As seen in my prior post, my cousin Marcus Morreau left his home in Worrstadt, Germany, as a young man and was living and working as a merchant in Withington, England by 1881, as seen on the 1881 census.
By 1901, he was a shipping merchant and married and living with his wife Alice in Didsbury, England, as seen on the 1901 English census:
Thus, sometime between 1881 and 1901, Marcus married a woman named Alice. I was curious about their marriage, especially since Alice was 21 years younger than Marcus and French-born, as indicated on the census record. Where did they meet? When and where did they marry?
I knew from my cousin Mark, the great-grandson of Marcus and Alice, that Alice was the child of Joseph Weinmann and Helene Rothschild, both of whom were German-born, but were living in Calais, France, when Alice was born there on June 15, 1880. Sherri of the Tracing the Tribe group on Facebook generously offered to help me locate Alice’s birth record from Calais:
The records from Calais also show that Joseph and Helen Weinmann’s youngest child, Jacques, was born in 1895, in Calais,1 so the Weinmanns were living in Calais from at least 1880 when Alice, their first-born child, was born until at least 1895 when Jacques was born.
Mark shared these two wonderful photographs of his great-grandmother Alice as a young girl and as a young woman:
So how did Marcus, a German immigrant living in England since at least 1881, meet a much younger woman who was born in France in 1880 and living in France until at least 1895?
One theory was that Marcus was introduced to Alice through his work with Edward Wihl. Mark found a directory for Manchester in the 1880s showing that Marcus was working for Edward Wihl & Company, and I found one from 1895 showing that he was still working for Edward Wihl & Company.
Alice’s sister Estelle was married to Edward Wihl’s nephew Joseph Wihl,2 and we postulated that Estelle Weinmann and Joseph Wihl introduced Alice and Marcus. But that theory did not hold up because Estelle married Joseph Wihl in 1906, at least five years after Alice and Marcus were married. It would seem more likely that Alice introduced Estelle to Joseph Wihl than Estelle introducing Alice to Marcus.
Mark was quite certain that Alice and Marcus had married in Calais, but despite help from numerous members of the French SIG on JewishGen and from Sherri on Facebook, I could not locate a marriage record for Marcus and Alice in Calais. One of the members of the French SIG group also looked at Alice’s birth record and opined that if in fact Alice had later married in Calais, there would have been a notation on her birth record to that effect. There was, in fact, no such notation.
Then I wondered if they had married in England, not France. What if the Weinmanns had left Calais after Jacques was born in 1895 and moved to Manchester, facilitating the meeting of Alice and Marcus and their marriage in England?
So I searched to see if the Weinmanns had moved to England before Alice and Marcus married, and I learned that Alice’s father Joseph Weinmann had lived in England, but before Alice’s birth in 1880.
Records show that in 1870, Joseph Weinmann became a naturalized citizen of the United Kingdom, then residing in Ireland, meaning that he had lived in the UK for at least five of the preceding eight years. In 1871, Joseph Weinmann, born in Frankfurt, Germany, was working as a commercial lace clerk and living in Nottingham, England.3
This photograph is labeled by the family as “Joseph Weinmann, Nottingham, c.1868, age 20.”
When I saw that, I recalled something else that Mark had mentioned: that both the Wihl family and Joseph Weinmann were somehow connected to the lace trade in Nottingham. Mark wondered whether Marcus also had at some point been in Nottingham. All of that made some sense as a theory—that Marcus met Joseph Weinman in the 1870s in Nottingham before Joseph moved to Calais and Marcus moved to Manchester.
But I had and have no proof. In fact, I have no English records for Joseph Weinmann after the 1871 England Census until a 1909 directory showing him living in Manchester and working for Morreau, Spiegelberg & Company.4
When I first saw the two photographs below, I thought these might be wedding portraits. They were both taken in Manchester, and the one of Alice is dated 1901. But since they were taken by different photographers in Manchester, they were probably not wedding portraits.
I was about to give up on ever finding a marriage record for Marcus and Alice when I decided to search FindMyPast, the genealogy website that is best for research in Great Britain. There were several records for Marcus Morreau on the site, but the one that most interested me was from a database called “British Armed Forces and Overseas Banns and Marriages.” The entry for Marcus was described as “Marcus Morreau 1896-1900 Calais France MCON Gro Consular Marriages (1849-1965)(emphasis added).” But I could not see the actual document or the transcription without subscribing to FindMyPast.
I debated whether or not to spend the money (about $15) for a one month subscription. Finally my curiosity got the better of me, so I took out my credit card and subscribed. I was excited to click on the icon to see the record, but this is all it showed:
The transcription didn’t help much either. It said:
|Marcus Morreau married one of these people
Alice Frederique Weinmann, Agnes Mary Matthews
|Source||Gro Consular Marriages (1849-1965)|
|Records year range||1896-1900|
General Register Office
|Record set||British Armed Forces And Overseas Banns And Marriages|
|Category||Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers)|
|Subcategory||Civil Marriage & Divorce|
|Collections from||Great Britain, UK None|
There was no wedding date date provided, just the range of 1896-1900. But it certainly appears that Marcus and Alice were indeed married in Calais as Mark had believed. But when? And how did they meet if they were living in different countries and 21 years apart in age?
It seems more and more likely that somehow there was a prior connection between Marcus and his father-in-law-to-be, Joseph Weinmann, and perhaps an ongoing business connection.
The next step is to try and get the actual marriage record. I’ve sent away to the GRO in England with the hope that they will find it and that it will at least provide a wedding date. Now I wait.
UPDATE: Mystery solved! The GRO sent the record, and the answers are here.
- Jacques Weinmann birth record, found at http://archivesenligne.pasdecalais.fr/cg62v2/registre.php ↩
Marriage of Joseph Wihl and Estelle Weinmann,Registration Year: 1906
Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration district: Prestwich Inferred County: Lancashire, Volume: 8d, Page: 818, Records on Page: FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915 ↩
- Joseph Weinmann, 1871 England Census, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1871 England Census; Class: RG10; Piece: 3530; Folio: 28; Page: 13; GSU roll: 839753, Enumeration District: 2, Ancestry.com. 1871 England Census ↩
- 1909 Slater’s Manchester, Salford & Suburban Directory (Pt 2); Publisher: Slater’s Directory Ltd (Manchester) and Kelly’s Directories Ltd (London), Ancestry.com. UK, City and County Directories, 1766 – 1946 ↩