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?

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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 an­ces­ and find­my­ 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. na­tion­ 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 fam­il­y­ and New­found­land’s Grand Banks ( 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?

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