excerpts from ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN QUAKER GENEALOGY, Volume I
by William Wade Hinshaw
Containing Every Item of Genealogical Value Found In All Records and Minutes of The Thirty-Three Oldest Monthly Meetings Which Belong, or Ever Belonged, to the North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends Whose Records Are Known to Be Still in Existence With Supplement to Volume I
compiled by Thomas Worth Marshall
This series of abstracts is one of the most important sources for understanding and researching Quaker ancestors. Some people copy pages from these abstracts, without reading the foreword or introduction, or totally understanding the meaning of the abbreviations used. I’ve seen a notation about the granting of a certificate misinterpreted to mean a marriage certificate instead of a certificate to transfer membership to another monthly meeting. Therefore, I am posting the foreword, introduction, and abbreviations here, for reference. I am also posting the introductions to the abstracts for the monthly meetings which were in Guilford and surrounding it; but I have placed them in a different order than the one used by Hinshaw. You can buy this volume in CD form through any good genealogical book seller, or view it at a local genealogy or history room. It is important to remember that not all things of a broader genealogical interest are in the volume. If you want to see the complete records, you will need to get access to microfilm records through either a Friends Historical Collection, or a Family History Library local branch.
Soon after beginning, in 1923, a search for my own personal American ancestors, all of the earliest of whom came to America long before the Revolutionary War, and most of whom arrived during the 17th Century (1600-1700), I found that all of my American ancestors who were then living joined the Society of Friends soon after it was founded (1651) by George Fox, with the exception of my ancestor, Deacon John Doane (1581-1686) who came from England to Plymouth, Mass., 1630. His grandson, Daniel Doane (II), was the first of his line to become a Quaker.
I learned, also, that to find the genealogical records covering the eight to ten generations of my American Quaker ancestors would entail a methodical search of the books of minutes and records of many Quaker Meetings located in various places in several states; and that to make such a search would require the services of a competent professional genealogist through a period of several years at a considerable cost; and that what I had thought would be easy and inexpensive would really be a large undertaking, such as most people could ill afford to finance.
I discovered that the genealogical lineages of all Friends who ever lived in America are hidden away in the thousands of books of minutes and records of all the Monthly Meetings which have ever existed in this country; that these records had been meticulously kept from the date of the formal organization of each Monthly Meeting until its discontinuance; that while some of these meetings which were organized in Colonial times are still alive and active, hundreds of such meetings were short lived; that while the Yearly Meetings have brought the books of many of the “closed” meetings to their fire-proof vaults for permanent preservation, hundreds of books are still in the hands of descendants of former members who are reluctant to give them up; that while some books have been destroyed by fire and other disasters, most of them are still in existence, and many “missing” books can be found stored away in ancestral garrets where they have been forgotten; that examination shows that all of the early books were of very poor paper and very poor binding, both of which are now in a sad state of decay, the ink badly faded, leaves partly or fully torn away, bindings worn out, and the paper so frail that the most careful handling is necessary; and that in a few more decades most of these precious books will be illegible and/or fallen to dust.
Knowing that before about 1850 Quakers did not have their vital statistics recorded in civil offices, and realizing that these precious statistics exist only in the original books, the most of which have never been copied, a deep concern came to me to do what I could to preserve all data contained in them which is of interest to genealogy. Thus I was moved to begin this huge undertaking, — the extraction of all genealogical data from all books of all Monthly Meetings and the compilation of this data into an Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy. Had I fully realized then what a tremendous work I was attempting, it is doubtful that I should have had the courage to begin; but I did begin, and now it is almost half completed.
Our most difficult task has been to find the many “lost” books, which in several cases has been, indeed, baffling; but by diligent searches, and with the active aid of many Friends in high positions, we have located those we have sought in every locality where we have worked, or have been able to confirm that they were no longer in existence.
While some other religious bodies have kept quite good records of their early members, I believe that the Society of Friends form the only large body of Americans which has kept such meticulous records of its members that perfect and continuous genealogical lineage charts can be made from them.
Since the Quakers have always been at the “front” in the settling and civilizing of almost every wilderness and plain, in bringing order and law to newly acquired territories which would otherwise have been dominated by the spirit of pillage and despoilation, in building schools and meeting houses, cultivating farms and founding villages and towns, this compilation should be of great interest to American his-
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tory, as well as to genealogy. American history books are largely filled with accounts of wars, acquisition of territories, founding of states, counties and towns, and geographical descriptions. Little is said about the people who actually settled the various parts of this country, the settlers being “taken as a whole” by historians, and left there. The Quakers permeated every new land, and with their peaceful ways, their honesty and integrity, were such quiet, though forceful, leaders in the building up of peaceful civilizations that historians, thinking in terms of strife, have paid them small attention.
