“The past is a foreign country:
they do things differently there.”
L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between
I DON’T LIKE to ramble on about my family history too much but I’m so pleased to have made what could be my big breakthrough in tracing my Welsh great grandparents John and Sarah Jones. Lauren posted a comment suggesting that I try www.freebmd.org.uk (BMD; births, deaths and marriages) then obtain a marriage certificate. It had just dawned on me that this could be the way forward.
I had an approximate date – the early 1870s – but it was only when I take a look at the old county boundaries that I realised that in previous searches for the Joneses I might have been looking in the wrong place. The family lived close to the English border and at one stage Sarah’s mum lived on the boundary, between Flintshire and Denbighshire.
Searching on Free BMD, but not limiting myself to north Wales, I immediately tracked John Jones down as having married in Chester. As you can see from the map above this is the nearest big town to Connahs Quay. The Chester and Holyhead railway, part of the LNWR, ran through the town, putting Chester in easy reach and, in the other direction along the line, Rhyl, where I believe they might have spent their honeymoon.
What I didn’t grasp at first was how from a long list of John Joneses (right) who married in the first quarter of 1872, Free BMD had selected this particular record.
It had cross-referenced this record with the name of the bride I was searching for, Sarah George.
Her name appears in the register not next to John but amongst the Georges. Free BMD has picked out the two reference numbers; Chester, Folio 8a., page 569, the page where you’d find John and Sarah listed together.
But all I need is the approximate date – first quarter of 1872 – and their names and I can write to the Cheshire West and Chester registry office to obtain a copy of their marriage certificate.
Details such as their addresses prior to their marriage and occupations of both the fathers should be some help with the next step in my research.