For years, I'd heard other genealogists talk about Quaker records, but it wasn't until I discovered my own Quaker roots that I appreciated what the fuss was all about. According to some experts, the Quakers kept the most detailed records of any church, save the Church of England. Of particular interest are the records of the monthly meetings, which include notes on births, deaths and marriages, as well as notes about attendance and certificates of removal. Because Quakers were required to marry other Quakers, once you find one Quaker ancestor, you'll probably find many others.
There are several sources for Quaker records. The best-known source is probably William Wade Hinshaw's Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. This six-volume work, available on CD-ROM for $59.99 from the Genealogical Publishing Co., contains the most complete genealogical data on the Friends. You can also search Hinshaw's work through the fee-based Web site Ancestry.com . Meeting records have been microfilmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well.
In addition, there are several free online sources for researching your Quaker ancestry. The most comprehensive is The Quaker Corner. Prepare to spend hours exploring this site, which includes links to articles about Quaker history, lookups and archives. The site also is home to the Quaker-Roots mailing list.
And look for these other Quaker online resources:
Quaker-Roots message board
Quaker Electronic Archive and Meeting Place
Using Hinshaw's Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy
Quaker-Roots Reference Material