Yet, it is my belief that fully fifty percent of all American families now living and whose ancestors have lived in America since early days have some ancestral Quaker connections. These are fortunate in that, although they are not likely to be able to establish their lines of descent through other channels, they can authoritatively establish their genealogical ancestral descent insofar as it connects with the Quakers.
To tell the story, step by step, of the progress of our work would require more space than can be allowed here. Suffice it to say that a score of us have devoted our time to this huge undertaking during the past several years, at considerable sacrifice, and that much has been accomplished. High credit is due to all, especially to those who have given voluntary aid, though my copyists have worked for the sake of the cause and not for their small compensations.
I was very fortunate in the very beginning in that Mr. Thomas W. Marshall, of Washington, D.C., volunteered to help me by planning and superintending the compiling of the data into alphabetical and chronological order, all of which work has been done in his offices under his direct guidance. He has aided me in so many ways and always with such devotion to truth that I cannot give him too high praise and too great credit, no matter how much I may say. He and I have both personally scanned every item sent in by copyists, always on the look-out for errors, omissions, etc.; literally hundreds of letters have been written by one or the other of us, asking for special searches to be made for some small item needed. Mr. Marshall was ably assisted, and relieved of much of the work of compiling and tabulating, by his son, Whitfield H. (“Pat”) Marshall. After his graduation at Duke University, Pat gave his entire time to this work for one year before beginning the study of law at George Washington University. Realizing that he possessed an unusually orderly mind, I urged him to continue work on my genealogical project at odd hours during his law study. This he did for three years, and managed to give me many hours each week, — not only on this book, but also in arranging material for future volumes. I regret that, because he has now entered the office of a prominent law firm in Texas, his invaluable services are no longer available; but I wish to express my sincere appreciation of his work and co-operation during the past four years and my high regard for him as co-worker and friend.
The extracting of the data from the original books of the meetings covered in this volume was done by Miss Laura D. Worth, of Guilford College, N.C., to which work she devoted almost three years of painstaking intensive effort. She is personally responsible for the copying from the original books all material found in this volume, with the exception of that from the Tennessee meetings, which was copied partly by Mrs. Charles F. Wayland, of Knoxville, Tenn., partly by Thomas W. Marshall, and partly by myself. Highest credit is due to Miss Worth for all of the rest. Miss Worth is known to Friends everywhere as a woman of great intelligence, charming personality and exceptional ability as genealogist. She knows more about Quaker genealogy in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia than any other living person.
It was especially fortunate for me and for the progress of this work when some of the finest men in all Quakerdom became interested. The first was Dr. Harlow Lindley, Curator of History for the Ohio State Museum, at Columbus, who, after examining some of our North Carolina compilations, immediately wrote me offering all possible aid and volunteering to personally locate all books in Ohio and to direct my copyists in their work in that State, which he did at great sacrifice of time and effort. He was instrumental in bringing this work to the notice of many others who also have helped greatly. To one of those persons, I must give special credit here, for he has done so much for me and has been such a bulwark of strength that I cannot properly express my deep appreciation of it and of his friendship,
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shown “at every turn.” That man is Walter C. Woodward, editor of The American Friend, Richmond, Ind. The information he has given me at various times has saved me much work and much expense. His editorials telling about this project and commending it to “all and sundry” have brought it to the attention of Friends everywhere. I have gone to him for advice many times and have never come away empty-handed. When the subject of publication came up, he at once offered all possible aid. Realizing that there is no possibility of making the publication pay expenses, he offered to have the Friends Book and Supply House act as Distributor without compensation of any kind over the actual expenses incurred. This offer I gladly accepted, for I realized that advance subscribers would feel safe in sending their checks to this splendid House, since they would know that unless the promised book were delivered, their money would be returned. Walter C. Woodward is a grand man and a wonderful friend. If the publication of the entire set of books in my Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy is successfully completed, it will be because of the good-will of Walter C. Woodward.
