Intermarriage between ethnic groups around the turn of the century depended on many factors. Ethnic groups themselves can be defined as having these six characteristics: common language, common heredity, common religion, common geographic locale, common behavioral norms and a common set of surnames. These characteristics help a certain ethnic group maintain its distinctiveness. It is this certain distinctiveness that ethnic groups hope to maintain, especially by discouraging marriage to outsiders. Thus, intermarriage between ethnic groups is more likely to occur if the availability of partners inside the ethnic group is low.
Several factors determine the reasons for in-group marriages and outside group marriages. Not only do ethnic groups want to maintain their distinctiveness by intra-marriage, but it is also often their way of maintaining the same social rank. These class boundaries are often just as strong as the ethnic boundaries, so that, for example, the commonly middle-class Swedes are less likely to marry the commonly working-class Italians. Formal religious barriers are also imposed on members of certain ethnic groups. Most churches greatly discouraged marriage to anyone outside their membership. Up until the late 1960’s and 70’s the Roman Catholic Church forbade their priests to perform inter-religious marriage ceremonies unless the non-Catholic partner promised to raise the children as Catholics, and as long as the Catholic partner promised to try to convert their non-Catholic partner. (The Mennonites still threaten to excommunicate anyone who marries outside the faith.) Until 1967 when the law was deemed unconstitutional there was a formal legal barrier on any interracial marriage. There is also an informal barrier that keeps ethnic groups from inter-marrying, though not as strong as the aforementioned barriers. The parents of the bride and groom can determine through either disinheritance or just grant disapproval whenever their children marry outside the group. 
In Donald Cole’s study of the marriages of immigrants to Lawrence, Massachusetts between 1845 and 1921 he found that immigrants would marry for security more than anything. In the years of “the shanty Irish and decades of despair” marriages were more frequent than in the years when there was more hope. He also found that immigrants overall were marrying more frequently than the natives. One factor may be that in a large city an immigrant did not dare stay single. Security is something that also determines intermarriages. Though it was always common for an immigrant to look for a partner within their own ethnic group, even with the smallest of groups, it was seen that they were in-group marrying even more so in the days when security was needed. When there was hope and less of a need for security, they married less, and when they did marry there was more of a chance for intermarriage. He also found that when the group’s religious or physical appearances were more different than most Americans, (as in the Irish and southeastern Europeans) intermarriage was practically non-existent. Immigrants either came to the US with a spouse of the same ethnic group or married a native, but rarely married immigrants of different ethnic backgrounds. If he or she was able, a member of any ethnic group would more likely marry within their group no matter what. 
According to the City of Beverly’s marriage records, 120 marriages took place in 1895. Groups with the largest amount of members marrying were those from the United States, Ireland, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Immigrants from New Brunswick were the ones with the highest rate or intermarriage, though Nova Scotians were not too far behind. Sixty-six percent of males born in New Brunswick took wives born in the United States and 33% took wives born in Nova Scotia. Of the people from New Brunswick marrying only 40% of them were female and all of those took partners from the United State. The large average age difference of 10 years between the woman and men from New Brunswick may be a factor in this high rate of intermarriage. Although the amount of members from the opposite sex marrying from Nova Scotia was close to equal, 57.1% of the men were taking American wives and 66.6% of the women were taking partners from an outside group. In the other 3 groups of this list, members from the United States, Ireland and Prince Edward Island were not as likely to marry outside of their group. Of course, it is only logical that Americans stay more within their group since of the 120 marriages that took place that year, 85 of them (70%) were between American couples. With a male to female ratio of 3:2, only 44% of Irish males took American wives and 16.6% of the Irish females took an American husband. The Irish married into other groups and in the case of Irish and American intermarriage the American partners surname usually hinted at Irish decent. Of the four Prince Edward Island natives (2 males and 2 females) who married in that year, all married each other with no incidence of intermarriage. In other cases of ethnic marriage (such as those from Finland, Sweden and Italy) they were either the only member of that group of marrying age, (so they had to marry outside the group) or there were two members of that group, each of the opposite sex, who married each other. For example, the marriage records show only one Canadian couple, one Finnish couple and one Swedish couple.
Five years later, the amount of marriages rose to 167. This time, only 59% of marriages were between American couples. The same groups still have the most members marrying. Both New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had the same amount of men and women marrying and interestingly enough, they both failed to have any in-group marriage whatsoever. Though there was the same percentage of male Nova Scotians marrying Americans as in 1895 , they were also now marrying French Canadians, English and those from Prince Edward Island. For the females from this area, 65% took American husbands. There was also a marriage with an Irish man and another with a Swedish man. Of all the groups, the Nova Scotians were the only ones that had a very close male to female ratio but still married more outside of their group than inside. 
