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Re: [ScottishWarPrisoners] George Gray and fornication

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  • Mark Sutherland-Fisher
    Eleanor, Sex before marriage was the norm in Scotland and probably England as well until Queen Victoria and her German morals kicked in! At a time when divorce
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 16, 2007
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      Eleanor,
      Sex before marriage was the norm in Scotland and probably England as well
      until Queen Victoria and her German morals kicked in!

      At a time when divorce was only for the rich and powerful, the only reason a
      couple married was to have children and the only way they would know if they
      could ahve children togther was to try. The normal practice in Scotland was
      for a courting couple to have premarital sex and then as soon as the girl
      discovered she was pregnant, they married. If they got the timing wrong,
      they just announced that they had entered into an irregular marriage and if
      they could afford it, paid the fee to the Kirk and then had their irregular
      marriage recognised by the Kirk.

      The majority of people pre Victorian times entered into irregular marriages
      and as both marriages and baptisms had to be paid for to be recorded, the
      great majority of ordinary people didnt register their marriages and
      childrens births, which is why often people cant trace ancestors entries
      inthe OPR in years where there are not gaps in the records.

      Remember entire generations of men were regularly culled on the battlefield
      and disproportionately large numbers of women died either in or as a
      consequence of childbirth. A widower with young children would almost
      immediately remarry, often to his wife's younger sister or cousin to provide
      a new mother for his children and would then probably saddle the poor woman
      with another handful of her own and if she died, he would get another. A man
      was often having children with several wives over a 30 or 40 year period and
      frequently was still fathering children when his older children were
      themselves already having children.

      The converse was also true. Often a widow left with young children perhaps
      in her 20's or even as late as early 40's would acquire a new husband, often
      a man young enough to be her son, who would have his eye on her farm or
      property which would become his on marriage and then proceed to have even 2
      or 3 children by her. I have seen cases of women previously widowed with
      several children in their 40's having more children by their husbands in
      their 20s and unsurprisingly such women rarely lived to be old and a few
      years later the younger husband would be taking another wife after her
      premature death, often as a consequence of a very late pregnancy or
      childbirth. Within my own family I have numerous cases of multiple marriages
      in both sexes where there wasn't a single divorce. that is why it is
      essential you carefully analyse who the witnesses to any child's birth were.
      almost always they were specially chosen by the father/parents.
      Mark

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    • Dave Fisher
      My guess is that the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the York County Court (then part of the MBC) took a dimmer view of what the Scottish ex-prisoners took as a
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 16, 2007
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        My guess is that the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the York County
        Court (then part of the MBC) took a dimmer view of what the Scottish
        ex-prisoners took as a norm. The court proceeding fell about halfway
        between the establishment of the Puritan colony and the later Salem
        witch trials.

        Dave

        --- In ScottishWarPrisoners@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Sutherland-Fisher"
        <msf10@...> wrote:
        >
        > Eleanor,
        > Sex before marriage was the norm in Scotland and probably England
        as well
        > until Queen Victoria and her German morals kicked in!
        >
        > At a time when divorce was only for the rich and powerful, the only
        reason a
        > couple married was to have children and the only way they would
        know if they
        > could ahve children togther was to try. The normal practice in
        Scotland was
        > for a courting couple to have premarital sex and then as soon as
        the girl
        > discovered she was pregnant, they married. If they got the timing
        wrong,
        > they just announced that they had entered into an irregular
        marriage and if
        > they could afford it, paid the fee to the Kirk and then had their
        irregular
        > marriage recognised by the Kirk.
        >
        > The majority of people pre Victorian times entered into irregular
        marriages
        > and as both marriages and baptisms had to be paid for to be
        recorded, the
        > great majority of ordinary people didnt register their marriages
        and
        > childrens births, which is why often people cant trace ancestors
        entries
        > inthe OPR in years where there are not gaps in the records.
        >
        > Remember entire generations of men were regularly culled on the
        battlefield
        > and disproportionately large numbers of women died either in or as
        a
        > consequence of childbirth. A widower with young children would
        almost
        > immediately remarry, often to his wife's younger sister or cousin
        to provide
        > a new mother for his children and would then probably saddle the
        poor woman
        > with another handful of her own and if she died, he would get
        another. A man
        > was often having children with several wives over a 30 or 40 year
        period and
        > frequently was still fathering children when his older children
        were
        > themselves already having children.
        >
        > The converse was also true. Often a widow left with young children
        perhaps
        > in her 20's or even as late as early 40's would acquire a new
        husband, often
        > a man young enough to be her son, who would have his eye on her
        farm or
        > property which would become his on marriage and then proceed to
        have even 2
        > or 3 children by her. I have seen cases of women previously widowed
        with
        > several children in their 40's having more children by their
        husbands in
        > their 20s and unsurprisingly such women rarely lived to be old and
        a few
        > years later the younger husband would be taking another wife after
        her
        > premature death, often as a consequence of a very late pregnancy or
        > childbirth. Within my own family I have numerous cases of multiple
        marriages
        > in both sexes where there wasn't a single divorce. that is why it
        is
        > essential you carefully analyse who the witnesses to any child's
        birth were.
        > almost always they were specially chosen by the father/parents.
        > Mark
        >
        > _________________________________________________________________
        > MSN Hotmail is evolving – check out the new Windows Live Mail
        > http://ideas.live.com
        >
      • bob gillis
        ... I think that the Puritans had a lot to do with it also. bob gillis
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 16, 2007
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          Mark Sutherland-Fisher wrote:

          >Eleanor,
          >Sex before marriage was the norm in Scotland and probably England as well
          >until Queen Victoria and her German morals kicked in!
          >

          I think that the Puritans had a lot to do with it also.

          bob gillis
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