Mary Ann – did you marry the father or the son?

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marriages in the Cunliffe family bible

It all began with the above entry in the Cunliffe family bible. I made the assumption that the James Cunliffe in question was the son of James Cunliffe and Margaret Winstanley, born in 1888. I knew that there was a connection to the Stubbings family from another page of the family bible and when I looked in Lancashire Free BMD for James Cunliffes married in Wigan between 1900 and 1920 I found a James Cunliffe married a Mary Ann Stubbings in 1906. This therefore fits perfectly with the date July 18th 1906 in the bible. Sorted – or so I thought!

CUNLIFFE James STUBBINGS Mary Ann Wigan, Register Office or Registrar Attended Wigan & Leigh ROW/112/79

However, Lancashire OPC have recently released some baptism and marriage records for St. Mary’s in Ince and while looking for the older brother John Cunliffe‘s wedding I found that a John Cunliffe was witness to the marriage of James Cunliffe, age 20 and Esther Walters in 1908. In that case this James was born in 1888, he is a collier and is the son of James Cunliffe, who is also a collier. He is also a bachelor. So this is probably not the same James who was married to Mary Ann Stubbings at the Registry office in Wigan 2 years earlier.

CUNLIFFE James WALKER Esther St. Mary,Ince Wigan & Leigh C20/3/159

So who was the other James married in 1906 to Mary Ann Stubbings. Could it be the father who would have been 50 years old and widowed 4 years earlier. It might be. I tried to find the birth of Mary Ann Stubbings to see how old she could be, but nothing came up in either Lancashire OPC or Lancashire BMD.

To make it even more confusing there is another marriage in 1912 between James Cunliffe and Esther Stubbings in St. Mary’s, Ince.

Lancashire Marriage indexes for the years: 1912
CUNLIFFE James STUBBINGS Esther St. Mary,Ince Wigan & Leigh C20/3/343

Any help would be appreciated!