Our work in Iowa was aided materially by Richard Newby, Superintendent of Iowa Yearly Meeting, and by many others. In Illinois by F. W. Flitcraft and James W. Matchett. In Michigan by J. Edgar Williams. In Kansas by Dr. W. O. Mendenhall. In Nebraska and Dakota by Mrs. Stella H. Hockett. In New York by John Cox, Jr. In Pennsylvania by the late R. W. Kelsey, Dr. Albert Cook Myers, May Atherton Leach, William B. Harvey, Clarence I. Pickett, J. Barnard Walton and many others. One of the most gracious acts was by J. Henry Bartlett, custodian of the vaults at 302 Arch Street, Philadelphia. When my copyists, the Misses Cleo and Dorothy Thornburg, went there to work, something over two years ago, he realized that they could not work efficiently unless they had complete quiet, moved his desk out into the general room and turned his private office over to their exclusive use. The custodian at Swarthmore has offered us equal courtesies as soon as we are ready to begin work there. In Richmond, Va., Valentine Museum gave up a special room for the exclusive use of my copyist, Miss Luella Mendenhall. Officials of the two Baltimore Yearly Meetings have offered us every possible courtesy and aid. Dr. Charles D. Rush, Assistant Librarian at Yale University, has aided me in many ways. H. Prescott Beach, President of the New Jersey Sons of the American Revolution, has taken every available opportunity to urge others to support this work through subscriptions. So many others have aided me in various ways that to name them all here is not possible. I shall speak of them, however, when the volumes containing the data taken from the meetings in which they labor are published.
I am deeply grateful for the support given through advance subscriptions by all who have subscribed for this volume. These include Historical and Genealogical societies and Libraries in almost every state, as well as many private persons, from Boston to San Francisco and from Maine to Florida and Texas. Without their support success would be impossible to achieve. The successful completion of this work and the publication of the data is of utmost importance to American History, as well as to Genealogy, for we have carefully listed every certificate of removal, thus showing the movements of all Friends from State to State, with dates and the names of all members of every family. Although we are prepared to complete the extraction and compilation of all this material, it will be utterly impossible for us to finance its publication without the support through subscriptions of Historical and Genealogical Societies and of Public and Private Libraries, as well as of a large number of private individuals.
I am deeply grateful to Dorothea Clapp, Boston genealogist, who through the columns of The Boston Transcript brought this work to the attention of those interested in Genealogy throughout almost the entire world. Her gracious notice of this work brought subscriptions and letters of inquiry not only from Americans but also from Europeans and from far-away Honolulu and other distant places.
Another editor who deserves special credit here in Dr. Gaius M. Brumbaugh, of Washington, D.C., who has ardently supported this work through his editorials in the National Genealogical Magazine. His support is deeply appreciated. I desire also to express my sincere appreciation for the support of various other editors, magazines, newspapers and periodicals: especially would I speak of The American Friend (Richmond, Ind.), The Friend (Philadelphia, Pa.), Quakeriana Notes (Haverford, Pa.), whose former editor, the late Dr. R. W. Kelsey, was one of the first to
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aid and encourage me, The Virginia Historical Society Quarterly (Richmond, Va.), The Magazine of the Institute of American Genealogy (Chicago, Ill.), H. Minot Pitman, editor of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (New York, N.Y.), Miss Pearl Idol, genealogist (Greensboro, N.C.), The Five Years Meeting of Friends in America, and all of the Yearly, Quarterly and Monthly Meetings, together with their clerks, recorders, superintendents and other officials, all of whom have greatly aided me.
But most of all, I am grateful to my dear wife, Mabel Clyde Hinshaw (daughter of the late William P. Clyde of New York, formerly owner of the Clyde Steamship Lines) for her constant aid and sympathetic, enthusiastic support.
William Wade Hinshaw Washington, D.C.
November 10, 1936
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The records kept by Friends Monthly Meetings during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries usually consisted of a record of births and deaths, a record of marriage certificates, and minutes covering all proceedings and discussions coming before the monthly sessions of the meeting. As the men and women met separately, two sets of minutes were kept. In some meetings the marriage records were kept in the same book with the birth and death records; in others they were kept in a separate book. The birth and death records are never complete. In some cases whole families are omitted; sometimes the older children of a family are recorded and the younger ones omitted. The percentage of births recorded appears to be considerably higher than that of deaths. In only a few meetings was it the practice to record the birth dates and parentage of the father and mother of a family. Place of birth was not usually recorded, for either parents or children.
