Discoveries: Quaker Marriage without Vows

Quakers, members of the Religious Society of Friends, want to know and understand the will of God and conform to his teachings.

When it comes to swearing an oath (such as a marriage vow)—as is customary in most faiths—Quakers take to heart the verses in Matthew, Chapter 5: 33-37:
  • 33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
  • 34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
  • 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
  • 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
  • 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Wikipedia explains that "Quakers do not swear or make oaths, because they intend to tell the truth at all times, and thus have no need of swearing." The article goes on to explain that with no formal clergy, the intention of a couple to marry is announced by the couple during their local Friends Meeting. Their marriage is recognized by God and witnessed by those present.

That explains this 1877 newspaper marriage notice, in which it is announced that the couple "Sware not at all."

Oregon State Journal (Eugene, Oregon), 20 October 1877, page 3.

This short notice provides a terrific family history clue. It looks like this is the editor's casual way of referring to a Quaker marriage.

FREE Newsletter!

Get online search tips, exclusive offers and other helpful information to aid your genealogy research.

Corporate Information