While doing research on my family, I came across this information on the Ancestry.com website. I thought it might be helpful for anyone researching their Quaker ancestors. The following text is copied verbatim from Ancestry.
This database contains Quaker monthly meeting records which are archived at the following Quaker colleges: Earlham (Indiana), Guilford (North Carolina), Haverford and Swarthmore (Pennsylvania). Quakers recorded a variety of details in their monthly meeting minutes which can be searched by name, location, and event date; or browsed by state, county, meeting, and record type. The format of meeting records varied from meeting to meeting and sometimes changed over time.
This collection marks the first time a major collection of Quaker meeting records has been made available online with a comprehensive index. Although the Quakers conducted meetings on four levels, the monthly meeting records hold the details of the most genealogical value for researchers. In order to best use this collection, you will want to understand the records and what you can expect to find in them.
Who are the Quakers?
Quakers are members of a religious group that began in England in the 1640s. The formal name is the ‘Religious Society of Friends’. Quakers did not separate religious life and secular life. They felt that all could live together in peace if they followed the Holy Spirit. Quakers, or Friends have been known for the religious testimonies against war and slavery, and in support of simplicity and social justice. Many early leaders of the anti-slavery, anti-war and woman’s rights movements have been Quakers.
What Can I Expect to Find in Quaker Records?
There are generally two types of monthly meeting records, minutes taken during the business meeting, and separate registers of births, marriages and burials. Later in the 19th century many meetings began to keep membership registers which incorporated more comprehensive information. Each meeting kept records for individuals and families as long as they remained faithful members of the meeting and within its geographical boundaries. When a family moved from one meeting to another, a letter (certificate of removal) was sent to the new monthly meeting they would be attending. Notice of the transfer was written into the minutes of the original meeting, and was also noted as received in the new meeting.
Meeting minutes contain a recording of all business conducted in the meeting. These include approvals of marriage intentions, records of discipline, disownment, requests for burial in the meeting burial grounds, and removal. Monthly meeting minutes rarely include information about births and deaths.
The Religious Society of Friends suffered a major schism in 1827, when the Society split into “Orthodox” and “Hicksite” branches. In many cases, two meetings then existed where there had originally been one, each using the same meeting name and each keeping records, as required. You may find your ancestor in either set of records, depending on where he and his family stood in the conflict at the time, so it is best to check both sets. The Hicksite-Orthodox separation, which lasted until 1955, was the largest of the splits, but was followed by a number of smaller and more regional splits. By the end of the 19th century, most American Friends were either Hicksite or Orthodox but there were also Wilburite, Conservative, Progressive, Primitive, Otisite, Kingite and other divisions for short periods of time. Records for these splinter groups did not survive in most cases.
Why does my ancestor’s name appear on an image, but is not part of the index?
It is possible that names of members which appear in various documents were not indexed. This occurs primarily when members were named to committees or attended weddings. Quaker marriage certificates were signed by all witnesses present at the time of the marriage. These names were only recorded in the minutes in the early years, and were not indexed. Non-Quakers were permitted to attend weddings and signed the marriage certificate, as a result some of the witnesses at a Quaker wedding were not members of the Society of Friends.
It is possible that during the time they attended a specific meeting, if a family or individual: did not serve on any committees, did not have children, was not married, did not move from, and was not buried, their names will not appear in the minutes.
Dates in many of the entries are recorded according to the Quakers’ system. Quakers found the use of traditional names for months and days against their Christian values since the names of the days of the weeks and most of the names of the months derived from “pagan” deities. So they devised a numerical system; First Day was Sunday, Second Day was Monday, Third Day for Tuesday, etc. First month, Second Month, Third Month substituted for the names of months.
Please keep in mind that before England changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, the year officially began in March. Thus First month, 1751 is March, not January. Since the English and English colonists in America were aware that many nations by this time used January 1st for the beginning of the new year, dates in January and February were often written as 1740/1741, meaning if one assumed the year began in January, the year was 1741, but if one was using the official English system, the year did not begin until March, so the year was still 1740. Be careful in transcribing the dates you see. We have made every effort to provide both the Quaker terms and the traditional dates in the hopes of being clear on what was recorded at the time. The majority of the records should contain a Quaker date and a translated date.
I found this doctor who says he can fix a few of my medical problems. I’ve been going to see him about once a week for a while now. He has me jumping through some hoops, though, before he’ll even start treatment.
