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 from Genealogical Publishing Co., contains the most complete genealogical data on the Friends. You can also search Hinshaw’s work through the fee-based website Ancestry.com. Meeting records have been microfilmed by FamilySearch, 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.
Look for these Quaker genealogy websites:
- Religious Records: Researching Quaker Ancestors digital download
- Our Quaker Ancestors: Finding them in Quaker Records by Ellen T. Berry and David Allen Berry