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
--- In ScottishWarPrisoners@yahoogroups.com
, "Mark Sutherland-Fisher"
> Sex before marriage was the norm in Scotland and probably England
> until Queen Victoria and her German morals kicked in!
> At a time when divorce was only for the rich and powerful, the only
> 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
> for a courting couple to have premarital sex and then as soon as
> discovered she was pregnant, they married. If they got the timing
> 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
> marriage recognised by the Kirk.
> The majority of people pre Victorian times entered into irregular
> and as both marriages and baptisms had to be paid for to be
> great majority of ordinary people didnt register their marriages
> childrens births, which is why often people cant trace ancestors
> inthe OPR in years where there are not gaps in the records.
> Remember entire generations of men were regularly culled on the
> and disproportionately large numbers of women died either in or as
> consequence of childbirth. A widower with young children would
> immediately remarry, often to his wife's younger sister or cousin
> a new mother for his children and would then probably saddle the
> 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
> frequently was still fathering children when his older children
> themselves already having children.
> The converse was also true. Often a widow left with young children
> in her 20's or even as late as early 40's would acquire a new
> a man young enough to be her son, who would have his eye on her
> 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
> several children in their 40's having more children by their
> their 20s and unsurprisingly such women rarely lived to be old and
> years later the younger husband would be taking another wife after
> premature death, often as a consequence of a very late pregnancy or
> childbirth. Within my own family I have numerous cases of multiple
> in both sexes where there wasn't a single divorce. that is why it
> essential you carefully analyse who the witnesses to any child's
> almost always they were specially chosen by the father/parents.
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