St. Mary's County, Maryland, Marriages: 1638 - 1820

Updated 02/2003.Comments, corrections to Linda Reno

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Please note: if the source for a marriage is given as csm, this marriage record is still being researched.

The marriage database contains 10,096 marriages, most of which occurred in St. Mary's County, Maryland between 1637 and 1820. Source records include County Court Records (marriage licenses), wills, deeds, extant church records (St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, and St. Inigoes Catholic Church, including marriage and baptisms) and Prerogative Court Records (compiled by V.L. Skinner, Jr.).

Most of the research and documentation was provided by Linda Davis Reno, but many contributions were made by members of the St. Mary's County Discussion List.

Court Records provide the complete date of the marriage license, however this is not a guarantee that the marriage actually occurred. Marriage dates based on wills, deeds and baptisms are assumed dates based on available information. The database is continually updated and corrected.

For more detailed information see:

  • Chronicles of St. Mary's, Vol. 29, No.7; Vol. 28, No. 7;
  • Lois Green Carr, "The Planters Wife: The Experience of White Women in Seventeenth-Century Maryland," William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. XXXIV, p 544

Conclusions:

One in ten individuals were married more than once. A surprising 8% of the marriages recorded were second marriages. This is primarily a reflection of the high mortality rate and frequent death at an early age. The Proceedings of the Orphan's Court corroborate these multi-marriages. The Orphan's Court records would suggest a large percentage of the population of children were missing one or both parents. The difficulty of providing for children would have been an impetus for remarriage.

Marriage

# of People

Percent

M 2

863

9%

M 3

133

1 %

M 4

15

.015%


It is frequently assumed that the mortality rate for women was considerably higher than that for me, in part due to death during childbirth. However, the marriage records suggest a reevaluation: 57% of the second marriages were females; this increased to 60% for third marriages and 80% of fourth marriages. Women lived at least as long as men.

The stalwart individuals who were married four times are an interesting group.


Barber, Thomas

Ann Amery, Susanna Latimore, Margaret Unknown, Ellen Unknown (wid/ John Dallam)

Calvert, Ann (d/ Gov. Leonard)

Baker Brooke, Thomas Tasker, Henry Brent, Col. Richard Marsham

Calvert, Charles (3rd Lord Baltimore) (m1)

Mary Darnall, Jane Lowe, Mary Thorpe, Mary Charleton

 

Gerard, Frances (d/ Dr. Thomas)

Thomas Speake, Valentine Peyton, John Appleton, Col. John Washington

Marsham, Sarah

Basil Waring, William III Barton, John Haddock, William Brodgen

Mason, Elizabeth

John Rogers, Dr. Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, John Theobold, Robert Whythill

Millard, Mary (d/ Richard Millard & Ann ???) Thomas Melton, Thomas Walker, William Hayden, Edward Welsh

Neale, Mary (d/ James & 1st wife Elizabeth Calvert)

Charles Egerton, Jeremiah Aderton, Joseph Van Swearingen, William Deacon

Wheeler, Anastasia

Patrick Connelly, James Keen, Richard Johnson, Richard Crupper

Taylor, Elizabeth (d/ Henry Taylor, Jr. & Faith Campbell) James Delicourt, Thomas Clapom, William Innis, Benjamin Woodward

Unknown, Sarah

William Cole, William Clawe, Alexander Younger, Richard Bentham

Unknown, Elizabeth

William Evans, John Jordain,Cuthbert Scott, John Baptist Carberry

Unknown, Mary (5 marriages)

John Lambert, Philip Tippett, John Fanning, Thomas Simpson, Benoni Melton

 

The second interesting trend in the marriage records is the fluctuation in the number of marriages per decade. The data does not show a steady growth in the number of marriages, which would suggest that the population was not increasing at a steady rate.

Theoretically, the number of marriages should have doubled every 15-20 years. The years 1700 to 1750 show a stagnant population growth, at least of marriageable individuals. This can be attributed to high mortality rates, low birth/survival rates, and weak economic factors which could have affected the number of individuals who could afford to get married.The decrease in marriages between 1780 and 1790 is partially the result of the migrations out of Maryland and into western territories. Approximately 25%-30% of the population removed from St. Mary's County during this period. The 200 % increase in marriages after the American Revolution, may simply be due to revised record keeping, with more extant records.

1637-1650

103

1651-1660

127

1661-1670

181

1671-1680

234

1681-1690

192

1691-1700

218

1701-1710

282

1711-1720

246

1721-1730

285

1731-1740

331

1741-1750

319

1751-1760

385

1761-1770

459

1771-1780

670

1781-1790

521

1791-1800

1,083

1801-1810

1,312

1811-1820

1,212

 

Exact dates are not available for all of the SMC marriages. For those marriages where a complete record exists, fully 42% of the marriages in any one year occurred between December and February.The fewest marriages were in the month of August. Speculation would suggest that this reflects an agrarian timeline: marry when there is not much farming work.

Month

# mrgs

% of known-date population

January

788

17

February

498

11

March

280

6

April

303

7

May

291

6

June

302

7

July

254

6

August

248

5

September

284

6

October

310

7

November

409

9

December

643

14

 

 

 

These pages authored by Marcella Jehl Dawson, Houston, Texas.

.Copyright 1995 .Linda Reno.Charlotte Hall, Maryland and Marcella Jehl Dawson, Houston, Texas. All rights reserved.. No part of these pages may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without written permission of the author(s).