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Everyone in the family is puzzled by my husbands grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Metcalf, later Mary Elizabeth Hunter. Her Marriage certificate states that she was born 1889 in Sunderland but no one can find a birth for her around that year. It's rumoured amongst the family that she was actually born in 1892 but lied about her age so she could marry my husbands grandfather. To make things even more difficult it is also rumoured that she was adopted at an early age by an unknown family. All that is known about her is that on her marriage certificate it stated her father as John and that she had an older sister, Margaret Ann born abt 1883.
So far no one has been able to trace a birth for Mary Elizabeth as we understand some Sunderland records were distroyed by fire?
If anyone could give me any advice on tracing Mary Elizabeth I'd be very grateful


Jo x
found a mary elizabeth metcalf b.sunderland 1892 summer quarter vol 10a page 67. might tie in with her giving a false date of birth..also found a tree with the same details called brownbridge dont know if this rings any bells. get back to me if it does and will have another look the spouse is listed as hunter also suex
found a mary elizabeth metcalf b.sunderland 1892 summer quarter vol 10a page 67. might tie in with her giving a false date of birth..also found a tree with the same details called brownbridge dont know if this rings any bells. get back to me if it does and will have another look the spouse is listed as hunter also suex

Yes that's the same family, the tree belongs to a cousin of my Husband who is also having trouble researching Mary Elizabeth.

The date of the Marriage was 21st September 1907 at St Andrews church, deptford, between Mary Elizabeth Metcalf & Andrew Taylor Hunter
HUNTER, Andrew T Head Married M 21 1890 Miner Stonework At Face Cowpen Coal Company, Bishopwearmouth Durham
HUNTER, Mary E Wife Married 4 years F 21 1890 Bishopwearmouth Durham
HUNTER, David William Son M 3 1908
HUNTER, Mary Elizabeth Daughter F 0 (6 MONTHS) 1911
living 20 Back Bowes St, Cowpen

Thanks a lot Dave, that's definitely them! Going off the age of Mary Elizabeth on the 1911 census she was born in 1889 (or has she lied about her age on census returns too). The more I find out the more I think she was actually born in 1889, just we haven't been able to find a record of her birth for that year. Thanks again x
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Thanks again Dave, at last someone who comes to the same conclusion I have ..... that that is the Mary Elizabeth on the 1901 census that we're looking for.

On that census it has the parents surnames down as potts, however the mother it seems had been married before and her previous husband was James Metcalf. Both Elizabeth & John Potts are too young to have been the Parents of Mary's sister (who isn't on that census) who would have been about 17 at the time of the census......... BUT ....... we do know Mary's fathers name was John Metcalf (not Potts as on that census) and that there's rumours she was fostered/adopted by another family member after the death of one or both of her parents. After searching 1881 census I found that Elizabeth's first husband James had an older brother, John Metcalf, who could possibly have been Mary Elizabeths father and when his wife (or both of them) died Mary & her younger brother were possibly adopted/fostered by James & Elizabeth Metcalf (who later became Elizabeth Potts after James died in 1896/7.

Told you this was complicated lol
On the mge cert, what was John's occupation and was he marked deceased? What were the winess names please?

John Metcalf's occupation was listed as 'Pilot', he's not marked as deceased & the witnesses names were Thomas Richardson & Margaret Evans. Mary's address at the time of her marriage was 48 Wellington Lane & Andrews address was 8 Exhibition Terrace.
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just so you can see the Potts record
POTTS, John William Head Married M 39 1872 Shipslife Boat Builder Durham Sunderland
POTTS, Elizabeth Ann Wife Married F 35 1876 Durham Sunderland
METCALF, Mary Stepdaughter Single F 18 1893 Durham Sunderland
METCALF, James Stepson M 14 1897 Riveters Rivet Catcher Durham Sunderland
POTTS, Ruth Daughter F 12 1899 At School Durham Sunderland
POTTS, John William Son M 10 1901 At School Durham Sunderland
POTTS, Robert Henry Son M 8 1903 At School Durham Sunderland
POTTS, George Edward Son M 6 1905 At School Durham Sunderland
POTTS, Elizabeth Ann Daughter F 4 1907 Durham Sunderland
POTTS, Maria Daughter F 0 (8 MONTHS) 1911 Durham Sunderland

On the 1911 census for Mary Hunter nee Metcalf, her birth place was written as Monkwearmouth, by her husband Andrew (as he did the return) not Bishopwearmouth as on the print out. Both places are part of Sunderland, but Bishopwearmouth is south of the river Wear whilst Monkwearmouth is to the North. Don't know if this will help finding her.
Thanks for all the work you've put in Dave, I'm just about ready to give up on her now, I just can't find out anything about her. Only thing I can think of now is trying to find her older sister Margaret on the 1891 census when (if I've been informed correctly) she should be about 8 years old hopefully if I can find her I'll find Mary's parents.

Thanks very much again

Jo x
Hi Jo

I,m hoping you can find if John was deceased, that may help
There is this one
METCALF, John Head Married M 32 1859 Revitter Sunderland Co Durham
METCALF, Mary Wife Married F 29 1862 Sunderland Co Durham
METCALF, Mary Daughter F 1 1890 Sunderland Co Durham
living 60 Dame Dorothy St., Monkwearmouth Shore
I cannot find either parent in 1901.

to go with this there is a birth for Mary J/M 1890 Sunderland 10a 540

That Mary does fit in with the age Mary would be if rumours are wrong and she hadn't lied about her age to get married, she would have been born 1889. Her death certificate has her date of birth as 14th July 1889, I don't know if there was a time limit in those days for registering a birth, could it take 6-8 months to register a birth?

I have found a death for a John Metcalf registered Dec 1900 age 42.... possibly her father and a death for Mary Metcalf registered Jun 1897 age 34 .... Possibly her mother?

I wish my Hubby's family were as easy to trace as mine were :rolleyes:

Thanks again for all your help

Jo x
Hi Jo
The two ages at death of John and Mary, her parents, tie in with their ages on the 1891 census, and would tie in with Mary E having to live with whom you think may be relatives. Margaret could be a child of this family. Do you know she was called Metcalf?

Sorry for late reply Dave I went to bed to think about this (it's a puzzle I'd like to solve once and for all) and was thinking the same as you that maybe Mary was the adopted sister of Margaret. To be honest my husband and I had never heard of Margaret until yesterday morning so all we know about his is her name was Margaret Melcalf born abt 1883 and she married 3 times & her first husband was Samuel Pickering (although I can only find a marriage to a George Pickering). I dont' even know if anyone has a copy of Margarets marriage certificate to find out if John Metcalf was Margarets father or could it have been his brother's child. I'll have to ask around the remaining family members to find out.

I think I'm one step away from solving the mystery and that last step is finding out who Margaret's father was and whether Mary was living with them in 1901 after the deaths of her parents.

Thanks very much again for all your help without it I wouldn't have got this far

Jo xx
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