If you’re researching ancestors who belonged to Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), you’ll want to know about a new collection on Ancestry.com: The Quaker Collection has birth, marriage, death, disownment and memorial records from meeting minutes spanning more than 300 years.
The collection also includes the classic Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy by William Wade Hinshaw, college yearbooks and alumni directories, periodicals and more.
About 85,000 Quakers live in the United States today, according to the Ancestry.com press release. In the 1700s, nearly half of all residents in the Mid-Atlantic States were Quaker.
Well-known American Quakers include Pennsylvania founder William Penn, Revolutionary War Gen. Nathanael Greene, frontiersman Daniel Boone, abolitionist Levi Coffin, suffragist Susan B. Anthony and social activist Jane Addams.
Family Tree Magazine‘s guide to researching Quaker ancestors, part of our Religious Records series, explains the structure of preparative meetings (similar to a congregation), now called a local meeting; monthly meetings (similar to a parish), which served as the major record-keeping unit; quarterly meetings; and yearly meetings.
Ancestry.com estimates the site now has more than 75 percent of American Quaker records in existence, thanks to help from Earlham, Havorford, Swarthmore and Guildford colleges, which were founded by Quakers, and the British national archives.