None of the earlier meeting records contains a list of the membership. When a monthly meeting was divided, to establish a new one, all members of the old meeting who lived within the verge of the new automatically became members of the new meeting without any list of their names being entered in the records of either meeting. A person who became a member in this way, unless he took some active part in the affairs of the meeting, was married, or was complained of for some breach of discipline, might continue in membership until the end of his life without his name ever appearing in the records.
The records of marriage certificates are much more complete than the birth and death records. In a few meetings every marriage accomplished in the meeting was fully recorded. Others are nearly complete, — with only a few marriages missing. Since the regular procedure in marriage involved two appearances of the couple before both men’s and women’s meeting prior to marriage and subsequent reports of the committees appointed to attend the marriage ceremony, there is ample record of each marriage in the minutes even though recording of the marriage certificate may have been overlooked. The record in the minutes, however, does not give the names of the parents of the persons married nor the exact date of marriage. The report of the committee that the marriage had been accomplished was made at the next succeeding meeting, thus fixing the date within a month.
The minutes of sessions of the monthly meetings cover many subjects, but only those having genealogical interest have been incorporated in this book. During the periods of migration the minutes relating to certificates of membership received and issued are the most numerous and have the greatest interest. Records of disciplinary action against members for violation of the rules of the Society occupy much space. Members were “dealt with” on a great variety of complaints, including fiddling and dancing, drinking intoxicating liquor to excess, serving in the militia or other armed forces, using profane language, fighting, failure to meet financial obligations, marrying contrary to the order used by Friends, deviation from plainness in apparel or speech, joining another religious society, etc. Unless the offending member expressed sorrow for his misconduct and brought a signed paper condemning the same, he was usually disowned. The number so disowned runs into thousands. Many of them, after a shorter or longer time, produced the necessary paper of condemnation and were reinstated in membership. A minute showing that a person presented a satisfactory paper condemning his misconduct, implies that he was retained or reinstated in membership, as the case might be, whether that fact is specifically stated or not. Often, following the disownment of a member (perhaps many years later) the minutes may record a request for membership coming from a person of the same name, but with no reference to previous membership or disownment. In such cases it is usually impossible to tell whether the two minutes refer to the same person or to two individuals with the same name. A great many of those who were disowned never asked to be reinstated but remained outside the Society for the rest of their lives. The names of these persons never appear in the records again.
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When individual members or families removed from one monthly meeting to another they were furnished removal certificates setting forth the fact of their membership in good standing and recommending them to the fellowship of the monthly meeting to whic they were removing. In the earlier days these certificates were usually prepared and signed in advance and carried by the members to their new place of abode. Later, it appears to have become more the custom to wait until the new home had been established and then send back a request that the certificate be forwarded. A condition to the granting of a certificate was that the member’s “outward affairs” be satisfactorily settled. The certificate usually stated that this had been done. When a certificate was issued to a family the fact was generally recorded in the men’s minutes so far as it applied to the husband and sons, and in the women’s minutes as it applied to the mother and daughters. The names of children were frequently omitted in the minutes of the issuing meeting but were usually recorded by the receiving meeting. The fact that John Jones and family (men’s minutes) and Mary Jones and daughters (women’s minutes) were granted certificates to the same meeting on the same day does not guarantee that John and Mary were husband and wife. Such an assumption would be correct in the majority of cases but would sometimes be erroneous. Confirmatory evidence should always be sought.
If a man and woman contemplating marriage were members of different monthly meetings they made their declarations of intention in the meeting of which the woman was a member. The man was required to bring a certificate from his meeting stating that he was a member in good standing and free from marriage engagements with others. This certificate did not transfer his membership to the woman’s meeting, but only made it possible for him to marry there. After marriage, the wife usually obtained a certificate, issued in her married name, transferring her membership to her husband’s meeting.
Marriage contrary to the Friends’ order, variously referred to in the minutes as “marriage by a priest,” “outgoing in marriage,” “marriage contrary to good order,” “marriage out of unity,” “marriage contrary to discipline,” etc., and spoken of in every day speech as “marriage out of meeting,” was the cause of more complaints and disownments than any other single offense. Because of the value of a record of all marriages in tracing family history, these complaints and disownments have been fully reported in the preparation of this volume. Unfortunately the minutes rarely give the name of the person to whom the offending member was married. The record relating to a woman usually refers to her as Mary Jones, formerly Brown, thus giving a clue which is not available in the case of a man. In a large percentage of cases of marriage contrary to Friends’ order, only one of the parties was a member. When both parties to a marriage engagement were members in good standing, there was usually no reason why they might not apply to the meeting, and receive permission to marry under its authority, but there were some exceptions. Marriage between first cousins or others of close relationship was forbidden by the rules of the Society. Parental objection may have been a bar to marriage in meeting in some cases. In other cases the couple married out of meeting for no other reason than to accomplish their purpose more quickly and without the formality which was necessary to a marriage in meeting.
