Thursday, April 7, 2016

In Search of a Marriage

Thanks to the 1939 Register I've uncovered another Black Sheep in the family!

**N.B. Names have been changed to protect the guilty

It was known that Dorcas Lynne Longley – youngest daughter of Edward William Longley and Emma Mary Penrose – appeared with the family on the 1911 census in Wealdstone, MDX.  That document stated that she was aged 4 and had been born in Harrow.  Her birth was found in the GRO Indexes in the March Quarter of 1907 in the Hendon district.

It was known from family stories that she had a daughter Elizabeth, who had been friendly with her cousin Susan Longley and who had attended Susan's 21st birthday celebrations.  Elizabeth had gone on to have two children, believed to be called Alex (a son) and Freya.

No marriage could be found for Dorcas in England or Wales – had it taken place somewhere else?

When I questioned the son of Susan Longley about the family, it suddenly came to him that Elizabeth's husband was called Ernie.  He thought the surname was Roberts.  No marriage of an Ernie Roberts to an Elizabeth could be found.

No relevant Dorcas of the right age could be found in the 1939 Register.

Searches of all indexes for any Dorcas Lynnes turned up the death in the June quarter of 1970 of Dorcas Lynne Teague in the Watford district, born 1 Jan 1906.  The Watford district looked hopeful, as Elizabeth was known to have been living in West Watford later, though the date of birth didn't match the year of the birth registration.  Nonetheless it was mentioned to Susan Longley's son, since it was in the Watford district. At that point the name Teague rang bells with him.

A search for a birth of an Elizabeth Teague found a likely candidate in the December quarter of 1941 in the Watford District (Elizabeth C Teague, mother's maiden name Longley). She would have been about 4 ½ years younger than Susan, but it was still possible that they were friendly despite the age gap. But there was no marriage of an Elizabeth Teague to anyone named Ernie or anyone with the surname Roberts.

The name of her daughter Freya looked like a way in to the mystery.  Susan's son thought that since the name Teague meant something to him, and since he had never met Ernie, perhaps Elizabeth had divorced and returned to her maiden name.  So a search was made for the birth of a Freya Teague.  The only possibility was in Cornwall which did not seem correct, and the only Alex Teagues were Alexandras, born in Cornwall.

On the basis that Elizabeth was known to live in Watford, and had been born there, a search was made for births of Freyas in the Watford district. There was a birth of Freya Caroline Richards (not Roberts), mother's maiden name Teague, in Watford in the March quarter of 1968. Not only did the mother's maiden name fit, but the age looked about right. But no Alex could be found. Suddenly it was remembered that his name was Alec, not Alex.  There was a birth of an Alec J Richards in Watford district March quarter of 1964. Next step was to find his parents' marriage.

With the new surname a marriage was found for Elizabeth C Teague and Cyril E Richards in Watford, September quarter 1963.  The middle name starting with E was probably Ernie or Ernest, and it seemed that he was known by that middle name.

Looking again for a marriage of a Teague to someone called Dorcas. The only possibility was Graham C Teague to Dorcas L Teague, Mar quarter 1967 in Watford (4b 960).  My first thought was that a widowed Dorcas had married her husband's brother or cousin.  So I looked for a Teague death in Watford that could have been Dorcas's husband. I chose to limit it to Watford since all events found had been in that registration district.

There was an William J Teague aged 76 who died in Watford March Quarter 1961. I looked for him in the 1939 register, where I found him with a wife Mary and various children.  Had he left his wife between 1939 and 1941 (when Elizabeth was born) and taken up with Dorcas who took his surname without being legally married?

I looked for further information about William.  I found an entry for him in the probate indexes, with the executor being his wife Mary. So it didn't seem likely that this man had left his wife for Dorcas.

I then looked for Graham in the 1939 register to see where he was at the time, in case he had another brother.

I found Graham C Teague, born 8 Dec 1895, married, Commercial Traveller (confectionary), head of a household, with Dorcas L Longley (crossed out and replaced with TEAGUE at some point – probably 1967), born 31 Dec 1906 (which matched the birth registration), single, Unpaid Domestic Duties, and Jane A W Teague, born 24 Nov 1867, Widowed, Old age & unpaid Domestic Duties – probably William's  mother.  They were living at in Watford.

Dorcas had not shown up because her name had been transcribed as Dorhaf.

So it appears that Dorcas took up with William Teague (who was married to someone else), took on his surname as if they were married, had a daughter Elizabeth in 1941, and finally married William in 1967 (presumably after his wife had died), getting married under her assumed surname of Teague.