Author Topic: 1st cousin marriages in the early 19th Century  (Read 6333 times)

Offline ChristopherHeppenstall70

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1st cousin marriages in the early 19th Century
« on: Monday 08 May 17 12:04 BST (UK) »
I'm descended from James Heppenstall (Newark) and Rebecca Haywood (Newark). They are my great x 4 grandparents.

James mother = Ann Bellamy who married Richard Heppenstall.

Rebecca's mother = Rebecca Bellamy who married George Haywood.

Rebecca and Ann parents is John Bellamy and Elizabeth Green.

That makes them 1st cousins by marriage. I have double checked, and triple checked and the marriage record is a true and correct record. I have double/tripled checked their parents to make sure there was no mistake.

Was first cousin marriages common in England in those days? How was it viewed?

Further background information.

The Bellamy and Green families are from Yaxley, Glapthorn and Sawtry. The Bellamy ancestors include the Spencer/Spensor, Vere/Veare familes.

Offline stanmapstone

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Re: 1st cousin marriages in the early 19th Century
« Reply #1 on: Monday 08 May 17 13:00 BST (UK) »
Cousin marriages were permitted. It was not only possible for first cousins [cousins-german] to marry each other; it was also quite common, having been legalized in the 1540s. Before this all provinces of the Catholic Church did agree that marriage between first cousins was essentially unacceptable.

The Act was 32 Hen VIII, c.38 (1540). [Marriage]. (Precontracting & Degrees of Consanguinity). Which says in effect that all marriages were valid unless prohibited by God's laws. 2nd . July 1540.
Among its other provisions it declared that the relationship between first cousins did not constitute a divine prohibition of affinity.

Stan
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Offline a-l

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Re: 1st cousin marriages in the early 19th Century
« Reply #2 on: Monday 08 May 17 13:05 BST (UK) »
I have a few cousin marriages in my ancestry and no doubt others will come along and say the same.

Offline Galium

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Re: 1st cousin marriages in the early 19th Century
« Reply #3 on: Monday 08 May 17 13:23 BST (UK) »
It is still legal in the UK, although I think a fair number of people don't realise this.  I can't find statistics, but suspect that it is rare (except in some immigrant populations where it is culturally more acceptable).

In Victorian England the number of possible marriage partners available to any particular person was smaller, so it was more likely that cousins would be included among those who would be considered suitable.  (Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria both married cousins).

My own tree is quite extensive, and contains many examples of marriages between 2nd or 3rd cousins during the 19thC (mostly in England and Wales), but  the only 1st cousin marriage I can think of took place in Ohio in 1888, when it was still legal there.
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Offline Caw1

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Re: 1st cousin marriages in the early 19th Century
« Reply #4 on: Monday 08 May 17 15:17 BST (UK) »
I have some close relationships in my family too.

My gt grandmother Elizabeth Dunn was the niece of my gt.gt grandmother Sarah Sophia Dunn's brother George Dunn. Took me quite a while to work it through and realise that this was the case but like the author of this post I've done a great deal of checking to discover that it's correct.

There is also another first cousin marriage in my Bangerter family. My gt grandfathers son married his brothers daughter. They all have Swiss/German roots.

I think it would appear to be much more common in the past than it perhaps is now. I didn't realise that it was still legal in UK to do this and as Galium says perhaps not everybody realises this.

'Keeping it in the family' takes on a whole new meaning and as you say it is more acceptable in other cultures.

Caroline
Guy - UK,USA
Bangerter -UK,Australia,Switzerland
Harriss - UK, Australia
Merrall - UK
Swinnock - UK
Lloyd - UK

Offline ThrelfallYorky

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Re: 1st cousin marriages in the early 19th Century
« Reply #5 on: Monday 08 May 17 15:58 BST (UK) »
Like many others, I've found a few examples, and agree it was probably more frequent in relatively isolated communities, and/or in order to retain property. Also found lots of examples of sets of siblings, often 2 or 3 in the same generation, marrying other sets of siblings. And two of the offspring of these married cousins. More worryingly, but fortunately not in my direct line, I found THREE instances, in successive generations, of cousin marriages.
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)

Offline ladybird

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Re: 1st cousin marriages in the early 19th Century
« Reply #6 on: Monday 08 May 17 21:19 BST (UK) »
My grandparents were 1st cousins....their mothers were twins  :o
Main names:
Scotland (Travellers) - Townsend/Townsley, Conway, Stewart
Lanark and Stirling - Jeffrey.
Northumberland/ Durham - Newton, Nixon, Sharp, Greaves, Naters
Warwickshire and London - Garfield.
Ireland, Co. Kerry - Marah/Meara/Mara, McClure, Howard, Melvin
Lincs - Smith, Vinter

other offshoots - Berry, Steven, Craig, Atkins, Fuller, , Stewart, Conway, Heather,

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Offline Cell

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Re: 1st cousin marriages in the early 19th Century
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 09 May 17 01:19 BST (UK) »
It's legal in nearly all of the so called Western countries, except for some states in the US ,( I believe it's 19 states in the US that it is prohibited ??).

 Its legal in Europe , Canada,Australia and N Zealand besides the Uk (and also some states of the US).
I don't know why some people think cousin marriages are illegal in the Uk, maybe its because there are so many American shows on tv, or American websites (It's amazing how many young  kids think 911 is the emergency phone number here in Aus)

I think we are far more hung up on it now  in  these present times  than we were in the very close past.
It was no big deal when I was growing up in the UK and I'm not that ancient  ( Although, my son may disagree with me there, as I was born in the last century lol)

I can't ever imagine marrying any of my own 1st  cousins, too close for my own liking, but I have never raised an eyebrow over others who I have personally known that have married theirs. 
My grandparents were also cousins , although not first .

Kind regards


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Offline majm

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Re: 1st cousin marriages in the early 19th Century
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 09 May 17 01:39 BST (UK) »
Cell is spot on.   :) 

JM
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