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Rankin Family History Project

New Haven Colony Laws

Divorce, or a Marriage declared a Nullity.
Desertion, &c.

It is Ordered, &c. That if any marryed person proved an Adulterer, or an Adulteresse, shall by flight, or otherwise, so withdraw or keep out of the Jurisdiction, that the course of Justice (according to the mind and Law of God here established) cannot proceed to due execution, upon complaint, proof, and prosecution, made by the party concerned, and interessed, a separation or Divorce, shall by sentence of the Court of Magistrates be granted and published and the innocent party shall in such case have liberty to marry again,
Mat. 19. 9.

And if any man marrying a woman fit to bear Children, or needing and requiring conjugall duty, and due benevolence from her husband, it be found (after convenient forbearance and due tryall) and satisfyingly proved, That the husband, neither at the time of marriage, nor since, hath been, is, nor by the use of any lawfull means, is like to be able to perform or afford the same, upon the wives due prosecution, every such marriage shall by the Court of Magistrates, be declared voyd, and a nullity, the woman freed from all conjugall relation to that man, and shall have liberty in due season, if she see cause, to marry another;

But if in any such case, deceipt be charged and proved, that the man before marriage knew himself unfit for that relation, and duty, and yet proceeded, sinfully to abuse an Ordinance of God, and in so high a measure to wrong the woman, such satisfaction shall be made to the injuried woman, out of the estate of the offendor, and such fine paid to the Jurisdiction, as the Court of Magistrates shall judge meet.

But if any husband after marriage, and marriage duty performed, shall by any providence of God be disabled, he falls not under this Law, nor any penalty therein.

And it is further declared, That if any husband shall without consent, or just cause shewn, willfully desert his wife, or the wife her husband, actually and peremptorily refusing all Matrimoniall society, and shall obstinately persist therein, after due means have been used to convince and reclaim, the husband or wife so deserted, may justly seek and expect help and relief, according to
1 Cor. 7. 15.

And the Court upon satisfying evidence thereof, may not hold the innocent party under bondage.

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The Rankin Family History Project began in 1997 with a simple 3 generation family chart.  When our grandmother found out we were researching our family tree, she loaned us her copy of Maryland Catholics on the Frontier by Timothy J. O'Rourke which helped us discover our St. Louis & Perry County roots.  We are also doing research in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

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Rankin Family History Project     Sonoma County, California

Updated February 2000
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