Banns and Marriage

Some marriages we look at in family history are performed under licence (usually for reasons of speed or prestige) but most are performed under banns – banns are read out in the appropriate churches (where the participants are resident) on 3 preceding Sundays.

Banns can be the only record that a marriage took place if the actual marriage records have not survived, but they have to be regarded with caution as sometimes banns have been read but the marriage has not actually taken place.

I am collecting Micklethwaite marriages in the West Riding from the Ancestry records (see earlier blogs) and looking at banns was getting tedious as they have no indication of marital state (those dreaded words widower or widow, which incidentally don’t always appear depending on the vicar), nor do they have witness names (which can help identify a family). I had given up looking.

However the combination of Ancestry and the vicar of Cumberworth in 1798 has caught me out – he recorded the banns and marriage together, so the marriage appears under banns on Ancestry. Maybe all churches did this before the pre-printed banns and marriage registers were introduced – I’m working backwards in time so I should find out eventually.

Thanks to Sue I now have seen these records – and the mystery of which Julia Micklethwaite married William Tyas is solved. Another tiny piece of the jigsaw in place – leaving only the bigger mystery of who Julia’s father Joseph was!

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