* invalid marriage

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phayes1949
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invalid marriage

Post by phayes1949 » 14 Aug 2020 09:01

My great grandmother married her own brother! I am aware that this was an invalid marriage, but my grandfather's birth certificate has them as parents. (True father unknown.) She used her step-father as father on the marriage certificate. As a newbie I am somewhat confused as to how to present this in FH. Any suggestions much appreciated.

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ColeValleyGirl
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 14 Aug 2020 09:21

I would record them as a couple and add the Marriage event if you have details of it, but include a note either on the marriage event or as a shared note for the couple describing the situation.

If the marriage took place before 1835, the marriage was 'voidable' i.e. capable of being voided -- annulled if it was successfully challenged while both partners were alive, but valid if nobody challenged it, in which case any children were legitimate. You may never be able to find out if the marriage was challenged, but there might be something lurking in the relevant local record office. If they moved away from where they were known to get married, they might have gotten away with it. The marriage status might therefore be the default blank (equivalent to married) or Never Married if the marriage was successfully challenged.

After 1835, the marriage would have been automatically void and the children illegitimate, so the Marriage status should be 'Never married'.

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tatewise
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by tatewise » 14 Aug 2020 09:44

Could you please clarify a few details?

You say your great grandmother was sister to the brother she married, but also say she used her step-father as father on the marriage certificate. So were they biological sister and brother or only step-sister and step-brother?
Do you know the exact relationships between all the parents and all the children, because it sounds a little complex?

You also say your grandfather's birth certificate has them as parents but his biological father is unknown.
If it is not too personal, how do you know that?

The way to represent all those relationships in FH rather depends on the exact details of who was partner to whom and who were their biological/adopted/step children.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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LornaCraig
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by LornaCraig » 14 Aug 2020 09:44

You say "true father unknown", so I take it that you don't think this was really a case of incest. (But it might have been, if the brother and sister were 'married'. Don't rule it out.) In this case just create a record for the father but leave his name blank, and in the note for the birth event explain what it says on the birth certificate and why you think the father's name is wrong.

If you do want to record the brother ansd sister as the child's parents, you can do this by using the 'Add link to existing record' option instead of creating a new record for the unknown father.
Lorna

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ColeValleyGirl
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 14 Aug 2020 10:10

So were they biological sister and brother or only step-sister and step-brother?
Half-siblings still fell within the prohibited degrees, being treated the same IIRC as full siblings.

Step-siblings (where there was no consanguinity) were not within the prohibited degrees by consanguinity but might fall under the prohibition by affinity (a close relative of somebody your parent married) depending on which way the wind was blowing (or rather whether the person marrying the couple was comfortable that it was allowed).

In addition, if one of the couple was illegitimate, and the marriage took place before 1861, it was perfectly legal, as in law an illegitimate child was related to nobody, even their own mother, and so could not fall within the prohibited degrees.

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Gowermick
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by Gowermick » 14 Aug 2020 12:11

Of course they may not be related at all!
If both their parents were previously married, the brother and sister could both be from the previous marriages, and so would not be blood relatives at all.
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ColeValleyGirl
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 14 Aug 2020 12:25

so would not be blood relatives at all
As I said, they might still be prohibited by affinity, depending on the incumbent (and any other interested parties) view of the grey bit of the law.

As an example of affinity, it was forbidden until 1907 for a man to marry his dead wife's sister, even though they weren't related by blood. And there are limited circumstances even today when a step-parent can marry a step-child even though they aren't related by blood. (After 1986, such a marriage is valid as long as they never lived as parent and child).

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LornaCraig
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by LornaCraig » 14 Aug 2020 13:35

Perhaps we should make it clear that all the preceding comments about the legal aspects of the marriage are based on the assumption that we are talking about England and Wales. Even in Scotland some aspects of marriage law were different, although I'm pretty sure that the marriage of full siblings would be illegal anywhere in the world!
Lorna

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Gowermick
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by Gowermick » 14 Aug 2020 15:01

ColeValleyGirl wrote:
14 Aug 2020 12:25
As an example of affinity, it was forbidden until 1907 for a man to marry his dead wife's sister, even though they weren't related by blood.
I always understood that that was more a case of not encouraging spouses ( men and women) to bump off their partners, leaving them free to marry their partner’s sibling, rather than their close relationship :)
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ColeValleyGirl
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 14 Aug 2020 15:22

I always understood that that was more a case of not encouraging spouses ( men and women) to bump off their partners
Archbishop Parker's table of the Prohibited Degrees was drawn up in 1563 based on Biblical texts (somewhere in Leviticus, I believe) and tinkered with for years. Nothing to do with discouraging murder and everything to do with 'None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness.' The list of near kin included sister-in-law (in our terms) and was interpreted by early equal opportunities monitors to include brother-in-law as well.

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Re: invalid marriage

Post by tatewise » 14 Aug 2020 15:32

Is this in danger of digressing too far away from the original question especially for the OP's first posting, and maybe needs its own thread?
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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ColeValleyGirl
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 14 Aug 2020 15:55

No. The validity or lack of validity of the marriage needs to be understood to record it properly.

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tatewise
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by tatewise » 14 Aug 2020 16:44

But until the OP provides the details isn't it all hypothetical speculation?
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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ColeValleyGirl
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 14 Aug 2020 18:53

No. The historical law isn't speculation -- which relationship was involved might be without more info, but the full facts might be useful to others who search for similar guidance.

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gwilym'smum
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by gwilym'smum » 15 Aug 2020 06:58

Professor Rebecca Probert has several books detailing the ins and outs of the legality of marriage. Well worth looking at.
Ann
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phayes1949
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by phayes1949 » 19 Aug 2020 16:22

As far as I know: Both were Danish, "married" in Southampton, 1885. Both were born before their mother remarried, so the tentative assumption is that they share the father. She used the same surname as her brother on earlier Danish records. I say father unknown because I have no way of knowing whether it was her brother, another brother, father or someone else related or not.
My great-mother remarried and has descendants in Australia who may possibly have further information, but I suspect it was a taboo subject.
In any case, back on subject, you have been very helpful in guiding me as to how to record it.
Many thanks all.
Phil Hayes

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phayes1949
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Re: invalid marriage

Post by phayes1949 » 19 Aug 2020 16:27

As an aside, I like to think, with little justification, that they fled Denmark and my (?) whatever he was, married his sister as a protective act. She is then traceable but he disappears from the record.
Phil

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