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In researching Henry Clifford (b 1839, Ewell, Surrey), grandparents' names in lieu of parents' names disallows certainty of his marriage to a Jane Young in Edinburgh 1862.

Henry volunteered w/the Royal Naval in Wales in 1861, and was a 2nd class stoker aboard HMS Edinburgh, a "stationary ship" in the Port of Leith.

Later GRO and children's baptismal records show a wife named Jane Young. The Scottish marriage record is the only marriage record I've found.

Henry was previously a gunpowder maker, as was his father. He gives "engine keeper" as is occupation on the marriage record, and "gunpowder maker" as his father's occupation, both which concur with many other records.

In the two years following the marriage, birth and death records of their first child (verified by address), Henry states "gunpowder maker" as occupation.

There seems a high likelihood that I have the correct record, save two burning questions:

  • Would an enlisted Royal Navy man marry onshore?
  • Why would a groom give his grandparents' names in lieu of his parents' names on a Scottish civil marriage record?
  • "Would an enlisted Royal Navy man marry onshore?" As opposed to what? If you are imagining that he would be married by a naval Chaplain on board ship, the relevant National Archives (TNA) Piece appears to be RG 33/156 "H.M. Ships: Marriages solemised on board HM ships during 1842-1879". However this appears to be only available at Kew or on The Genealogist site. My gut feeling is that Chaplains had better things to do than marry ratings who could just as easily walk into Leith / Edinburgh and get married there. But I don't know this for certain. – AdrianB38 May 28 '18 at 19:18
  • "Why would a groom give his grandparents' names in lieu of his parents' names on a Scottish civil marriage record?" Can you please clarify - are the names explicitly described as his grandparents? Or are the names apparently those of his grandparents but they are described as his parents? The column headings are pre-printed "Father" and "Mother" so my instinct is that's what's supposed to appear - I've never seen anything else so this seems rather interesting. – AdrianB38 May 28 '18 at 19:23
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    Thank you for answering the marriage question, AdrianB38. I just didn't know if it indeed was that simple. – Susie Souza May 30 '18 at 0:54
  • Yes, "the names are apparently those of his grandparents but they are described as his parents." Regardless of the g-parent names, the only marriage record found for Henry--with correct wife, location, occupation and father's occupation--is thrown into doubt these parent names. Can the discrepancy be put down to some whim or convention? Do genealogists see this sort of thing occasionally? No other options have come up. Henry was in Leith at 23, such a common age for English men to marry, and, as you say, it was an easy thing for him to walk into town to get married. – Susie Souza May 30 '18 at 1:45
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    Comments copied and altered to form an answer below, with further comments on equivalent deception in English & Welsh certificates. – AdrianB38 May 31 '18 at 16:55
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"Would an enlisted Royal Navy man marry onshore?" The only alternative that I can think of, is that he would be married by a Royal Navy Chaplain on board ship. The relevant National Archives (TNA) Piece appears to be RG 33/156 "H.M. Ships: Marriages solemised on board HM ships during 1842-1879". (See TNA Catalogue description). This appears to be only available at Kew or on The Genealogist site so I have no real idea of its contents. On a personal level, my gut feeling is that Chaplains had better things to do than marry ratings who could just as easily get leave for a day then walk into Leith or Edinburgh and get married there. But I don't know this for certain. On the other hand, the fact that 37 years worth of RN marriages fit into one Piece at TNA suggests that there aren't masses of such marriages.

"Why would a groom give his grandparents' names in lieu of his parents' names on a Scottish civil marriage record?" I understand from your later comments that the names are those of his grandparents, but they are described as his parents. The column headings on Scottish Marriage Certificates are pre-printed "Father" and "Mother" so we can be fairly certain that the rules required the parents' names and that usage of any other names should not be allowed. This breaking of the rules implies deception on the part of the groom, not a whim or convention - he told the authorities that these were his parents' names.

While I have never seen deception of this nature in Scottish records, the equivalent deception (incorrect father's name) is not unknown on marriage certificates in England & Wales. Usually, the reason is to cover up illegitimacy by the invention of a father's name. The name might be completely imaginary, that of a relative, or that of a foster or adoptive parent.

I would suggest, therefore, that Henry is not being entirely truthful but why is another matter. Maybe his parents were't married, maybe he was brought up by his grandparents, or he'd fallen out with his own parents or ...

