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My 2x Great Grandmother was Milly Bungay(Bungay/Bungy/Bungey/Mason/Weston). She was born 28th August 1860 in Romsey, Hampshire, England. She died in 1945 which has been recently verified using the 1939 Register + Death Certificate(See sources) as she is living with her daughter Eleanor Kate Carter(nee Mason).

I have a few questions so I will be splitting this post into two sections, the other can be found here:

I have looked extensively but can't find any marriage record for Milly to the man she lived with, had two children and took his name later in life, John Weston.

My Question is: Can anyone find a record of Marriage between Milly Bungay/Mason and John Weston.

Sources:

My Ancestry.co.uk tree for Milly Bungay: http://person.ancestry.co.uk/tree/72266092/person/34262238127

enter image description here https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X96D-B4S - 1901 Census

enter image description here https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QNFZ-SPZ - 1891 Census

enter image description here https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK6R-JXGG - 1881 Census

enter image description here https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VFDY-J41 - 1871 Census

enter image description here

I can't find the 1861 Census on familysearch but above is a picture. The citation is: Class: RG 9; Piece: 685; Folio: 24; Page: 12; GSU roll: 542684

Milly Weston - 1939 Register

Milly Weston - 1939 Register shown above.

Milly Weston Death Certificate

Milly Weston - Marriage Certificate shown above.

enter image description here

Milly Weston - Death Certificate shown above.

Robert Mason Will

Robert H Mason's Will shown above

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    I highly recommend taking your data from the sources and putting it into a spreadsheet for analysis -- it gives you a fresh perspective that you don't get from looking at it on an Ancestry tree. For some examples see this set of spreadsheets by @ColeValleyGirl in the Family Historian User Group's download area: fhug.org.uk/wiki/… and Jane Taubman's Census Record Summary V3 fhug.org.uk/wiki/… – Jan Murphy Jan 8 '16 at 21:22
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    I second the suggestion made by @JanMurphy. There is a lot of information here, and putting it into a spreadsheet will help keep things straight regarding name changes, etc. Perhaps take a closer look at the electoral registers too - a spreadsheet is great to keep track of this data since they were compiled every year and it quickly gets confusing when you get more than a handful of records. – Harry Vervet Jan 8 '16 at 21:55
  • Can someone add the jurisdictions for the census records? – Jan Murphy Jan 13 '16 at 22:02
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Examining the time of Milly's name change is key here, so I would start with a detailed timeline. You would do well to complete this timeline going back to Milly's birth, and forward to her death, but for the purposes of this question I have only constructed a timeline just for the period around when we expect her second marriage to have occurred. It is useful to include every document in which she is mentioned by name, or which she could possibly be mentioned by name (if you have not yet accessed or found a resource), even if she is not the primary person named in that document.

Although it repeats much of the information you included in the question, the relevant documents pertaining to Milly from 1890 to 1927 I could locate are:

enter image description here

From this I note that during the 1890s and early 1900s, Milly goes back and forth between being called Mason and Weston. The fact that both of her daughters (Florence and Eva) are indexed under the name Weston suggests that on their birth certificate she implied she was John Weston's wife. With illegitimate births on which the father is named, they are typically indexed under both the mother and father's surname, since birth certificates at that time did not have a place for specifying the child's surname. The registrar would not have investigated whether Milly and John were actually married. Civil registration was informant-driven and they would have been taken at their word.

What is clear is that Milly and John were not married prior to the 1901 census, because at that time although living together Milly and the children are recorded as Masons, and she was noted as a widow.

From Milly daughter's marriage in 1903 we can see clearly from her signature that she was calling herself Weston by that time, whether actually married to John Weston or not.

However, the fact that John Weston is describes as a widower on the 1911 census strongly suggests that they were not actually married at that time.

John probably died in Yorkshire in 1915 (see Deaths Mar qtr 1915: Weston, John, age 66, Doncaster, 9c/1178). The death certificate probably won't contain any reference to Milly, but it may be worth obtaining. Unfortunately it does not appear John left a will so there will be no clues there as to their relationship.

There are numerous reasons why you may not be able to find the marriage. The GRO marriage index is not perfect, and there many mistakes and omissions – see Michael Foster's A Comedy of Errors. If you knew a likely date and location I would suggest approaching the local register office to see if they could search their indexes for the marriage, but that seems difficult in this case as you don't know a likely date or location.

However, all this evidence leads me to believe that Milly and John were probably never married. It was perfectly legal for Milly to use John's surname as long as she was not attempting to defraud or commit a crime by doing so. While common-law marriage was not a legally valid form of marriage in England, many unmarried people lived together as husband and wife.

You are probably searching for a document that doesn't exist. But that's not to say you shouldn't keep looking.

  • Thanks for a detailed answer, I think I'll head all three of the points in your excel spreadsheet and order them all at some point. I've just ordered the Probate. I can't remember when I last looked at the index for the probate, I assumed that as he was the executor then Charles Frederick would inherit everything, after looking at other wills I can see that's not the case, it will be interesting to see what she actually inherited, if anything... – Danny Barber Feb 28 '16 at 18:55
  • Those were just suggestions as possible leads to follow. I think the will could be useful if Robert made provisions for his wife and young children. The executor was just responsible for administering the estate in accordance with the wishes of the deceased, he may not actually have inherited anything. Let us know what it says when you receive it! – Harry Vervet Feb 28 '16 at 19:10
  • Will do!, the only two will's I've bought have been very underwhelming... – Danny Barber Feb 28 '16 at 19:15
  • Uploaded his Will to the original question, very interesting, definitely much more detailed than the previous two I've bought! I'm wondering how much Milly ended up getting as he seems to sell off what seems like all of the furniture in the house. I also like the addition of limiting how much she get per week, maybe he didn't trust her with the entire estate? What are your thoughts on the Will as a whole? – Danny Barber Mar 2 '16 at 19:44
  • @Danny This is not unusual, he directed his the various furniture items to be sold and then his brother would hold the profits in trust (presumably earning interest) to be paid gradually to his wife. It probably just made most financial sense having it in an account earning interest rather than making a lump sum bequest – kind of like if you win the lottery you often have various payment options. It was also a form of securing Milly's support, in ensuring she had a regular income. All his brother received was the watch and chain, everything else went to Milly. – Harry Vervet Mar 2 '16 at 21:24

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