YOUR QUERIES ANSWERED
Our team of experts offers tips and inspiration, helping readers solve problems in their research Why can’t I find my ancestor’s marriage records?
QMy great great grandmother, Ann Dunphy (or ‘Dunphey’), was born in St John’s, Newfoundland. She married a Royal Artilleryman named John Lock and moved with him to Woolwich Barracks.
John, who hailed from Bourton-onthe-Water, Gloucestershire, left the Royal Artillery in 1878 and must have died before 1881, since Ann is a widow in the census.
I n the 1891 census Ann has the surname ‘Tillyer’, and is described as married and head of the household. She is then listed as the informant on the death certificate of her second husband, William Tillyer (20 January 1903), and is named as his widow on her death certificate (9 October 1905).
However, I cannot find records for either of Ann’s two marriages. A librarian at the Royal Artillery Museum said that she must have been married to John to be allowed to live in the barracks. She was reputed to have been a strong Roman Catholic. Patricia Foster
ASince there is no sign of Ann’s first marriage in England (even in the Roman Catholic records), the likelihood is that she and John Lock married in Newfoundland.
John’s Royal Artillery discharge record on ancestry.co.uk and findmypast.co.uk shows that he was stationed there for over five-anda-half years, but it doesn’t specify the period. Ancestry, however, does have a record of John’s court-martial “for allowing men of his guard to get drunk” in St John’s on 22 September 1864. He was imprisoned there until 28 June 1865.
You may wish to search The National Archives’ Discovery catalogue ( discovery. nationalarchives.gov.uk) for the Royal Artillery’s Registers of Marriages and Baptisms, which have been indexed (although I couldn’t find the marriage of John and Ann).
I suggest you also take a look at both familysearch.org and Newfoundland’s Grand Banks ( ngb.chebucto.org) which offer parish records as well as other resources for Newfoundland, which only became a province of Canada in 1949.
Regarding Ann’s second marriage, did it ever take place? Although her surname is ‘Tillyer’ in the 1891 census, I see that William is not with Ann until the 1901 census. I wonder if William and Ann were unable to marry because one or both of them were still married to someone else.
Without a death certificate, you can’t be sure that John Lock did die between 1878 and 1881. I suggest you look for his death after 1881 in Woolwich and other nearby areas of London, such as Rotherhithe and Camberwell.
You could also look for William Tillyer in the 1891 and earlier censuses to see if he was married previously. If that was the case, then what had become of his wife by 1901? Alan Stewart
Ann’s daughter, Mary Jane Woods née Lock, was the informant for her mother’s death
Ann’s death certificate says she was the widow of William Tillyer – but were they really married?