RECORDS 0F NEW YORK YEARLY MEETING OF THE RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS, AND THE HAVILAND RECORDS ROOM, NEW YORK CITY
(Originally printed in Tree Talks, the periodical of the Central New York Genealogical Society, Vol. 25, No. 1, March, 1985, and updated December 15, 1989.)
By Elizabeth H. Moger, Keeper of the Records
In stating my subject as "Records of New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, and the Haviland Records Room," I am intentionally limiting my presentation. I will briefly describe the historical background of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the general organization of Friends as it has significance for genealogical research, but I wish to make it clear that New York Yearly Meeting is the area of my expertise, such as it is, and that the Haviland Records Room, the archives of New York Yearly Meeting, is the source of the information I have to offer. I am the Keeper of the Records, but I do not speak with any official sanction. My opinions are my own.
It sometimes astounds me how many people have, or believe they have, Quaker ancestors, though it probably should not. Friends formed a remarkably large fraction of the population of Colonial America. According to Gaustad's Historical Atlas of Religion in America, only Anglicans, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians were more numerous in the colonial period. There are said to have been approximately 50,000 Friends in the Colonies at the end of the Eighteenth Century (and 50,000 was a much larger proportion of the population than it sounds now). So, if some of your ancestors have been here that long, there is a very great likelihood that you will be able to claim a Quaker forebear. Whether he or she was a New York Yearly Meeting Friend and whether, if so, he or she will appear in surviving records are other questions.
To give a brief history: The Religious Society of Friends dates its beginning from George Fox's vision, in 1652 on Pendle Hill in the north of England, of 91a great people to be gathered." In what is now New York, the first Quaker missionaries came to New Amsterdam in 1657 in the ship Woodhouse , and were received most inhospitably by the Dutch under Peter Stuyvesant. (Early Quakerism was definitely a missionary religion; it was only in their later history that some Friends came to eschew proselytizing). The Flushing Remonstrance, an early declaration of religious liberty, was enunciated on behalf of these missionaries by men of Flushing, Long Island, none Friends themselves, though a substantial number of them or their descendants later became Friends. The earliest organization of Friends in the New World was in New England; New England Yearly Meeting dates from 1661 in Rhode Island. The Puritans in Massachusetts were even less hospitable to Friends than were the Dutch; a total of four Friends were hanged in Boston in 1659, 1660, and 1661, and a number of others were imprisoned or harshly punished. In Rhode Island, Roger Williams did not agree with Friends theologically, but was willing to give them "house room," so to speak. On Long Island, Friends' Meetings began to be held in the 1660's (a minute from New England Yearly Meeting set up what later became the Meeting to which I belong, Westbury, dating from 1671), and from there Meetings spread in the Eighteenth Century to "the Main."
Though Philadelphia comes to people's minds first, when they think of Friends in the American Colonies, Quakers did not come to Philadelphia until 1681. Incidentally, these came largely as Friends, whereas New York and New England Yearly Meeting Friends were for the most part "convinced" or converted to Quakerism in the New World. New York Yearly Meeting dates its first formal organization from 1695. From that time through the Eighteenth Century and the first quarter of the Nineteenth Century, New York Yearly Meeting Friends spread to the north and west from their starting points downstate. Migrations of Friends to New York Yearly Meeting started fairly early from Rhode Island, from Cape Cod and other parts of Massachusetts, from New Jersey, and, to a lesser degree, from Pennsylvania.
In 1828, the Hicksite-Orthodox Separation took place in New York, a theological and sociological matter that I will not even attempt to explain. Subsequent separations occurred in the 1840's and 1850's, with more radical Hicksites going to the left and becoming Progressive or Congregational Friends (practically none of whose records have survived). The Orthodox separated into Wilburite and Gurneyite, and in the Finger Lakes area subsequently separated further into Otisite and Kingite (these differentiations were clear at the time, but have blurred since). In the 1870's and 1880's, the Orthodox Gurneyites separated further into Progressive and Conservative. Progressive, at that time and in that connection, meant accepting hymn-singing and revivals, unlike the 1840's Progressives, who were radical Abolitionists, supporters of women 5 rights, and, in many cases, Spiritualists. Conservative meant what you would expect it to mean --they were the last to wear "plain dress," for example. These differentiations are significant for genealogical purposes only in that each party in any one of these separations regarded itself as the Friends' Meeting in a given locality. In the 1850's at Poplar Ridge in Cayuga County, for example, five different New York Yearly Meetings are said to have been represented. They knew who they were, but we sometimes have trouble sorting them out in the present day.
