I'm searching for the marriage of the parents of one of my ancestors, and the baptisms of her siblings, and have a sequence of events that could have multiple interpretations.

Ann[e] Westwood was born in 1811 in Kingswinford Staffordshire (according to the 1841 and 1851 censuses, and her 1852 death certificate). She married Samuel Page in Kingswinford in 1831. The census records of 1841 and 1851 have her living in Brockmoor, Kingswinford; she died in 1852 in the Union Workhouse in Wordsley a few miles away. All 12 of her children and her husband were baptised within the Church of England (in Brierley Hill), so I consider it very likely that she was baptised in the Church of England, as well. (It is of course possible that she wasn't baptised at all -- see What proportion of the births or baptisms of children were recorded in early nineteenth century England?)

The best fit baptism given the evidence from other records is:

  • Anne Westwood baptised Brierley Hill (a chapelry of Kingswinford that was closer to Brockmoor than the main church) on 28 Jul 1811, daughter of Edward Westwood and Hannah.

And that's where the fun begins.

I've found the following marriages of an Edward Westwood in Staffordshire from 1777-1811 (assuming his wife was less than 50 when she gave birth to Anne, and 16 or more then she married) in Kingswinford and adjacent parishes:

  • 26 Sep 1802 Kingswinford Edward x Eleanor Thomson
  • 31 May 1803 Kingswinford Edward x Elizabeth Guest
  • 4 Mar 1804 Wombourne Edward Westwood x Mary Aston. This couple were baptising children in Wombourne between 1807 and 1812 so can be eliminated.

Note: In this period couples whose nearest church was in Brierley Hill still married in Kingswinford.

There is no marriage between an Edward Westwood and an Ann/Hannah/Nancy, nor any Westward marriages.

Looking for baptisms with a father of Edward in Kingswinford or Brierley Hill in the period up to 20 years after the two remaining candidate marriages, I find:

  • Mary 26 Dec 1802 BH Edward x Eleanor
  • Thomas 23 Sep 1804 BH Edward x Eleanor
  • Thomas 5 Oct 1806 KW Edward x Elizabeth
  • Sarah 19 Apr 1807 BH Edward x Eleanor (buried 19 Jun 1807)
  • Maria 19 Mar 1809 BH Edward x Eleanor
  • Anne 28 Jul 1811 BH Edward x Hanh
  • Sarah 17 Jul 1814 BH Edward x Eleanor (Brockmoor, Collier)
  • William 19 Jan 1817 BH Edward x Elzth (Brockmoor, Miner)
  • Eliza 7 Nov 1819 BH Edward x Eleanor (Brockmoor, Miner)
  • James 19 May 1822 BH Edward x Eleanor (Brockmoor, Miner)
  • Maria Jane 2 Oct 1823 BH Edward x Anne (Moor Lane, Black bottle manufacturer)
  • Jos 15 Jun 1825 BH Edward x Eleanor (Brockmoor, Collier) (also buried 15 Jun 1825)

The only Westwood children I have found baptised to Edward Westwood and Hannah/Ann/Nancy between 1802 and 1822 are: Edward, Josiah, Alfred, Olivia, Samuel baptised 1816 - 1830 in Warwickshire/Birmingham to Edward Westwood and Hannah Thompson. Edward and Hannah married in 1813 in Aston Warwickshire,so I have eliminated this family.

All searches have been done on on all of: Ancestry, Findmypast, Freereg and in PDF versions of parish register transcripts for Kingswinford and Brierley Hill.

How should I interpret this sequence of records? And what other searches should I carry out to resolve the question of Anne Westwood's parentage?

  • Edward Westwood could have had two marriages, both to a woman named Hannah (stranger things have happened...) You cited two seemingly separate records for the baptism (on 28 July 1811) of Anne, daughter of Edward and Hann(na)h. (You do give the last name on the first record, but not on the second. Why?) Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 15:09
  • @user3697176 They're the same record -- all the baptisms I list have a father Edward Westwood. Can you explain why you think there might be two Hannahs?
    – user6485
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 18:27

2 Answers 2


I've thought about your question for a while and can't give a definite answer, but I think I can suggest some tentative conclusions and avenues for further investigation.

