The Hundred-Preacher Family

You know my dad is totally freaked out by the number of ministers in his family tree, half-believing that he’s been cursed to return lifetime after lifetime to preach until he gets something right. And I found even more ministers on his dad’s grandma’s side this weekend.

At first, it struck me as strange. How could one pastor have so many pastors in his family tree?

But now that I’ve been thinking about it, I think it makes sense. A minister of the types we find in our family tree–Methodist, Episcopal, Mennonite–were educated. They could read and write. When they were getting ready to get married, they probably looked for wives that would understand the life they were embarking upon and who would make good ministers’ wives, some level of smarts was probably an added benefit. These were, probably, the daughters of ministers.

So, it’s probably not surprising to find generations of ministers until larger populations of women had some rudimentary education, right? It’s probably not as weird as it seems on the surface.

The women who would make the best ministers’ wives were already related to ministers.

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One thought on “The Hundred-Preacher Family

  1. Mennonite Phillipses! Yay! :) My family tree is chock full of ministers. My great aunt was a Wesleyan minister. Everything I’ve found while researching my family tree–especially the Welsh side–speaks to the fact that Minister was pretty much the acceptable intellectual occupation. If you didn’t want to go down the mines or keep a shop you became a minister.

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