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Wedding witnesses

Discussion in 'Comments on the latest newsletter' started by SarahLC, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. SarahLC

    SarahLC Genealogy in the Sunshine 2015

    In the latest newsletter, Peter says, "Have you ever seen as many marriage witnesses as this?" All I can say is, you have never looked at a Quaker marriage!! Typically, everyone attending the marriage signed as a witness. If I can upload this correctly, you will see the marriage of my 7th great grandmother Pleasant Pawlin/Paulin with her third and final husband George Clough in 1712, just over a year after the death of her second husband, my ancestor Francis Hague. The poor woman still had 9 living children from her first two marriages to cope with and I'm grateful that George stepped in to help!

    Well, I gave up on that one which, when it was made small enough to post, was not of good enough quality to read. But it was two pages long and there were 59 witness signatures.

    Here's another clearer one of the marriage of my 4x great grandparents Francis Hague and Ruth Ratekin in 1786 with "only" 33 signatures besides those of the happy couple.

    Attached Files:

  2. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    Quaker marriages immediately came to my mind when I was reading this bit in the latest newsletter. I haven't usually counted the witnesses beyond registering that there were a lot of them. Sometimes the list of witnesses was separated into relatives and others, which is useful but can prove challenging - who were all these people, which of the couple were they related to, and how?
  3. SarahLC

    SarahLC Genealogy in the Sunshine 2015

    In most of the ones I have seen, the immediate family members were in the righthand column, below the signatures of the couple. It has been extremely helpful to try to figure out the relationship of all the witnesses and builds a better idea of the community as a whole.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  4. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    Yes, looking at two of the Quaker marriages I have with lots of signatures, the relatives do seem to be on the right as you say, though indicated as such with a heading. Since several of the surnames appear among both the relatives and the others, maybe the heading was thought necessary!
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  5. Puddles

    Puddles LostCousins Member

    It gets very confusing when there are 4 men of the same name and 3 of the men have wives with the same name as well - and all are witnesses! I have four Thomases. Two known as "Thomas the elder" and the other two as "Thomas the younger". Three of the four are married to Elizabeths and all four had children named Elizabeth (and Agnes and Ann and William and Joseph).
  6. Puddles

    Puddles LostCousins Member

    As Quakers tended to marry within the Society they could all be related to some degree or another. I have given up trying to fond out who is who and how they are related except that the closer relatives do tend to be nearer the top of the list.
  7. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    This isn't actually related to numbers of witnesses, more to the numbers of names.
    I have one man who was married 3 times, each wife was Elizabeth.
    One branch of my ancestors has couples with the names of William and Elizabeth and that does get confusing.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. TerryM

    TerryM LostCousins Member

    Not just Quaker marriages, many of the early American marriages in small towns in the late 17th and early 18th century have all the attendees on the record. I have an ancestor who married in Cape May in 1708 with 24 names on the list and amazingly only 3 left 'their mark' instead of their signature.
    • Useful Useful x 1
  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I should have explained that I was referring to marriages under the provisions of the 1753 Act, which requires just 2 witnesses. So far nobody has come forward with any comparable examples - the most I have seen in my own family is 4.

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