[APG Public List] Need help interpreting 1893 Minnesota marriagelicense

david t. robertson robertson.d at rcn.com
Sun Mar 6 16:14:30 MST 2011


It appears to me that the groom said he was 21.  Don't read more into the
record than is there.  The parents permission was not necessary.  The
statement might mean that the clerk doubted his age was true or he was just
stating the law.  No involvement by the parents is indicated.  

David T. Robertson 

-----Original Message-----
From: apgpubliclist-bounces+robertson.d=rcn.com at apgen.org
[mailto:apgpubliclist-bounces+robertson.d=rcn.com at apgen.org] On Behalf Of
Linda Johnson
Sent: Sunday, March 06, 2011 5:48 PM
To: apgpubliclist at apgen.org
Subject: [APG Public List] Need help interpreting 1893 Minnesota

I've seen several marriage records from various times and places in which
the parent of an underage bride or groom gave permission for his/her child
to marry. Those records generally said, very simply, that the child was
under the legal age to marry but the parent granted his/her permission. That
being the case, I'm not sure how to interpret this one:  

The groom in a Minnesota marriage was nineteen when he filed an application
in 1893, at which time legal age for males to marry was twenty-one. The
groom declared on oath in the application that he was "of the full age of
twenty-one years." Numerous other records show him and his parents to have
been very consistent in stating his birth date and place, so I don't believe
this is a case of ignorance or confusion. The license section, filled in by
an assistant clerk, states that the license to marry is granted, [his]
"being satisfied by the statement of said [groom's name] and parents on
oath, [blank lines with nothing written on them] that there is no legal
impediment thereto." I would have expected either that there would be no
parental oath on the marriage record of a groom who was of legal age or
that, with a parental oath, his age would have been stated correctly (under
twenty-one years).


1. Does the fact that the parents' oath was apparently required indicate
that the clerk (in a small community) knew the groom was not of legal age?

2. Does the record imply that the groom's parents, as well as their son,
lied about his age in order for him to marry? (The bride was already
pregnant, so there was some urgency for the couple to marry before the birth
of their child.) 

Thank you for any insights you may have.

Linda B. Johnson


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