Author Topic: Marriage & Bigamy  (Read 623 times)

Offline PurpleOwl333

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 94
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Marriage & Bigamy
« on: Monday 29 January 18 21:04 GMT (UK) »
I've been having a very interesting conversation with Rebecca Probert (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebecca_Probert) about marriages, bigamy etc. Here are her answers to a few questions I asked her:

Is a second marriage without a divorce always void and classed as bigamy?

In the absence of a divorce, the second marriage is of course void, but there was a defence to bigamy if the spouse who remarried had not heard of or from the other spouse for 7 years, and had no reason to believe that they were alive.

Is divorce likely even if no record of one can be found?

A divorce is a possibility, although at this point (1913) the only ground for divorce is adultery, and a wife has in addition to prove cruelty, desertion or similar aggravating factors. Separation by itself wasn’t a ground until 1939!

Was the law different during wartime?

There is no special treatment of soldiers or their wives, although the war did of course make it more plausible to assume the death of a spouse.

What name should be used on the Marriage Certificate?

It was/is fine to use either the maiden or married name – it should be the name by which they were known at the time, but even if it was the wrong name, it is only if both spouses knowingly and wilfully married having had the banns called in a wrong name that the marriage would be void.

How common was marriage to legitimize a child's birth without intention to live together as a married couple?

I have come across some couples who went through a marriage ceremony to legitimize the child but without any intention of living together as a married couple - there was a case in 1917 where the terms of the agreement ended up in court:

Quote
Brodie v Brodie [1917] P 271, Horridge J
W petitioned for an order for restitution of her conjugal rights (an action no longer available since 1970). In reply, H pled an agreement made before the marriage (which had taken place only because W was already pregnant by H) that the parties would permanently live apart. The judge, granting W the order she sought, said such an agreement was contrary to public policy and could not be a defence.

Source: https://law256.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/family-law-notes/

I've also come across a few examples in the eighteenth century of men paying another man to marry the woman who is pregnant by them. So while the most likely interpretation is that when a man married a woman who was pregnant he thought he was the father, it's not the only one!

Rebecca will be doing a talk in Devon, UK later this year, and her book on this topic can be found here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Divorced-Bigamist-Bereaved-historians-separation/dp/0993189601

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline Girl Guide

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,430
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Marriage & Bigamy
« Reply #1 on: Monday 29 January 18 22:42 GMT (UK) »
Divorced, Bigamist, Bereaved is a good book and so is her other one called Marriage Law for Genealogists.

I found both the books interesting and helpful in clarifying all aspects of marriage.
Ashford: Somerset, London
England: Devon, London, New Zealand
Holdway: Wiltshire
Hooper: Bristol, Somerset
Knowling: Devon, London
Southcott: Devon, China
Strong: Wiltshire
Watson: Cambridgeshire
White: Bristol
Windo - Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline PurpleOwl333

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 94
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Marriage & Bigamy
« Reply #2 on: Monday 29 January 18 23:11 GMT (UK) »
The amazon reviews are very positive also Girl Guide, thanks, I'm hoping to get my copies next week and settle down for a nice long read  :)

Divorced, Bigamist, Bereaved is a good book and so is her other one called Marriage Law for Genealogists.

I found both the books interesting and helpful in clarifying all aspects of marriage.

Offline KentishChris

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 179
    • View Profile
Re: Marriage & Bigamy
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 04 February 18 01:55 GMT (UK) »
Thanks PurpleOwl for the information!

I have recently just discovered two divorces in the family. One was able to divorce after claiming that she had been deserted (this certainly sounded like the case!), and another through an illegitimate marriage which was caught, voided and then they officially remarried 5 years later.

Another book to add to my reading list :)
Goldsmith, Dewhurst, Brown, Stoneman, Waite, Philbey, Bolingbroke, Bowen - London
Evenden - Kent
Bryant - Somerset
Tyson, Walker, Beesley, Barlow - Lancashire
Horn - Sussex
Peacock, Bailey - Yorkshire
Butler - Hampshire

NIL DESPERANDUM

Offline PurpleOwl333

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 94
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Marriage & Bigamy
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 04 February 18 03:04 GMT (UK) »
You're very welcome. I find this whole topic fascinating. Did you find records of your family divorces? I keep looking but I may have to face the fact that members of my family tree just didn't and got re-married anyway. For yours to have married, have it voided then remarry 5 years later says that they really wanted to be together  :)

Thanks PurpleOwl for the information!

