When I started gathering information on my ancestors it was with the more usual intention of preparing my own family tree. However my mother was nee ROBERTS, her mother was a JONES and her mother was a HUGHES, all with huge numbers of people so I decided not to pursue that line. Nevertheless I still wanted to know which families have joined with us, and which families our girls married into.
The English Marriage Register Index started in 1837 but does not show spouse information until 1912. Between those dates the only sure way to find a correct name from that source is to buy the Marriage Certificate. Up to 1911 I have noted marriages for 155 males and 137 females. In the years 1912 to 1919 there were 27 males and 34 females. At www.ukbmd.org.uk there is a free registry index compiled from County registrars sources which does give earlier spouse names for some counties but at present it is in the early stages except for Cheshire, which initiated the process. The site has links to other sources including FreeBMD and some spouse names have been deduced from there, in conjunction with census details.
Other than for Civil marriages, the best source will be the Church Registers and on-line the LDS IGI has some of their transcriptions of marriages and baptisms, which I have. From all the sources I believe I have most of the partners names but if any one can give me the names of couples, especially those not in England, I should like to hear from them both for checking and adding to my database. This will also help me to provide further details of families to anyone who asks.
Note that for some years after 1837 the English National index does not record Nonconformist church marriages as such. For the place it says “Register Office or Registrar Attended”. On the Lancashire BMD that is what it shows for the marriage of my grandfather. He was a staunch Methodist and the actual certificate shows it was at the “Wesleyan Methodist Lodge Lane Chapel” in Liverpool.
The Certificate for his father’s second marriage records the wrong surname for his bride and her father :-