Apologies for this message out of the blue - I just found this Garnhams thread through a Google search.
I am interested in your reference to a marriage between William Prentice and Eliza Garnham in June Qtr 1854 at South Lopham as I am researching this couple. My query is, how do you know that this Eliza Garnham is the sister of James, son of Samuel and Elizabeth? Is her father's name on the marriage certificate - my certificate is on order!
The reason I ask is that William Prentice is I believe my great great great grandfather. Through baptism transcriptions online I have found Eliza as the single mother of my great great grandfather John Garnham and his siblings. They are all listed on the censuses with William Prentice as their father and an Eliza Garnham living with them as a servant (in 1851 she is 'housekeeper as wife'). I'm certain that William is the father of Eliza's children as they use the Garnham surname and the Prentice one at different times in their lives. It is easy to assume that William marries the Eliza he has lived with for several years in 1854, but the birthplaces of the Elizas on the census just don't add up. In 1841 William Prentice and Eliza Garnham both say they are born Norfolk, in 1851 the Eliza living with William says she is born Rickinghall, Suffolk, but the Eliza who is a pauper widow on the 1861 (William Prentice I believe died 4th Qtr 1855) records her birthplace as Ely, Cambridgeshire. This Eliza is head of household and mother of the children still living with her that were recorded as William's children on earlier censuses. But the birth place is too much of a sticking point for me to ignore and there is no evidence that the Eliza living with William and the children before was the children's mother. I'm aware that until 1836 Rickinghall Inferior was a parish within the Diocese of Ely, but I think I may be trying to bend the facts to suit my own interests if I say that explains it...
I'm not sure if I can ever be certain if my two Elizas are the same person, and if they're not, which is my ancestor's mother and who are her parents?! If you have any more information that can solve this riddle I would be very happy to add Samuel and Elizabeth Garnham to my tree as my Eliza's parents!