I need help reading this marriage record.

enter image description here

This is what I can decipher:

Jones Catherine
Oct 21 ----- of Brook St. Chester
daughter of Robt Jones a ----------
---- 22.8.1903 at R.O. Chester
--- Cowin John James
------------------------- Jones
---------- Chester ---- 1903 -- 8a843

  • 3
    Charlie – just to be clear, this is not a marriage record. It's an index card, which apparently contains information transcribed from the marriage register. Therefore it is very much a secondary source (so be aware that details may have got "lost in translation").
    – Harry V.
    Feb 23, 2018 at 0:57
  • @HarryVervet noted
    – Charlie
    Feb 23, 2018 at 1:06
  • @HarryVervet what is the implication in the marriage taking place at a registry office rather than a church? What does this mean?
    – Charlie
    Feb 23, 2018 at 1:59
  • 1
    No particular implication - by the early 1900s many marriages took place in a registry office (just as many do today). Perhaps they were not religious, perhaps it was most convenient.
    – Harry V.
    Feb 23, 2018 at 2:03
  • You can marry in a Register Office, or a Registration Office , never a Registry Office (despite the term being in common usage).
    – AntonyM
    Feb 24, 2018 at 8:57

2 Answers 2


As pointed out in comments, this is not a marriage record, but an index card with a cross-reference. I read it as follows

Oct 21 rfr (reference?) of Brook St. Chester, 
daughter of Robt. Jones a farm laborer 
marr[ied] 22.8.1903 at R.O. Chester to x
see Cowin John James 
wit[nesse]s Thos. Ewin - Emily Jones 
Carl R. G. Chester Sept (could be left) 1903 -- 8a843 5169
  • I believe the E is actually a C and says Cowin (Thomas Cowin being the brother of John Cowin), which would presumably make "Emily" incorrect because that's a C not an E
    – Charlie
    Feb 23, 2018 at 13:49
  • 3
    I don't think so.Compare to the 'C' in "Catherine" and the 'E' in "Emily". "Emily" is very clear and unambiguous. But it is possible that the original document was misread by the author of this reference note. Feb 23, 2018 at 14:02
  • You're probably right
    – Charlie
    Feb 23, 2018 at 15:57

I am in agreement with @user3697176's answer, however would make two changes:

line 1:

Oct 21 spr of Brook St. Chester

line 6:

Cert R. G. Chester Sept 1903 - 8a 843 5169

  • spr = spinster
  • Cert = Certificate
  • R.G. = Registrar General.

The last line is obviously the marriage reference in the GRO index (as per FreeBMD):

enter image description here

I also agree that the witness's name is clearly written Ewin, but that is not to say it might not have a been originally Cowin. Errors like this may have crept in at any point between the original marriage register being signed, a copy being made to send to General Register Office, or the transcription being made for this index card.

Lastly, there should be another index card under Cowin's name. I couldn't find it on a quick search, so it may have been lost. But there was definitely one made. It would be useful to compare what is written on Cowin's card.

  • I can't find any record of Robert Jones or Emily Jones thus far. Any luck? I presume Emily Jones was Catherine's sister
    – Charlie
    Feb 23, 2018 at 15:58

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