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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marriage law and customs unravelled
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...
Published on 19 Oct. 2012 by Francis Howcutt

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars As a lawyer myself I found this book a bit ...
As a lawyer myself I found this book a bit light and more about marriage law could have been included.
Published 3 months ago by Christine Wibberley


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marriage law and customs unravelled, 19 Oct. 2012
By 
Francis Howcutt (West Norwood, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 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)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A very useful aid for any family history researcher, 13 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: 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)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A first-rate book, debunking some myths (hopefully for good), 21 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: 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)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent detail AND an easy read!, 1 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: 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)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for amateur and professional genealogists alike. Debunks some myths about early marriages. Brilliant., 21 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: 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)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, informative read, 21 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: 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)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Marriage Law for Genealogists, 16 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: 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)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - readable and informative, 12 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: 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)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars marriage law, 20 Dec. 2012
This review is from: 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)
it gave me directions I hadn't thought of researching. very helpful as had hit a brickwall in my marriage research
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book for genealogists, 7 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: 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)
Had all the information on marriages that you could need great for understanding marriages and the history of marriages in my tree
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