There are three dates listed on my third great grandfather's 1825 Church of England Parish Register of marriages:

Oct 23, Oct 30, and Nov 6

London Metropolitan Archives, All Saints, Poplar, Register of marriages, P88/ALL1, Item 025.
All Saints, Tower Hamlets, London, England
Source Citation: London Metropolitan Archives, All Saints, Poplar, Register of marriages, P88/ALL1, Item 025

How do I determine the actual date of his marriage?

And what do these three dates refer to?

The transcription of my relative's entry is as follows:
Charles James Sanderson of this Parish Bachelor
Eliza Wills of the same Spinster
Minister: J A Wood

  • Thank you for providing a date reference. Laws and customs are often date and location specific; records are often unique in the context of the record collection. Your question would be more valuable (and likely the answers, too) if you provided even more specific references for the image presented.
    – GeneJ
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 16:29
  • @GeneJ I added a little more detail per your suggestion
    – Lorraine W
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 16:46
  • Thank you. Are you also able to add the name of the specific parish, and if it is not obvious, the location (I presume in England) of that parish? If you extracted the record from a collection/repository/site, you might add the name of the collection.
    – GeneJ
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 17:00
  • 3
    Lorraine/Tom, Reviewers won't get bored, especially in the private beta. During the private beta we are a smaller group working to seed the site with well written, great questions. We want an expert site, right? So, let's work together to improve the questions, so we don't have to pay the price later.
    – GeneJ
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 17:17
  • 1
    @LorraineW - You can always edit your own posts without needing anyone to review them. However, after about 10 revisions, the post may be converted to community wiki.
    – jmort253
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 4:27

4 Answers 4


Marriage banns are an announcement of an intended marriage. In some times and places and religions the banns had to be "published" one or more times before the marriage could occur. The purpose of the banns was to allow anyone with objections or anyone believing there were impediments to the marriage to come forward. There were waiting periods associated with the banns.

This record shows three bann publication dates per marriage. The dates are all one week apart. These banns were probably announcements made during church service (these dates are all Sundays). I think the word on the third line in the first record is "Republished". It looks like the third line on the others is "M" which must mean "marriage." If that is true then persons could be (and often were!) married on the third publication date.

I think it's a safe assumption that your ancestors were married on Sunday, November 6, 1825.


As Tom Wetmore says here, Banns in England and Wales are an announcement of an intended marriage in a Parish Church. Banns needed to be published twice, a week apart, in the parishes of both bride and groom, before the wedding in the third week (in one of the parishes, most often the bride's).

In the record you're looking at, the banns were published on 23rd and 30th October before the wedding on 6th November 1825.

As this is before the start of civil registration (1837) you won't find a record of this marriage in the GRO records; however, I would be surprised if there wasn't a specific marriage record (with witnesses, bride and groom's occupations, fathers' names and occupations) in the parish registers as well as the banns. It's possible that this was the groom's parish and the marriage record is elsewhere.

I should add: if you only find banns records and no marriage record, there is no proof that the marriage took place.

  • Thanks for all the extra context. I wonder whether the first couple in the original record were ever married! Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 22:01

ColeValleyGirl cautions against misinterpreting banns records with no corresponding marriage record. This is more complicated when the couple to be married did not live in the same parish.

Banns were read in (and recorded in the register of) both parishes to ensure that all relevant parties knew of the intention to marry. But the final (marriage) ceremony occurred in only one.

Some groups transcribing registers have been known to interpret repeated banns as part of a single event and record that as "married on final date". This is not unreasonable. But if, in the neighbouring parish, the indexer finds two banns and does the same, you may locate records of the couple apparently being married twice on successive sundays in two different places.

You should also be aware that you will not always be able to locate banns. There were other legal mechanisms including marriage by licence, either common or special.


The marriage took place at All Saints Poplar 26th November 1825 (image on Ancestry from LMA collection)

Banns are valid for three months after calling Banns would be posted or called at the Parish of residence of both parties, qualifying residence could be a little as three weeks and may be no indication of birth Parish (although does not exclude it)

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