Can someone help translate this for me?

+6 votes

Could someone help translate the names in here? This is part of the marriage certificate of my Great-Great Grandparents, Martin Doherty and Sarah Jane Thomas. 

I can see that the grooms father's name is John Doherty.. Below that it says Bricklayer-Journeyman and Mary Doherty ... ... (had Calligan??)

Below that, i see John Thomas, Funeral Undertaker, deceased, and Jane Elizabeth ......   Can't see her last name.

I hope this picture doesn't come out too large..



WikiTree profile: Martin Doherty
in Genealogy Help by Rob Lenihan G2G5 (5.3k points)

3 Answers

+2 votes
I think what you've transcribed - is about right.


John Doherty

Bricklayer Journeyman and Mary Doherty ? J. Calligan.


John Thomas

Funeral Undertaker – deceased and Jane Elizabeth Steward ?


Of course I may be wrong?
by Living Bowling G2G6 Mach 6 (61.3k points)
Thanks.. I didn't catch Steward.. that was really the one.. and I have no idea what it says after that!
I agree with the Steward.
+3 votes
Hi Rob,

I have read many badly written records.

My suggestion is John Doherty bricklayer journeyman & Mary Doherty (some jargon for birth name) Calligan

John Thomas Funeral Undertaker deceased & Jane Elizabeth Steward previously Thomas (same jargon for birth name) Gar???

So Widow Jane Thomas has has remarried since her first husbands death.


Graeme Rose-1785
by Graeme Rose G2G6 Mach 1 (13.6k points)
Yes the jargon may be b..d for baptized (so used for maiden name but not a previous married name) and I guess Gar is actually Gay. The top of the last letter looks very similar to the y of journey.
I don't suppose there are any tools out there that will clean this up? Some photoshop plugin? wouldn't that be handy!

edit: to confirm then.. Jane Elizabeth - born last name Gay. Married John Thomas. He deceased, so now remarried a "Steward".
Hi again Rob,

Maybe Jane Elizabeth Gary.

I have used Irfanview with every plugin

It has so many features to make illegible writing clearly readable.


Sorry, don't mean to sound cavalier, but this cracks me up. Whoever wrote it... was s/he a physician? You've done a great job translating so far, both Martin and the helpers that came along. I would try printing it out and using a pencil to see how best to connect the "dots". In fact, maybe I'll use the snipping tool, blow it up & try it. I'd almost say that one part would make sense if it said "had children", but there's no doubt that word is "Calligan." My guess is that the "had" is a form of "nee" perhaps, and Mary was born a Calligan. I don't think they were into naming children by last names as much then, so doubt that John & Mary "had Calligan". Also, it appears there's a period after the "had" (or whatever it is, so maybe it's short for something.

The last sentence of the 2nd part looks like it might begin with "Krause" again? Anyway, I'll print it out and work on it for fun.
I agree with Mary's maiden name being Calligan. Also with the word I previously saw as "Krause" being "Thomas". I'm skeptical about the word that looks like "had." being "b.d." for "baptized, tho'. It's too bad so much is missing from the last part, it probably would take special software, plus some knowledge of the family, to accurately put it together. The word after "Steward" appears to begin with the letter "f". On the last line, after "Thomas" it appears to be 2 initials (see the periods?), I think the first one being "M.", followed by possibly a 4-letter word beginning with G. The last looping symbol on that line may actually be the end of that word rather than a loop down from the line above? In that case it would be a longer word, probably a last name.

Is it possible that the word after "Elizabeth Steward," is "formerly"?
It could be formerly.. the right is slightly cut off so you don't see it but there is an L before the last letter y... previously or formerly would work though, as since John Thomas, the original father is deceased, she remarried.

I would attach the whole document if I could figure out how  that would allow for comparison.

The word after Thomas I think begins with an 'm' as well, as it matches his m's elsewhere in the document. I do believe "Gay' may be right though.. if you compare the 'y' in that word to the 'y' in Doherty above, you can see that the part that looks like an 'r' may in fact be part of the 'y'  - making it a three letter word

Thank you everyone for helping here.. these documents are very tough.. i have several like this that I got from scotland archives.. and it is expensive on that site !

It could be "formerly", but just seems the letters don't quite fit. I blew it up to try to figure it out, and can't, but it looks like there's a dotted "i" in there, and like it may begin with "fr". But formerly would make sense. 

What do you think about that last line having initials in it? It could also look like the word "and", though. Sort of.

Sorry, I meant to say "previously" could fit, too. Seems like you're doing a great job figuring it out given the vagueness of what you have!

+1 vote
HI folks - the "had" is M.S for maiden surname and it's Jane Elizabeth Steward previously Thomas. (must have been married before)  M.S Gaw (I think)

This is the normal way for info to be written in UK certainly for Scottish certs.
by Maria Maxwell G2G6 Pilot (180k points)

here is a better picture of the last row. to help distinguish between Gaw or Gay. the first pic i posted had the lower part of what I think to be the 'y' cut off


good to know about the M.S .. thank you!

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