St Stephens, Spitalfields..Marriage Puzzle

The very first marriage certificate that I ever sent for was for my Great Grandparents Edward Henry Jordan and Phoebe Bird, they had eleven children in total, and as I was very new to Family History I was so very disappointed when after a couple of weeks I received the certificate and both the fathers names were missing from it ! 
So frustrating to a newbe..But actually it made me realize that it wasn’t all plain sailing this Family history stuff and you come across many many brick walls that have to be broken down, and it also always leaves you with many many questions that you never seem to have answered however many certificates and records you manage to attach to your particular Family Tree.
I have already written a couple of Blogs about the first 2 of Edward Henry and Phoebe’s children,      ALICE  and PHOEBE
There are niggling things about them though that I would love to know, one of these little questions was who were the two people that were witnesses at their wedding, it took place at St Stephens Church in the Parish of Spitalfields on 10th March 1863…… After their first 2 children were born.
I have looked at neighbours or family members, in case they were in-laws maybe..but by sheer chance I was looking through the records and realized that now the original picture of the record book when they got married was on, and I hadn’t even looked at it, purely because I already had the certificate..and what did I find..a revelation..the 2 chaps who witnessed their marriage were John Bell, who was the Bridegroom of the marriage before theirs and George Lynn, the Bridegroom of the marriage after theirs !! they were both able to sign their names, (unlike my Great Grandparents) so they obviously were asked……..mystery solved at last.

Click to Enlarge

Its taught me that sometimes we need to look at the bigger picture, when looking at the records…..

I do, like a lot of people look at neighbours in the same & ajoining streets on census records, when looking for missing family members, and often look at other people on the same page just in case I might find twins in Birth records or other family members dying at the same time in Death records, but this just honestly never occurred to me..

Has anyone out there come across a Photo of St Stephens, Spitalfields ?? I would love to see what it looked like, I just can’t seem to find one. It had only been built three years, when my Great Grandparents married, as it was built in 1860 but was demolished in 1930- the adjacent vicarage is all that remains…There must be a Picture somewhere surely.
Till next time then………………………………………………….


  1. My friend and I were witnesses at a registry office wedding in the 1970s when we worked as clerks for the DHSS as it was then. We found a couple who were trying to claim as a married couple werent really married after all, cant remember what happened now and as they didnt want their family to know that they hadnt been properly married all the time they asked for us to be witnesses!! We did of course but I can imagine their descendants wondering who they heck we were and how did we fit into the jigsaw puzzle!!


  2. Ha Ha Brilliant..I wondered if this was a similar case actually, as they had 2 children already, the neighbours, friends etc may have assumed they were already married as they said they were in 1861 Census !


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