Friday, April 14, 2017

M is for Marriage Banns

The banns of marriage, are the public announcement in a Christian parish church or in the town council of an impending marriage between two specified persons. The purpose of banns is to enable anyone to raise any canonical or civil legal impediment to the marriage, so as to prevent marriages that are invalid. Impediments vary between legal jurisdictions, but would normally include a pre-existing marriage that has been neither dissolved nor annulled, a vow of celibacy, lack of consent, or the couple's being related within the prohibited degrees of kinship.

It reminds me when you start a business - the notice of fictitious business name - you run an ad in the local newspaper for so many weeks, in case someone else has claim to that fictitious name.

Have you ever found multiple marriage records with slightly different dates? They could have been banns.

Banns were a common requirement during the colonial era. Plymouth Colony's first marriage regulation (1636) required the banns to be read to the congregation three times, or if no congregation was in the area, publicly posted for a fifteen-day period. Quakers were allowed to announce banns in their meetinghouses. Noncompliance with the banns procedure carried a serious fine in the 17th century, which could be imposed upon the groom or minister. The proclaiming of the banns of marriage was also a requirement in the Dutch colony of New Netherland.

By the 19th and 20th centuries, the practice of announcing bans faded, as most religious denominations abandoned the practice or made it optional. Banns were superseded by the rise of civil marriage license requirements, which served a similar purpose: "a declaration that no legal impediment exists to the marriages."

What are Marriage Banns and how can I use them in my research?

National Records of Scotland - Old Parish Registers – Marriages and Proclamation of Banns

Irish Family History - How to avoid an illicit marriage: Marriage banns.

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  1. Every post of yours is interesting and keeps my levels up to see what I am yet to discover..

  2. This is very interesting and I never even heard of it. Good to know

    1. I keep finding at least 2 dates of marriage so that must be what is going on.


About Me

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Stay at home Mom to 1 dog and 2 cats. I am the "big sister" in the photo. My baby sister, passed away unexpectedly, Sept. 2015 at the young age of 56. I miss her terribly. Everyone in my childhood family has now passed. I have 3 sons. My oldest son died in 2003 at the age of 25. I am not LDS. I do enjoy History and GENEALOGY has become my hobby and my passion.