Were your ancestors Quakers?

William Penn

William Penn

QUAKER – a member of the Society of Friends, formed in England in 1648. Early restrictions brought them to New Jersey in 1675 and some 230 English Quakers founded Burlington, NJ in 1678.

William Penn was granted the territory of Pennsylvania in 1681 and within two years there were about 3000 Quakers living there. If your ancestor lived in Pennslyvania, he may have been a Quaker.

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.


Q is for Quaker. Having fun on the A-Z Blogging Challenge.

This entry was posted in A to Z April Challenge, Genealogy Resources, History, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Were your ancestors Quakers?

  1. I do have Quaker ancestors but I haven’t worked on them for a long time. I’m going to have to check out these new sources. Thank you for sharing.

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