Thee & Me: A Beginner's Guide to Early Quaker Records
In 1675, George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), devised a system of record-keeping, which is both meticulous and extensive, and has continued for over 300 years. Meeting records kept by the Friends are rich in detail and those searching for Quaker ancestors can expect to discover a wealth of information in them, as soon as they learn how to use them. The early Quakers had characteristics and a manner of speaking which were quite their own and maneuvering through the records requires special research insights. Now, for the first time in over 25 years, a book has been written which acquaints Quaker researchers with the intricacies of meeting records. And for the first time ever, it was written by someone who understands the Quakers, so researchers are introduced not only to the different record types and the most effective use of those records, but to the Quakers themselves. The author is a 10th generation descendant of multiple lines of Quakers who came to the colonies in the earliest years. She has lived the life of a Quaker, is a professional genealogist, and now shares her insights with those searching not only for the names of their Quaker ancestors, but for the back stories as well. Learn why the Quakers disowned their members for infractions yet still welcomed them to worship rather than shunning them - which was the common practice in other religions. Ever heard of the Underground Railroad – guess who most of the “conductors” were? Why did they risk life and limb to buy and free slaves? What about the Quaker refusal to bear arms - how did they manage that during the Revolutionary War when it was unfolding right there in Pennsylvania? This book begins with a brief history of the Quakers, including their devotion to the New Testament of the King James Bible which, in their day was newly available to the common man. Turning their back on both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, the Quakers formed their own religion and sealed their fate when they refused to pay tithes to either church. Thousands were put into prison or sold into slavery, but they persevered and grew stronger in their faith. After nearly 20 years of persecution, quite miraculously, William Penn was given land in the new colonies; land which was roughly the size of England! Penn practically gave the land away and there the Quakers found a place to grow, free from persecution. All of this activity is tracked in the Quaker records, including each family’s migration to America and their settlement in the colonies. Penn enacted a self-limiting government in his colony and began some inspired new legal practices which were eventually incorporated into the U.S. Constitution. Other chapters include details about Quaker words and phrases; records organization; the unique ways in which Quakers dealt with Indian tribes, kept a calendar, dressed, spoke the Plain language, held weddings, and conducted business. The print book includes many images, tips, and guides, including a case study that walks the reader through the research process for tracing Quaker ancestors.