By Dr. Danene Brown Vincent
- Conducting a family history search is much like working on an extra large jigsaw puzzle or a very complicated logic problem. It involves finding bits of information and determining how they fit, or if they fit, into the whole. This volume is the product of the work that has been done, to date.
- As you read, you will easily see that families multiplied very rapidly, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries when large families were needed to help with farming. One couple had fifteen children, while their children had ten to fifteen children, and so forth. It did not take very long for the number of descendants of Thomas and Phebe Dixon Rubottom to grow well into the thousands. Needless to say, the author has not identified every descendant. The endeavor will take many years and much cooperation from allied family members. But this family history represents a beginning.
- Within this volume, the author has attempted to provide diverse coverage of the family by including an historical overview as well as a registry report of the identified descendants of Thomas and Phebe (Dixon) Rubottom.
- Chapter Two offers descriptive information on the Rubottom name, its origin, and common variations of the name.
- Chapters Three, Four, and Five provide a composition that weaves the lives of Thomas and Phebe (Dixon) Rubottom, and their two sons Simon and Ezekiel, with historical events and situations of the times.
- Chapter Six outlines the descendants of Thomas and Phebe (Dixon) Rubottom in a registry report format. The next section of the introduction offers instructions for reading the registry report.
- Chapter Seven provides registry reports for allied families: the Dixons, the Spiveys, and the Hindmans. Obviously, many other family names could have been included; however, these were the only three surnames that were researched by the author to date.
- Finally, in Chapter Eight the author shares a bit of personal perspective. For the reader who may be interested, the chapter offers a description of the author's experiences in conducting the family search.
Reading the Registry Report
- The first person listed in the report is Thomas Rubottom. To the left of his name, the reader will find that he has been given the number 1. Each individual who is married and has offspring has been given an ordinal number. The children of that marriage are given lower-case roman numerals, i.e. i, ii, iii, and so forth. If one child married and had other children, ordinal numbers will sit to the left of those childrens' names. The ordinal number refers the reader to the section with information on that individual, his/her spouse, and his/her children.
- To identify your own lineage, turn to the index at the end of the book and find the page number where you are listed. Then go to that page number and begin to work backwards. Look at the number to the left of your name. Then turn forward in the book until you find that indented number beside your name as you are listed with your parents. Find your father or mother's number, and follow the same steps to get to your grandparents. You can trace your lineage back to Thomas and Phebe (Dixon) Rubottom using this method.
- To conserve space, many abbreviations were used throughout the book. Some of these are standard abbreviations, others are specific to genealogy, and yet others are unique to Quaker terminology. For ease in understanding these abbreviations, a listing with their interpretations is provided:
|ca||meaning "circa" or about|
|MM||Monthly Meeting (Quaker) |
|MH||Meeting House (Quaker) |
- Most of the dates found in the registry report were written using the following format: DD-MMM-YYYY. For example, the date of my birth would be written 07-JUL-1955. All months are abbreviated to the first three letters of the month. Most states referred to in the report have the standard two-letter abbreviation used by the U. S. Postal Service.
Understanding Quaker Traditions
- Until the search for Rubottoms was initiated, the author had no idea that many of her ancestors were members of the Society of Friends--Quakers. They were persons who, like the earlier Pilgrims, sought freedom from religious persecution. George Fox, from England, established the Society in 1651. He was a devout Christian, whose preaching aroused great interest among many persons in the 17th century. In those days, the early Friends were often ridiculed and persecuted for their beliefs. Some sought refuge in other countries; many migrated to the new colonies in America. Even in America some of the colonies banned the Quakers initially.
- The fact that we today enjoy religious liberty and civil rights, may be attributed, at least in part, to the early work of the Society of Friends. 1. They believed that all people were creations of God, and, therefore, all humans were equal in God's sight. Women were considered equal with men. Persons of all races were equal in all respects.
- The early Quakers stood on a testimony of simplicity, in all walks of life. The rituals of organized religion, such as baptism and communion, were looked upon as outward forms. Their focus was on inward purity, perfection, and righteousness. 2 Although the Friends did not hold to any particular theology or creed, in their devotion to God they adopted strict standards of conduct for their members. The standards dealt with such matters as dress, personal conduct, attendance at meetings, marriage, and, business ethics. In the reference written by Heiss, he enumerated 17 deviations from discipline. They include:
- for deviating so far as to keep ale to drink and give it to others.
