Saturday, June 24, 2006

Germanic Descent Lowers Age of Consent?

Joey Michaels is only a "sporadic genealogy buff," but has learned enough to maybe write a pilot for HBO. Among his cast of characters: an Irish mobster, a pious dwarf, and a guy who's, "well, ewwww."

At the time of the 1930 census, my Great Grandfather Melvin on my Mom’s Mother’s side was 59. His wife, Belle, was 49. Now, the interesting thing about the 1930 census is it also asked for your age at the time of marriage. According to this column, Melvin was 22 when he married Belle, who was listed as 14.

Now, I was a little freaked out by this until I went back and did the math. In 1930, they were 10 years apart. When they were married (in 1893), they were only 8 years apart. Now, does it make more sense to claim that Melvin was 22 when he was really 24 or to claim that Belle was 14 when she was only 12?

Basically, my great grandfather married a 12 year old. At this point I stopped being a little freaked out and started being a lot freaked out. My mother points out that A) He was of German descent, B) He was a farmer, and C) This was Tennessee we were talking about. Apparently, any one of those things alone is justification for marrying a child, but together, it is a wonder he didn’t marry a six year old. Basically, he showed considerable restraint by waiting until she was 12, since his Germanic, Tennessee farming blood was demanding he marry somebody straight out of the womb. [Link]
Heck, in Colorado these days you don't even have to be a farmer.

J. Michaels

Thank you for reading my little tale there.

Just in case it isn't clear, I don't believe that Germans, farmers or citizens of Tennessee are really child molesters. I was riffing off of my mother's comment - and she was a farmer from Tennessee of German descent.

I only mention this because I've had some difficulties with people not knowing when I am joking. Anyhow, all the genealogy stuff I mentioned was 100% accurate.


Thanks for clarifying. My regular readers know that little on my blog should be taken seriously. It's only the random first-time visitor with recessive irony genes who needs such guidance.

And thanks for the entertaining piece!

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