Check the Original Documents, Part 2

Here is another great example of both looking at a primary source document AND doing very simple historical research in order to correctly analyze a document.

David Lewis and Ann Beeson married on 30 January 1768 – or– on 30 March 1768 –or– on 30 June 1768 –or– 30 July 1768 –or – just maybe – on NONE of those dates.

I have seen all of those dates listed in various places online. However, most of them mention that the marriage date was noted in the New Garden Quakers Monthly Meeting in what was then Rowan County, North Carolina.

It was said that Ann Beeson married outside the Quaker faith, which was true, because David Lewis was not a Quaker.

I wanted to see proof that she was, indeed, mentioned in the minutes and determine which of those dates was her actual date of marriage.

A quick search turned up a digital image of the New Garden minutes and here is the page pertaining to Ann Beeson:

Minutes from 30 January 1768

Ann is mentioned at the very end:


The women Friends requests assistance of this
Meeting, in drawing a Testification against Ann Beeson who
is gone out in marriage. John Beals Jnr. is appointed, to
assist them.

Ann Beeson clearly married outside the Quaker faith, but when did she marry? It was before the date this meeting was held because it clearly says that she is already married – past tense is used.

Take a look at the opening statement:


At our Monthly Meeting held at New
Garden the 30th of the 1st mo. 1768. . . . .

The Quakers’ monthly meeting happened on the 30th of the first month of 1768 – NOT the Lewis-Beeson marriage. Where did the couple marry? Who knows. Probably not far from home, if not in one of their actual homes, and probably not long before the date of this meeting. However, they might have married even in late 1767. There is no way to tell. Therefore, the date of their marriage should be recorded as “before . . .”

Now, what about the discrepancies in the months – January, March, June, July???? I believe that people have misinterpreted the “J” month and misread the letters in the word somewhere along the line, coming up with January, June and July. As for March – someone else, I think, determined that the “30th day of the first month” was an old style date used before the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752, maybe because the name of the actual month wasn’t written down.

The Swarthmore College Friends Historical Library had the answer to the question about which calendar style was being used:


According to this excerpt, Quakers adopted the Gregorian calendar at the same time as everyone else in the colonies. However, they objected to the names of the months from January through August because the names came from those of pagan gods. Therefore, for the first eight months of the year, they wrote “1st month,” “2nd month,” etc.

The final answer to all these reputed marriage dates given for David Lewis and Ann Beeson is that they married sometime before the New Garden Monthly Meeting held on 30 January 1768.

For those of you who copy and paste without doing any actual original research – this took me all of ten minutes to locate and analyze. PLEASE take the time to check genealogical information. Maybe then more of the thousands of online family trees might be a bit more accurate.

2 thoughts on “Check the Original Documents, Part 2”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.