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Marriage Law for Genealogists: The Definitive Guide ...what everyone tracing their family history needs to know about where, when, who and how their English and Welsh ancestors married Paperback – 4 Sep 2012


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Marriage Law for Genealogists: The Definitive Guide ...what everyone tracing their family history needs to know about where, when, who and how their English and Welsh ancestors married + Wills and Probate Records: A Guide for Family Historians (Readers Guides) + Genealogy: Essential Research Methods
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Product details

  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Takeaway (Publishing) (4 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956384714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956384713
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Rebecca Probert is widely recognised as the leading authority on the history of the marriage laws of England and Wales, a subject on which she has written extensively. Currently Professor of Law at the University of Warwick, she read law at St Anne’s College, Oxford, took her LLM at University College, London, worked as a researcher at the Law Commission, and has lectured in family law since 1997. She has spent many years deeply engrossed in the large-scale genealogical case-studies which underpin the conclusions of her academic work and of this book. Her many TV and radio appearances include the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, Heirhunters and Harlots, Heroines & Housewives.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Francis Howcutt on 19 Oct 2012
Marriage law and customs in England and Wales have had a complex history, which sometimes confuses the general public and even academics and the authors of books about family history. Professor Rebecca Probert systematically explains the history of this subject during the period since 1600, along with reasons for and the nature of changes affecting it. Conclusions are backed up by statistical evidence from a variety of sources, with a sympathetic understanding of why the institution of marriage appealed almost universally to members of all major groups in society until well after the Second World War.

The author exposes the inaccuracy of some commonly held views on subjects such as "common law marriage", the extent of unmarried cohabitation and the proportion of births taking place out of wedlock at various stages in the past four centuries.

The book lives up to its subtitle "a definitive guide".

Unusually amongst authors, Professor Probert invites feedback from people who have read the book.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By DRM on 13 Sep 2012
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This book is just what I needed to augment my Genealogical research.

Prof. Probert clearly knows her subject, as evidenced by the scope of Family Law publications listed on her Amazon Author's page. She is no stuffy academic. Extensively researched, the book is written in plain English, and is well ordered. It achieves that elusive balance of being both thorough and concise.

With chapter titles of Why, Who, How, When and Where, it dispels all the myths and mumbo jumbo about early marriages still to be found quoted in contemporary Genealogical publications. It is punctuated with "Key facts" that clarify the realities of marriage law in England and Wales since the early 17th century, which is as far back as most amateur genealogists can reasonably hope to reach.

It directly answers most of the questions about marriages that are likely to be raised by real family history researchers, as well as providing some very interesting (to me at least) statistics. Recognizing that these statistics were presented as samples to illustrate the specific points being made, this is an area that I personally feel might have been usefully extended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Field Marshall Haig on 21 Dec 2012
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This book for genealogists, based on solid academic research, refutes several ideas that some genealogists seem to have taken on board, such as the idea of 'Common Law' marriage before 1754. Having spent many years in family history research myself, I have never found any evidence for common law marriage. Indeed, the power of the church courts, in which a woman, or both a man and a woman, could be punished for fornication, particularly if a child was begotten in the process, has always suggested otherwise, and I was therefore not surprised by the author's findings.

The world of our ancestors becomes more and more different to our own world the further back we go, and it is important to understand the conventions by which our ancestors lived, particularly regarding marriage, which is a central feature of family history research. This book fills a gap in the market that has been waiting to be filled for some time and I would recommend it to all serious family history researchers.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M on 1 Dec 2012
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Marriage Law for Genealogists is a must for the serious genealogist. I have been researching for nearly 25 years but learnt a great deal in just 15 minutes' browsing. A useful gift or buy it for your own reference.
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Reads like a novel, explaining in layman's terms where others have taken up wrong research thus coming to the wrong conclusions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R G WOODHEAD on 21 Mar 2013
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For the amateur genealogist, this is a 'must'. Often, research into one's family tree may lead to a number of questions about the marriage of one's ancestors - did they marry, was their marriage legal, why did they marry away from their home town? Rebecca answers these and many other questions in straight forward language, dispelling some of the myths and misunderstandings still perpetuated by people who should know better!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs.M.A.Stewart on 16 Mar 2013
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A very handy reference book to have to hand for when you come across a difficult marriage to find, gives ideas on where to look
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Forefathers Ltd. on 12 Jan 2013
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Highly recommended reading for any genealogist, amateur or professional. Dispels many myths and provides vital hard facts about marriage law over time.
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