Robert William Starling was born in 1852 and his bride, Sarah Ann Smith, was born in 1854. Although that seems a very long time ago (Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War comes to mind), they were actually my husband's great grandparents.
Robert Starling was born in a small village in Essex, Beaumont-cum-Moze. His parents, Mark and Mary Ann Starling, re-located to the East End of London around 1870 where Mark worked in the London Docks. Robert also worked in the docks and his marriage certificate records his employment as a Labourer.
Sarah Ann Smith was born in Dover, Kent. Her father was Daniel Smith who had re-located to the East End and was employed as a Thames Policeman. The trail is cold as far as her mother is concerned but interestingly, the happy couple went back to Dover for the wedding.
The ceremony took place on 13th October 1878 at the parish church in the Charlton area of Dover. There is an interesting article about the church on this website. The two Victorian churches mentioned were both opened after Robert and Sarah were married so their big day must have been held in the original church building.
After the wedding Robert and Sarah disappear off the radar until 1891 although their first child was born while they were in Dover. The 1891 census records them living in the East End of London at Upper Chapman Street and they have five children. Their second child, Robert, was born in Beaumont, Essex about 1881 although all the younger children were born in East London. Maybe they'd gone back to Essex visiting or working and slipped past the census enumerator's pen in 1881.
In 1891 Robert was working as a Coal Porter and ten years later his employment was classified as a Labourer. The proximity of their accommodation to the London Docks makes it highly likely that was where he worked. They were still living at Upper Chapman Street in 1901 and seven of their children lived with them including their son James born the previous year. Their oldest son, Stephen, had recently married and left home.
Robert died in 1910. Sarah continued to live at Upper Chapman Street but, apparently for the first time in her life, she had to work and she was employed as an Umbrella Finisher. Sarah lived on until 1946 so she just missed Michael by one year.