Virtually no other class of records, religious or secular, has been kept as meticulously as the monthly meeting records of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The oldest such records span three centuries of American history and testify to a general movement of population that extended from New England and the Middle Atlantic states southward to Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, then west to Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The importance of these records cannot be overstated. Not until recently have the vital statistics of Quakers been recorded in civil record offices; thus, for more than two centuries the only vital records identifying these people were found in the Quaker records themselves.
Fortunately, the monthly meeting records contain extensive lists of births, marriages, and deaths, as well as details of the removal of members from one meeting to another. Painstakingly developed from these monthly meeting records, William Wade Hinshaw’s Six-Volume work, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, is the magnum opus of Quaker genealogy. In its production thousands of records were located and abstracted into a uniform and intelligible system of notation. Each of the original six volumes of the Encyclopedia is crammed with genealogical value, and each of the prodigious volumes (all but one of them are over 1,000 pages) is indexed (more on that below). The records include births, marriages, deaths, and minutes of proceedings, grouped together for each meeting by families, in alphabetical order, and covering the period from 1680 through the early 1930s. The minutes relating to certificates of removal are numerous and of great genealogical interest, as they give evidence either of membership in a previous monthly meeting or membership in a new meeting, thus enabling genealogists to trace Quaker ancestors from one place to another. Identified below are the monthly or annual meetings covered in each of the six volumes of the Encyclopedia.
Finally, despite the importance of the index at the end of each volume, Genealogical.com commissioned a master index to the work, a vast collection of all 600,000 names in the Encyclopedia. Each entry in this “seventh” volume contains the surname and given name, and the volume number and page number wherein the name can be found. For those who own the Encyclopedia, or even individual volumes, this is a godsend; for those hoping to find out if any of their ancestors appear in Hinshaw, this is as good as it gets. For those with Quaker ancestry, this is a researcher’s dream. Following is a summary of the Quaker meetings covered in each volume of the Encyclopedia.
Volume I: North Carolina (including meetings in Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee)
North Carolina Meetings: Perquimans (Piney Woods), Pasquotank (Symons Creek), Sutton Creek, Rich Square, Core Sound, Contentnea (Nahunta), Neuse, Woodland, Cane Creek, Spring, Holly Spring, New Garden, Dover, Hopewell, Greensboro, Center, Black Creek, Marlborough, Deep River, Springfield, Union, High Point, Westfield, and Deep Creek.
Virginia Meeting: Mt. Pleasant (Chestnut Creek).
South Carolina Meetings: Bush River, Wrightsborough, Cane Creek, Piney Grove, and Charleston.
Tennessee Meetings: New Hope, Lost Creek, and Newberry (Friendsville). View Details
Volume II: New Jersey and Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting: Salem Monthly Meeting (NJ), Burlington Monthly Meeting (NJ), Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (PA), and Falls Monthly Meeting (PA). View Details
New York Yearly Meeting: New York City (including Flushing, Westbury, and Jericho Monthly Meetings) and Long Island from 1657 to 1940. Comprehensive for both Hicksite and Orthodox groups of the New York Yearly Meeting. View Details
Volume IV: Ohio (including meetings in western Pennsylvania and Michigan)
Ohio Meetings: Concord, Stillwater, Flushing, Somerset, and Plainfield (Belmont Co.); Plymouth-Smithfield and Short Creek (Jefferson. Co.); Middleton, Salem, New Garden, Upper Springfield Sandy Spring, and Carmel (Columbiana Co.); Providence (Fayette Co.); Alum Creek (Delaware Co.); Goshen (Logan Co.); Deerfield (Morgan Co.); Marlborough (Stark Co.); Chesterfield (Athens Co.); Gilead and Greenwich (Morrow Co.); East Goshen and West (Mahoning Co.); Plymouth (Washington Co.); Columbus (Franklin Co.); and Cleveland (Cuyahoga Co.).
Pennsylvania Meetings: Sewickley (Westmoreland Co.), Westland (Washington Co.), and Redstone (Fayette Co.).
Michigan Meeting: Adrian. View Details
Ohio Meetings: Miami and Springborough (Warren Co.); Fairfield, Fall Creek, and Lees Creek (Highland Co.); West Branch Mill Creek and Union (Miami Co.); Center (Clinton Co.); Elk and Westfield (Preble Co.); Caesar’s Creek, Clear Creek, Newberry, Springfield, Dover, Hopewell, and Wilmington (Clinton Co.); Cincinnati (Hamilton Co.); Green Plain (Clark Co.); and Van Wert (Van Wert Co.). View Details
Virginia Meetings: Chuckatuck, Pagan Creek, Western Branch, Black Water, Upper, Henrico, Cedar Creek, Camp Creek, South River, Goose Creek (Bedford Co.), Hopewell, Fairfax, Crooked Run, Goose Creek (Loudoun Co.), and Alexandria. View Details
2 thoughts on “Pre-eminent Source for Quaker Ancestors”
I noticed that Indiana was not noted as a location where monthly meetings were held. But I believe there were Quaker meeting houses located in parts of Indiana (as indicated by some references to such meeting houses I came across in researching one of my family lines). Am I missing something?
Vol. 5 (Ohio) has some records of the Indiana Yearly Meeting; however, the late Willard Heiss continued Hinshaw’s work and published what he called, “Volume VII” in the Encyclopedia. Here’s a link to his work: