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Rankin Family History Project

New Haven Colony Laws


For the preventing of much inconvenience which may grow by clandestine and unlawful marriages: It is Ordered, That no persons shal be either contracted, or joyned in Marriage before the intention of the parties proceeding therein, hath been three times published, at some time of publick Lecture or Town meeting in the Town, or Towns where the parties, or either of them dwel, or do ordinarily reside;

Or be set up in writing upon some post of their meeting house door, in publick view, there to stand so as it may be easily read by the space of fourteen daies;

And that no man unless he be a Magistrate in this Jurisdiction, or expresly allowed by the General Court shall Marry any persons, and that in a publick place, if they be able to go forth under the penalty of five pounds fine for every such miscarriage.

And the Court considering that much sin hath been committed against God, and much inconvenience hath growen to some members of this Jurisdiction by the irregular and disorderly carriage of young persons of both Sexes, upon purpose or pretence of Marriage, did & do order,

That whosoever whithin this Jurisdiction shal attempt, or indeavour to inveagle, or draw the affections of any Maide, or Maide-servant, whether Daughter, Kinswoman, or other Relation, for himself, or for any other person, without the consent of Father, Master, Guardian, Governor, or such other, who hath the present interest, or charge or (in the absence of such) of the nearest Magistrate,

Whether it be by speech, writing, message, company-keeping, unneccessary familiarity, disorderly night meetings, sinful dalliance, gifts, or any other way, directly or indirectly, every such person (beside all damages which the Parent, Governor, or person intrusted or interessed, may sustain by such unlawful proceedings)

Shall pay to the Plantation forty shillings for the first offence;

And for the second offence towards the same party four pounds;

And for the third offence he shal be further fined imprisoned, or corporally punished, as the Plantation Court, or Court of magistrates considering all circumstances shal determine.

And whereas some persons men or women do live, or may come to settle within this Colony, whose Wives, or Husbands are in England or elsewhere, by means whereof they are exposed to great temptations, and some of them live under suspition of uncleanesse, if they do not fal into lewd and sinful courses.

It is therefore Ordered, That all such persons living within this Jurisdiction, shal by the first opportunity, repair to their said Relations, (unless such cause be shewen to the satisfaction of the Plantation Court, that further Respite and liberty be given) under penalty of paying twenty pounds fine, for contempt, or neglect herein.

Provided that this Order do not extend to such as are, or shal come over to make way for their Families, or are in a transient way for traffick, Merchandise, or other just occasions for some smal time.

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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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