Date of Award

9-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

Supervisor

Aubrey Cannon

Language

English

Abstract

The representation of remarriage on burial monuments between 1815 and 1914 is explored here using archaeological and historical approaches combining the identification and understanding of kinship in mortuary archaeology with family history. The study uses thirty-eight Protestant cemeteries in the Province of Ontario located in Halton County and the former Wentworth County to identify motivating factors affecting the representation of remarriage historically.

The research combines gravestone analysis with the use of archival sources to identify examples of commemorated remarriage in the cemeteries. Parish marriage records indicate that remarriage was a common practice, however the commemoration of remarriage is less frequent than the commemoration of marriages generally. Several factors, including gender, family composition, status, family/community influences, denomination, and time lapse are examined in order to establish which factors motivated certain individuals to commemorate a remarriage when the majority of the population did not. Remarriage commemorations demonstrate considerable variability, however they do indicate a number of patterns, including that they are more likely to have larger and more elaborate monuments than those commemorating than marriage monuments.

The findings indicate that factors affecting remarriage were not uniform across the population. There are, however, four primary factors that appear to play a significant role in the likelihood of overt commemoration. Gender, economic status and inheritance, denominational beliefs, and the rise of companionate marriage are all significant factors acting on the individual decision to acknowledge remarriage on or through the burial monuments. While the presence of anyone of these factors does not guarantee that a remarriage will be commemorated, the likelihood appears to be increased when one or more of these factors is present. Additional research is encouraged.

McMaster University Library

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