Updated 22 Nov 2000
WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900
Notes about Witnesses
The names of Marriage Witnesses can sometimes be really useful when
trying to work out who the Marriage partners are.
Witnesses might be siblings, parents or cousins.
They might be friends or workmates.
However, there were "professional witnesses" having no link with the couple.
They might be Parish Clerks or Churchwardens.
Here are some notes that came to mind while compiling this list.
- A witness sometimes had his name written for him.
- First check the witness against the list of Churchwardens and Clerks.
- The witness himself was sometimes getting married the same day.
- For long periods few women were witnesses.
- In the absence of a burial, a witness may prove he is still alive.
- Witnesses with the same name may be distinguished by comparing handwriting.
- A witness may just be a friend rather than family.
- Unskilled handwriting can be very difficult to decipher.
- Use the Witness Index to show how separate families kept friendly.
- two male witnesses with the same surname may be father and son.
- Professional witnesses often worked in pairs.
- Professional witnesses were probably never female.
- The state of a witness's health or age can sometimes be judged from his handwriting.
- Professional witnesses usually observed rank - senior first.
Deciphered, transcribed, compiled, indexed, formatted and copyright © 2000,
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