I'm looking for the parents of Doris Reardon. All I have on her is Marriage certificate to John Crankshaw registered in Wigan, Lancashire in 1932 which lists her father as "John Reardon", and a possible death registration from Jan(?) 1990 in Warrington Registration District in Cheshire.

enter image description here

The death index record (quoted from FamilySearch.org) lists the birth date of that Doris Crankshaw as 13 June 1906.

  • Doris Crankshaw
  • England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007
  • Name Doris Crankshaw
  • Event Type Death Registration
  • Registration Quarter Jan-Feb-Mar
  • Registration Year 1990
  • Registration District Warrington
  • County Cheshire
  • Event Place Warrington, Cheshire, England
  • Birth Date (available after June quarter 1969) 13 Jun 1906
  • Volume 35
  • Page 1331

The only birth I've found in Lancashire in 1906 can be found in the sources link but I haven't ordered the certificate yet due to lack of funds and have no Census to cross reference against, just the marriage certificate.

I can't find a concrete 1911 census record for her either.

So who are her parents?


Marriage Certificate: Imgur Link

Death Record: FamilySearch.org Record

Possible Birth Record: LancashireBMD Record

  • The birth record link is currently broken: "The Bookmark you have used to reach this page is not valid. Please click here to return to the main page and reset your bookmark to that page. "
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 20:59
  • 2
    Please do not post naked links to records (or trees) other sites. If something goes awry, people cannot see what record you are referring to. The information you're calling our attention to as part of your question should be incorporated as a quote in the body of the question (or answer) itself. Note that some sites do not have permalinks so it is impossible to bookmark individual search results -- in that case, it is best to link to the search page and state in your post exactly what search terms you used to find that result.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 21:36
  • You also have a broken sentence "and her a death in Jan 1990." I am editing your post to fix this to what I think you meant. Please change it if my guess is not correct.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 21:40
  • 2
    @JanMurphy Post-1983 England & Wales BMDs are not indexed by quarter, but by month. The month is incorrectly 'translated' into a quarter by FamilySearch, but the death was actually registered in Jan 1990 (as shown on Ancestry or FindMyPast).
    – Harry V.
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 21:54
  • @vervet I only have a US sub on Ancestry, so I can't see what they offer, but on Find My Past, the search result I have says "Death Quarter" as the field label on the transcription page. (I post this not to disagree but to show how online search results can be misleading.) search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1990%2f1%2f77786693 (Note too that unlike the FamilySearch record the county for Warrington Reg District is listed as Lancashire.)
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 22:01

3 Answers 3


On Ancestry.com the Smith Family Tree (Phil & Iain) lists Doris' parents as being:

  • John Reardon (1870-1937); and
  • Eliza Ellen Weaver (1881-1944)

That tree does not have a 1911 Census Record linked to it.

Viewing her birth certificate will be the most direct way to seek confirmation. They appear not to have viewed the certificate, but they recorded the birth as being the one for Doris Reardon registered in the Sep 1906 quarter at Wigan 8c 34.

I recommend also following the advice of @JanMurphy in a comment:

The same profile also has an unsourced Residence fact of "27 Diggle Street" in Wigan with the same date as Doris' birth. The obvious next step is not to copy this tree blindly but to contact the owner and ask nicely if they have other source material which is not cited on their tree. Failing a reply, one could also search that address in the 1911 Census or 1939 Register and see what names pop on the preview.

  • 1
    The same profile also has an unsourced Residence fact of "27 Diggle Street" in Wigan with the same date as Doris' birth. The obvious next step is not to copy this tree blindly but to contact the owner and ask nicely if they have other source material which is not cited on their tree. Failing a reply, one could also search that address in the 1911 Census or 1939 Register and see what names pop on the preview.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 21:53
  • 1
    This has solved the problem, he got his information from someone else with the birth certificate. I'm able to go back a few more generations now, thanks! Just in time too I'm going up to Wigan next week to meet my girlfriends family.
    – Danny B
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 13:30

Also take a look at the Lancashire OPC website, click on Registers in the menu and then W and scroll down for Wigan all the churches and the full transcriptions of the Parish Registers are there for the period you are interested in.

