10 May 2023
Find the answers below to the beginner, intermediate and advanced questions, and the thinking-outside-the-box challenge, that Family Tree Academy Tutor David Annal set in the June2023 issue of Family Tree.
Emmeline Goulden married Richard Pankhurst in 1879. Can you find the reference to their marriage in the General Register Office index?
The marriage of Emmeline Goulden and Richard Pankhurst was registered in the December quarter of 1879 in the Salford registration district. The GRO reference is 8d 154.
Surviving registers of Clandestine marriages are held by the National Archives. What is the reference number for the relevant record series?
The National Archives’ Record series RG 7 comprises ‘Registers of Clandestine Marriages and of Baptisms in the Fleet Prison, King's Bench Prison, the Mint and the May Fair Chapel’.
What are the names of the two ecclesiastical institutions which could issue marriage licences on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury?
Marriage licences for the Province of Canterbury could be issued by the Faculty Office and the Vicar General’s Office.
Thinking Outside The Box
What reasons can you think of which might have invalidated a particular marriage, making it ‘void’?
The tendency of the law in England and Wales has always been to presume that a marriage was valid. Minor contraventions of the legislation would not usually invalidate a marriage.
Marriages would have been void if:
- they were bigamous
- they took place outside the Established church of England (between 1754 and 1837), Jews and Quakers excepted
- they were performed without banns having been read or a licence having been issued (between 1754 and 1837)
- they were between people within the ‘Prohibited Degrees of Kindred’ and took place (between 1835 and 1907)
- one of the parties was under age and married by licence without parental consent
- one of the parties was, due to mental incompetence, unable to give their consent
- one of the parties married under a false name – but only if they used the name with intent to hide their true identity
- from 1823, if one of the parties ‘knowingly and wilfully’ failed to comply with the legal directives in place at the time of the marriage
The crucial thing to remember is that, as Rebecca Probert points out in Marriage Law for Genealogists, marriages which might be void if challenged, should be considered to be valid if they weren’t challenged and annulled at the time.
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