New Quaker Records on Ancestry.com Tell the Stories of Our Nation's "Friends" -- The Unsung Leaders of Equality and Peace
Documents Spanning Over 300 Years Give Insight to the Presence and Influence of Quakers in American History
PROVO, UT--(Marketwired - Apr 28, 2014) - Ancestry.com today released 11.5 million new records documenting one of the most prominent groups in American history, the "Religious Society of Friends," more commonly known as Quakers. Spanning over 300 years (late 1600s - late 1900s), the collection includes birth, marriage, death, disownment, and memorial records, sourced from the Quaker's monthly meeting minutes.
Quakers have played a key role in American history and society since the country's earliest days. There are currently more than 85,000 Quakers living in the United States and 350,000 worldwide, but it is estimated that in the 1700s, 50 percent of all people living in the Mid-Atlantic States were Quaker.
Ancestry.com has collaborated with a variety of institutions to compile a robust online documentation of the Quakers' history. With the help of American Quaker colleges Earlham, Haverford, Swarthmore and Guilford, and The National Archives in England, Ancestry.com estimates that it now has more than 75 percent of all the American Quaker records in existence.
"I was raised in the Quaker religion, attended Quaker schools, and was married in a Quaker wedding ceremony. I feel a deep commitment to spreading awareness of their culture, beliefs and powerful influence in history," said Lisa Parry Arnold, a professional genealogist, author and lecturer at Ancestry.com. "These new collections will help people who are researching their family history discover or learn more about their own Quaker heritage."According to Arnold, Quakers tracked the activities of their members through their monthly business meetings. Detailed meeting minutes are part of the collection now available on Ancestry.com, and can provide important information for those researching their family history, including names, dates, and relationships to fellow "Friends." Monthly meetings also kept track of where members came from and their destinations when they chose to move to another colony, state or province -- a real boon for those tracing their ancestors' footsteps.