I'm having a really hard time tracking down a marriage between an Annie Elizabeth (unsure of her maiden name) and a James Spencer Ward. They had children Rose Gertrude, Evelyn, Thomas and James and they were all born between 1900 and 1910.

I have managed to find the birth register (haven't got the certificates right now but may in future) for all of the children. However, a problem arises in that I think Annie fibbed about her age on the 1911 census, as the age on the 1911 census doesn't fit with the age on the 1939 register.

We think they would have married in Cheshire somewhere.

Here's what I have:

To summarise the links:

1911 Register lists Annie Elizabeth Ward as the wife of James Spencer Ward, them having been married for 11 years and four children Evelyn, Rose G, Thomas, and James Spencer (Jr). It lists Annie's age as 28 and James' as 31.

The 1939 register shows Annie's birth date as being 20th July 1881. They are registered as living at 6 Mill Street, Chester.

  • 2
    I would caution you against the use of language like "Annie fibbed about her age on the 1911 Census", or calling unexpected information in records "mistakes". In most cases, we don't know who gave the information to the person who was writing it down -- in the case of the 1911 Census, we do. James signed the household form -- and although he was supposed to record the people in the household on census day, we don't know if Annie was present when he filled out the form. Thinking of these seeming discrepancies as "conflicting information" helps prevent self-created roadblocks.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 21:27
  • 1
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 5:40

2 Answers 2


I assume that the children you have found in the birth indexes are these ones:

Eveline Edith WARD 1903 Q4 Chester 8a 380

Rose Gertrude WARD 1905 Q4 Chester 8a 364

James Spencer WARD 1907 Q2 Chester 8a 415

Thomas Edward WARD 1909 Q2 Chester 8a 376

Starting from that we can use the new GRO index to get the maiden name of the mother, which is CAMPBELL for all four of those records.

Starting from that I would suggest the marriage is this one:

James Spencer WARD and Annie Elizabeth CAMPBELL 1899 Q4 West Derby 8b 1090

The fact that one of the children is an exact match for the father's name can only help to confirm it as a likely match.


Interestingly, James and Annie's headstone seems to hold some key information about Annie's ancestry and therefore her marriage. It can be found on FindAGrave:

enter image description here

As you can see, the Wards were buried with the Parry family. There must be some relationship or association between the two families. The marriage identified by Tom which shows Annie's maiden name as Campbell is surely the correct one.

I think that this is likely Annie Campbell's birth in the birth index:

CAMPBELL, Annie Elizabeth, mms PERRY, 1881 Sep qtr, Chester, vol 08A, p 401

Note mother's maiden name of Perry. Her siblings variously appear with mother's maiden name Perry or Parry. You'll find a likely marriage for her parents, Joseph Campbell and Jane Ann Parry on 4 Aug 1879 in Tranmere, Cheshire, which gives Jane's father's name as Thomas Parry.

Hence, it would appear James and Annie were buried with Annie's maternal grandparents.

I'll leave it to you to verify these relationships with the relevant census and birth/marriage/death documents. This is a good example of how a small piece of information such as a headstone transcript can turn into strong evidence for relationships between individuals.

  • However, the date's don't add up too well. Then again, Annie has been proven to be a fibber about her age so may have done so again. If you look at the grave, it said she died in 1960 aged 68, which would mean she was born in 1878 give or take a year. However, the Annie you listed was born in 1881 which is a noticeable difference. Should I put that down to lying about her age or is that a red flag that it is not the same Annie?
    – Charlie
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 16:29
  • Anyhow, this is around the corner from where I live. I'm going to go and leave flowers for her tomorrow :)
    – Charlie
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 16:37
  • @Charlie - a few-year discrepancy is worth treating with caution, but it's not necessarily a red flag. People did fib, or just lost track of dates. My own grandmother managed to "lose" 5 or 6 years over the course of her life. :)
    – AndyW
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 17:54
  • @AndyW ah ok, so just treat it with a pinch of salt? I think its probably safe to assume its the same woman as I come from Chester which is quite a small town (150'000) people. There wouldn't have been many Annie Elizabeths at the time.
    – Charlie
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 18:05
  • 3
    @Charlie Yes, the 1911 census is off by one year (she was 29 in April 1911). Also, be aware that it was James who filled in the 1911 household schedule (see his signature in the bottom right corner), so it could just be an honest mistake. A one year discrepency is nothing; I'd say its more common to find a minor error like this in a census record than it is to find one that is completely correct.
    – Harry V.
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 18:39

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