|1901 Census of Bentley|
Click to enlarge
In the 1901 census (left), I found them living in Salford with several children, three of whom were listed as Frank's stepchildren, Thomas, Sarah and Albert Mills. I also found an 1897 marriage index for Francis William Bentley to Margaret Ann Mills.
So is Margaret's maiden name Mills or is it her name from her first marriage? I don't know why I didn't just order the marriage record to see if her father's name was on it. Trying to cut corners, I guess. But Margaret married Frank in Salford when she was 29 and I couldn't find any earlier census records of an unmarried Margaret Mills born in Salford about 1868, even though she should theoretically be on the 1871, 1881, and 1891 censuses. So I was thinking it was more likely Margaret was married previously to a man by the name of Mills, given the names of Frank's stepchildren. There's also no record of Frank being married before Margaret so it's unlikely the Mills children are his orphaned stepchildren from a previous marriage of his own. Unfortunately, the children are too young to be found on the 1891 census so trying to trace Margaret through them is not possible.
|1891 Census of Mills family|
Another tree suggested that Margaret's maiden name was Warburton so I then found an 1889 marriage in the England & Wales FreeBMD Index suggesting Albert Mills had married Margaret Ann Warburton in Manchester. But the way the index works is by listing everyone on the same page without telling you who married who. However, the fact that they were on the same page (below, right) must not be a coincidence, right? The date fits, the names fit, the location fits.
|Incorrect marriage index of Margaret Ann Warburton|
|Hopefully correct marriage index of Margaret Ann.|
I have since ordered Margaret's marriage record to Frank, which is what I should have just done in the first place but I thought finding her first marriage record would be more likely to give me her maiden name. I'm hoping that the full record for her marriage to Frank names her father, thus finally confirming her maiden name. Hopefully, it is McCracken and I will have redeemed myself in the eyes of the genealogy gods who had apparently forsaken me and taken me down a wayward path called Warburton.
In the mean time, I did some more research on McCracken and found Margaret's father was from Scotland. Excited, I told my husband that his mother may have had a Scottish ancestor and what does he tell me? "I already knew that." I must have looked aghast because he laughed and said "Oh, sorry, I meant to say 'Oh my God, that's brand new information!'" (Kudos to anyone who gets the 'Friends' reference).
On one hand, I'm glad because it confirms that I am on the right path with McCracken. On the other hand, I feel like strangling my husband for not telling me sooner.