Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Marriage by Banns

For three successive sundays the Banns were published. This was commonly done by the priest pronouncing from the pulpit the names of the couple with their intentions of marriage. If the couple resided in the same parish, notice of their intention to marry was given to the parish clerk or priest. If they lived in different parishes, then the priests of both parishes were notified. If either or both of the persons were under age, the consent of their legal guardians was necessary. During the three-week waiting period, any person could state a reason why the marriage should not take place and was free to assert their objections. Reasons might be that at least one of the couple was under age and did not have the consent of a parent or a guardian; one of the couple was already engaged or married and still had a spouse living; or that the couple were too closely related (consanguinity). If an objection occurred then it was known as “forbidding the banns.”
This formality allowed both public notice and the duration of three to four weeks. If there was no “forbidding the banns,” a parish church in either parish could be selected for the ceremony, also it is more likely that the bride’s parish was more advantageous. The marriage was then performed at any opportune time after the third Sunday. Marriage by banns might give places of residence, place where ceremony took place, occupations and witnesses.

Word of the Week:
Mease = A meadow or field.

1 comment:

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

Nice article - and welcome to Geneabloggers!
I'm always interested in reading the "banns" part of the marriage record. Most of my ancestors were Catholic. Sometimes there was a flurry of weddings and bans were dispensed with and this was usually an indication that the area was served by a missionary priest. My people were from northern Quebec and northern New Brunswick.
Evelyn in Montreal