I had to wear a monitoring device, so he could see what was going on with me at all times. In addition to that, I had to call him every day and update him on what my day was like. He basically wanted to know things like my emotional state, the things I was eating, exercise I was getting, etc. Even though he could see everything through the monitoring device, I still had to check in with him at least once a day.
After a while of doing that, I went back to him to discuss treatment. He started asking me all of these questions, like have I done any charity work, do I do good things for others, have I done anything illegal or immoral, how is my relationship with my parents, and how did I raise my kids. He was pretty much taking my life history.
I started to get a little uncomfortable and impatient. I asked when I could start treatment. He told me that I seemed ungrateful, and that even though he could definitely fix my problems, he wasn’t seeing enough from me, so he was having second thoughts about helping me.
I begged him to help, but he’s still not sure. I offered to get everyone who knows me to talk to him on my behalf, and he said he’d consider changing his mind if enough people called him, and if he started seeing some gratitude from me for all that he’s already done for me.
I’m really not comfortable with this. What would you do?
At the beginning of July of this year (2012), a Facebook group was started by a friend of mine (I’ll call him AF) and his two friends. The idea came about from a conversation between AF and his friends, to try to help people locally with some “free-cycling” and food collection/distribution for those in need.
About a week after the group was started, AF invited me to join, explaining what it was about. I loved the idea of a community coming together to help where Welfare, food banks and other charity services couldn’t or wouldn’t, and I was more than happy to help out wherever I could. Many people are turned away from services because they make “too much money” (she says while rolling her eyes). This group’s purpose was to fill in those gaps by people in our community.
After a few days, things started to get really organized, with several people in a 50 mile radius becoming drop-off/collection points, each with their own designated list of nearby towns. AF and I teamed up for our local area, since he has transportation at all times (I don’t), and I have storage space (he doesn’t). I was pretty excited to be helping out, especially since our family has been in that “gap” for quite some time, and I know how frustrating it can be to not have any money, yet not qualify for help.
Things went great for about 4-5 weeks. We still weren’t perfectly organized, but we’d started to gain members, and people were coming out of the woodwork to help, and to be helped. We made some emergency deliveries of food for a family that had nothing, and people were working together nicely to help each other out. Items were being posted that were available, and people were posting items they wanted (known as ISO=in search of, or INO=in need of).
Unfortunately, as these things so often go, people started abusing their privileges, and even worse, the admins running the group started abusing their power. I’d had some clues that this was coming, but I tried to ignore them, as I thought it was just “growing pains”.
The first clue was the apparent illiteracy of one of the admins. Sometimes it would take reading a post 2-3 times just to understand what she was trying to say. I kept my grammar nazi in check, because this was for a good cause, and I understand that some people have serious problems with spelling, grammar and punctuation. But as time went on, it started to bother me that the “face” of the group – the one everyone had to interact with – couldn’t communicate clearly.
The second clue was that both admins seem to revel in drama. Whether it was good, bad, angry, happy or sad, it was like watching a badly written school play. If there was good or happy news, there was gushing and crying. If there was bad or sad news, there was pouting and crying. But the absolute worst drama (I could overlook the other two) was the drama that played out when someone got their feelings hurt, or when people weren’t “playing by the rules”. That’s when the page-long sob-fest would happen. It usually went something like this: “I started this so people could help others, and now people aren’t obeying my every command, and someone has hurt my feelings, and I want everyone to feel sorry for me, so I’m gonna sit here and cry and threaten to shut down the group, until I get 20 comments that I feel sufficiently give me the credit I so rightly deserve!” And people ate it up! Comment after comment would pour in, giving them them the attention they craved.
And speaking of attention, the 3rd clue was when people started to say thanks for creating the group. Instead of just saying “you’re welcome”, the admins lavished upon themselves all the admiration they could muster. Each admin would heap praise on the other for their wonderful idea. I couldn’t help but wonder why AF was left out of this praise-fest. Remember him? I did, but apparently neither admin did. He hadn’t even been made an admin for the group, and was never mentioned at all. So I sent him an email and asked what happened, thinking maybe he’d had a falling out with them or something. He confirmed that he was just as confused as I was, and was actually getting a bit angry at the behavior of his friends. So I posted a comment in the midst of the praise-fest, asking whose idea the food collection/distribution was, since I knew that was AF’s idea all along. Imagine my (and AF’s) surprise when they took THAT credit, too!
It was at this time that I started to lose a major amount of respect for the two admins. One or two of those clues I could have over-looked. But all three? It was just too much. So I pretty much went quiet, and just read what was posted for the next couple of weeks.
