The Worland Family in America and Beyond

I began my life in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, on an island filled with forests and wild rhododendrons. I was separated from my Worland family there at an early age. Recently, I was reunited with my family and learned of my heritage. And so, this journey to know my ancestors began. The Worlands, Gideons, Newtons, Conards... they were the colonists, the settlers, the pioneers. They fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War. This is their story, and the story of a nation. -Deci Worland MacKinnon

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Quakers: Marrying Out of Meeting

The Quakers believed that a marital union should be acceptable to the immediate families as well as to the entire Quaker congregation. When a Quaker man and woman wanted to marry, the parents were first consulted and, if they approved, the couples intentions were announced at the women's meeting and a note regarding their proposal was sent to the men's meeting. A committee was appointed to ascertain the couples "clearness" for marriage.
If approval was given, a special Meeting for Worship was appointed, within which the marriage took place. At the appointed meeting, bride and groom took their places, with or without a wedding party. A period of silent worship followed, then the couple rose, took each other by the hand and made their marriage promises to each other. A further time of silent worship passed, and perhaps some present spoke their thoughts or offerred a prayer. The wedding certificate was brought to the newly-married for their signatures, after which it was read aloud testifying that the marriage was accomplished in accord with the good order used among Friends. Then the certificate was signed by all in attendance. The bride signed her new name under that of her husband and the immediate families of the couple signed under their signature. Others in attendance then signed beside the family signatures.

Marriages of Quakers with someone of another faith was common. As early as 1694, the Philadelphia Meeting advised: "Take heed of giving your sons and daughters who are believers and profess and confess the truth, in marriage with unbelievers; for that was forbidden in all is unbecoming those who profess the truth to go from one woman to another, and keep company and sit together, especially in the night season, spending their time in idle discourse, and drawing the affections one of another many times when there is no reality in it."
Marrying out is believed to have caused immense losses in Quaker numbers after 1740. In Quaker records there are notations that someone "married out of unity" or "mou" - this indicated that they married someone not of the Quaker faith.
It would be necessary to make amends in writing to the satisfaction of a committee of members of the monthly meeting if they wished to remain Quakers. Sometimes the spouse adopted the Quaker faith and was received by request. If the Quakers were unwilling to make amends for their actions they would be dismissed from the monthly meeting.

Taken from Quaker Marriage.

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