Sunday, June 01, 2014

Question from Peter - Tudor marriage records

Dear Friends,

Re Tudor marriage records.

What sources are there for marriage records apart from Parish Registers, Bishop's Transcripts, Marriage Allegations and Bonds, Herald's visitations and Wills?

I have a record of one Wakefield (in Yorkshire) Tudor ancestor with four wives but no source given!

Thank you for any help,


PhD Historian said...

You've pretty well covered the basics with your list. But the precise period of time you are looking at and the types of people you are studying may have fewer or greater numbers of sources. Parish registers, for example, tended to be very poorly kept prior to the middle of the 16th century, and may be quite spotty even after that. And Herald's Visitation records pertain to only a very small percentage of the total population (those with sufficient wealth and status to be entitled to a coat of arms). Later in the 16th C, the Elizabethan Poor Laws required local parish officials to keep records of relief given to poor families, and those records often included useful demographic information. Civil litigation records often included details on who was married to whom, especially if property entered a family via a marriage and later became the focus of a lawsuit.

It was not all that uncommon for men to have multiple wives, since so many women died quite young in childbirth and men were compelled to remarry for both dynastic and domestic reasons. But women might also have multiple husbands during their lifetime. Bess of Hardwick had four separate husbands during her lifetime, having first been married at age 15.

Unknown said...

Many thanks Phd historian