An out of order marriage record!

In today’s post, I would like to followup yesterday’s post about my great grandfather, William E. McCormack. With today’s post, I would like to examine a couple of records that I have about the marriage of William’s parents, Michael McCormack and Catherine Paine/Payne.

Index for Michael's marriage to Catherine Payne

Index for Michael’s marriage to Catherine Payne [1]

Marriage certificate for Michael and Catherine

Marriage certificate for Michael and Catherine [2]

If we use William’s date of birth at the time of death, as supplied by his wife Lavina, of 9 Jul 1853 [3] we run into a problem or two. On the first record (index), you see the date of 26 Sep 1853. Then on the second record or the actual certificate of marriage, you have the same date of 26 Sep 1853. If the date of William’s birth is correct and the date of his parent’s marriage is also correct, then, technically speaking, my great-grandfather was born out of wedlock. This “date” problem begs a few questions. 1.) Why didn’t Michael and Catherine marry before William’s birth? 2.) Were the two months between his birth and baptism normal?

One “error” that one sees on the first record is the misspelling of Catherine’s last name. I believe that the transcriber couldn’t properly read the clerk’s handwriting and misunderstood Steele (her married name) to be “Healy”. On both records, we see a name for Michael’s father and it is Patrick. As of the time of writing this post, I have no indication if Patrick was alive at the time of his son’s marriage or where Patrick was from. We also see Catherine’s maiden name of Paine and her father’s name of Robert Paine. Then for one of the witnesses, we see a Margaret Payne. We don’t know if this Margaret was a relative or a friend with the same last name. One thing that is missing is the name for the mother of both the bride and groom. Why was it left blank? Questions! With every piece of evidence that is the puzzle of genealogy, there are always more questions.

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. Thanks to Eneclann for record #2!


1. “Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898,” Michael McCormick, digital image,
2. 1853 Civil marriage record of Michael McCormack to Mrs. Catherine Steel (nee Paine), Kilkenny 1853, vol. 6, p. 317.
3. Lapeer County, Michigan, Michigan Department of Health, Death Certificate, No. 3309/2, 1943, William E. McCormack.


3 thoughts on “An out of order marriage record!

  1. Pingback: Shipping Sunday – The McCormacks coming to America | The Otter Lake Express

  2. Pingback: Mappy Monday – The McCormacks on Jacob Street | The Otter Lake Express

  3. Pingback: A witness to Michael’s marriage – Michael Doyle | The Otter Lake Express

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