[APG Public List] More on the title "Mrs." in colonial times

Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer christine3cats at gmail.com
Thu Jul 22 11:51:55 MDT 2010

I'm on vacation for three weeks, and am spending the vacation at home,
devoting a lot of it to genealogy. This week I'm working on extending
a newly discovered New England line of my husband's, using sources
like the NEHGS databases. Yes, I know they're secondary sources, but
most of them are credible, and they give me a framework for the time
when I might be able to look at original records.

This morning, I was working on a complicated line that has a woman who
married twice and was the daughter of a woman who married three
times--and discovered that the younger woman had a half-sister who
married (as her second husband--this family really did have a problem
keeping husbands alive!) Dudley Bradstreet, son of Gov. Simon
Bradstreet. I found an article in the NEHGR (vol. 139[1985]:139-142)
that traces the sources that prove all these complicate
relationships--made more complicated by the fact that some of the
women reverted to previous married names after the death of a husband.
The article begins, "There has long been a question concerning the
identity of Mrs. Ann Price who married Dudley Bradstreet....Although
the "Mrs." preceding her name was an honorific denoting her station in
society rather than her marital status, there is no doubt that she
was, in fact, a widow."

On the opposite end of the scale, for an example of someone looking at
the use of "Mrs." in the modern usage, the copy of the Mass. VRs that
was scanned for Newbury Marriages, p. 265 (Jones), includes the
marriage of Capt. Ichabod Jones to "Mrs. Apphia Coffin," where someone
has (one imagines, indignantly!) crossed out "Mrs." and written in
"Miss see Coffin Gen."


Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer
Hyde Park, NY

Author of: Long-Distance Genealogy:
Researching Your Ancestors from Home

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