Does the appearance of his grandparents' name cause doubt in the identification? I don't think so. I assume, based on what you say, that you have reviewed English & Welsh GRO indexes and Scottish GRO indexes also and have found no alternative. I would, for sake of completeness, work forward from Henry and Jane Clifford of Scotland just to check that there is no other appearance of this couple (e.g. in Scots censuses) that would reveal that there really was another couple of this name. Otherwise, you need to think about the probability of this being someone else. If there really was another couple of this name, what is the probability that the groom's parents would have the same names as your Henry's grandparents? Very small, I would suggest. You haven't got a mismatch - you've got a (rather peculiar) match.

  • The suggestion that Henry may have been raised by his grandparents is very possible. By age 13, both his parents were deceased. By age 16, his stepfather died. By age 22, he was calling himself a "powder maker" on the 1861 Wales census (where perhaps he was drawn to jobs in the mining industry). The Nat'l Records of Scotland website yields no other couples named Henry and Jane, and no continuing presence of any Henry Cliffords in a search reaching 44 yrs prior to the Scottish marriage date. So I think the use of grandparents' names is quite plausible. – Susie Souza Jun 11 '18 at 15:29
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Henry Clifford, Royal Navy, Service no. 17994A

It is clear from Navy service record that this is Henry Clifford as required by you from the date of Birth

Admiralty: Royal Navy Continuous Service Engagement Books. C.S. NUMBERS. 17901A - 18000A.
Name: Clifford, Henry.
Place of Birth: Ewell, Surrey.
Continuous Service Number: 17994A.
Date of Volunteering: 01 June 1861.
Date of Birth: 29 November 1839.
Held by: The National Archives - Admiralty, Navy, Royal Marines, and Coastguard
Date: 1853 - 1872
Reference: ADM 139/580/17994

These two census entries are also confirmed to be the correct Henry Clifford as required by you via Navy service record:

1841 Census Surrey, Lambeth HO 107/1055/31 p31

Henry Clifford, 25-29
Theodosia Clifford, 25-29
Mary Clifford, 5
Ellen Clifford, 2
Henry Clifford, 1

1881 Census RG 111338/44, Isleworth, Middlesex

Henry Clifford, b. c. 1840, born Ewell, Surrey
Elizabeth Clifford, b. c. 32, Peran, Cornwall.
Marrion Clifford, b. c. 16, Isleworth, Middlesex
Henry Clifford,
Edith Clifford,
William Lee, Lodger, 18, Born Ilminster, Somerset.

Henry Clifford’s second wife, Mary Elizabeth Marion Clifford, clearly userd her second chistian name of Elizabeth for this census. She uses her first christian name of Mary on 1891 census entry for the family which I have not included here at this point.

This entry gives the marriage of Henry Clifford Parents as confirmed by the above 1841 census entry for the family.

Selling, Kent Parish Register marrriages

1 Sept 1832 Henry Clifford and Theodosia Reynolds were married

This entry gives the baptisem of Henry Cliford as requested which is confirm via Navy Service record

Ewell, Surrey, Baptism Registers
28 Nov 1839 Henry son of Henry Clifford and Theodosia was bapt.

This entry gives First marriage of Henry Clifford as requested

Edinbrugh, Midlothian, Scotland
18 Sept 1862 Henry Clifford and Jane Young were married.

This entry gives the second marriage of Henry Clifford: confirmed via 1881 census entry for the family:

Perranarwothal, Cornwall, England, UK
15 May 1875 Henry Clifford and Mary Elizabeth Marion Leddicot were married.

This entry gives the death of Henry Clifford as requested.

Death Certificate, Kingstone, 1923, Last quarter, 1923, 12B, 474, 35 Henry Clifford, Born 1838, aged 84.

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    How does your answer specifically address either of the two questions asked? It seems to be just a listing of sources that may relate to the people mentioned in the question. – PolyGeo Jun 1 '18 at 7:30
  • What an observed claim, to make to make without considering the information provided. – sean007 Jun 1 '18 at 21:00
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    Something doesn't add up here – the date of baptism given (28 Nov) is before the date of birth (29 Nov). – Harry Vervet Jun 3 '18 at 13:23
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    @Cole I agree, I think they are the same Henry Clifford but one or the other date has to be incorrect – Harry Vervet Jun 3 '18 at 14:02
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    The baptism date is incorrect. GRO index shows Henry Clifford with correct parents born 29 Nov 1839, Ewell, Surrey. Baptism record, same parents, Ewell, Surrey, from 22 Dec 1839 (England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975). – Susie Souza Jun 11 '18 at 15:39

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