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Friends genealogy

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. In most cases, the only access to information on New England Friends is usually a search of the records, either on microfilm or in the original. Here are some important points to remember for typical genealogical problems.

  1. 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.
  2. All vital records are recorded by the Monthly Meeting. You will need to determine which monthly meeting(s) 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. Some towns held smaller meetings that were part of a larger nearby monthly meeting.
  3. If your ancestor’s 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 probably not be recorded by a Monthly Meeting.
  4. If you are able to determine a probable Monthly Meeting, 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.
  5. 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.
  6. If the records have not been microfilmed, you will need to consult the originals, most of which are at UMass Amherst. The location of originals is given in the “Loc.” column. Please note that a complete set of microfilm is available for consultation at the Rhode Island Historical Society.
  7. If you are researching early Friends (pre-Revolutionary), it is likely that you will not discover anything new in the vital 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.

Goldberg, Maxwell Henry, 1907-

Maxwell Henry Goldberg Papers

1888-1986
60 boxes 33 linear feet
Call no.: FS 064
Image of Max Goldberg, photo by Frank Waugh
Max Goldberg, photo by Frank Waugh

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.

Subjects

  • College English Association
  • Humanities Center for Liberal Education
  • Jews--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English

Contributors

  • Goldberg, Maxwell Henry, 1907-
Great Barrington (Mass.)

Charles Taylor Collection

1731-1904
5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 104

Collection of historical documents compiled by Charles Taylor, author of the 1882 town history of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Includes Court of Common Pleas cases, deeds, estate papers, indentures, land surveys, sheriff’s writs, town history reference documents, Samuel Rossiter’s financial papers, and genealogical research papers for over 40 families.

Subjects

  • Debt--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
  • Farm tenancy--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Genealogy
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--History
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Land use--Massachusetts--Great Barrington

Contributors

  • Ives, Thomas
  • Kellogg, Ezra
  • Pynchon, George
  • Pynchon, Walter
  • Root, Hewitt
  • Rossiter, Samuel
  • Taylor, Charles J. (Charles James), 1824-1904

Types of material

  • Deeds
  • Genealogies
  • Land surveys
  • Writs
Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation

Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation Records

1833-1846
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 033 bd

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 two pages of personal expenses associated with a trip to Ohio.

Subjects

  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--History
  • Toll roads--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Milland, Josiah
  • Van Deusen, Jacob H.
  • Van Deusen, John
Green, Josiah

Josiah Green and Co. Records

1829-1905
2 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 683

Josiah Green and Co. were pioneering manufacturers of mass produced pegged boots, one of the earliest and largest firms of its kind in Central Massachusetts. Founded by Josiah Green in the town of Leicester in 1812, the firm relocated to Spencer in 1816 or 1817 and erected its first factory there in 1834. In 1850, J. Green and Co. was the largest of six major shoe- and boot-manufacturers in town, though it lost market share thereafter. Green ran the company until control passed to his sons in 1867.

The records of Josiah Green and Co. document the growth and peak years of operation of one of the most important high-volume manufacturers of boots in central Massachusetts. Although the account books and ledgers extend back into the 1820s, the bulk of the correspondence dates from 1889-1894, when Josiah’s sons controlled the firm and while it was losing ground to its competitors. Although sporadic and incomplete, the correspondence offers a glimpse into the manner in which Green’s business was conducted during a period when the firm sold to a wide network of wholesalers and jobbers in the northeast and Midwest. Most of the correspondence concerns placement or fulfillment of orders and issues over prices and payment. The collection contains four press copybooks containing outgoing letters for the years 1889-1892 and 1904-1905.

Subjects

  • Shoe industry--Massachusetts--Spencer
  • Spencer (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century

Contributors

  • Green, Josiah
  • J. Green and Co

Types of material

  • Account books
Haley, Michael

Michael Haley Papers

1968-2003
18 boxes 27 linear feet
Call no.: MS 670
Image of Mike Haley
Mike Haley

An actor and motion picture assistant director and producer, Michael Haley was born in Pittsfield, Mass., in 1942. While an undergraduate student at UMass Amherst, Haley became involved in theater, joining the avant garde Buffalo Meat Company that performed original works in Massachusetts and New York City. Following a chance call from a producer looking for local help in 1969, Haley worked on his first film, the low-budget crime drama, Honeymoon Killers. After work on several other film and television productions, Haley was among ten people selected for the Directors Guild of America’s Assistant Directors Training Program. During his forty year career, Haley’s credits have included work with a number of noted directors, including Sidney Lumet, Barry Levinson, and Penny Marshall, and he has enjoyed a particularly long and productive association with Mike Nichols. His films have included The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The Stepford Wives, Biloxi Blues, True Colors, A League of Their Own, Groundhog Day, Primary Colors, and Closer. He was the recipient of two Humanitas Prizes (for Wit and Angels in America), and among others awards, the Christopher Award (for Wit), the Directors Guild of America award, Producers Guild of America award, and an Emmy (for Angels in America), a Directors Guild of America plaque (Working Girl), and the Berkshire International Film Festival Life-Time Achievement Award. He was named Artist of the Year at UMass and has been selected for a Bateman Fellowship.

Reflecting a diverse career in film, the Haley collection consists of scripts, photographs, memorabilia, and diaries, with a small quantity of notes and correspondence. The scripts, approximately 110 of them, are from films ranging from the Godfather II to Charlie Wilson’s War and Angels in America, may include several drafts. The photographs are both numerous and particularly rich, including some particularly interesting candid shots taken on film sets, as well as official shots taken by photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark.

