#52 Ancestors: Week 23 – Bridge.
It is delightful to have Genealogist friends and collaborators, who cannot resist the challenge of a search and discover mission; collaborative research works well as a bridge between the known and the unknown.
Yesterday’s post displayed the mystery surrounding the marriage of my great, great, grandparents Alfred Wright and Eliza Goats. The hidden (well stored in an online Parish Register) marriage certificate from 1868. Genealogist and friend Val Wilkinson took up the challenge and located the marriage certificate in the archives of the Essex Parish Registry, and sent me a copy of the document I was seeking.
Val followed my trail and verified on Findmypast, where I had found the the marriage transcription. The source for this transcription was the Essex Parish Registers.
Val reminded me of the value of sourcing the data from the Births, Marriages and Deaths for UK at the FreeBMD. On FreeBMD, the marriage is recorded at District of West Ham, Vol 4a, page 56. This reminded me of the importance of scanning adjacent English parishes for the plausible location of marriage records from the early 19th century. The Essex Record Office information stated that there is an index on Ancestry.com where you can click through and purchase an image. Val tried this – found the reference on Ancestry, clicked the thumbnail, and found that you can purchase one image for 2.99 pounds. (something that we both learned anew)
… and here it is … see image below
Marriage Certificates provide those extra pieces of information we all seek: – residences, ages of the principles, the names of parents, their occupations; the signatures of marks of the principles; and the names of the witnesses.
Alfred is a bachelor, aged 25, was a Shoemaker and his father Benjamin, was a Brickmaker.
Eliza is listed as a Spinster, aged 24, (so not married before), her mark (so not able to write) and her father Joshua’s occupation as Labourer.
The witnesses to the marriage were: James Blake and Elizabeth Blake.
If you would like to view part one of the Eliza Goats story, click here.
More serenditious mentions of ‘bridge’.
Looking further into the history of West Ham, I noticed another familiar icon, the Bow Bridge.
Bow Bridge was a stone bridge built over the River Lea, in what is now London, in the twelfth century. It linked Bow in Middlesex with Stratford in Essex.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bow_Bridge_(London)
I noted the occupations on the fathers of the married couple and realised that this area of West Ham was indeed populated by commercial enterprises, such as brick making and shoe manufacture. Further history of West Ham and its urbanisation was mentioned in The London Times in 1886:
“Factory after factory was erected on the marshy wastes of Stratford and Plaistow, and it only required the construction at Canning Town of the Victoria and Albert Docks to make the once desolate parish of West Ham a manufacturing and commercial centre of the first importance and to bring upon it a teeming and an industrious population
Building a bridge sometimes is better than breaking through a brick wall in Genealogy – not only does the collaborative process reveal new facts – it also enhances our research strategies.