Genealogists are the largest single group of researchers using the Friends records, but they often meet with frustration. One common misconception is that these records are neatly organized and indexed. While William W. Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy provided thorough indexes for the records of many yearly meetings, including New York, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, the New England records have never been completely indexed. The only access to information on New England Friends is usually through a search of the records, either on microfilm or in the original. Here are some important points to remember for typical genealogical problems.
- It is important to know both place and time. If an individual moved around New England, it will be very helpful to sketch out a chronology of their travels.
- All vital records are recorded by the Monthly Meeting. You will need to determine which monthly meetings your ancestor belonged to. If there is no monthly meeting named after their town, look it up in the index in the back of this book. The town may have held smaller meetings that were part of a larger nearby monthly meeting.
- If their town is not indexed, examine the maps on pages 12 to 14 of this guide. Were there any meetings nearby? Until the age of automobile travel, it is unlikely that many practicing Friends lived more than a few miles away from at least a worship group. Even if they did maintain the “Discipline” of Friends in a distant town, their vital records would prob- ably not be recorded by a Monthly Meeting.
- If a probable Monthly Meeting can be determined, look at that meeting’s entry in the monthly meeting section. Check for vital records in the listing at the bottom of this entry. Are there any birth, death, marriage or membership records? Removals and denials are also useful (see glossary). Minutes are less useful for genealogy, but sometimes include marriage information, and occasionally memorials to the deceased.
- If the records that you want have been microfilmed, this will be indicated in the last column: “Film#”. This is the microfilm number at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library. An asterisk indicates that it can also be found at the Maine Historical Society Library, and a plus sign indicates that it can be ordered from the Family History Centers operated by the Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). An @ symbol indicates that the film is available through the Nantucket Historical Association.
- If the records have not been microfilmed, you will need to consult the original. The location of originals is given in the “Loc.” column. Most of them are on deposit at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library, which houses the official Archives of New England Yearly Meeting.
- If you are researching early Friends (pre-Revolutionary), it is likely that you will not discover anything new in the vi- tal records. Friends records have always been a major resource for colonial genealogy, and have been consulted for most of the major reference works that you have already looked at. It is, however, possible to find new information in meeting minutes, to verify membership or residence in a location.
For further information, Our Quaker Ancestors: Finding Them in Quaker Records by Ellen Thomas Berry and David Allen Berry (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987) is a book-length treatment of general approaches to Quaker genealogy.
Maxwell Henry Goldberg Papers, 1888-1986.
60 boxes (33 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 064
Professor of English, adviser to student newspaper (The Collegian) and Jewish student organizations, University of Massachusetts, and founding member, College English Association.
The Goldberg Papers contain correspondence, speeches, published writings, papers written as a graduate student, biographical material, book reviews, subject files, newsclippings, and material from committees and projects with which he was involved, including the College English Association, College English Association Institute, Humanities Center for Liberal Education, and American Humanities Seminar.
- College English Association
- Humanities Center for Liberal Education
- University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
- Goldberg, Maxwell Henry, 1907-
Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation Records, 1833-1846.
In June 1811, the Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation was incorporated with the aim of constructing a road at the northern end of the Fifteenth Massachusetts Turnpike, stretching from Great Barrington, Mass., through Alford and North Egremont before crossing the state line and ending in Hudson, New York. Under the direction of Josiah Milland and Jacob and John Van Deusen (who lived near the road), the corporation was apparently not exceptionally profitable. A leg of the turnpike through Great Barrington was made free in 1831, and in 1846, having failed in their petition to receive compensation for loss of privileges, the corporation transferred the road into public management.
Although only a slender 21 pages in length, this record book is nearly the only documentation of the finances for a small, but typical turnpike company in antebellum Massachusetts. The book includes somewhat sparse records of receipts from the toll booths and expenditures for maintenance, extending from 1833 until the corporation was dissolved in 1846. At the end of the book are wo pages of personal expenses associated with a trip to Ohio.
- Great Barrington (Mass.)--History
- Toll roads--Massachusetts
- Milland, Josiah
- Van Deusen, Jacob H.
- Van Deusen, John
Warren G. Harding Collection, 1909-1920.
10 boxes (3.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 402
Copies of letters written by Harding to Carrie Phillips between 1909 and 1920, as well as copies of the correspondence of Nan Britton, who allegedly had a child with the President, including letters between her and the collector, Dean Albertson, that discuss the book she authored about her relationship with Harding, The President’s Daughter.
Correspondence of Carrie Phillips with Harding was restricted until 2014 by order of an Ohio court.
- Albertson, Dean
- Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel), 1865-1923
- Phillips, Carrie
William K. Hefner Papers, 1962-1978.
