Author Topic: Not sure how to categorize this  (Read 729 times)

Offline Dillon Troy

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Not sure how to categorize this
« on: Thursday 25 February 16 15:59 GMT (UK) »
Can anyone tell me what was the legal status of transported convicts' wives and families left in the UK?  I'm trying to link (or prove there is no link) between a convict and my family.  He was transported to Tasmania for rape, married out there and never returned to the UK.  But he had a wife and children in England.  Since he was allowed to remarry, would her marriage automatically be dissolved, would she have to divorce him, or would she remain married and in matrimonial limbo, despite him being allowed to remarry.  Any link I can find will be through her children, but I'm struggling to trace them and wonder if she changed their name, reverted to her maiden name  or remarried.

Offline groom

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Re: Not sure how to categorize this
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 25 February 16 16:04 GMT (UK) »
I think if the convict was transported for more than 7 years he could be regarded as dead and the wife left in England was free to remarry.
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Offline ThrelfallYorky

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Re: Not sure how to categorize this
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 25 February 16 16:07 GMT (UK) »
Probably many simply didn't mention any earlier marriage - after all, it was on the other side of the world, and no-one would know. He may have "allowed" himself to marry - then he'd be a bigamist. His first wife would still be his legal spouse. News probably wouldn't get back to England, but as for all practical purposes he was gone for good - she may well have re-married, with her fingers crossed behind her back. Legally both were married to each other until one died, no matter where they were, I'm sure. "Presumption of Death" probably didn't apply, unless there were other factors.
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Offline *Sandra*

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Re: Not sure how to categorize this
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 25 February 16 16:11 GMT (UK) »
"We search for information, but the burden of proof is always with the thread owner"

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Offline *Sandra*

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Re: Not sure how to categorize this
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 25 February 16 16:13 GMT (UK) »
In the early years, very few convicts' wives were able to follow their husbands to the colonies. Convicts who arrived without their spouses often entered into bigamous marriages in the absence of adequate records. In other cases they simply cohabited without formal marriage. There was also a general, if erroneous, belief in England and the colonies that if one party were transported, both parties were released from their marriage and free to marry again.

http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/M/Marriage%20and%20divorce.htm

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Offline Dillon Troy

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Re: Not sure how to categorize this
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 25 February 16 16:27 GMT (UK) »
That's very helpful, thank you.

Offline stanmapstone

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Offline groom

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Re: Not sure how to categorize this
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 25 February 16 17:37 GMT (UK) »
So the Seven Year rule would apply?  I doubt if many convicts returned as it would have been too expensive.
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Offline ThrelfallYorky

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Re: Not sure how to categorize this
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 25 February 16 18:02 GMT (UK) »
That surprised me, too. I'd heard of it, but assumed it was folklore. I'm wiser now - thanks.
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