Married or Not Married - Bottom-260

+2 votes
60 views
I've had some excitement as I've finally broken a brick wall around my great-grandmother.  My grandad's birth cert had her maiden name as Bottomley and I couldn't find anyone I thought was her, but I've just got her Death certificate and the name was in fact Bottom!

I've had another look, but I can't see a marriage certificate for her at all.  The family story that has been passed down was that she was not in fact married to John William Burke (Burke-4444) my great-grandfather, although they lived together as if married, had at least five children and she used his surname as her own.  It is believed that there was a previous marriage (his name was possibly Tate?), but she left him as he was abusive.  I can't find any record of this either!

I'm also undecided if Emily and John should be linked as spouses - they lived as such even if they weren't in fact.

And of course absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence....!

She was born in Deptford and died in Lewisham, so she doesn't appear to have moved far.  If the family story is true you thought there might have been a certain degree of scandal.  If not, I can't see why she and John were not legally married.  I'd appreciate any help/thoughts on this one!

There is a window - she's at home with parents in the 1901 census and her eldest child with John Burke is born in 1911.
WikiTree profile: Emily Burke
in Genealogy Help by Deborah Smith G2G6 Mach 1 (10.8k points)
edited by Deborah Smith

1 Answer

+4 votes
I treat these relationships as marriages, because the marriage proof might come along later.  In some U.S. states these days, acting as husband and wife makes you common-law married.  My great-grandfather may or may not have married my great-grandmother because he never divorced his previous wife (she abandoned him).  My great-grandmother, according to records, said they were married.  I've never found a marriage record, but not all marriage records are easy to find.  Even if they were married, it wasn't legal, so he would have been a bigamist.  Until the point where I have all the documents to prove all of that, I list her as his spouse.
by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (202k points)

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