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

Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer christine3cats at gmail.com
Sat Jul 17 12:33:13 MDT 2010

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 Crawford-Oppenheimer
Hyde Park, NY

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

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