The article about marriage in your July 2015 issue reminded me of my great grandmother Emily, who married her stepson! In 1882, in Birmingham, Emily, a 27-year-old widow with four young children, married my great grandfather William, a widower in his 60s with grown children. They had my grandfather Arthur in 1886 and William died two years later. In 1889 Emily then married Frederick, one of William’s grown sons. They did marry in a church – but I can’t imagine how they explained their same last name.
In the 1891, census their household included a son from Emily’s first marriage, a daughter from Frederick’s second marriage, and my grandfather. Next door lived a grown son from Frederick’s first marriage and two sons from Frederick’s second marriage. Talk about a blended family! Emily and Frederick had a son of their own in 1896, but Emily died a few months later in 1897.
My grandfather never spoke about his family to my mother, so I discovered all this by piecing together all the documentation – it took a while to believe what I least in Cumberland there were far fewer people to investigate! John Taylor, Stockport found. I assume their marriage might have been illegal and wonder if the law actually specified step-relatives? Deborah Vining, Ottawa, Canada Editor replies: A blended family indeed! I spoke to our marriage law expert Rebecca Probert who said: “Yes, this marriage would have been void. The prohibited degrees were all set out by Archbishop Parker in 1563 and included a husband’s son. Subsequent legislation Editor replies: Having Taylors on my family tree. I can identify with you John. I hope you read our Masterclass on eliminating people with the same name in our Summer issue – it was full of handy tips on dealing with the problems we all come across at some time in ensuring we have the right candidate. tended to refer simply to the prohibited degrees – it’s not until 1949 that you get a full list set out in statute.”
Alan Crosby points out outlandish claims by genealogists in the past
You can find a lot of detail in asylum records
Our reader’s ancestor Emily on the 1891 census census, illegally married and living with the son of her husband who had died five years beforehand