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.
George H. Gilbert Co. Records, 1842-1931.
26 boxes, 126 vols. (36 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 096
In 1841, George H. Gilbert and Charles A. Stevens formed a partnership to manufacture broadcloth and cloaking in Ware, Massachusetts. Ten years later, the partnership dissolved and each partner carried a part of the business into separate establishments. The newly formed George H. Gilbert Company continued making high-grade woolen flannels, for which it developed a national reputation, until 1930.
Records, consisting of correspondence, financial records and cash books, construction contracts, sales lists, production records, and sample books, document the operation of Gilbert and Stevens and later the Gilbert Company for almost a century. The labor accounts (1851-1930), document the phases of the varying ethnic composition of the workforce — Irish, French-Canadian, and eventually Polish — well as the family orientation of the mills.
- Textile industry--Massachusetts
- Ware (Mass.)--History
Types of material
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-
Green Mountain Post and New Babylon Times, 1969-1994.
The New Babylon Times was a politically-informed countercultural literary magazine produced by members of the Montague Farm commune during the fall 1969. Edited by John Wilton, the first issue featured writing by commune stalwarts such as Ray Mungo, Verandah Porche, and Jon Maslow and photographs by Peter Simon, among others. Renamed the Green Mountain Post, the magazine appeared on an irregular basis until issue five in 1977, with writing and artwork by a range of associates of the commune, including Harvey Wasserman, Tom Fels, and Steve Diamond. In 1994, Fels edited a single issue of Farm Notes, in some ways a successor to the Post.
The Famous Long Ago Archive contains a complete run of the magazine, which have been digitized and made available on the SCUA website.
- Communal living--Massachusetts
- Montague Farm Community (Mass.)
- Packer Corners Community (Vt.)
Hampshire Regional YMCA Records, 1891-1978.
16 boxes (11.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 009
In February and March 1890, Smith College Professor J.H. Pillsbury organized several meetings for Northampton citizens interested in the work of the Young Men’s Christian Association. Within a month, prominent local men, including C.H. Lyman, A.L. Williston, George Washington Cable, and F.N. Kneeland, established an Executive Board and committees with representatives from all the Protestant churches to raise funds and secure a building to begin the Northampton YMCA. Incorporation shortly followed, in January 1892.
In its first decade, the YMCA established a Boy’s Department under the direction of Robert L. Williston, started a Women’s Auxiliary, and began a building fund that resulted in the purchase of property from A.L. Williston on King Street. Throughout its history, the YMCA responded to local needs during periods of crisis or transition. During World War I and II, it established recreation programs for factory workers and soldiers stationed in the area, and, from 1942-44, was heavily involved in U.S.O work. In the 1950s and 1960s the YMCA began special programs on civil rights and desegregation. Over the years, a number of prominent local figures played a role in Hampshire Regional YMCA’s history including Robert L. Williston, Oliver L. Bradley, and Errol V. Ridgewell, Executive Director from 1943 through 1969.
Records of the Hampshire Regional YMCA document the Association from its first meetings in 1891 through 1978. The collection contains minutes, constitution and by-laws, reports, board correspondence, ledgers, publications, scrapbooks, and youth, recreation, and wartime program files. Also includes material relating to building campaigns and properties. Additionally documents the long career of Errol V. Ridgwell.
- Associations, institutions, etc.--Massachusetts--Northampton--History
- Northampton (Mass.)--Social conditions
- People's Institute (Northampton, Mass.)
- Social service and race relations--Massachusetts--Northampton--History
- World War, 1939-1945
- Hampshire Regional YMCA (Northampton, Mass.)
- Ridgwell, Errol V
- Young Men's Christian Association (Northampton, Mass.)
Types of material
Beth Hapgood Papers, 1789-2005.
67 boxes (35 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 434
Daughter of a writer and diplomat, and graduate of Wellesley College, Beth Hapgood has been a spiritual seeker for much of her life. Her interests have led her to become an expert in graphology, a student in the Arcane School, an instructor at Greenfield Community College, and a lecturer on a variety of topics in spiritual growth. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Hapgood befriended Michael Metelica, the central figure in the Brotherhood of the Spirit (the largest commune in the eastern states during the early 1970s) as well as Elwood Babbitt, a trance medium, and remained close to both until their deaths.
The Hapgood Papers contain a wealth of material relating to the Brotherhood of the Spirit and the Renaissance Community, Metelica, Babbitt, and other of Hapgood’s varied interests, as well as 4.25 linear feet of material relating to the Hapgood family.
- Brotherhood of the Spirit
- Channeling (Spiritualism)
- Communal living--Massachusetts
- Hapgood family--Correspondence
- Massachusetts--Social life and customs--20th century
- Nineteen sixties--Social aspects
- Occultism--Social aspects
- Popular culture--History--20th century
- Renaissance Community
- Rock music--1971-1980
- Warwick (Mass.)--History
- Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-
- Boyce, Neith, 1872-1951
- Hapgood, Beth--Correspondence
- Hapgood, Charles H
- Hapgood, Elizabeth Reynolds
- Hapgood, Hutchins, 1869-1944
- Hapgood, Norman, 1868-1937
- Metelica, Michael
Hatfield Barite Mine Records, 1840-1843.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 225
In November 1840, the prominent New York merchant firm, Josiah Macy and Son, requested Samuel Wells of Northampton to act as their agent in acquiring a lease to a tract of land in nearby Hatfield for the purpose of mining for barite. Wells involved Amherst College geology professor Edward Hitchcock in the survey for the appropriate mining site, and then during the next two years negotiated for the leases and the start up of the mining. With Hitchcock’s assistance, Wells located the mineral vein in Hatfield, about two miles west of the town village. His diagrams of the vein in his correspondence show that it crossed three property lines; those of Thomas Frary, John D. Morton, and the estate of Charles Smith.
- Hatfield (Mass.)--History
- Mines and mining--Massachusetts
Gordon Heath Papers, 1913-1992.
44 boxes (22.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 372 and 372 bd
A multi-talented performer, the African American expatriate Gordon Heath was variously a stage and film actor, musician, director, producer, founder of the Studio Theater of Paris, and co-owner of the Parisian nightclub L’Abbaye. Born in New York City, Heath became involved in acting as a teenager and enjoyed a career that spanned post-World War II Broadway to the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s. In addition to his many roles on film and stage, he and his partner Lee Payant enjoyed success as recording artists in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Heath collection includes personal and professional correspondence, scrapbooks containing photos and clippings from assorted television and film productions in addition to songs, poetry, and reviews of plays or playbills from productions he attended. The Papers also contain art work, sheet music, personal and production photographs, and drafts of his memoirs.
- Abbaye (Nightclub : Paris, France)
- African American actors--France--Paris--History
- African American singers--France--Paris--History
- African Americans in the performing arts--History
- African-American theater--History--20th century
- Baldwin, James, 1924-
- Chametzky, Jules
- Dodson, Owen, 1914-
- Expatriate musicians--France--Paris--History
- Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967
- Musicians--United States--History
- Paris (France)--Intellectual life--20th century
- Payant, Lee--Correspondence
- Primus, Pearl
- Rive gauche (Paris, France)--Intellectual life--20th century
- Studio Theater of Paris
- Theater--Production and direction--France--Paris--History
- Abramson, Doris E
- Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991
Types of material
- Sheet music
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