Non-conformists At Worship

I’ve opted in to Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors blog suggestions, and the current week’s prompt is “At Worship.”

One amazing, recurring theme throughout my pedigree chart is that quite a few of the ancestors were of the “non-conformist” type of religion. In England and Wales, a non-conformist religion was defined as Protestant but not Anglican. Several of the English ancestors (Williams and Devereux) were buried in the “Non-Conformist” section of the graveyard in Wigan. One branch of the tree (Bernards and De Brissacs) lived in the French Huguenot section of London, and recorded their marriages and births on the Non-conformist and Non-parochial registers.

The American ancestors from England who settled in Delaware (Chandlers) were Quakers. The English who landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts (Conants), broke away from the strict Puritan community and re-settled in Salem. I guess they were further non-conformists to the first non-conformists. The German ancestors who settled in Pennsylvania (Henckles) were Lutherans. The French ancestors who settled in New York (Tricaults and Rapaljes) were Walloons, having lived in the Netherlands for a while after escaping France to avoid persecution. Almost all (of which I’m aware) of my Irish ancestors (Gordons, Hopkins, Daughertys, Baxters) came from the Ulster area, that once-haven for Scottish and Irish protestants who eventually emigrated to the US in the 1700’s.

Freedom of religion was surely a driving force in our family’s script!

Pondering origins, Duke U campus, NC

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