Sarah Ann Garner

+1 vote

I have been banging my head on this profile for a while now.

Sarah seems to be Arthur C Garner's second wife.  She appears on the 1881 Census as his wife but I cannot seem to find a marriage record....if they indeed were married.

She had 3 children, two of which have the surname Garner, both of these show the mothers maiden name as Nelson.

Her daughter Susan does not appear as far as I can see as a Garner, however, I seem to have found a GRO birth reference for a Susan Nelson who's mother is Sarah Nelson.

The dates are in the right area, I'm wondering if Susan was born our of wedlock, or that her mother was widowed.

Arthurs wife seems to have died in childbirth, so I'm wondering if they married or lived together afterwards.

I hope someone can shed some light on this


WikiTree profile: Sarah Garner
in Genealogy Help by Peter Mulligan G2G6 Mach 1 (10.4k points)

2 Answers

+1 vote

Arthur Charles Garner supposedly married Catherine Gordon in Auckland in Q3 1873. Strangely the birth of Letitia Harriet Garner (mother's maiden name Gordon) was registered in Auckland in Q2 1873. It's not at all unusual for births and marriages to be registered some weeks after the event, thereby slipping into the next quarter, but this reversal of the order is highly unusual. Significantly a 16-year old Catherine Gordon died in Auckland in Q3 1873.

This is pure speculation on my part now but it could be that an unmarried Catherine Gordon died giving birth to Letitia around the end of June and there was a deathbed marriage. A sympathetic backdating allowed Letitia to be legitimate according to her birth certificate. I'd recommend you purchase all three certificates.

GRO Reference: 1873  J Quarter in AUCKLAND  Volume 10A  Page 280

GRO Reference: 1873  S Quarter in AUCKLAND  Volume 10A  Page 128

Marriages Sep 1873
GARNER     Arthur Charles           Auckland     10a    377
Gordon     Catherine           Auckland     10a    377

by Matthew Fletcher G2G6 Mach 9 (95.3k points)
Hi Matthew

I already have the first certificate dated 21 June 1873

It shows her father as Arthur Charles Garner and her mother as Catherine Garner formally Gordon.

I will get the other certificates soon.



Another grim twist might be that they couldn't marry any earlier because Catherine was not yet 16. This is the best candidate for Catherine and she was only 13 in the 1871 census meaning her 16th birthday must have been close to her death. "England and Wales Census, 1871", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 11 December 2017), Catherine Gordon in entry for John Gordon, 1871

I could not initially track down the birth registration for this Catherine Gordon and that's because it was recorded with a surname of Golding! Here is Catherine's birth record along with her older and younger sisters as seen on the census:

GORDON, JANE         BARRY     
GRO Reference: 1852  D Quarter in AUCKLAND UNION  Volume 10A  Page 97

GRO Reference: 1857  S Quarter in AUCKLAND UNION  Volume 10A  Page 112

GORDON, ELIZA         BARRY     
GRO Reference: 1860  J Quarter in AUCKLAND UNION  Volume 10A  Page 166

The registration in Q3 1857 would fit with my theory of her death being very close to her 16th birthday.

The funny thing to modern eyes, it that 13 was the age of consent prior to 1885, so he wasn't breaking the law with Catherine

The Age of Marriage Act 1929 increased the age of marriage to sixteen with consent of parents or guardians and 21 without that consent. It was passed in response to a campaign by the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship.[24] Until this point, at common law and by canon law a person who had attained the legal age of puberty could contract a valid marriage. A marriage contracted by persons either of whom was under the legal age of puberty was voidable. The legal age of puberty was fourteen years for males and twelve years for females. This section amended the law so that a marriage contracted by persons either of whom was under the age of sixteen years was void.[25]

+1 vote

I see you from the profile that you have tracked down the marriage of Arthur and Sarah Ann in 1873. You have a birth date of 1859 for Sarah Ann. I presume that this came from the 1881 census. There is a GRO death registration in Middlesborogh for a Sarah Ann Garner in 1898. It give her age as 53. That would mean she was born about 1845. 

GRO Reference: 1898  D Quarter in MIDDLESBROUGH  Volume 09D  Page 398

Could that be your Sarah Ann with either the GRO or the census having an error. 

Just a thought.

by Joan Whitaker G2G6 Pilot (108k points)
Sorry Joan

I had removed that marriage from Sarah's profile but not from Arthurs,  that marriage was for Sarah Evans, however, this seems to be incorrect as he married Catherine Gordon on that date.  Catherine died not long after.

I did get her date of birth from the 1881 Census, however she does not appear on the 1891 Census.




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