15:45 - 16:30

It’s very likely that some of your ancestors married more than once over their lifetime. But why precisely? and what can their remarriages tell us? How likely was remarriage after a bereavement, and what social and legal factors affected that decision? Was divorce an easy way out of marriage? If people committed bigamy, what were the likely consequences for all concerned? Drawing on thousands of cases, from the Old Bailey to magistrates’ courts, this talk provides new research findings on the nature and extent of remarriage in past centuries and decades to help family historians interpret their ancestors’ lives.

Professor Rebecca Probert

Professor Rebecca Probert is the leading academic authority on the history of marriage law in England and Wales. She has taught at the University of Warwick for the past decade and is the author of many scholarly articles and monographs. She has also appeared numerous times on TV and radio, and her work has been widely recognised as rewriting modern understandings of past marriage practices. Vitally for family historians, her research into marriage practices in past centuries is grounded not just in analysis of case-law but in a great many detailed, large-scale cohort studies of communities across England and Wales.