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Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935

March 31, 2016 Leave a comment

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.

About U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935

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.

Quaker Dates

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.

 

 

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Elizabeth SCOTT Holston 1843-1906

October 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Elizabeth “Lizzie” SCOTT Holston
1843-1906

Elizabeth SCOTT Holston 1843-1906

DOB: 12 March 1843 [1] [8] [9] (possibly 1844 [5] [7] or 1845 [2] [3] ?)
Place of birth: most likely lower Delaware, USA [2] [3] [5] [7] [8]  (possibly Scotland, UK [4]?)
Need birth certificate or record of baptism. Also need the name of her parents.

Need to know where she was from 1843 to 1870

► 12 July 1870: She gives birth to George Holston. (Why wasn’t he listed on the census the next day? Was she married to James Holston; if so, why is she listed as ‘Domestic Servant’ and not ‘wife’?) Need George’s birth certificate to confirm date.

► 13 July 1870: She’s 25 years old (should be 27). Living in Cedar Creek Hundred, Sussex County, Ellendale, DE with James J Holston and his 4 children. Listed as a Domestic Servant. Still using her maiden name “Scott”. [2] Need marriage certificate to James to confirm date.

► 25 September 1873: She gives birth to Charles C Holston.

► 1877: She gives birth to Messa Holston. (no date, year approximate)

► 2 June 1880: Listed on the census as “Lizzie”. She’s 35 years old (should be 37). Living in Cedar Creek Hundred, Sussex County, Ellendale, DE with her husband James, their 3 children, and her step-daughter. Her occupation is listed as “keeps home”. Her birthplace is listed as Delaware, as are both of her parents. [3]

► 4 November 1880: She gives birth to Frank Holston. [4]

► 28 February 1883: She gives birth to David Stayton Holston.

Need 1890 census, or information on where she was between 1883 and 1900.

► 13 June 1900: Listed on the census as Lizzie J Holston, with a DOB of March 1844; age 56. Living in Cedar Creek Hundred, Sussex County, Milford Town, DE. Marital status is Widowed. Her birthplace is listed as Delaware; her mother’s birthplace is Delaware; her father’s birthplace is unknown. She can not read or write. She’s renting a house. She has a boarder. Her occupation is “takes washing”. She’s given birth to 9 children, 4 of which are living. [5] (We know of 5 children, who were the other 4? Could the 5 deceased children be those who died in a barn fire, as relayed by her son Frank to his daughter? [10])

► 1905: Living at 2215 Latona Street, Philadelphia, PA. Her sons Frank and David live with her. She’s listed as the widow of James J. [6]

► 13 January 1906: Living at 2145 S 16th Street, Philadelphia, PA, for 1 month and 28 days. Was sick with breast cancer for 10 years. Seen by Dr. J T Williams at Presbyterian Hospital from 15 November 1905 until her death on Saturday, 13 January 1906 @7pm. DOB is listed as 1844; age 62 (which is mathematically impossible, unless she was born in 1843 [11]). Her birthplace is listed as Delaware, as is that of both of her parents. The names of her parents are unknown. She was buried on 15 January 1906 in Milford, DE. The funeral home was David H Bowen & Son, 813 South 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA. [7]

► Records from the funeral home somewhat confirm and somewhat contradict previous information. [8] However, it ties everything together. The information that I can read is as follows:
13 January 1906
Presbyterian Hospital
Elizabeth “Scott” Holston
Widow of James J
Sons David & Frank
62 years old; DOB 12 March 1843
Residence – Milford DE (is that where she’s from or where she’s buried?)
5-7-19 (is that measurements?)
Sealed box (assuming casket?)
Time – Tues 7:40am train (to where?); Mon 2pm at office (for what? service? viewing?)
2145 S 16th Street
(The rest I can not decipher.)

► Another document comes from the Gerberich Collection of Gravestone Inscriptions. It’s from page 306. It says that Elizabeth Holston 1843-1906 was buried at Beulah Baptist Church, Russellville, PA (Upper Oxford Twp, Chester County). It lists her as “mother”, w. of James (wife? widow?), and her middle initial as “A”. [9]
At the FindAGrave website, it also has this listing.
(Is this a coincidence? Could there really be 2 women named Elizabeth Holston with the same birth and death year, both married to James?)


Sources (click on the links to enlarge pics):

Source 1
Photo. Provided by a member of David Holston’s branch of the tree. Dates and name written on back.
DOB 12 March 1843 – DOD 13 January 1906

Source 2
1870 US Census

Source 3
1880 US Census

Source 4
Frank Holston’s Birth Certificate

Source 5
1900 US Census

Source 6
1905 City Directory

Source 7
Elizabeth SCOTT Holston
Death Certificate 1906

Source 8
Funeral Home Records 1906

Source 9
Church Burial Records 1906
from the Gerberich Collection

Source 10
Excerpt from a 1981 letter; written by Elizabeth SCOTT Holston’s granddaughter (Elizabeth Lillian HOLSTON Montague) to Lillian’s son James Montague.