First, to sum up - you know an Ann[e] Westwood who lived her whole life 1811-1852 in or near Kingswinford, Staffordshire, England. She married her husband Samuel Page there in 1831, and you theorize that Ann[e] Westwood was baptized in the Church of England, as her husband and their many children were. You know Ann[e] Westwood was the daughter of Edward Westwood and Hannah based on a baptism record for a person of the right name in the year which matches her reported birth year in the censuses and her death record.

You then looked for a marriage record of the Edward Westwood and Hannah ??? in or prior to 1811, in or near the parish where Ann[e] Westwood was baptized, and there is no matching marriage record. You're hoping one of the three marriage records you have is the right one, but given that none has the correct first name for the wife it's hard to have confidence in that conclusion.

The only marriages for an Edward Westwood marrying in that area in the right time period are 1802 Edward Westwood married Eleanor Thompson; 1803 Edward Westwood married Elizabeth Guest; and 1804 Edward Westwood married Mary Aston. (You rule out the Mary Aston couple because they were baptizing children in Wombourne between 1807 and 1812, but Wombourne is apparently only about 3 miles away, so it seems possible they could have baptized one child in Kingswinford, though I admit it seems strange to give the mother's name as "Hanh" there and Mary in all the other records, which I assume is the case.)

For any of those three couples to be the correct one, it would have to be the case that a woman known as Eleanor, Elizabeth, or Mary was at another time known as Hannah. If that's the case, then perhaps you can find another document which shows that. For instance, a death record for one of those women, or a will or probate papers for the father of one of the women, or a mention in a local newspaper, for one of those women which gives Hannah as her name, either on its own or with one of the first names you know from the marriage records.

The other possibility is that none of the couples which you're looking at is correct. For instance, her parents might have married elsewhere and then moved to Kingswinford. Perhaps other documents exist which could show her parents' arrival, possibly in connection with some other relatives who moved to the area - perhaps the mines were hiring and attracted new workers.

I don't know what information might have been recorded with a baptism at that place and time, but if it lists godparents or witnesses then those people might be maternal relatives, such as Ann[e] Westwood's mother's brother.

Your list of baptisms can be tentatively grouped into:

  1. The children of Edward and Eleanor (Mary, Thomas, Sarah, Maria, Sarah again, Eliza, James, and Jos), from 1802 to 1825.
  2. The children of Edward and Elizabeth (Thomas 1806, William 1817), though that is a long gap.
  3. "Anne 28 Jul 1811 BH Edward x Hanh", the person whose parents you want to find
  4. "Maria Jane 2 Oct 1823 BH Edward x Anne (Moor Lane, Black bottle manufacturer)". Since you refer to "Ann/Hannah/Nancy", I assume that means those could be variants of the same name, and therefore this could be a sibling of Ann[e] Westwood.

My guess is you're going to have to learn more about the people connected to Ann[e] Westwood to eventually find the proof of her parents, including her husband (perhaps she married a cousin?), other people named Westwood in the area, etc.

  • This is an aside to your excellent answer but what does "BH" mean in points 3 & 4?
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 21:42
  • @PolyGeo I took BH to be the original poster's abbreviation for Brierley Hill (and those are direct quotes from the original post)
    – aem
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 22:32

I would next search for the probate records for the various Edward Westwoods, in the hope of finding one that names both his wife and a daughter Ann(ie) - if you're lucky, mentioning his daughter's married name (maybe "intermarried with Samuel Page", or some such).

The likelihood of such documents existing may depend on the profession and/or land-owning status of each of the likely candidates (if there's no property to distribute, there's less likelihood of a will or administration).

  • The relevant one was a miner, unfortunately, but it's good advice.
    – user6485
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 18:40
  • 1
    Yah, I have miners in Pennsylvania, and they almost never have probate records. If not for the Miner's Journal, I'd hardly know anything about them at all. I don't suppose there was a publication like that in Staffordshire?
    – cleaverkin
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 19:05
  • Not at that time, no.
    – user6485
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 5:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.