Then something even worse happened. Clue #4 for me. Because a couple of group members were abusing the group privileges, the admins took an extreme hissy-fit, made quite a few drama posts, and completely changed the rules of the group. The new rules are as follows (group name, and individual names blocked for privacy):
No longer were people allowed to post INO or ISO. People now just had to sit and wait, and hope that something they needed was posted by someone else. Or they could go to another group to ask for things. Because, you know, only people who are giving things are important to this group now. Group participation took a drastic slide. All of the posts that were INO or ISO were deleted. When asked why, one admin said it was “clog[ging] the room up” and that it “took me over an hour to delete all ISO it was bumping down many things that folks offered to give an noone seen so it was time for the ISO to go”.
I really started to dread being a part of this group. But I’d made a commitment, and I intended to follow through on it.
Over the next couple of weeks, things progressively got worse. The admins weren’t following their own rules, but would chastise others for not following the rules. Sometimes very rudely. But mostly treating others like they were children, not capable of an intelligent thought. People started posting “prayer requests”, and pictures of their newborn babies, and information about their family, and sob-stories. Every day, my notifications were filled with these things … these things that have nothing to do with what the group was created for. I started to disregard the notifications altogether. If someone tagged me in a post, I didn’t see it, because it was too much to wade through. I started scrolling through the group, to see if there was anything truly important posted. It started to take me forever to scroll past all the prayer and drama nonsense, and find an actual post where someone is giving something away. In case you think I’m blowing things out of proportion, here’s a look at my scroll-bar:
I went back to the rules again, to see if anything had changed that they neglected to tell people. Nope, everything was still the same. I carefully read the rules, thinking I’d missed something. I hadn’t. And it started to grate on my nerves. My time is valuable, too, and I felt the admins had lost respect for their members by allowing certain things.
- The group was now for ONLY posting things you are giving away, and no ISOs would be allowed. It’s very clearly listed at the top in ALL CAPS, and again as rule #6, so you can’t miss it. Yet, the admins themselves would post ISOs, and give “special permission” for their friends to do so, as well.
- No rude comments, or treating others without respect. Yet, the admins were frequently rude to those “breaking the rules”. They weren’t respecting others’ time. They certainly weren’t respecting others religious beliefs (I wonder if they know that Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religious groups don’t publicly pray? I wonder if they know that not everyone is a Christian? I wonder if they’ve ever read Matthew 6:5-6 ?).
- No private information? I now knew all sorts of private information about members. Stuff that hackers could easily use to break into accounts. Baby names and birthdates, peoples’ whereabouts, etc.
- Rule #8 says that “bumping” is allowed once every 24 hours. Presumably, this is to make it fair to everyone, so their posts aren’t always at the top of the page. Which is great. Except that every time someone comments, it “bumps” the post to the top of the page, AND creates a notification. So for all of those INO prayer requests, and the dozens of comments on each one (where everyone has to announce that they will pray, so everyone can see that they’re such good Christians), all of the other legitimate posts get pushed farther and farther down the page, and everyone is inundated with a ton of notifications.
So, I’d had enough. I decided to behave like an adult, and bring my concerns to the admins, in private. I thought the best course of action was short, sweet and to the point, showing the rules and the breaking of the rules, and offering a suggestion. I probably wasn’t as calm and collected as I could have been, but I wasn’t mean or rude.
What I got in return didn’t surprise me in the least. It was basically the same response I’d get from a 12 year old having a temper tantrum because she didn’t like what I was saying. I was, however, hoping for a bit more maturity, and maybe seeing things from outside her own little bubble.
I figured I’d just let things go, and if it continued to bother me, I’d just leave the group without saying a word. But then, the inevitable happened. I should have seen it coming a mile away. I knew the admins were drama queens (remember the clues?). I guess I naively thought they could handle things like an adult this one time, since it wasn’t brought up in the group itself, but in private! I was wrong.
The other admin (the one I did not send the email to) posted this in the group:
After a whole lot of confusion by other group members, the admin that I emailed responded with this:
If they had told the entire story, instead of what you see posted here (which is the only thing either of them said), I might not be as upset as I am. But they both managed to twist things around, omit details, and once again start their drama and crying to garner support and accolades for themselves. Ironically, the drama queen that I emailed is the one that says, “i am so not into drama”. Oy!
So you might be wondering – why did I type this all out, and go through all this trouble? All I have to do is leave the group, right? Well, it’s not that easy. First I have to explain to AF why I’m leaving the group, and leaving him with my end of the commitment as well as his. And since I had to explain it all anyway, I figured I’d just get it all off my chest at once.
