Author Topic: Marrying your dead wife’s sister  (Read 2481 times)

Offline Sloe Gin

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Re: Marrying your dead wife’s sister
« Reply #27 on: Tuesday 26 March 24 01:29 GMT (UK) »
Not strictly prohibited as such - what the Act actually said (s2) was ...

"That all marriages which shall hereafter be celebrated between persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity shall be absolutely null and void to all intents and purposes whatsoever"

So it made any such marriages automatically void - but that didn't prevent them from happening, and quite regularly. My 3x G Grandfather married his widows younger sister (in 1840). They went to a neighbouring parish for the ceremony, but family members were witnesses and I doubt there was much attempt at any secrecy about it.

Despite the 1835 Act It is a fairly common thing to find in families at that time, and no offence was committed by anyone doing it.

I've never understood the reasons for the 1835 Act. I understand the religious prohibition as it flows from the idea that marriage makes a husband and wife "one flesh" and therefore their respective relatives were regarded as blood relatives. It seems unnecessarily strict though.  I imagine that many of these marriages were for sound practical reasons as widow(er)s were left with young children to support or care for.
UK census content is Crown Copyright, from  Transcriptions are my own.

Offline Marmalady

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Re: Marrying your dead wife’s sister
« Reply #28 on: Tuesday 26 March 24 10:17 GMT (UK) »
My Grandmother's cousin married, as her 3rd husband, their Aunt's widower
She therefore became step-mother to her two cousins

She had divorced her first husband for cruelty ( a rare thing in the early 1900's) -- he later went on to murder the supposed lover of his second wife and was sentenced to hang, but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

She and my Grandmother were close, and my Grandmother inherited several pieces of her gold jewellery which I now have.
One of the pieces has initials on -- but I cannot find anyone with those initials in any of the families she was connected to, so where it has come from is a mystery!
Wainwright - Yorkshire
Whitney - Herefordshire
Watson -  Northamptonshire
Trant - Yorkshire
Helps - all
Needham - Derbyshire
Waterhouse - Derbyshire
Northing - all