Our Quaker Ancestors, Second Edition, Edited by Jana Sloan Broglin: Book Review

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of review and I have received other books from Genealogical Publishing Company, also for review. However, my opinions are my own and not influenced by outside sources.

Today’s book has quite a long title to reflect the original authors and the editor who updated the original 1987 publication:

Our Quaker Ancestors
Second Edition Edited by Jana Sloan Broglin
Finding Them in Quaker Records
Ellen Thomas Berry & David Allen Berry

The Second Edition, published in May 2022, is an update of the original Berry & Berry work published in pre-internet days and reflects the many changes in accessibility and new resources which have been located.

Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Introduction
Background and History of The Religious Society of Friends
Organization of The Religious Society of Friends
Patterns of Migration and Expansion
Contents of Monthly Meeting Records
Locating and Searching Months meeting Records
Quaker Records and Some Possible Problems
Quaker Repositories for Records
Historical Societies and Libraries with Quaker Material
Quaker Records Outside the United States
Other Non-Quaker soruces for Records
Websites for Quaker Records
Pleasures and Frustrations

Appendices:

A. Important dates in the Quaker movement, with years of establishment of yearly meetings
b. Table of Contents from Volume II of Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia
C. Records from a Hicksite Meeting, from Volume II of Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia
D. Records from an Orthodox Meeintg, from Volume II of Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia
E. Abbreviations used in Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia
F. Maps of Meeting Locations:

1. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
2. Philadelphia Quarterly Meetings
3. Concord Quarterly Meetings

G. Present-day yearly Meetings
Notes
Glossary
Bibliography
Bibliography for Websites

Our Quaker Ancestors, from cover to cover is a slim 152 pages, but each page is packed with information.

Although I have no Quakers in my family tree, my husband is descended from Richard Beeson of North Carolina, so I have tiptoed into Quaker records.

Yes, some of Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia is available on Ancestry, but if that is as far as a researcher looks, a tremendous volume of records will be overlooked.

Understanding the history and social context of a group, whether it be a family or religious entity, is important to locating records and correctly interpreting information found in them.

Notice in the Contents list, above, that the organization and historical background are explained. Having been founded in England, the Society of Friends found itself unwelcome there and in many of the American colonies.

Many Quakers were drawn to Pennsylvania because of William Penn himself, but slowly migrated to other areas of what became the United States.

Therefore, records can be found in many locations. The types of records created by the Society and what is to be found in the contents of those records is discussed in depth. Quaker records are rich in details about the daily lives of their members.

The latter portion of the book covers repositories in and outside of the United States (Canada, U.K. and Ireland) where Quaker collections are housed and has a four page section on websites with Quaker records.

I’ve not seen the first edition of Our Quaker Ancestors and don’t doubt that Ellen and David Berry did a great job writing the original volume, but I can say for certain that the Second Edition is a true gem for those researching Quaker families.

It’s well-organized, easy to skim for information and quite complete, based on my own (limited) research in Quaker records.

My only criticism of this book is with the Westward Migration Routes map on page 5 and the “Family Tree” of American Yearly Meetings on page 6.

The print is beyond miniscule and almost unreadable. With a magnifying glass, I could read the place names on the map, but only because the states were marked so I had a clue about the city names.

The “Family Tree” illustration takes a lot of focus to figure out the words and, again, even with the magnifying glass, there are parts I can’t read. (I have 20/20 near vision!)

In spite of those two pages, I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in Quaker research and records. It’s very well done.

Our Quaker Ancestors, Second Edition, edited by Jana Sloan Broglin, published in May 2022, can be ordered online at Genealogical.com for $28.50.

 

 

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