Sunday, November 28, 2021

Let’s Talk Quaker Research (The Midwestern Friends)

Map by John Shoebridge Williams, from Milton Franklin Williams, “The Williams History: Tracing the Descendants in America of Robert Williams, of Ruthin, North Wales, who Settled in Carteret County, North Carolina, in 1763.” (Cincinnati, Ohio, 1921).

The Midwestern Friends

What if your Quaker ancestors didn’t just land and settle in with a Meetinghouse and associated records in the Minutes Books? What if they were not only advocates but dedicated to a movement? Were your ancestors part of the Hicksite movement, Congressional,  or the Orthodox? What if they left North Carolina and Kentucky and moved to Ohio, or another Midwestern State. 

Where to Begin Quaker Research

Monthly Meetings in North America, A Quaker Index, Thomas Clark Hill, pg 213

Quaker researchers know the key to tracing Quaker ancestry begins with the following reference books:

  • Monthly Meetings in North America, A Quaker Index, Thomas Clark Hill.[1]
  • Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Volume I -V, Wm Wade Hinshaw[2]

The Issue
Records are everywhere! Once again the genealogists must put on one’s ferreting cap for this research. Yes, there are quite a few records online, some of the Society of Friends cemeteries, Monthly Meeting Minutes, and more; but, historical research on the Meetinghouses of interest is vital to any to understand the migratory paths, the original and the settlements of our Friends’ ancestors.

The good news is that many of the Quaker records are extant; just keep in mind the following:

  1. Records are not centrally housed
  2. Members jumped from one Meetinghouse to another relocation
  3. They followed idealistic and cultural changes based on the era and timeframe.
  4. Meetinghouses were often absorbed by a neighboring Meeting due to internal influences, i.e. low membership.
  5. Rarely do the Minutes note their members by race. Therefore, each member of interest requires individual full genealogical research on each of the viable candidates. Why? -because many of the African American Quakers (or those who lived in the communities); or moved from NC to the Midwest with the Quakers, carried the same names. So don’t get caught with the wrong “Charles Osborn.”   

Where to Research Midwestern Quaker Records? 

Sure, your research still follows standard collections - to include deeds, wills, probates, obituaries, newspapers, etc., but understanding the climate and the times is vital:·       “A Great and Good People” Midwestern Quakers and the Struggle Against Slavery, Hamm Thomas D, Indiana Magazine of History, Vol 100, No 1 (March 2004) pp3-25; online access: Jstor.

       For Abolitionists and African American Friends Research

Obituary: U.S Quaker Periodicals, 1828 – 1929

North Carolina Friends (Quakers) were quite active in Pasquotank County, NC and surrounding counties. Many became Midwestern Quakers in their effort to relocate “Free-Coloreds” to Ohio, Indiana, other free states, and presumably Liberia; as well as guide and protect “runaway” slaves. They were abolitionists and active in the Underground Railroad. Of course, many of the stations also had Free-Coloreds who served as agents on both ends.

Keeping in mind that many in the Midwest were abolitionists or anti-slavery. These records may be found in unfamiliar places. This is also a great place for African American descendants of this region to begin their research:

  • a3Genealogy blog articles:
  • Quaker Heritage Center, at Wilmington, Quaker College.
  • Earlham College, IN 
  • Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad; Geography of Resistance, Cheryl Janifer LaRoche, 2013 Indiana and Ohio
  •  Wilberforce College, HBCU
  • Quaker Heritage: Chester Meeting House
  •  Harveysburg Free black school in Warren County, OH, museum
  •  Greene County Ohio Archives, manumissions black populations, Wilberforce College 

Just to get you started!
Note: The a3Genealogy Research Team, recently completed two large Friends - Quakers, Abolitionists and Underground Railroad projects.  This does not include the recent project on the Midwestern Quakers and the Impact of Ohio and Indiana Native Americans.  This white paper is forthcoming.

[1] 1997, University of Wisconsin - Madison. 
[2] Publisher: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 1973, Baltimore

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Voted the Best 2021 Holiday Gift - $39 DNA Kit


Voted the Best Holiday Gift for 2021
Extended to 5 Dec 2021.

The a3Genealogy DNA team unanimously voted MyHeritageDNA Kit for $39
as the best Holiday Gift, 2021, thus far! Use this link:

Let us know what you think!  

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers