Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > The Old Discipline > Births and Burials
It is recommended that one or more suitable Friends of each particular meeting be appointed by monthly meetings to attend at funerals, to see that good order is observed; and that the corpse be removed about an hour after the time set for meeting at the house.
Advised that Friends be careful themselves, and discourage their children from attending the worship of those who are not in communion with us, and particularly at burials; seeing that, in so doing, there is a danger either of balking their testimony for the truth, to the wounding of their own minds, or giving unnecessary offence to their sober neighbours.
It is the sense of this meeting, that meetings should not be appointed on account of the interment in our burial grounds of persons who are not in membership with us; and that invitations to the burials of such who are not interred in our burial grounds should not be made in our religious meetings.
And also that Friends be religiously guarded in publishing invitations to the burials of such not in membership with us who are admitted to be interred in our grave yards.
In order that meetings may not be held at the interment of our deceased members in a customary or formal way, it is advised, that the proposal for holding any such meeting be previously submitted to the consideration of the elders and overseers, or other solid Friends, either of the meeting in the compass of which the deceased resided, or of that in which the interment is to take place, that the counsel or mind of truth may be waited for and followed.
And to prevent the introduction of improper interments amongst us -- it is recommended that two or more Friends be appointed to the care of our several burial grounds by preparative or monthly meetings, as the case may require, and that no person who is not in membership be buried therein, without a permit in writing signed by one or two of those Friends; who should also take care that our burial grounds be properly enclosed and kept in decent order.
It is further recommended, that at all interments, time be allowed for a solemn pause, both before and after the corpse is put into the ground.
It is the sense of this meeting, that no monuments either of wood or stone be affixed to graves in any of our burial grounds; and if any yet remain therein, that these be forthwith removed -- so that no cause of uneasiness on this account may exist, or partiality be justly chargeable upon us.
Friends are advised against imitating the vain custom of wearing or giving mourning habits, and all extravagant expenses about the interment of the dead.
As great inconvenience may arise from the want of due attention to keeping a regular record of births and burials, it is earnestly enjoined on each monthly meeting, that they appoint a careful Friend, whose duty it shall be, in a book provided for the purpose, at the monthly meeting's expense, to keep a record of all births and burials of members that shall occur within their respective limits and which shall be offered to him for that purpose; and in order to engage the attention of monthly meetings more closely to this subject, it is further enjoined, that an explicit answer be annually given by monthly to quarterly meetings, and through them to the yearly meeting to the query, Whether due care is taken to keep a regular record of births and burials?
The form of the record to be as follows:
BIRTHS ___________________________________________________________________ | | | | Names of the | When | Names of the | Their | Occasional children | born | parents |residences| notes ______________|_________|__________________|__________|____________ | | | | | | | | | | | | ______________|_________|__________________|__________|____________ BURIALS ___________________________________________________________________ | | | | | Names of the | When | | When | Late | Occasional deceased | deceased | Age | buried | residence | notes ______________|__________|_______|_________|___________|___________ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | ______________|__________|_______|_________|___________|___________