My 2nd great grandmother Grace Martin Wills married Matthew Nettell on 23 Sep 1865 at Redruth, Cornwall. Grace gave her age as 17 (I think it was just over 16 and half), and Matthew gave his as 19.

On their Marriage Certificate the two witnesses are clearly written (see below):

  • George Wills which I suspect would be her father (1806 - 1873) or brother (1841 - ?)
  • Eliza Ann Wills

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I would like to try and determine the identity of Eliza Ann Wills.

She does not appear to be a sister (and perhaps not a sister-in-law) to Grace because her siblings appear to have been:

  • Frances (1836 – ?)
  • Mary Jane (1838 – ?)
  • George (1841 – ?) may have married Ann about 1865 (based on first child born 1866)
  • Richard (1843 – ?) married Louisa Trevorah in 1863 and they appear to have been living in New Zealand at the time

  • William (1845 – ?) may not have married

  • Eliza Davey (1847 – 1910) - one candidate but middle name does not match and appears to have been living in New Zealand at the time
  • Sarah Ellen (1851 – 1868)
  • Susan Mary (1853 – 1875)
  • Edith Ann (1857 – 1894) - suggested by a cousin but was only 8 years old at the time
  • Charles Henry Martin (1859 – 1916) was only 6 years old at the time

If not a sister or sister-in-law then I am thinking that perhaps she was a cousin to Grace, or maybe her aunt or married to her uncle. So far I have found no likely candidate.

The last theory I have is that she is simply a friend who shares the same surname.

Before I try to exhaustively examine the Family and Neighbours (FAN) of Grace, I thought I would ask this question to see if anyone is aware of an Eliza Ann Wills living at the right time and right place to possibly have been the witness to this marriage?

  • 1
    You've got gaps in the birth of siblings from 1838 to 1841 and 1841 to 1847. Possibly explained by a lot of things (you haven't mentioned any other brothers' dates of birth), but I'd look there first. I've found siblings with the same names in Victorian times - you could have an Eliza Ann known as Ann and her sister Eliza. That sounds bizarre, but similar has been found in my tree. Have you also ruled out the (long shot) possibility that Eliza Davey came back to visit? Feb 24, 2015 at 16:39
  • @user3310902 Thanks for your interest. I've updated my question with what I know of her brothers - their births seem to close that gap and so far their wives throw up no clear candidate although if George's wife Ann was actually Eliza Ann then that may offer one. He appears to have been a Coal Miner in Wales in 1871, a Miner at Illogan in 1861 and the only thing on his timeline that I have in between is him being a possible witness to the same marriage in 1865.
    – PolyGeo
    Feb 24, 2015 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


I think that I have found my answer via FindMyPast:

In Q3 1865 at Redruth:


It looks like Grace Martin Wills married Matthew Nettell soon after her brother George Wills married Eliza Ann Whitburn.

I may need to order the Marriage Certificate (Volume 5C,Page 418) of George and Eliza Ann to be more certain but I think the possibility of a double wedding with George and Eliza Ann being married first should not be discounted. I'll see if I can find a newspaper report too.

As commented by @user3310902 this appears to be the baptism record of Eliza Ann:

"England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FWF5-5Q9 : accessed 25 February 2015), Eliza Ann Whitburn, 06 Dec 1836, Birth; citing p. 50, West Cornwall, record group RG6, Public Record Office, London.


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