWOOD, HAYLER/HAILOR (Sussex); LANCASTER (Beds, Berks, Wilts) - plus - COCKS (Spitalfields, Liverpool, Plymouth); RUSE/ROWSE, TREMEER, WADLIN(G)/WADLETON (Devonport, E Cornwall); GOULD (S Devon); CHAPMAN, HALL/HOLE, HORN (N Devon); BARRON, SCANTLEBURY (Mevagissey)...

          Comment


            #6
            Like Christine I have a bride at least 14 years older than she stated on her marriage certificate, she must have pulled it off because her death was also shown to be 14 years less than reality.
            Whilst the groom married in 1875 age 27 and again in 1881 age 27. He added 5 years to his age for the above marriage.
            Bubblebelle x

            FAMILY INTERESTS: Pitts of Sherborne Gloucs. Deaney (Bucks). Pye of Kent. Randolph of Lydd, Kent. Youell of Norfolk and Suffolk. Howe of Lampton. Carden of Bucks.

            Comment


              #7
              Is he living with his parents on any of the censuses? I've found most people who fib about their ages do it after they have left home.

              Comment


                #8
                Details on marriage certificates should be more accurate - after all it is the only record of civil registration the person concerned is actually present at (we don't generally register our own birth or death). But as others have said there are numerous reasons why people didn't tell the truth -the most common I find are where the age (of either party) has been altered to make it appear the bride is fashionably younger than the groom.

                One example of ages being changed that stands out was when I did research for a client recently where I found a marriage certificate from the 1880s where the bride and groom were both 19 years old (apparently).

                It didn't take much research to prove that actually - he was 17 and she was 15 (just) ...... not surprisingly the first child was born a couple of months later !

                The bride's father was one of the witnesses, so we can probably assume that most of the people present must have been aware of the true ages.
                Last edited by AntonyM; 11-04-13, 08:02.
                I am a professional researcher, and ex- deputy registrar, based in Buckinghamshire - please contact me for any help/advice or research via PM or my website www.chalfontresearch.co.uk
                Follow me on Twittter @ChalfontR

                Comment


                  #9
                  on the marriage certificate he is 33 his wife is 30

                  David Murrow aged 33
                  Anne Jenkins aged 30
                  grooms father James Murrow deceased
                  brides father Owen Jenkins deceased
                  witnesses were John Murrow - i think brother to David
                  and Maria Williams (unknown)

                  I have now found a 1911 census with him on with wrongly transcribed surname
                  http://interactive.ancestry.co.uk/23...l=ReturnRecord

                  I sent for a birth certificate for 1840 that i thought might be David but it was the wrong one. I now have an 1838 one on order. there's only two entries for the Haverfordwest district on FMP for the 1838 - 1840 timespan.

                  there is an 1851 census is probably him
                  http://search.ancestry.co.uk/iexec?h...d&pid=15803913

                  but it does not list his father, even though it shows Margaret (head) as being married and not as a widow. I think James Murrow died in 1855, if I have the right James Murrow.
                  1861 and 1871 David was living in Risca, Monmouthshire
                  then back to Pembrokeshire where he married in 1876 and was then living in Dinas
                  Davids occupation on the marriage certificate says he was a brewer.

                  He doesn't show up on 1841 census as yet which if he was born prior to 1841 he should be somewhere on them. I will keep looking>

                  Comment


                    #10
                    My great grandfather died in the 1940's at the given age of 87. His census age fits in with this, right from the first time he is mentioned in 1861, age 3. Then 1871 age 13 and so on. Only puzzle is, his birth certificate gives him a date of birth in Feb 1860. My dad remains convinced that his granddad was really born in 1858, but unregistered for whatever reason. Maybe his parents thought lying on his birth certificate was unimportant? After all, it wasn't compulsory to register births at that time.
                    Anyway, just thought I would add another variation on the accuracy of ages on documents (-:

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                      #11
                      census ages are pretty consistent (when i say consistent, i mean the most records say) with a birth of around 1845. so if he is not on the 1841 census, i would say he was born after it.

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