Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cinderella Genealogy

Just because the shoe fits, doesn't mean it belongs to Cinderella.

When a marriage document indicates that someone was 21 when they got married, the researcher is likely to go back 21 years and look for a birth record. Finding one with the appropriate name doesn't mean you have 'found Cinderella.' The more common the name, the more likely there could be doppelgängers lurking.

Back in July I indicated that I had found a William Denyer baptized in Headly, Hampshire in 1771. This was of interest since my fifth great grandfather, William Denyer, was married in 1791, in Hampshire, at the age of 21. Since slightly delayed baptisms aren't uncommon, I thought there was a possibility I had found my fifth great grandparents - William Denyer and Elizabeth Fyfield.  As nicely as the shoe fit, I realized there could be another William Denyer out there with another perfectly matched shoe.

As I detailed in my July post, these aren't the same parents as those on many online family trees. Many of them suggest a William baptized in 1763, which would have made him 28 in 1791. The marriage allegation specifically says 21. In this case, the shoe doesn't fit, and it seems several researchers are  behaving like Cinderella's step-sisters, and attempting to cut off toes or heels to force a fit.

Today in Google I found a marriage allegation for a William Denyer (of Headly) and Elizabeth Hunt about 21 years prior to the 1771 baptism. It's the loosest of connections - a name, a place, and an approximate time. But it certainly deserves further research. I hesitate researching too much further back until I find corroborating evidence.

28 Feb., 1748-9. William Denyer of Headly, co. Hants, taylor, bachelor, 21, and Elizabeth Hunt of Farnham, spinster, 21 ; at Farnham. Francis Hunt of Farnham, labourer, 2nd s.

Source: Eng. (Diocese) Commissary Court Surrey. Allegations for marriage licences issued between 1673-1770; with an appendix of allegations discovered whilst the ms. was passing through the press (Volume 2). p. 30.

Hants is a common abbreviation for 'Hampshire.'

(Image Source: Andy Lapham, 2012. Used under Creative Commons license

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