I have seen in english church marriage registers: Richard Carver of this parish, yeoman and Elizabeth Chapman of this parish, spinster and was wondering if a yeoman must be unmarried?

1 Answer 1


No, I have a number of direct ancestors who were yeomen and married. I think of them as having been small landholding farmers.

For a definition of a yeoman see, for example, https://www.britannica.com/topic/yeoman:

yeoman, in English history, a class intermediate between the gentry and the labourers; a yeoman was usually a landholder but could also be a retainer, guard, attendant, or subordinate official.

As commented by @AdrianB38:

Qualifiers in marriage entries (eg bachelor or labourer) can be quite inconsistent. While the full version is usually marital status and occupation, either or even both may be omitted in my experience. As here, it is not unknown to get marital status for one party and occupation for the other.

by @jadepx:

the status/occupation just indicates what the author of the entry knew of the marriage (or more precisely, what they remembered/recollected when actually writing down the entry.

and by @JanMurphy:

There's an extensive article about the history and uses of the word yeoman in Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeoman but it doesn't address the marital status of the person. It would be easier to use references to answer the question if we knew the date of the parish register in question, but we can assume a 'ballpark figure' of 1600 or following.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.