Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: John Bartram and Esther Meredith

John and Esther Bartram are the older
couple seated. My great grandfather,
Joseph Bartram, is the handsome
gentleman standing in the rear.
While visiting my cousins, Steven and Carl, in Wales last summer, we got to tour the farmhouse in Llanrothal, Hereford, England (just on the border with Wales), where Carl's and my second great grandparents, John and Esther (Meredith) Bartram, lived and we also checked out the church where they were married. It got me thinking that we must be able to find their marriage records somewhere. Sure enough, the UK General Records Office (GRO) was my ticket to locating not only John and Esther's marriage records, but also birth and death records for several of my English and Welsh ancestors.

The GRO maintains the United Kingdom national archive of all births, marriages and deaths dating back to 1837. Prior to that date, civil and parish records are probably your best bet. The GRO records can be ordered online for about $15.00 each (£9.75), and it will help to know the BMD (Birth Marriage Death) index number for the certificate you are ordering. Luckily the BMD numbers are pretty easy to find at the FreeBMD website, and the ordering instructions on the GRO website are quite simple to follow. 

After I got home from my trip to Wales, I decided to take the plunge and order several certificates from the GRO. It broke my bank account for awhile, but I think it was a worthwhile investment. Here's the official marriage certificate for John and Esther:

The certificate shows that John Bartrem (sp) and Esther Meredith were married on July 12, 1846, in the Church of Welsh Newton, in Hereford County, England. John, a bachelor, was an innkeeper living in Welsh Newton, and Mary, a spinster, had been living in Dixton, Montmouth, Wales. It also shows that John's father was Samuel Bartrem, a labourer, and Esther's father was Joseph Meredith, a sawyer. The marriage was witnessed by John's brother, William, and Esther's sister, Mary. William and Mary eventually married each other!

Here's the Church of Welsh Newton (St. Mary the Virgin) where John and Esther were married, and where Esther's parents, Joseph and Sarah are buried:

Cousin Steven, taking in the view
And, here's the house where they lived and farmed in Llanrothal, Hereford, England:

The current owner of the house estimated that it's probably a few hundred years old. Obviously, the structure has been altered over the years, but the owners have lovingly restored the interior to a state where it shows off some of the original features, such as wood beams and stone fireplaces and alcoves. John and Esther Bartram had a lovely home in a beautiful setting.

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