FreeBMD Finding the spouse

If you are trying to find the other partner in a marriage from index entries, particularly before 1912, this page may be of help to you.

Information in the Indexes

From 1912 onwards the marriage entries in the index give the surname of the spouse. Prior to that the surname of the spouse is not in the indexes and FreeBMD has no access to the records that contain this information. So, if you have found the entry for one partner of a marriage prior to 1912 there are two ways in which you can find information about the spouse:

Searching FreeBMD for potential spouses

Prior to 1852, up to 4 marriages were entered on each page of the register. After that (with a few exceptions) there are two marriages per page. Each page of the register is identified by the District, Volume and Page.

FreeBMD provides a facility that makes use of this fact to help you narrow down the search for a spouse. The FreeBMD search results give the District, the register Volume (Vol column) and the Page (Page column) within that volume. If you click on the Page a search will be performed to show you all the entries on that page.

Hence the search could result in the names up to 8 or 4 people (depending on the year), and any 4 or 2 of these could be the spouse of the person you are interested in. There is no way, from the index, to tell which person is actually the spouse. If you have no other information to go on (e.g. cross referencing a Census) the only option is to buy marriage certificates from the GRO until you find the right one. However, if you have some other information (which you probably do, otherwise you could not identify the "right" one) you may be able to make use of the GRO "non-quoted service" - see Getting a Certificate Conditionally - and this will probably save you money.

Note that sometimes a page will be only partially completed, so there will be less than 4 or 8 (depending on the year) entries. The number of entries, should of course, always be even.

Wrong number of entries found

It may be that when you do a spouse search you do not get the 4 or 8 entries normally expected. There can be a number of reasons for this:

Finding a missing spouse yourself

If the problem is due to a mistake in the index or a mistranscription you may be able to find a spouse by performing a spouse search yourself using the information here; if you have other information about the entry, e.g. possible spouse names, you can use this to refine such a search or to search for the spouse directly.

If this does not work it may be that the problem is that an entry has been omitted from the GRO index or the FreeBMD transcription and the only way you can progress your research will be to use other sources of information, for example census information.

If you find the missing entry you are encouraged to submit a correction, if the entry has been mistranscribed, or add a Postem to the entry otherwise. Both of these are done from the information page for the entry which is accessed by clicking on the Information button next to the entry.

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