Source 11
Wolfram Alpha calculations

Categories: Family, Genealogy, Photo Tags: , ,

WWII Draft Cards

May 9, 2012 8 comments

While scanning pictures and other items found in a family album, I came across some documents that I wasn’t sure of what they were. At the top, they said “Notice of Classification”,  and it was obvious they were military of some sort, but I was absolutely clueless about what they could be.

So, I did what I do best … I Googled it. (Funny how that has become a verb.) What I eventually found, after almost an hour of searching, was that they were forms for the Selective Service, aka The Draft. The cards, colloquially known as “Draft Cards”, are officially Selective Service Cards – D.S.S. Form 57.

My Paternal Grandfather saved six of his cards. On them, he was listed as being classified III-A (3-A), II-B (2-B), and I-A (1-A), from 1941 through 1945. Even though I now knew what the cards were, I still didn’t have any understanding of what the classifications meant. So, back to Google I went.

I was disappointed in the amount of searching I had to do to find anything that really explained what the classifications meant. On the government’s website, Selective Service System, they list seven classifications. However, only two of them helped me at all.

I found several sites where people were trying to sell the cards. I found genealogy sites with pictures of the cards. But it seemed nobody had anything listed that explained the classifications.

Finally, I found a book on Google – US Marine Rifleman 1939-45: Pacific Theater, by Gordon L. Rottman – which showed previews of some of the pages within the book. Jackpot! It had exactly what I needed. Pages 7-9 explained the Selective Service, and how it worked during that time. Page 9 had a chart showing the classifications.

I don’t have permission from the author, but I’d like to post the chart here to help out anyone else who needs this difficult to find answer. I don’t believe this particular bit of information is copyrighted, though, as I’m sure it’s in some government archive somewhere (just not online).

___________________________________________________________
Selective Service Classifications
1-A      : Available for military service.
1-A-O  : Conscientious objector, available for non-combatant service.
1-B      : Available for limited military service.
1-B-C  : Conscientious objector, available for non-combatant limited service.
1-C      : Land or naval forces coast guard.
1-H      : 28 years of age prior to July 1, 1941, and not inducted by that date.
2-A      : Necessary man in his civilian category.
2-B      : Necessary man in national defense.
3-A      : Man with dependents.
4-A      : Man who has completed service.
4-B      : Official deferred by law.
4-D      : Minister of divinity student.
4-E       : Conscientious objector fit for service, available for work of national importance.
4-E-ES : Conscientious objector fit for limited service.
4-H      : Conscientious objector over 28 years of age prior to July 1, 1941.
4-F       : Morally, mentally or physically unfit.
___________________________________________________________

What I found most interesting is that my Grandfather started out as Class III-A, a month after their daughter was born. Makes sense … he had a wife a kid, definitely dependents.

JMM_draft_card_1941

Then he went to Class II-B in 1944. I’m not entirely sure what caused that change in classification. He still had dependents. What made him a “necessary man in national defense”? I think he was a machinist. I have no idea what he machined, though.

JMM_draft_card_1944

What truly baffles me, is that on 5 April 1945, he was abruptly changed to a Class 1-A. This happened 3 months before it was supposed to happen! And he still had dependents, and I’m assuming was still working as a machinist. To make matters even more puzzling, he was a month away from having a second child!

JMM_draft_card_1945

Finally, in June of 1945, it looks as though he appealed the classification. It was voted on. He lost by a vote of 3 to 0. He remained Class 1-A. With a wife and two children. What happened in early 1945 to prompt this sudden change?

JMM_draft_card_1945b

Looks like I have some more research to do.

Genealogy – the plot thickens

April 22, 2011 8 comments

In researching this family mystery of mine, I was able to get help from a woman who has done genealogy for the past 26 years, and helps out “newbies” as a hobby.

She and I spoke on the phone, in addition to emailing each other. She was able to pull up some records that I hadn’t been able to find, and she taught me some tricks and tips to searching on Ancestry.com, which was very helpful.

She said that, since slavery had been abolished in 1865, at the end of the Civil War,  it was unlikely that my G-Grandfather, Frank HOLSTON (b.1880), or his siblings were sold into slavery in the 1880’s. However, she did acknowledge that, even though it was illegal, it still may have happened. She also has another theory: that since my G-G-Grandfather, James J HOLSTON (b.1814) died sometime after his son David HOLSTON was born (1883), and before the 1900 census (the 1890 census burned and was about 99% destroyed), and that my G-G-Grandmother Elizabeth L SCOTT-Holston (b.1843) was working as a laundress, that she may not have been able to financially support the children since she was listed as “widowed”, so she may have sent them off to live with families that could afford to care for them. That may be what was meant by the statement “David was sent to live with a well-to-do family and was educated”, that my father remembers his mother telling him.

