A Cultural History of the Michael and Mary Jane Brubaker Family of Somerset County, Pennsylvania, With A Focus On Women's Marriage

John Michael Krajnak

PhD Thesis 2004

The women in the descending kindred of Michael and Mary Jane Brubaker have married at a statistically significant later age than the national mean. A discrete set of ideals and values inform this subcultural behavioral pattern, which in turn stems from a set of ideological elements in their religious background. Those ideological elements can be found in the analysis of Anabaptist preseots, then linked to structural-ideals present in the kindred. The historical social isolation of this kindred, along with their distinct religious heritage has maintained to continuity of those ideological elements and consequent ideals and values through many generations.

Synchronic structural analysis is employed to discover the proximate causes of the pattern of delayed marriage. Ultimate causes of this pattern, and related behaviors, are discerned through a method of analysis, developed by Nutini and Bell, that brings diachronic elements into the synchronic structure to discover its ontological roots. The primary hypothesis is that higher socioeconomic status and greater amount of education prior to marriage contribute significantly to delayed marriage age. There are demonstrable, direct relationships between specific behaviors, but it is a constellation of structural-ideals that informs both the behaviors and the relationships among them. Female individuality, independence, and rationality act indirectly on higer SES and education; in turn, attaining higher SES and education levels has a direct effect on delaying the age of marriage.

The values and attitudes are preserved diachronically by a strong sense of kin identity, wchi in turn is reinforced by the ideological element of being different from others, stemming from the Anabaptist Bibilical injunction, "Be not of this world." This kin identity acts as an inertial force, maintaining the values and ideals from generations past, although the character of those ideals now has less of a religious cast and more of a secular one.

Additionally, the ideological elements and their consequent behaviors have persisted because the ideological-structure system has characteristics that are self-reinforcing. That is, the individualistic impulse, and the relative disregard for what others think of them, preserve the inwardly validating ideological elements in social environments that are different from that of their ancestors.