Ancestry.com is a premium source for starting your genealogical research. Earlham offers an institutional subscription that works on any computer in Lilly Library.
Several years ago Earlham, Swarthmore, Haverford, and Guilford worked with Ancestry to digitize Quaker records that might be of interest to genealogists. These included Heiss' Abstracts, Hinshaw's Encyclopedia, and Monthly (and some Preparative) meeting records that have birth, death, and membership information. Quarterly and Yearly meeting records were excluded from the project since they contain business meeting minutes.
If you are looking for a Friend from Indiana, the best place to start is Willard Heiss’ Abstracts of the Records of the Society of Friends in Indiana. For non-Indiana Friends, we recommend beginning with William Wade Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. If you do not find anything in either of these, we have a large collection of regional materials and family histories. You can also search the American Friends Obituary Index for an obituary of your family member. (Photocopies of obituaries found in the index are $5 per obituary.) These resources and how to use them are described in greater depth below.
Willard C. Heiss, Abstracts of the Records of the Society of Friends in Indiana
Willard C. Heiss compiled seven volumes from the minutes of Indiana and Western Yearly Meetings. These volumes include information on births and deaths, marriages, lists of children, and information on the families’ or individuals’ status within the meeting. For example, it will note if a member was disowned. The last volume is an index which lists surnames and the volumes and pages where those surnames can be found. Although these volumes are usually only useful to people with Quaker ancestry, Heiss does include some civil records from Indiana as well. He uses some obscure abbreviations in his work, but there is a key for these abbreviations at the front of each volume. You will find a similar list in William Wade Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy.
William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy
William Wade Hinshaw compiled the Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. It is similar to Heiss in that it has multiple volumes and an index. However, it deals with Quakers in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Virginia. The index is similar to that of Heiss’ Abstracts of the Records of the Society of Friends in Indiana except that it includes first names as well as last names.
Both Heiss and Hinshaw are available in Ancestry.
Regional Materials and Family Histories
The Friends Genealogy Collection contains histories of areas with prominent Quaker populations, such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, and Indiana. Our primary collecting focus is Midwestern Quakers, but we do have materials on other areas as well. The collection of books pertaining to Wayne County is especially extensive. These records often include information on marriages and cemetery records.
We also have an extensive collection of Quaker family histories, many compiled by genealogists. For example, Pennington Pedigrees and Genealogy of Miles Marshall (1789-1868): including Civil War and other letters.
The American Friend Obituary Index
Beginning in 1894, American Quakers began publishing obituaries for members of their meetings in a publication called The American Friend. They continued this practice until 1960. These tend to be fairly extensive and can be a good source of information. There is an index of these obituaries on the Friends Collection’s webpage. Because we get so many requests for these, we charge patrons $5 for each obituary we copy + shipping and handling. Please see the “Research and Digitization” tab on our webpage for more information on copying and fees.
Thank you to Michelle Marshall who created this resource guide for the Earlham community!
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