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Friends in Life and Death: British and Irish Quakers in the by Richard T. Vann

By Richard T. Vann

In buddies in existence and dying unique historians subscribe to forces to use the phenomenal riches provided by means of the files of British and Irish Quakers for the scholar of social, demographic, and familial switch in the course of the interval 1650-1900. Professor Vann and Eversley have analysed the studies of greater than 8,000 Quaker households, concerning over 30,000 contributors, to provide an exceptional research of styles of child-bearing, marriage, and dying between an incredible spiritual grouping. The authors, at any place attainable, examine the Quakers within the British Isles with the modern inhabitants of england and eire as a complete, in addition to with these of France, Québec, and the yankee colonies.

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Since it was hard to find out when the parents of the first generation of Quaker children were born, fewer than one-quarter of the births to families formed before 1700 could be used for agespecific fertility calculations even in London, and the figure was lower still elsewhere (only one-eighth of the Irish births were usable for this first cohort). The situation improves markedly in the first half of the eighteenth century, where 40 percent or more of the English births are generally included and more than a quarter of the Irish; in the later eighteenth century around 70 percent of the Southern English and London births are included in age-specific fertility tables, along with about half of those from the genealogies and Northern English and Scottish areas, while the Irish slipped to below one-fifth.

On the other hand many of the Irish family lists do include marriages outside the discipline, and such marriages also commonly figure in the genealogies. Furthermore, people who had been disowned might still associate with Friends, and often the births of their children would be registered, although with an indication that they were not members. 12 They were also frequently recorded in Ireland. It seems likely that a substantial minority of all births recorded in the nineteenth century were actually those to non-members.

We are grateful to Edward Milligan for drawing this to our attention. Rowntree, "Friends' registers," 53. 20 Friends in life and death In meeting To non-member By a priest A A <& A * A * A # A * A ^ A * A * # ^ Fig. 2 Regular and irregular marriages, Southwark Monthly Meeting. registers to discover the extent to which the registers are not completely reflecting the vital statistics of Friends. Just as marriages according to Quaker usage required abundant notice and investigation, all of which showed up in the minutes of the monthly meetings for business, so these meetings also took notice of Friends who had breached the discipline by marrying outsiders, or marrying other Friends in an Anglican ceremony.

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