The Things we do for Love – Two Mysterious Marriages

I’ve gone about as far as I can at the moment with my Freeman ancestry, but I realised the other day that I hadn’t looked much at Mary Elizabeth Redfern’s genealogy. She is my 2x Great Grandmother who married George Frederick Freeman in 1875.

From her marriage certificate I knew her father was Charles Redfern, a carrier, living in Overseal, Derbyshire.

I found Charles fairly easily in the 1851, 1861 and 1871 census returns, living in Overseal with his wife Ann. He’s consistent with his place of birth in all three census, of Walton-on-Trent in Derbyshire (or Staffordshire, as the village straddles the River Trent which is the county boundary).

Redfern Charles baptAccording to the census returns Charles was born around 1823, and I have managed to find a baptism for him in Walton in 1824, which gives his father as James and his mother as Sarah. I was hoping that Charles would be with his parents in the 1841 census, but sadly, that’s not the case. There are four possible Charles Redferns in 1841, three in Derbyshire and one in Staffordshire, so I’ve put that to one side for now. I’ll look for his parents later.

The 1881 census has an entry for a Charles and Ann Redfern living in Burton Extra, Charles is a brewers’ labourer. But Charles’s age is wrong by four years, and Ann’s given place of birth, Boston, Lincolnshire, doesn’t match up with previous census returns where it was given as Belton, Leicestershire! So I’ve put a question mark beside this one as well!


I decided to look for a marriage for Charles and Ann, and a quick search on Ancestry threw up a record of Banns being read at Overseal in 1849, which noted that the couple married at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, the bride’s parish. I found the civil marriage reference on FreeBMD and I was about to order the certificate when I noticed another marriage between a Charles Redfern and an Ann Grundy in Birmingham in 1848. This Charles’s father was also James! So which certificate do I order?!

I thought I’d try and trace Ann Grundy first. The one that married in Birmingham in 1848 has a father called John, so hopefully one would match up and one wouldn’t.

A search on Ancestry gave me a baptism for Ann Grundy in Belton, Leicestershire and her parents as John and Mary, suggesting that the marriage in Birmingham is the correct one. But just to be sure I did another census search looking for any other Charles and Ann Redferns in the 1851 census. I looked on both Ancestry and Find My Past and there aren’t any other possible candidates, so it really does look like they married twice!

I posted a question on RootsChat and received a couple of helpful replies and a point towards the marriage entries online. Both marriages show that the father-in-laws have the same names and occupations. Also the signatures of the bride & groom are almost identical on both marriage entries.


At the time of their first marriage, Charles and Ann were both working as servants on the same street, so possibly even the same house, in Birmingham. Marriage between servants was frowned upon, which would have left them without a roof over their heads.
So possibly they waited until they could leave the area & find work elsewhere and then re-marry ‘respectably.’

A Grundy is a witness on the second marriage so perhaps the first was totally secret from their families and they’d have looked like they were living in sin if they hadn’t married again!

The things we do for love!

© Caroline Cox and Caroline’s Chronicles. 2011 – current year

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