With the number of marriages and women increasing, the Irish had an even higher in-group marriage rate than in the previous 5 years. There were no Irish males marrying American females at all. In fact there was only one marriage outside the group where the Irish males were concerned and that was one with a Nova Scotian partner. With the male to female ratio being 1:4, there were now more Irish females marrying outside the group, 33.3% of them taking American husbands. With an increase of French Canadians marrying and a male to female ratio of 4:1, there was no in-group marrying at all among this group, unlike in 1895. Of the 4 Canadian males who married, all took American wives and the one Canadian girl who married also marred an American. The Swedes also changed from having its members all marry within the group to having them all intermarry. Here the male to female ratio was 1:2, yet both female Swedes married Americans and the male married a Nova Scotian. 
In 1900 a new group, the Germans, showed up in the marriage records. The records show that there were only two marriages in this year involving Germans, both being intermarriages. The two men who married in this year both married American girls. In this year we see that not only is there a higher rate of intermarriage, but that these marriages that once only had certain groups intermarrying with certain groups, are becoming more evenly distributed among other groups as well. 
The number of marriages within a year rose dramatically in 1905 to 2,107. At this point about 91.2% of Beverly’s eligible population were marrying. But the patterns seemed to still be the same. Other than Americans, the Irish were the largest group marrying and most of these occurred within the group. If an Irish male did not choose a partner from the group, they were most likely to take an American or Nova Scotian wife. The amount of Irish women marrying was exactly the same as the amount of men and both had the same amount of out-of-group marriages. With the Irish, both sexes had 10.5% taking American partners, and 5.2% taking Nova Scotian partners. The groups with the most intermarriage were Americans and Nova Scotians. The Americans tended to be more diverse in intermarrying, as the males took wives from places such as Sweden and England and the females married the Irish and Italians. Fifty percent of the males from Nova Scotia intermarried, while 55% of the females from Nova Scotia were married outside the group. With a male-to-female ratio of 8:9, the women from Nova Scotia tended to marry outside the group more. Recorded was one marriage between a Nova Scotian female and Swedish male, and another marriage between a Nova Scotian female and a German male. Members from the other Canadian provinces still tended to marry people from their area. In both female and male cases from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island all intermarriages that took place were with Americans, Nova Scotians or French-Canadians. Male immigrants that were marrying in the year such as Italians, Russians and Germans married women from Nova Scotia or Beverly, or else they would marry a partner from their own group. The numbers of marriages that include those groups are small. Though there seems to be more intermarriage activity this year , the percentage of intermarriage seems to be lower than any other years; this is probably due to the fact that the number of people marrying increases, so though there were more outside marriages there were still a lot more inside as well. 
From the 3 years cited, several patterns appeared. In the case of the Irish, few intermarriages took place. This is probably due to the fact of the large availability of both Irish men and women. Also, because the majority of them were Catholic, the formal religious rules of Cathlocism were still strong. Thus when there were incidences of intermarriages, they were with Americans and Nova Scotians all of the time. The Americans were most often of Irish ancestry and the Nova Scotians were probably descended from Irish Catholics. The Nova Scotians and Americans were the most diverse group when it came to intermarriages. These groups, along with Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick groups, probably had the least prominent ethnic boundaries, and so it was more easier for them to marry into other groups. Many of the Americans marrying were second or third generations of other ethnic groups, thus making them more acceptable to marry if intermarriage was the case. The few marriages in the other ethnic groups may be due to the fact that there was little availability of partners from the particular group, giving many the choice of not marrying at all. Very few married into other groups as an alternative. So, in the case of groups such as the Italians, Swedish, and Germans, there were either very few in-group marriages, very few out of group marriages, or no marriages from the group at all. An example of this would be that of the Italians. During the three years recorded there were only two marriages involving Italians, both men. An explanation could be that during the early 1900’s Italian men were coming from Italy to Beverly to help build the United Shoe Machinery Corporation. Hardly any Italian women were in Beverly during that time, so many men went back to Italy to bring back their future wives, or did not marry at all. Few were found intermarrying. This strongly proves the original hypothesis, that the amount of intermarriages depends greatly on the availability of partners inside and outside the group.
There were also other factors that seemed to determine the rate of intermarriage in Beverly. The religious and the relative barriers that surround the group were not always prominent. For example the Nova Scotians, as I stated before, had more opportunities to intermarry. On the other hand, when such barriers as language and religious were in effect, as in the case of Germans and Italians, more intra-marriages took place. Had there been more time for research, other factors such as social class and occupations might have been considered. However, this research gives an idea of the kind of interaction that took place between these immigrants to Beverly in the early 1900’s.