[APG Public List] "Mrs." in a colonial New England marriage record--social class or married state?

Craig Kilby persisto at live.com
Sun Jul 18 04:52:02 MDT 2010


What a good question. I have seen young woman--girls really--styled "Mrs." in Virginia records. I have come to believe it is an abbreviation for Miss. Since I know for a fact these young maids were not married and were about ten years old at the time, it really did throw me for a loop at first.

You have done a great job of compiling data for the purpose of comparison. I thank you for the corroboration.

Craig Kilby

On Jul 17, 2010, at 2:33 PM, Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer wrote:

> History of the Town of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire...(1900) by Warren
> Brown, p. 135 includes a marriage in 1741:
> "April 3, John Duty and Mrs. Jane Boynton, both of Newbury [Massachusetts]."
> In this context, does the title "Mrs." mean that she was previously
> married, or does it simply imply a higher social class than the women
> who didn't have this designation? On this one page, 16 of the 34
> brides are designated "Mrs.'; one of them is identified as a widow;
> the others aren't.
> Jane (Boynton) Duty later married my husband's ancestor, Richard
> Goodridge (1719-1797), and I am having very little luck in making a
> definite identification of her parents. I've looked at a number of
> Boynton genealogies, databases on the NEHGS web site, etc., etc.
> There's a Jane Boynton, daughter of Jonathan, baptized in 1723 in
> Newbury, who would be perfect, but I'm not finding much about her
> (yes, I need to see if he left a probate record that names her).
> If Boynton was a first married name for Jane, it would explain why I
> can't find her in Boynton genealogies. She had her last child in 1767
> (perfect for a 1723 birth date!), so if she was married first to a
> Boynton, she would have been quite young, and quite possibly had no
> children by him.
> Thanks for input about use of the title "Mrs."
> Christine
> -- 
> Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer
> Hyde Park, NY
> Author of: Long-Distance Genealogy:
> Researching Your Ancestors from Home

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