And to be quite honest, I’m quite pissed off! Even though my name wasn’t specifically used, I don’t appreciate being dragged through the mud and used as just one more way for these admins to get attention. And because I’m sick and tired of hypocritical Christians, and this was the straw the broke the proverbial camel’s back. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, perhaps you might want to brush up on your Bible reading:
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
I also want my story to serve as a lesson to others who are thinking about doing something similar. Please, by all means, create a group, a community that cares! But if you’re going to admin the group, there are a few things you might want to consider.
- Have a clear plan ahead of time. Know what you will or won’t allow. Some of the ideas from this group were fantastic! Some just made no sense at all considering the purpose of the group.
- Don’t make rules and then enforce them willy-nilly. Most definitely don’t make some people follow rules, while others are allowed to do whatever they want. In other words, don’t be a middle school clique.
- Listen to your members. Don’t just react in a knee-jerk way, having a temper tantrum when you don’t like criticism. Realize that most people want what’s best for the group, and may bring up points that you never considered.
- If you’re easily offended, or can’t keep your emotions in check, find an admin that can!
- Make sure your admin(s) are literate, and communicate clearly.
- Keep the drama out of the group! That includes the admin(s)!
- Unless your group is specifically a religious group, whose sole intention is to ask for prayers, keep it out of the group! Remember that all those prayers and prayer requests cause notifications, and push everything else way down, thereby eating up group members’ valuable time. Also remember that not everyone shares the same religious beliefs. Respect ALL of your members, not just those that believe the same way you do.
I hope that this group flourishes. But I have serious doubts that it will. It seems to be too great a stress on the admins, who can’t control their emotions or attitudes. I still think the idea for this group is a great one, and hope that others find inspiration from it.
Imagine for a moment that you go to your dentist on Monday morning, and he greets you with, “Hi! How did you spend your Easter?”
Why do people assume it’s perfectly ok to make small talk by inserting the name of the nearest holiday, and assuming that everyone they come into contact with celebrates that holiday?
Now imagine you’re African American (if you’re not), and you’re waiting in line at the bank. It’s December 27th. The woman in front of you turns and asks, “How did you spend Kwanzaa?”
Or let’s say you’re grocery shopping, and when you get to the cashier, she looks at your slightly longer than average nose, and while scanning your items, she says, “So, how was your Hanukkah?”
Maybe your skin is a golden brown – because you’re Native American – and you’re checking out a book at the library, and the librarian makes small talk by asking you how you celebrated Cinco de Mayo.
Perhaps you’re an overweight woman, and the new pastor at your church wishes you a Happy Mother’s Day … even though you’re not pregnant.
How would you feel if people just randomly assumed something about you, based on your appearance? Would you think it impolite? Is this something you do to others?
Religions are so diverse these days; holidays are celebrated by many different types of people. So why is it that 99% of the time, it’s members of the christian religion that do this to others? How often do you see a jewish person wishing perfect strangers a Happy Hanukkah? When is the last time a muslim stranger wished you well on Ramadan?
Christians talk a good game about how they’re being oppressed – especially around xmas! – but they never stop to consider that not everyone celebrates their holidays or that it’s extremely annoying (and possibly even offensive) to those that don’t, to have to continually have another person’s beliefs foisted upon them. Why is it that christians think that’s acceptable?
Someone please explain to me why I have to explain to others that I don’t celebrate the holiday that they seem to think I do based on my appearance? Because, honestly, that’s the only basis they have for their assumption. I’m Caucasian, so the assumption is that I celebrate christian holidays. Because, you know, all white people are christian … right? And all people with long noses are jewish. And all people with golden brown skin are Latino. And all fat women are pregnant.
Can’t people just leave their assumptions at home, and their holidays/religion out of small talk with complete strangers?
I don’t walk up to complete strangers and wish them a Happy Zombie Weekend.
But I don’t.
Because I don’t know what they celebrate, just by looking at them.
But maybe I should start.
Happy Zombie Weekend!
All an atheist has to do is say “I’m atheist” and we’re “offending the religious”. All an atheist has to do is say “you’re forcing your beliefs on others, and I won’t stand for it anymore” and we’re labeled as “militant atheists”. The term is laughable. When we start blowing up their places of worship, or flying planes into buildings, THEN you can say we’re “militant”. Until then, we’re outspoken.
For me, you can call me a militant atheist all you like, I’ll just laugh at you. I am extremely outspoken. If someone personally (as in, not online, really in person) brings up religion around me, 9 times out of 10 they’re doing it with the assumption that everyone agrees with them. Most are shocked to find out that I do NOT agree with them, even though they know I’m atheist. If they open up that topic, they WILL get my views.
