Goodbye Mr Bates
You can order a copy of a birth or marriage certificate from the General Register Office and it seems cheaper than ordering through online family trees.
I ordered a copy of a marriage certificate for my grandmother Caroline May Long and Charles Henry Bates from the GRO but it never arrived. An email from the department said that the information supplied did not match any record. That surprised me as I had felt sure that it was correct. I checked again and found that I had made an error. The page numbers were wrong. I had said that the page number was 489 when in fact one index reference was page 489 and the other was 488. Not the same marriage at all. A careless mistake. The fee of £9.25 was refunded although I didn’t deserve it – it should have been forfeited for gross negligence on my part!
So it seems grandmother was not married to Charles Henry Bates. There was also no evidence that she was married to my grandfather either. I am determined to solve the mysteries around her. I have established that the story about her being the daughter of one of Buffalo Bill’s Native American performers was not true. I am still curious as to the origins of the myth which was firmly believed by several members of my family.
Things my mother told me
I recall when I was a child my mother saying that her mother was adopted and had been born into a gipsy family. She said that the family that adopted her were relatively well off and were the owners of a coach company. I had put that into the back of my mind while pursuing the more exotic story. Maybe Long was not her original name but that of the family that adopted her. Searching for the right Long family is going to be quite a job; It’s amazing how many Longs there were in Croydon. If I had taken that DNA test before I may have found the truth by now.