I have recently just discovered two divorces in the family. One was able to divorce after claiming that she had been deserted (this certainly sounded like the case!), and another through an illegitimate marriage which was caught, voided and then they officially remarried 5 years later.

Another book to add to my reading list :)

Offline KentishChris

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 179
    • View Profile
Re: Marriage & Bigamy
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 04 February 18 03:20 GMT (UK) »
It definitely is fascinating!

I haven't found records (I did only come across both a few days ago). With help from others, I was able to find two newspaper articles stating that divorces had been granted. With the second, there was another marriage certificate, so the one I have here is actually illegitimate.
Goldsmith, Dewhurst, Brown, Stoneman, Waite, Philbey, Bolingbroke, Bowen - London
Evenden - Kent
Bryant - Somerset
Tyson, Walker, Beesley, Barlow - Lancashire
Horn - Sussex
Peacock, Bailey - Yorkshire
Butler - Hampshire

NIL DESPERANDUM

Offline PurpleOwl333

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 94
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Marriage & Bigamy
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 04 February 18 04:01 GMT (UK) »
Ah, newspaper articles, nice finds! I've suggested to Rebecca that she might consider recording her next talk and putting it as a pay per view on Vimeo or somewhere to give those of us not able to go in person the opportunity to hear it. Fingers crossed  ;D

It definitely is fascinating!

I haven't found records (I did only come across both a few days ago). With help from others, I was able to find two newspaper articles stating that divorces had been granted. With the second, there was another marriage certificate, so the one I have here is actually illegitimate.

Offline StanleysChesterton

  • RootsChat Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 621
  • My G-grandmother on right, 1955
    • View Profile
Re: Marriage & Bigamy
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 04 February 18 11:45 GMT (UK) »
I have "all sorts" in my tree.  Lots of illegitimate births - it was almost compulsory :)

I've a bigamy where the man knew his wife was still alive - she turned up in court to prove it.

Another bigamy where they separated (through the courts on grounds of cruelty) and the wife reinvented herself as a WW1 widow to marry "a proper catch, an RAF top officer and Wing Commander" - but he got suspicious and found her husband was still alive, so he got the divorce courts to nullify their wedding.

I've one I suspect, where an illegitimate lad married in his own village under his birth name - then he and his wife appear in different counties, she remarried under her birth name and he married his half-brother's wife's sister using his "adopted name" of his half-brother (two brothers married two sisters, although years apart/not a double wedding).  Nobody suspected a thing, I'm probably the first to discover this... and it's something I'd need to spend more time on "proving".

My gt-grandmother just started using her bf's surname - even though they'd both been widowed long before they met.  They were certainly at the same address as head/lodger for 20 years in the censuses before being referred to in the newspapers (eviction case) where her widowed name was given and "also known as Mrs ...." the lodger's surname.

I've always been surprised that there is no "look up" list of divorces easily available to the public.  You'd just need the names/dates at its most basic.... to give you a clue. 

Related to: Lots of people!
:)
Mostly Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, some Kent and Dorset.
 
Elizabeth Long/Elizabeth Wilson/Elizabeth Long Wilson, b 1889 Caxton - where are you?
- -
Seeking: death year/location of Albert Edward Morgan, born Cambridge 1885/86 to Hannah & Edward Morgan of 33 Cambridge Place.
WW1 soldier, service number 8624, 2nd battalion, Highland Light Infantry.

Offline ThrelfallYorky

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,014
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Marriage & Bigamy
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 04 February 18 15:41 GMT (UK) »
Probably a "Look Up" list of divorces would lead to many elderly members of families having to do some quick thinking when questioned by their younger family historians, not only on their ancestors' accounts, but also on their own!
Threlfall (Southport), Isherwood (lancs & Canada), Newbould + Topliss(Derby), Keating & Cummins (Ireland + lancs), Fisher, Strong& Casson (all Cumberland) & Downie & Bowie, Linlithgow area Scotland . Also interested in Leigh& Burrows,(Lancashire) Griffiths (Shropshire & lancs), Leaver (Lancs/Yorks) & Anderson(Cumberland and very elusive)