However, if I’m invited to a wedding, or if I must attend a funeral, or even if my religious family and friends want to pray before their meal, I just keep my trap shut and let them have their superstitions. If they were to insist that I also take part in their ritualistic behavior, I will tell them “no”. So far, I’ve been lucky that no one so far has insisted.
Just last week, I had a christian friend say to me, “You don’t celebrate christmas?!”, as if she was truly shocked. Now this woman has known I’m atheist since we reconnected on MySpace back in 2006. At that point, I snapped at her. I mean, really? Really? Do you not see the things I post on Facebook?!
When I post on MY Facebook page, or MY blog, or MY anything online, I do so to educate (mostly) people about the ridiculousness of religion. Yes, I also use sarcasm, mocking and humor. I have tried being nice, and using logic and reason (it doesn’t work), and I find that the way to get people to actually THINK about their beliefs is to shock them out of their comfort zone.
If people don’t want to see the things I post on MY OWN PAGE, they have a couple of options:
1) They can ignore my posts by scrolling past them
2) They can ignore my posts by choosing “Ignore this person”
3) They can un-friend me
4) They can block me
None of it offends me. Really. Ok, I was offended by one person that blocked me, but for reals, my own father shouldn’t block me completely.
It is a very rare situation that I go off on someone on THEIR page, or THEIR blog. That only happens when they’ve specifically asked for opinions, AND if I know them well enough to know that neither of us takes disagreement and/or debate personally. I have some christian friends that I debate with frequently, on my page and theirs. I will also give someone a piece of my mind if they are specifically bashing atheists. On occasion, I will mock someone if they are bashing another religion while completely ignoring that their own religion does the same thing as the one they’re bashing.
See, I’m an equal opportunity anti-religion atheist. I don’t put down christian beliefs while defending muslim beliefs. I put them ALL down, across the board. Which is kinda funny at times, when a christian will see me going after a muslim belief, and they think, “Ooo, she’s on MY side!” Don’t worry, you’ll get your turn in the spotlight, and it will be sooner rather than later, I promise you. I’m not on the “side” of any religion!
Which brings me to the erroneous belief that I think ALL religion is extremist. No. I think that all religion BREEDS extremism. I think that all religion is dangerous for society as a whole. I think that there are some truly good religious people. Not many, but there are some. I also think that I know more atheists who act like better religious people than the religious people I know. I’ve been fortunate to get to know some religious people who are truly good people. I’ve also been unfortunate to get to know some atheists who are not good people. What I will say is that religion isn’t the reason for the good christians, muslims, jews, etc., nor is it to blame for the bad atheists. It IS however, usually to blame for the bad christians, muslims, jews, etc.
Lastly, for those who say, “But your militant atheism is bad for the cause!” I must point you in the direction of a piece I read just the other day, by Greta Christina – What Are The Goals of the Atheist Movement?.
My goal is to get people to think about what they believe and why. I want people to examine every little nook and cranny of their superstition. I want them to confront the contradictions and hypocrisies. I want people to learn everything there is to know about the history of their religion, including their holidays. I want people to stop lying to themselves because it makes them feel good.
And if I must be “militant” to do that, then so be it. I’ve lost my patience for religious beliefs. I’m beyond my breaking point for religious apologists, especially when it comes to atheists who prefer to just shut up and let the religious bulldoze us at every turn. I tired of people pussy-footing around the topic of religion because of some false sense of politeness. I think we must start standing up for ourselves as atheists. Yes, let people know you’re an atheist, and live your life in such a way that proves that atheists are not horrible people with no morals or values. But stop letting the religious walk all over you and everyone that’s not like them. Be outspoken! Get called a “militant atheist” a few times in your life! Your children will thank you for making their lives a better place to live.
“Sadly, until moderate Christians become effectual in controlling their extremists, then we will have to do their jobs for them.” – Bob Dobbs
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
– Edmund Burke
Why The Peaceful Majority Is Irrelevant
By Paul E. Marek
I used to know a man whose family were German aristocracy prior to World War Two. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him how many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.
“Very few people were true Nazis” he said, “but, many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”
We are told again and again by “experts” and “talking heads” that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unquantified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is, that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is, that the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority” and it is cowed and extraneous.
Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The Average Japanese individual prior to World War 2 was not a war mongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of Killing that included the systematic killing of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were “peace loving”.
History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by the fanatics. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Bosnians, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others, have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.