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Advice on ages on Marriage Bonds

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Gwebb1
Advice on ages on Marriage Bonds

Hi all.

I have found a relevant Marriage Bond on Familysearch for 1773 and notice that the groom (John Watson) was "25 years and upwards" at the time of his marriage while the bride (a widow called Margery Griffith) is recorded as being "21 years and upwards2.

My question is this: anyone know how much credence should give to these ages or are they just meant to indicate the couple were of "full age"?  In which case, why the difference between the man's age and the woman's age?

As it happens, the birth I am looking at for John would make him 25 at the time of the wedding but the one I am looking at for Margery would make her 27 and so I am not sure whether I should discount this baptism and keep searching.

Thank you.

Glen

MaryA
MaryA's picture

My guess would be, and it can only be a guess, that the brides often did lie about their ages to make them younger than the groom, and in this case it would have been a bit of a white lie since yes she would have been 21 years and upwards, this happened in later years, not just as early as that.

MaryA

Member 6532

bertieone

There's many thoughts on this, one being and it falls under the category, "Never ask a lady her age" if she wasn't a minor she was recorded as over 21. 

Other reasons was they didn't know their exact age, just a guess was made. They both could have been in their 40s or 50s, but don't be put off by that.

Bert

Gwebb1

Thanks for your comments - I guess that Marjery may have wanted to give the impression she was younger than her husband-to-be when she was actually 2 years only.

It is not a straightforward bit of research since I am suggesting that Margery Griffith, the widow on the marriage bond in 1773, was actually born Mary Roberts in 1746 and that she had married John Griffith in 1771 and was probably widowed in 1772.  The parishes for the married couple given on the bond correspond with the birth records I am currently attributing to them.  'Margery' seems to have been quite an unusual name at the time.

This couple were born and married in Chester which is why I have not asked forum members to help me search but has anyone come across someone changing their name like this before?  Margery had had a sister called Mary who died just before she was born and I did wonder about the liklihood of the second child being commonly referred to as 'Margery' although she had been baptised 'Mary' after her dead sister.

Glen 

MaryA
MaryA's picture

Sorry to have to say that yes, it never surprises me if they change their name, I put it down to them wanting to fool us who come afterwards, but really I think that sometimes they just use the name they are known by rather than their "Sunday" name.

MaryA

Member 6532

Gwebb1

Well, no-one has said anything to put me off thinking that I may have found the right people with this bit of research.  Quite pleased with myself really as it involved quite a bit of detective work to get from Margery Griffith to Mary Roberts!

Thanks again.

G

Andy J

A Mary Ann (b.1863) I was researching recently became Margery in the 1881 census, but at the time she was living in her step father's household, and he already had a daughter named Mary Ann (b. 1867) also living at home, so Margery might have been a pet name to distinguish the older Mary Ann from her younger step-sister. Thereafter she was named as Mary Ann when she married and in subsequent censuses. 

Gwebb1

Thanks for your input, Andy - I think from my point of view I would have preferred to hear that your Margery stuck to her new name as that seems to have been what happened to mine.  Obviously, it is just so difficult to check things when you go back to the 1700s and there are probably just too many gaps in my findings to be absolutely sure that Mary Roberts born in 1746 is the Margery Griffith who married in 1773.  I guess it is another bit of my research that has to have a big question mark next to it!

G.

 

G

MaryA
MaryA's picture

Check out any Wills if you can find them, not of just her and husband, but think about other family members who might have mentioned relatives in a Will.  https://user.xmission.com/~nelsonb/lws.htm

MaryA

Member 6532

Gwebb1

Good point, Mary - I know wills have provided useful information for me in the past, both in terms of ruling prospective ancestors in or out of my calculations. 

I have also noticed that the the baptism of John and Margery's first child is given as 'Mary' (although the burial record confirms the child was theirs) so I am thinking this might be further evidence that Mary and Margery are one of the same.  One of their other children has 'Roberts' as a middle name so you can see I am not completely clutching at straws.

Mary/Margery's death has actually been difficult to find too  but I will give the wills a whirl, making sure I look under mary and Margery in case she awitches names again as Andy's relative did!

G

Barley

Just to come back to the ages on the bond. My ancestor married three times, the second and third times by licence.

In 1788 both he and the bride said 21+, but he was probably in his forties, while she was in her mid twenties
In 1807 both he and his next bride said 21+ but he must have been in his sixties (and definitely nineteen years older than the previous time) while she was in her fifties.

Barbara   

MaryA
MaryA's picture

I think that proves it that it was only noted as 21+ regardless of age, I expect it wasn't too "polite" to ask ages if they were more mature.

MaryA

Member 6532

lynne99

Just a reminder.  21 was the age you became an adult.  So they were stating that the did not need their parents consent.

Gwebb1

Thanks, everyone.  I think until I find any contradictory evidence, I will go along with the theory that Mary became Marjery no matter what her age was!  i followed Mary A's suggestion about looking at wills but sadly had no luck there either (unless, of course, my ancestor had changed her name yet again!)

G.