Who Do You Think You Are?



Often readers come up with instances that take them by surprise and set a record. While researchin­g a friend’s family history, I failed to find a marriage between James Plant and Louisa Cox. I tried the suggestion often made to look after the birth of the first child (in 1875), but nothing.

Then I tried a general search for James Plant in the marriages on Ancestry ( ancestry.co.uk), but could only see an odd one for a James and Louisa in 1926. I sent for the certificat­e and sure enough it was the right James and Louisa, marrying after 51 years together and having 12 children. On the marriage certificat­e James was 74 and Louisa 76, but according to the General Register Office (GRO) Louisa was born in 1856, so would have been 70. They married in Portsmouth (by licence), which again was odd because they lived in Weybridge and James and Louisa are buried in Weybridge Cemetery.

It would seem that they didn’t want anyone to know they had not been married all those years. James died in 1928, so perhaps he was told he did not have long to live and they married so that Louisa would be his legal widow. Find a Grave ( findagrave. com) has details of all 12 of their children, and was the only clue I had to Louisa’s maiden name.

Could this be a record for the longest time living together before marrying? I don’t suppose they were the oldest couple ever to marry, but they certainly left it a long while!

Sue Wicker, by email

Editor Replies: Thanks for sending that in Sue – they certainly did leave it a long time before marrying. I wonder if any other readers have come across an equally curious marriage?

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