[APG Public List] "Mrs." in a colonial New England marriage

Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer christine3cats at gmail.com
Wed Jul 21 08:48:53 MDT 2010

Hi, Helen,

Unfortunately, I can't get at the original NH records to check.
However, since approximately half of the brides listed on the page
were "Mrs.", I suspect that it was a social title rather than an
indication of marital status--I can't see such a large proportion of
widows marrying.


On Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 7:25 PM, Helen S. Ullmann <hsullmann at comcast.net> wrote:
> Hi Christine,
> That's a tricky problem. It could be either. Maybe if you did a bit of
> research on the other marriages on the page you could get a better picture.
> Maybe some definitely were married before. Or if you can convince yourself
> that some, or most of the others weren't, that would help. We were looking
> at the same problem in other records for a Register article. Turned out
> there were two versions of the original vital records, a copy by the
> original recorder. But that would be unusual. I don't suppose there's a
> county court copy there in N.H. at the time, is there?
> Helen Ullmann
> Message: 3
> Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2010 14:33:13 -0400
> From: Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer <christine3cats at gmail.com>
> Subject: [APG Public List] "Mrs." in a colonial New England marriage
> 	record--social class or married state?
> 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

More information about the APGPublicList mailing list