About a month ago, I wrote about the strange parallel lives of George and Eliza Fitzhenry.
At the time, I had a theory that they had married in haste as Eliza was pregnant, they parted shortly afterwards their daughter Eliza Harriett was born, and then both made further (presumably bigamous) marriages.
I already had George's second marriage certificate which, although he claimed to be a bachelor, had enough details to confirm he was the same man as married Eliza.
Eliza's second marriage certificate had a couple of surprises.
Here are the bare facts:
September 7 1846
St Mary's parish church of Paddington
Henry Hersey of full age, bachelor, gardener, Harrow Road, father Henry Hersey Toll collector
Eliza Fitzhenry of full age, spinster, Harrow Road, father Samuel Heather Fitzhenry, fisherman.
Eliza had a daughter Eliza Harriett, and in the 1851 census she was part of this family. So Henry Hersey must have known that Eliza senior had had a previous relationship to produce Eliza junior. Did he know that she was previously married and that Fitzhenry wasn't her maiden name?
And if Henry was in league with Eliza's deception, why didn't they take the option of telling the vicar that she was a respectable widow with a daughter, instead of a spinster?
The second surprise was how she styled herself and her father. Why didn't Eliza revert to calling herself Eliza Heather instead of Eliza Fitzhenry once she had parted from George?
If I had started my research into this family group with this particular certificate, I would have been looking in vain for Eliza's family as Fitzhenrys rather than Heathers. I wonder how many more of my unlinked Fitzhenrys have a story like this lying behind them?
Here's an interesting fact - according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1911), bigamy was a felony until 1828 and was reinstated as a felony in 1861... which was convenient for George and Eliza should they have ever been found out.
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