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Surnames and Family Research Forum Archive

HANDFAST (marriage ceremony)

Here's a little tidbit I never knew about. I am a member of a AAGHS in SC and in their newsletter this month a little Genealogy 101 tidbit was given. "When there was no preacher around to marry couples they would stand together in front of a group of their peers, clasp their hands together over their heads and state their intentions. This ceremony was usually good for a year and a day, or until a preacher came that could perform the marriage ceremony." You may see the letters 'HF' on documents when you are doing research and wonder why there are 2 marriage dates or none at all. Remember an actual 'paper' certificate wasn't an option for black people. Of course there was "jumping the broom'. "
this ceremony was associated with the British Isles and by the Gypsies. It became a tradition in Africa and was brought to the usa.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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