Q and A
WHY CAN I FIND NO TRACE OF A MARRIAGE?I hope you can help me with my brick wall. I have spent about five years trying to find a marriage for my maternal great-great-grandparents John BEECH and Mary GOSS. So far I can only trace them back as far as the 1871 census, which is particularly frustrating as this side of the family has a high level of illegitimacy. Obviously without a marriage certificate I can’t prove parentage or birth dates and places. On the 1871 census they are at 65 Millgate, Wigan, as lodgers. Both are unmarried. John is an umbrella hawker, while Mary is with her son William who was born in the workhouse a month earlier. I managed to locate the birth, in 1873, and death, in 1876, for a Joseph BEECH in 1876. These confirm that Joseph was the son of John and Mary BEECH (formerly GOSS). My assumption was that they married between census night 2nd April 1871 and 11th July 1873 when Mary registers Joseph’s birth. But did they, and if so where? I have considered the idea of Mary marrying under a different surname either because of matrilineal lineage or a previous marriage. I have Gypsies in my paternal lineage so in view of the occupations recorded for John and those he lived with I have considered he may have been a traveller. I belong to the Romany and Traveller FHS in the hopes that I might find a marriage for John and Mary through them They had another son called Joseph in 1879 – this son died within hours of birth. Their other known children who survived are Ann (born 1876), Henry (born 1883) and Mabel (born 1886). Henry is my direct ancestor. They are all christened (as recorded on the International Genealogical Index) but I can’t find christenings for William or the Josephs. Ann, Henry and Mabel all married at St George’s Church in Wigan. I think I have tried all the obvious online sources. Even a recent visit to Wigan and Preston record offices didn’t prove fruitful. My lack of success is definitely not due to a lack of time invested. I might have to conclude they never married, but I am not ready to give up just yet!
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Q: Who invented the printing press in the Holy Roman Empire in 1440?