Complaints for most causes other than marriage contrary to Friends’ order, having little historical or genealogical interest, have been ignored unless they resulted in disownment. When they did result in disownment, that fact has been noted.
In arranging the records for publication, all birth and death records of each meeting have been grouped together, by families, in alphabetical order. Some of the meetings kept their birth and death records in family groups, recording all the children of a father and mother on one page. In other meetings the items seem to have been written into the record book in the order in which they were received by the recorder, with no attempt at family grouping. In such cases the various children of a single father and mother may have been recorded on several different pages. Considerable difficulty has been experienced in the attempt which has been made to collect these scattered records and group together all the children of the same parents. It is possible that, because of duplication of names, some errors have been made, although great care has been taken to identify all persons so far as the information in the original records makes possible. In a few cases the children of the same father and mother may have been divided into two groups because of lack of evidence to
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prove the identical parentage of the two groups. It is also possible that there may be cases in which a number of children have been placed in a single family group when they should have been divided into two groups. In some cases the father may have been the same man with two wives of the same name; in other cases both father and mother may have been different, but with identifical names.
The minutes and marriage records have been combined in a single section for each meeting and arranged alphabetically by family names. Marriages have been recorded under both family names, but names of the woman’s parents are omitted in the record under the man’s family name, and vice versa. Other items containing two or more names have also been repeated under each name. The items relating to each family name have been arranged chronologically.
Almost every meeting in North Carolina Yearly Meeting has lost one or more of its books of records. Some are known to have been destroyed by fire; others have disappeared from view — no one knowing what became of them. The complete records of at least two monthly meetings are gone. These are Fredericksburg Monthly Meeting, South Carolina, about 1750 to 1782, and Trent Monthly Meeting, North Carolina, 1792 to 1800. Both were important meetings and much valuable information has been lost in the disappearance of their records. Center Monthly Meeting, one of the most important of all the North Carolina meetings in the historical value of its records, has lost the early minutes of both men’s and women’s meeting — the men’s minutes prior to 1835 and the women’s minutes prior to 1825. The women’s minutes of New Garden Monthly Meeting were destroyed by fire in 1790, and this loss was not so serious as the cases just mentioned, since the men’s minutes have been preserved in full. One of the earliest record books of Perquimans Monthly Meeting was found early this year in an abandoned house in Perquimans County. This discovery gives rise to the hope that other missing books may be found.
With a few exceptions, all the record books which have been abstracted in the preparation of this volume are in the custody of North Carolina Yearly Meeting in the Guilford College Library, Guilford College, N.C. The exceptions are noted in the historical sketches of the various meetings.
In order to conserve space, abbreviations have been used for words and phrases which appear frequently. A list of these will be found on page xv.
Thomas W. Marshall Washington, D.C.
November 4, 1936.
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b = born
bur = buried
cert = certificate
ch = child, children
co = chosen overseer(s)
com = complained, complained of
con = condemned
d = died
dec = deceased
dis = disowned, disowned for
dt = daughter, daughters
fam = family
form = formerly
gc = granted certificate
gct = granted certificate to
gl = granted letter
h = husband
jas = joined another society
ltm = liberated to marry, left at liberty to marry
m = marry, married, marrying, marriage
mbr = member mbrp membership
mcd = married contrary to discipline
MH = meeting house
MM = monthly meeting
mos = married out of society
mou = married out of unity
mtg = meeting
prc = produced a certificate
prcf = produced a certificate from
QM = quarterly meeting
rec = receive, received
recrq = received by request
relfc = released from care of
relrq = released by request
rem = remove, removed
rm = reported married
rmt = reported married to
roc = received on certificate
rocf = received on certificate from
rol = received on letter
rolf = received on letter from
rpd = reported
rq = request, requests, requested
rqc = requested certificate
rqct = requested certificate to
rqcuc = requested certificate to come under care (of mtg)
rst = reinstate, reinstated
s = son, sons
uc = under care (of mtg)
w = wife
YM = yearly meeting
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