- for refusing to fulfill a marriage contract and leaving the country without settling
- his outward affairs
- for deviation from plainness in dress and address.
- for drinking spirituous liquors to excess.
- for deviating from the truth.
- for neglecting to pay his just debts.
- for getting in a passion and fighting his fellowmen.
- for unchastity with her who is now his wife.
- for joining another Society.
- for using profane language.
- for asking and receiving twenty-five percent on money loaned.
- for neglecting attendance of meeting.
- for accomplishing his marriage contrary to discipline and before the expiration
- of the time therein prescribed after the decease of a former wife.
- for attending a marriage performed contrary to discipline.
- for marrying a first cousin.
- for marriage contrary to discipline.
- for marriage out of unity. 3
- The last two deviations reflect subtle differences. Marrying contrary to discipline generally meant that the two parties were both members of the Society of Friends and were married by other than a Friends ceremony; that is, in a civil ceremony or by a Justice of the Peace. The latter deviation, marrying out of unity, meant that one of the parties was a non-Friend.
- Any infractions of the standards of conduct were reported to the overseer of the Friends' meeting. If the complaint was valid, a committee was appointed to visit the party under complaint to have him/her acknowledge his/her error. Generally, the acknowledgement was handled through a written note to the membership stating that he/she was in error and that with God's help, he/she would do better in the future. If the party under complaint did not acknowledge his/her error, the committee might report that they received "no satisfaction" and the meeting would "disown" the person from membership. In many cases, the person would eventually acknowledge his/her error and ask to be received in membership again. In some cases, however, the individual remained separate from the Society by choice.
- The organizational structure of the Society of Friends is composed of yearly meetings, quarterly meetings, monthly meetings, preparative meetings, meetings for worship, and indulged meetings. Each type meeting is successively smaller in the number of persons attending than the one before it.
- The final authority for major decisions made by the Society of Friends rests with the yearly meeting. This meeting is attended by representatives from each of the quarterly meetings. The representatives from the quarterly meetings assure attendance from all parts of the yearly meeting; however, any member of the Society is welcome to attend and may express his or her views. 4
- The quarterly meetings of business are composed of representatives from monthly meetings. Many problems are resolved at this level. Those too weighty for the quarterly meeting are referred to the yearly meeting. The establishing or "setting up" of new monthly meetings and the "laying down" of meetings that have come to the end of their usefulness is a responsibility of the quarterly meeting. 5
- The monthly meeting, in the past, often included several preparative meetings. The greatest majority of business conducted by the Society of Friends is performed at the monthly meeting level. 6 Preparative meetings occurred to prepare business for the monthly meeting. These meetings have, for the most part, ceased to exist. 7
- A "meeting of worship" was allowed to exist when there was a settlement of persons large enough to be maintained in good order, but not large enough to function as a preparative meeting. 8 An "indulged meeting for worship" was allowed when there were two or three families on the frontier who were far removed from the nearest established meeting. They usually met in a home or in a public place on First-day (Sunday). The indulged meeting was under the care of a monthly meeting who would visit the "indulgement" regularly to assure that the "Truth" was maintained.9
- When a Quaker family wished to move from one location to another, the monthly meeting they attended granted the family a certificate of removal (also called a certificate of transfer) to the monthly meeting where they were moving. The certificate set forth the fact that their membership was in good standing and that their outward affairs were satisfactorily settled.10
- As a result of strict adherence to discipline, meticulous records have been maintained by the Society of Friends. The records include monthly meeting minutes, removals, disownments, those received in membership, birthright memberships, marriage records, birth records, death records, and burial ground records. 11
- The reader interested in learning more about the early Quaker traditions is encouraged to study the introduction to the Abstracts of the Records of the Society of Friends in Indiana edited by Willard Heiss. Additional books covering the history and traditions of the Society of Friends may be obtained from the public library.
- As stated in the preface, this volume is far from complete. Much of the information was gleaned from old census records, which are often inaccurate and/or incomplete. Great difficulty was met in obtaining information on more recent family members. There are many lines extending from Thomas and Phebe (Dixon) Rubottom that have not been traced to the present generation. Each family member who sees this compilation can supplement his or her copy with the recent data.
- For any errors or omissions in the materials, the author extends her sincere apologies. Any additions or corrections should be sent to the author who will see that it is included and/or corrected in future editions of the book.
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