  • 2
    Unfortunately this does not include the registers for the period of interest of this question. The family tree in PolyGeo's answer shows that Doris's likely elder siblings were baptised in Wigan Parish Church (All Saints), but the baptism registers for that church are only included on LancsOPC and Ancestry.co.uk Wigan Baptisms up until 1896. Perhaps you could expand this answer to include other major Lancs parish reg resources (e.g. Ancestry) and what repositories to use to access those PRs not included on these websites
    – Harry V.
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 13:02
  • 1
    Potentially useful - Wigan Archives > Collections > Church records > Church registers (PDF). This shows Wigan All Saints baps available for access at Wigan or Leigh Local Studies.
    – Harry V.
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 13:09
  • 1
    @DannyBarber Wigan LS offers a "free 15 minute research service". You could perhaps request a lookup for Doris's baptism, if you can provide enough details for a quick lookup
    – Harry V.
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 13:12

Let's examine the certificate which we already have in hand and see what we can learn from it.

You may want to download the GRO's handy Guide to Marriage Certificates.

When looking at the information on any record, don't just take the information at face value. Look at what you have, and think about the other research questions that lead from this information. You might not be able to leap directly from this piece of direct evidence about a marriage to a piece of direct evidence about a birth, and even if you could, there's no guarantee that any of the information on these certificates is accurate.

  • Is this parish the bride's regular parish, or a temporary one?
  • Is the residence address for either the bride or groom their usual address, or is it a temporary one? Looking to see if Wigan is a market town or not might be a clue to the answer to both of these questions.
  • Can you figure out the identity of the witnesses and their relationship to the bride and/or groom?
  • What shop employs Doris Reardon?
  • Who else is listed with the bride's and groom's addresses in the electoral rolls for this area?
  • Can you find the Banns for this marriage, or the parish register, to compare them to this certificate?
  • Have you searched for the father of the groom in the 1911 Census, and then searched the neighborhood, to see if there are any Reardons living nearby? The groom's family ought to be easier to find, given his father's occupation. There may not be any clues that would lead you to the bride's family, but until you've looked, you can't know.

Go beyond the comfortable confines of census + GRO indexes and look in other records. One of the things I recommend for genealogists on the cheap is to sign up for the free email newsletters of every genealogy company, whether you can afford to subscribe to the service or not. If you make a list of things you need to search for, you can be ready to take advantage of offers when they show up. The British Newspaper Archive recently sent me a promo to get a month's subscription for 1 GBP -- it's an offer that comes up again and again so it's worth keeping an eye out.

I also run test searches for records I already have on multiple sites -- that alerts me to problems with the index on a new site, or if a site has odd ways of displaying information in the detail/record page or search results. (Ex: in the USA, you can get very different information by searching the Social Security Death Index, depending on whose site you use.) You can also learn a lot about a vendor's site without paying if you look at how many results you get instead of worrying that you can't see the actual results -- see Catch 22: how do you know if a data provider's sub will be valuable to you — before you subscribe?

Newspaper research can be more productive in the US sometimes -- it seems easier to find obituaries in the US papers than in the UK -- but I have found announcements in the UK papers (published in the parents' hometown) about births in the USA -- so you never know what might turn up. That short notice was a critical link that confirmed the family in town A in the UK had moved to town B in the US.

Another 'lucky dip' in the newspaper gave me the address of a couple in 1940, which led me to their 1939 Register entry, with the groom's mother also in the household. I was searching for him in the British Newspaper Archive and the Register because I had his name from another family member's entry in the National Probate Calendar.

Sometimes you have to use indirect evidence and put together a body of evidence. A 'lucky dip' search result about one of your witnesses might lead you to the information you want. When you have an entire body of records about a family, it is easier to see that you have found the right person.

Other resources from the General Register Office:

This may be your couple from the marriage register. Searching for Crankshaw born 1906 I found this Doris (born 1906) in Wigan C.B. with a John in the household:

enter image description here

I searched by address in the 1939 Register in Wigan C.B. but did not see any Crankshaws on Diggle street (Diggle N has not been checked yet).

Searching for John Reardon in Wigan I found this one:

enter image description here

Searching on The Genealogist for possible parents of that John H. Reardon yielded these candidate couples from the Warrington Registration District:

  • John Reardon marriage registration Q1 1891 to Louisa Atherton or Mary Burke (the other spouse is Timothy Moriarty) Volume 8C Page 0308

(1939 Register search was carried out before I saw the comment where Danny said he had found the answer.)

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