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

Ray Beere Johnson II raybeere at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 21 12:17:12 MDT 2010


--- On Wed, 7/21/10, Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer <christine3cats at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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.

     That _is_ unusual. But, it is also odd to have so many brides with a relatively elevated social status in one place and time. Widows were not uncommon in colonial times. Even a minor outbreak of sickness might leave a number of women seeking new husbands.
     Without knowing more about the specific clerk who kept these records, and how they tended to operate, you just can't be sure. Were they more intent than most clerks on recording the fact the bride was a widow? Were they more likely to see many women as socially elevated?
     There's nothing wrong with speculating in order to decide what direction to take in further research. But the fact is, in this situation, there is no way to be sure what "Mrs." signified. Ruling out either possibility will just risk crippling your ongoing research effort.
                                Ray Beere Johnson II



      


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