My Cavers one-name study is registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies. One of the advantages of that is I that get to tap in to the knowledge and expertise of other members. And also sometimes others can access historical records in local archives I could not easily access myself. This is particularly the case with the regular Marriage Challenges.
In England and Wales marriage certificates cost 9.25 pounds to get copies of each time, just to see the details. There is no open access system as there is in Scotland, and no digitised online relatively low-cost access method, as in ScotlandsPeople. So to see what a marriage says I have to fork out a lot each time, and I can’t afford to do that very often.
An alternative is to look in the church registers for the parish where the couple married, if they married in church, to find their marriage recorded that way. This only usually works if you know exactly which parish to look in. Unless, that is, you are doing a marriage challenge and checking all parishes in a given district in a blanket search way. There the Guild member takes a list of marriages for theirs and other one-name studies known to have happened in a single registration district, and looks for those marriages in ALL of the surviving church parish registers. It helps if you can provide the Guild member doing the Marriage Challenge with a precise marriage parish – if for example recorded in the IGI or FamilySearch – and the name of the spouse if known. But generally they work from just the bare details: that a marriage of a particular one-name study surname person was recorded in district X, quarter Y, year Z.
Usually I don’t have any success with Cavers lookups in English and Welsh Marriage Challenges. The surname is so rare in England and Wales that there typically aren’t any marriages registered in the single district being checked each time. Even if there are Cavers marriages in the district, as happened recently in a Marriage Challenge for a registration district in north Northumberland, very near the Border with Scotland, the family are either non-conformist so their marriages don’t appear in the deposited Church of England church registers, or they married in registry offices. So again zero results.
That’s what usually happens. But today in the post, thanks to fellow Guild member Phil Thirkell and his Tynemouth Marriage Challenge, I have received the details of four Cavers marriages that are all new to my research. All are from the extreme southern tip of Northumberland in north-east England, near Newcastle.
Three of the marriages took place in Christ Church, North Shields, and were marriages of siblings from the same family, all daughters of John Ebenezer Cavers, waterman. First Jane Fleming Cavers married pipe manufacturer John Squires Gray in August 1850. A few months later her older sister Mary married miner Joseph Johnson in November 1850. Finally their younger sister Hannah married in January 1858, to joiner John Elsdon. This Cavers family can be readily located in the 1841 and 1851 census returns. In 1851 Jane and her new husband were living with their widowed father and sister Hannah.
The fourth Cavers marriage that the Tynemouth Marriage Challenge found was from the following generation of this family. Margaret Jane Cavers, daughter of Joseph Ebenezer Cavers and niece of the earlier brides, married at St Peter, Wallsend, in September 1868. Her husband was sailmaker John Weatherston, and her father Joseph Ebenezer Cavers was noted as a blacksmith. He shows up in the 1841 census with his father John Ebenezer Cavers and siblings, and can be traced forward in time.
I need to research this Tynemouth family more. I’ve been contacted by a descendant in the past, but was unable to provide new information for them. But I should put together what I know so far, and document it, before seeing where I can extend it. Today’s Marriage Challenge results move things on a lot and give me a very good basis to work from.