But it's when you come up against those brickwalls I mentioned in my previous post that you realise you really should have looked at all the other information that was just sitting there, waiting for you to notice it:
- Parents' names (including mother's maiden name)
- Father's occupations
- Address of event
- Whether the couple were married by licence or by banns, in a mainstream church or nonconformist
- Is the father listed as 'deceased'?
- Cause of death
- Witnesses to a marriage; informant of birth/death
When I began to research my family history, over thirty years ago, looking for the reference to a certificate meant a special journey to St Catherine's House in London. I grew impressive biceps as I heaved huge books from their places on tall shelves and turned crackling pages as I visually scanned line upon line of beautifully-written handwriting. Now I switch on the computer and go to FreeBMD - and all it takes is a click of the mouse. How astonished my ancestors would be at this technology! FreeBMD volunteers (I was one) have transcribed over 214 million records - and they still haven't finished. But I will be forever grateful that they have worked so hard - and so too are my ancestors.