My dad was telling me, that in the early 1980’s, he and my Aunt went to a Pow-wow in NJ, and he spoke with an elderly Indian (Nanticoke?) there (whom dad said was at least in his 80’s), who said that the Delaware Indians weren’t officially acknowledged because they were “unsavory people” because they sold their children into slavery. So, there has to be something more to this story … I mean, what are the odds of my dad hearing that story growing up, AND an elder relating much the same story to him many years later?

Dad and I were thinking of making a trip to Dover Delaware, to see if there are state archives, or newspaper archives, or anyone familiar with the history of the Delaware Indians. But I want to have a LOT more info before we make the 3+hour trip, so that I can do a thorough search through any records once we get there.

To add to the mystery, my G-G-Grandfather James J HOLSTON was listed as being born in Delaware on several censuses. However, he’s listed as being born in Maine, on the birth certificate for my G-Grandfather Frank HOLSTON. Also, Frank’s BC states that Elizabeth L SCOTT was born in Scotland, yet on one census, it says she was born in Sweden. I think that, since Frank didn’t get his official birth certificate until he probably applied for something that required it (Social Security, maybe), and that David signed as a “witness” on it, that things may have been written on it that weren’t accurate, and only sparsely remembered by the time they were old men. That may account for the Scotland/Sweden mystery. There are so many inconsistencies, but I’m determined to make sense of it all.

I’m hoping that we can find the birth certificates or death certificates for Frank and his siblings. I would assume we could get a copy of them from Delaware. That might help narrow things down, since there would be more information about their parents.

And, as if this wasn’t enough of a thickening plot, I also found out that my G-G-Grandfather James J HOLSTON was married 2 (maybe 3) times, and that his final wife, my G-G-Grandmother Elizabeth L SCOTT-Holston, was the housekeeper/servant of James and his previous wife! Wow! How does that happen?!

Genealogy

April 11, 2011 7 comments

About a week ago, I had a conversation with my father about our family history. I’ve known for a little over a decade that my father’s mother’s side of the family was Native American (Delaware Indian). I’ve known for about half that time, that my Grandmother’s Uncle was an Indian Chief. However, what my father told me last week really blew my mind and made me more determined to research our family history.

He told me that my Grandmother’s father had been sold into slavery as a child, at around the age of 5. Also, his siblings were sold into slavery. One of those siblings may or may not have been sold into slavery, and that was the one that eventually went on to become the last Chief of that particular tribe.

He told me that he remembers, as a boy, being visited by the Chief, and that he was terrified of him at first, because of all the time my father spent playing “Cowboys and Indians”. Apparently, he assumed he was going to be scalped! We had a good chuckle about that! 😀

We talked about his attempts at getting more information, when he and my Aunt went to a Pow-Wow in New Jersey in the early 80’s. He was told that the Delaware Indians weren’t acknowledged because they were “unsavory” people for selling their children into slavery. The first thing that came to my mind was that it was a horrible time in history for Native Americans, and who are they to judge what others may have done to survive?! Besides, refusing to acknowledge something doesn’t negate the fact that it happened. It’s part of my family history. Why would they deny us that information?

All of this has made me extremely determined to figure out what happened, and who my ancestors are, especially on my father’s maternal side.

I’ve long admired a friend of mine, Leah, for her expertise at genealogy research.  I’m very good at researching politics, religion or scams/hoaxes, but when it comes to genealogy, I’m just mystified! She seems to think that with my researching skills in general, this should come naturally to me. I hope she’s right! And I hope she doesn’t mind me being a bug in her ear.

Leah has already given me a wealth of information about how to organize the things I find. She’s answered a ton of my questions, and is being very patient with me. She dug up a few census records for my G-Grandfather, to show me what was available on Ancestry.com, and I now have my own account.  She blogs about her research and great finds, and has shown me by example how to make things as easy to understand as possible. I’m very grateful to have her as a friend. 🙂

So, I’ve spent the better part of my weekend readying myself for what I’m about to take on. I’ve created a space on my computer, and figured out how to file things digitally, that will make sense to me and anyone after me.  I’ve acquired a 3-in-1 printer, so that I can scan pictures and make copies for my father, so he can pass information along to his and my extended family. (I do have to say here, that I’m worried about the cost of printing so much, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.)  We bought a cheap plastic storage bin, perfect for hanging folders, so that I can have a paper – as well as digital – trail. I’ve started an Excel spreadsheet, so I can keep a master list of everything I find.

Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty, and do the research, and see what I come up with. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. I hope I can find everything I’m looking for, and that, in my excitement, I don’t forget to keep track of all the pertinent information.  Most of all, I just hope to answer the question of why my G-G-Grandparents sold their children into slavery.