Age Of Consent

Until 1929, provided they had parental consent, boys could marry at 14 and girls at 12. The minimum age was raised to 16 in 1929. Anyone under 21 was a minor, and had to obtain their parents' consent before marrying. 'Full age', which often appears in marriage records, means someone was aged 21 lor over), or perhaps under 21, but lying to avoid needing parental consent.

denominations tended to be frowned upon. Brides were often chosen from the groom's denomination which would have been the social group in which he had grown up. So, while marriages sometimes brought together two disparate family lines, it's worth bearing in mind that, in most cases, the names on a wedding certificate represent two members of the same, or at least very similar, worlds.

But before we go on to look at marriage records in detail, let's remember the importance of oral history. When you interview elderly relatives, be sure to ask about weddings. They're events that are very likely to stick in their memories. With a bit of prompting, they may be able to tell you roughly when marriages took place ('I'd just left school, so it must have been about 1924.'); who was there, and probably even what the weather was like that day.

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