6 boxes (9 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 129
In 1960, William K. Hefner (1915-1993) became one of the first of new breed of radical pacifists to run for elective office, when he ran as a peace candidate for Congress in the 1st district of Massachusetts. An accountant from Greenfield, Hefner was involved at a national level with movements for peace and civil rights. An early member of SANE, a founder of Political Action for Peace in 1959 (now CPPAX) and the Greenfield Peace Center (1963), and an active member of the American Friends Service Committee, War Resisters League, Turn Toward Peace, and the World Without War Conference, Hefner was an energetic force in the movements for peace and disarmament, civil rights, and a more just economic system. He ran unsuccessfully for office in three elections between 1960 and 1964, and supported peace candidate H. Stuart Hughes in his bid for election to the U.S. Senate in 1962.
The Hefner papers offer a remarkable record of politically-engaged activism for peace and social justice in the early 1960s. With an intensely local focus, Hefner was tied in to the larger movements at the state and national level, corresponding with major figures such as A.J. Muste, Bayard Rustin, Benjamin Spock, and Arthur Springer. The collection includes particularly rich documentation of the early years of Political Action for Peace, which Hefner helped found, with correspondence, minutes of meetings, and publications, as well as equally rich materials on Hefner’s bids for congress in 1960 and 1962.
- American Friends Service Committee Western Massachusetts
- Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
- Civil Rights movements--Massachusetts
- Greenfield Community Peace Center
- Massachusetts Political Action for Peace
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- Platform for Peace (Organization)
- Political Action for Peace
- SANE, Inc
- Turn Toward Peace (Organization)
- United States. Congress--Elections, 1960
- United States. Congress--Elections, 1962
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
- Boardman, Elizabeth F
- Hefner, William K.
- Hughes, H. Stuart (Henry Stuart), 1916-1999
- Muste, Abraham John, 1885-1967
- Rustin, Bayard, 1912-1987
- Springer, Arthur
Types of material
Benjamin Heywood Daybooks, 1784-1807.
17 vols. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 239 bd
Harvard-educated judge and American Revolution veteran from Worcester, Massachusetts, who served in many other civic positions. Includes documentation of civic and farming activities, such as which animals were put to pasture on what date, which pastures were leased to others, the names and terms of indentured laborers, and the sale/exchange of agricultural products to customers such as Isaiah Thomas, William Eaton, Nathaniel Stowell, Ithamar Smith, and Jonathan Rice. Also contains references to family members.
- Worcester (Mass.)--History
Types of material
Howland Family Papers, 1727-1886 (Bulk: 1771-1844).
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 923
The Howland family of East Greenwich, R.I., figured prominently in New England Quakerism during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and contributed to the state’s public affairs. Brothers Daniel (1754-1834), an approved minister, and Thomas Howland (1764-1845), an educator, were active members of the Society during the tumultuous years between the 1780s and 1840s, caught up in the moral demands for a response to slavery and other social issues and in the divisions wrought by evangelical influences.
Centered largely on the lives of Thomas Howland, his brother Daniel, and Daniel’s son Daniel, the Howland collection is an important record of Quaker life in Rhode Island during trying times. As meeting elders, the Howlands monitored and contributed to the era’s major controversies, and the collection is particularly rich in discussions of the impact of slavery and the passionate struggle between Friends influenced by the evangelically-inclined Joseph John Gurney and the orthodox John Wilbur. Thomas’ complex response to his commitment to the antislavery cause and his fear of disrupting meeting unity is particularly revealing. Also of note is a series of responses from monthly meetings to queries on compliance with Quaker doctrine, obtained during the decade after the American Revolution.
- Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
- East Greenwich (R.I.)--History
- Peace movements--Rhode Island
- Temperance--Rhode Island
- Bassett, William, 1803-1871
- Brown, Moses, 1738-1836
- Friends' Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
- Gurney, Joseph John, 1788-1847
- Howland, Daniel
- Howland, Daniel, 1754-1834
- Howland, Thomas, 1764-1845
- Moses Brown School
- New England Yearly Meeting of Friends
- Shearman, Abraham, 1777-1847
- Society of Friends--Controversial literature
- Society of Friends--History
- Tobey, Samuel Boyd, 1805-1867
- Wilbur, John, 1774-1856
Hudson family Papers, 1780-1955 (Bulk: 1825-1848).
6 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 332
Born in Torringford, Connecticut in 1806, and educated at the Torringford Academy and Berkshire Medical College (MD 1827), Erasmus Darwin Hudson became well known as a radical reformer. While establishing his medical practice in Bloomfield, Conn., and later in Springfield, Mass., and New York City, Hudson emerged as a force in the antislavery struggle, hewing to the non-resistant line. Touring the northeastern states as a lecturing agent for the Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society and general agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, he regularly contributing articles to an antislavery periodicals and befriended many of the movement’s leaders. In his professional life as an orthopedic surgeon, Hudson earned acclaim for his contributions to the development of modern prosthetics. During the carnage of the Civil War, he introduced remarkable improvements in artificial limb technology and innovations in the treatment of amputations and battle trauma, winning awards for his contributions at international expositions in Paris (1867) and Philadelphia (1876). Hudson died of pneumonia on Dec. 31, 1880.
