Woodchurch Marriages 1538-1978
Marriages before 1837
The extent of the information provided for each marriage before 1837 varied enormously. Sometimes the barest details, sometimes large amounts filling a paragraph. It appeared to depend on the whim of the curate or scribe at the time. Where other records such as Banns, Marriage Licences and Bishop’s Transcripts, provided useful additional information for genealogists that may not have been included in the Marriage Register; information such as the abode of the parties at the time, marital status, occupation of the groom, age of both parties, signature of the groom and very occasionally the bride, names and abode of parents and whether one or both parents were alive or dead, this has been included. As always, the amount of additional information is variable. If the parish register writer; a clerk, the churchwarden, curate or minister included anything in brackets, this is shown in round brackets ( ). The use of square brackets [ ] shows where the transcribers have found something additional that they hope will be useful to readers tracing their ancestors.
The references for these records are:
There was a gap in the originals from 1576-1584 and the English Civil War 1642-1651 and Commonwealth 1652-1660 periods were patchy. The two transcribers endeavoured to fill the 16th Century gap from original Bishop's Transcripts held by Canterbury Cathedral Archives but these too were not continuous.
The database is not an absolutely true copy of the originals due to the limited functionality of the database software. Much of the early writing was in Secretary script, abbreviated, contracted or suspended. There was widespread use of superscript letters. To aid identification and ensure that every marriage was included, each page has been numbered and each marriage on each page also numbered. In interpreting and transcribing the entries, Bob and Josie aimed their efforts at genealogists rather than palaeographers. Researchers should always check the original registers. The early records, 1538-1598, were transcribed themselves into the register in about 1598 from pieces of paper or parchment kept in the parish chest. This change resulted from an Order in Council from Queen Elizabeth I. The original records have not survived. The Curate of All Saints in 1598, Meredith Madey, may not have known those married in the early years and it appears he found the handwriting, at times, as difficult to read as Bob and Josie did. He was paid £2 for doing this. While the majority of forenames were recognizable, many of the surnames were not. After this period the quality improved.
Copyright ©2011 Gary Samson and the Woodchurch Ancestry Group