Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Two Wives of Andrew Doyle

I've finally collected enough information to be certain that a family "legend" is true.  Undocumented family records indicated that my great-great-grandfather Andrew Doyle was a widow at the time he married my great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Laws.  Now I know it's true.

Andrew's first wife was Jane Barron.  He was 21, she was about 20 when they married.

Below is a transcription of the above marriage record which came from U.K. GRO, Year 1857, Quarter S, Volume 10B, Page 134.
Year 1857.
Marriage solemnized at the Parish Church in the Parish of St. Nicholas in the County of Northumberland
No.  136
When Married.   September 5
Names and Surnames.   Andrew Doyle   Jane Barron
Age.  full
Condition.   Bachelor   Spinster
Rank or Profession.   [miner?]
Residence at the time of Marriage.   Neville [?]
Father's Name and Surname.   William Doyle   William Barron
Rank or Profession of Father.   Miner    Miner
Married in the Parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church, after Banns by me, [?] Mosely.
This Marriage was solemnized between us, Andrew Doyle  Jane Barron her x mark in the presence of us, Edward Barron  J. C. [illegible name]

Jane (Barron) Doyle died on October 14, 1860.  Andrew waited just over three years before marrying again.

Andrew's second wife was Elizabeth Laws.  They married on November 14, 1863.  He was 26, she was 18.  Family legend claims that her parents were strongly opposed to the marriage because he was so much older and a widow.  Do you suppose Elizabeth was strong-willed?  Or did her parents finally relent? 

The image above, with transcription below, is from U.K. GRO Marriage Record, Year 1863, Quarter D, Volume 10B, Page 463.  FreeReg's transcription of parish records indicate that the marriage took place in St. Mary the Virgin Church.
Year. 1863
Marriage solemnized at Woodhorn Church in the Parish of Woodhorn in the County of Northumberland
No.  177
When Married.   Nov 14
Name and Surname.   Andrew Doyle   Elizabeth Laws
Age.   full age   full age
Condition.   Widower   Spinster
Rank or Profession.   Miner   ------ 
Residence at the time of Marriage.  North Seaton   North Seaton
Father's Name and Surname.   William Doyle   Robert Laws
Rank or Profession of Father.   Miner   Miner
Married in the Parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church, by me, after Banns by me, Rev. T. H. Ashhurst [additional unknown word]
This Marriage was solemnized between us, Andrew Doyle   Elizabeth Laws in the Presence of us, John Mitcheson   Martha Doyle

As far as I've been able to determine William and Jane did not have children.  William and Elizabeth, however, had 14 children, four of which were born in England and the others in Pennsylvania.


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission from the owner. 



  1. Funny that the family objected to the marriage because of the age difference. That wide gap is very common in my family tree.

    1. I don't know if it was only the age difference or also that he was a widower. Like your family, I have couples with nearly a 20 year difference in ages.

      And there's more to this story. My sister-in-law asked a question this morning that led me to remember another part of this family legend and consider undocumented family records. It might be a mess to sort out but it might play a part into their objecting to her marrying him.

  2. Could it be that his occupation was a mariner?

    1. I wondered about that, Jimmie, because it does look like it could be mariner. But every other source of information for Andrew names his occupation as miner, beginning with the 1851 census when he was 16. Would he have gone to sea for a few years? I don't know.

      I also wondered about the bracket at the right of the rank/profession box that seems to indicate the same profession for both Andrew and Jane. Chances are she would not have been a mariner but she might have been a miner. (Believe it or not, women worked in the mines, not usually digging coal but doing other work.)

      There's always one more puzzle to solve.... Thanks for noticing and sharing your thoughts about the word, Jim. I appreciate it.

  3. These are great finds! They certainly answer a lot of questions! In my research, too, I’ve found that when I finally answer one burning question, it leads to two new questions to answer.

    1. It was great to finally get a marriage date, Eva, esp. since undocumented family records gave a different date and year. Always more questions....

  4. In Andrew’s first marriage certificate, his occupation to me looks clearly as “Mariner”, whereas on his second MC it looks like “miner”. My husband’s ancestors also,came from Tyneside, with one branch mariners and another miners. The age difference (26 to 18). on his second marriage does not strike me as that great. My widowed gggrand father married a spinster 20years his junior and she came with three illegitimate children, to join his five daughters, and then they went into have four children together.

    1. Thank you for sharing your observations, Sue. I agree that Andrew's occupation looks like mariner. I just find it hard to imagine that he went to sea for a few years and then returned to mining but I'm sure it was possible. Family "legend"/stories never mention him having gone to sea but who knows! The other thing I wondered about was the bracket at the right of that box that looks like it is meant to include both Andrew and Jane.

      Perhaps age was not the primary reason why her parents opposed her marriage, but that, that's all family legend, too. And I'm finding plenty of discrepancies between legends and records in that family.

  5. Some further thoughts - what occupation was listed for Andrew in the census returns? If he was a Mariner, I suggest you contact Tyne and Wear Archives, as they proved very heloful with my Mariner research, and I got details of the ships that Robert Donaldson sailed on.

    1. Every other record I have for Andrew lists him as a miner, beginning at the age of 16 in the 1851 census. I suppose I should do some research into the mariner possibility. Who knows what I might find. Thanks for the suggestion to contact the Tyne and Wear Archives, Sue.


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...