Spanning five generations of a family of physicians and social reformers, the Hudson Family Papers include particularly significant content for Erasmus Darwin Hudson documenting his activities with the Connecticut and American Anti-Slavery societies. Hudson’s journals and writings are accompanied by a rich run of correspondence with antislavery figures such as Abby Kelley, Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Isaac Hopper, and Samuel May and a unique antislavery campaign map of New York state and surrounding areas (1841). Hudson’s medical career and that of his son Erasmus Darwin Hudson, Jr. (1843-1887), a thoracic physician, is equally well documented through correspondence, medical notes, and handwritten drafts of lectures, with other material ranging from family records and writings of and other family members to genealogies of the Hudson, Shaw, Clarke, Fowler, and Cooke families, and printed material, memorabilia, clipping and photographs.
- African Americans--History
- American Anti-slavery Society
- Antislavery movements--Massachusetts
- Connecticut Anti-slavery Society
- Connecticut--History--19th century
- Massachusetts--History--19th century
- Physicians--New York
- United States--History--1783–1865
- Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895
- Foster, Abby Kelley, 1810-1887
- Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879
- Gay, Sydney Howard, 1814-1888
- Hopper, Isaac T. (Isaac Tatem), 1771-1852
- Hudson Family
- Hudson, Daniel Coe, 1774–1840
- Hudson, Erasmus Darwin, 1806–1880
- Hudson, Erasmus Darwin, 1843–1887
- Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884
- Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874
- Stone, Lucy, 1818-1893
- Weld, Theodore Dwight, 1803-1895
- Wright, Henry Clarke, 1797-1870
Types of material
- Letters (Correspondence)
David R. Inglis Papers, 1929-2003 (Bulk: 1946-1980).
12 boxes (5.75 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 033
David R. Inglis enjoyed a distinguished career in nuclear physics that ranged from theoretical work on the structure of the nucleus in the 1930s to the development of the atomic bomb in the 1940s and work on renewable energy in the 1960s and 1970s. A Professor of Physics at UMass from 1969-1975, Inglis was a founding member of the Federation of American Scientists and from the mid-1940s on, he dedicated himself to informing public policy on the dangers of nuclear technologies.
The Inglis Papers offer a perspective on the life and career of a theoretical physicist who grew from an early involvement in the Manhattan Project to becoming a committed critic of nuclear weaponry and nuclear power. Although the collection is relatively sparse in unpublished scientific work, it includes valuable correspondence relating to Inglis’s efforts with the Federation of American Scientists and other organizations to influence public policy on issues relating to disarmament and nuclear power.
- Allegiance--United States
- Argonne National Laboratories
- Condon, Edward Uhler, 1902-1974
- Federation of American Scientists
- Los Alamos National Laboratory
- Nuclear disarmament
- Nuclear energy
- Nuclear warfare
- Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967
- United States--History--1945-1953
- United States--History--1953-1961
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Physics
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Institute for Man and His Environment
- World Association of World Federalists
- World Federation of Scientific Workers
- Bohr, Aage
- Inglis, David Rittenhouse, 1905-
- Teller, Edward, 1908-2003
- Wigner, Eugene Paul, 1902-1995
Types of material
- Laboratory notes
- Oral histories
Ethel A. Killgrove Papers, 1948-1962 (Bulk: 1949-1951).
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 866
Between 1948 and 1951, Chicagoan Ethel A. Killgrove worked as a missionary with the Sudan Interior Mission. A graduate of the St. Paul Bible Institute, Killgrove was based in Aden, Yemen, and worked spreading the gospel and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After returning home in 1951, Killgrove studied education at Wheaton College (Bed, 1959) and Roosevelt (MEd., 1963), teaching in elementary schools in Illinois and Chester County, Pa. She died in Lancaster, Pa., in 2002.
The 142 letters that Killgrove wrote home to her parents and brother Tom include fascinating information on life as a missionary in British-controlled Aden and Ethiopia during the transitional years following the end of World War II. From her perspective on the southern rim of the Middle East, Killgore was witness to the of the impact of the formation of the state of Israel and the growing hostility toward colonial domination in the Arab world and Africa. The collection includes an excellent photograph album with 55 images of her time in mission, along with 65 other images.
- Aden (Yemen)--Description and travel
- Ethiopia--Description and travel
Types of material