Subjects

  • Actors
  • Motion picture producers and directors
  • Motion pictures
  • Nichols, Mike

Contributors

  • Haley, Michael

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Screenplays
Hampshire Community Action Commission

Hampshire Community Action Commission Records

1965-1984
25 boxes 10.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 056

A private, non-profit corporation founded in 1965 in Northampton, Massachusetts to finance community action programs for eliminating poverty and assisting low income people. Programs included day care centers, Neighborhood Youth Corps, Summer Head Start, a drug addiction clinic at the jail, Legal Services, and the Foster Grandparent Program.

Records comprise bylaws and organizational charts, annual reports, board of directors minutes; administrative directors’ records, including correspondence with the federal agencies and state agencies granting funds, grant applications and awards, program plans, financial and legal documents, personnel records and staff training directives; the agency newsletter County Voice, Noticero Latina; and newsclippings about welfare programs.

Subjects

  • Hampshire Community Action Commission
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Social service--Massachusetts--Hampshire County
Hampshire Council of Governments

Hampshire Council of Governments Records

1677-1974
90 volumes, 17 boxes 80 linear feet
Call no.: MS 704
Image of Title page, Volume 1 (1671)
Title page, Volume 1 (1671)

The Hampshire Council of Governments is a voluntary association of cities and towns and the successor to the former government of Hampshire County, Massachusetts, that was abolished in 1999. A body politic and corporate, its charter ratified by Massachusetts General Law 34B, S20(b), the Council oversees roadways, the electricity supply, building inspection, tobacco control, cooperative purchasing, and other services for member communities.

The Hampshire Council collection contains a dense record of county-level governance in western Massachusetts from the colonial period through the mid-twentieth century with extensive documentation of the actions of the County Commissioners, and before them the Court of Common Pleas and Court of General Sessions. Rich in documenting the development of the transportation infrastructure of western Massachusetts, the collection offers detailed information associated with the planning and construction of highways, canals, ferries, and railroads, but the early records offer a broad perspective on the evolution of the legal and cultural environment, touching on issues from disorderly conduct (e.g., fornication, Sabbath breaking) to the settlement of estates, local governance, public works, and politics.

Subjects

  • Bridges--Massachusetts--Hampshire Count
  • Dams--Massachusetts--Hampshire Count
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--History
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Indians of North America--Massachusetts
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Railroads--Massachusetts
  • Roads--Massachusetts--Hampshire County
  • Taverns (Inns)--Massachusetts--Hampshire County

Contributors

  • Hampshire County (Mass.). County Commissioners
  • Massachusetts. Court of General Sessions of the Peace (Hampshire County)
  • Massachusetts. Inferior Court of Common Pleas (Hampshire County)

Types of material

  • Civil court records
  • Maps
Hapgood, Beth

Beth Hapgood Papers

1789-2005
67 boxes 35 linear feet
Call no.: MS 434
Image of Beth Hapgood and members of the Brotherhood, ca.1969
Beth Hapgood and members of the Brotherhood, ca.1969

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.

Subjects

  • Brotherhood of the Spirit
  • Channeling (Spiritualism)
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Graphology
  • Hapgood family--Correspondence
  • Massachusetts--Social life and customs--20th century
  • Mediums--Massachusetts
  • Nineteen sixties--Social aspects
  • Occultism--Social aspects
  • Popular culture--History--20th century
  • Renaissance Community
  • Rock music--1971-1980
  • Warwick (Mass.)--History

Contributors

  • 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
Harris, Carl C.

Carl C. Harris Papers

1898-1960
14 boxes 19 linear feet
Call no.: MS 667
Image of A slencil
A slencil

An inventor, entrepreneur, and corporate executive, Carl C. Harris was the third of four generations of his family to help manage the Rodney Hunt Company, a major manufacturer of waterwheels, turbines, and textile machinery based in Orange, Mass. While still in high school in 1898, Harris already displayed a sharp business and technical eye, establishing the first telephone company in Orange, and he began his career after graduation from Worcester Polytechnical Institute, working as a draftsman for GE and then as a superintendent at Rodney Hunt. After a brief stint at the Simplex Time Recorder Company in Gardner, Harris returned to Rodney Hunt for good in 1912. After acquiring a controlling interest in 1917, he remained with the company in several capacities through the Depression and Second World War, serving as general manager, vice president, and treasurer, and from 1938-1947, as president. Throughout his career, Harris remained active in developing or improving a variety of new products and processes, registering a total of 99 patents, and he regularly used his offices at Rodney Hunt to launch other, smaller enterprises, including the Slencil Company,which manufactured mechanical pencils; Riveto, which produced toys and a paper fastening device; and Speed-Mo, a manufacturer of a moistening pad system. Harris retired in 1956 and died four years later in Orange at the age of 79.

The Harris Papers are centered closely on the entrepreneurial activity of Carl C. Harris, and include a particularly thick set of business records for the Slencil Company (ca.1935-1960) and the Riveto Company (1930s-1940s), and the slender record book of the Home Telephone Company. In addition to these, the collection includes many dozen slencils, including prototypes, speciality models, presentation sets, store displays, and marketing designs; examples of Riveto toys, Simplex inventions, flotation devices, and other oddities invented by Harris, along with the associated patents.

Subjects

  • Orange (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Orange (Mass.)--History
  • Toys

Contributors

  • Harris, Carl C.
  • Riveto Company
  • Rodney Hunt Company
  • Slencil Company
  • Speed-Mo Company

Types of material

  • Realia