The so-called "15th Street" (Hicksite) and "20th Street" (Orthodox) Yearly Meetings having rejoined in 1955, the present geographical coverage of the reunited New York Yearly Meeting comprises New York State, northern New Jersey, Fairfield County, Connecticut, and one little Meeting in Vermont which survives as part of a Federated Church. New York Yearly Meeting formerly included Meetings in Canada, mostly in Ontario, but one in Quebec, others in Vermont, some in Michigan, at least one in northern Pennsylvania, and for fourteen years, from 1832 to 1846 or thereabouts, the Hicksite Meeting on Nantucket (but we have none their records). Just to confuse the issue, in 1834 the Hicksite Meetings in western New York State joined with the Hicksite Meetings in Michigan and in Ontario, Canada, to become Genesee Yearly Meeting, being set off by New York Yearly Meeting (Hicksite). This Yearly Meeting no longer exists, but the Haviland Records Room has such records as have survived from its New York and Michigan Meetings. The Michigan Meetings of New York Yearly Meeting (Orthodox) later became part of Ohio Yearly Meeting (Orthodox), which is now Evangelical Friends Church, Eastern Region.
To understand the organization of Friends, it should be understood that on the North American continent there are a number of different Yearly Meetings, each of which has its own organization and keeps its own records. These Yearly Meetings are basically geographical in nature (though they may also reflect theological differences in a given area), and are comparable to a synod, a presbytery, a conference, or a diocese. New York Yearly Meeting (or, from 1828 to 1955, New York Yearly Meetings) would be the overall body, divided into Quarterly Meetings (later, in some cases, Half-Yearly Meetings, both now frequently called Regional Meetings). Each Quarterly Meeting was composed of Monthly Meetings. The Monthly Meeting was the basic organizational unit, which kept membership records, held property, regulated marriages, and recorded "ministers in unity," or "approved" or "recorded ministers."
"Recorded ministers," by the way, were not pastors as in the conventional Protestant churches. The "pastoral system" among Friends dates only from the 1870's, starting in the Middle West. Until then a "recorded minister" was a person whose gifts in the spoken ministry were recognized formally by his or her Meeting The Meeting in this way stated its unity with that minister and vouched for his or her reliability. A Meeting might have several "recorded ministers," among Friends, both men and women were recorded as ministers from the very earliest times.
Typically, each Monthly Meeting was composed of several Preparative Meetings, which "prepared" business for consideration by the Monthly Meeting. A person who "became convinced of Friends' principles" (i.e., converted to Quakerism) applied to his or her Preparative Meeting, the local Meeting at which they worshipped, to come under the care of Friends", that is, to be received into membership; but the request was forwarded to the Monthly Meeting for its action. Similarly, Friends would ask their Preparative Meeting for a Certificate of Removal, a transfer to another Meeting, but their intention 'would then be forwarded to the Monthly Meeting. A couple would appear before their Preparative Meeting (usually the bride's Preparative Meeting) to state their intention to marry, but their intention would then be forwarded to her Monthly Meeting. In cases where only the Preparative Meeting records have survived, we have at least preliminary notice of actions which may be assumed to have taken place subsequently in the Monthly Meeting, though no Monthly Meeting documentation is extant.
Monthly Meetings were often named from the Town in which most of their Preparative Meetings were held, but as a rule they had no central location. Sessions of the Monthly Meeting were customarily "held circularly," one month at one Preparative Meeting, the next month at another, according to schedule. The Preparative Meetings were the ones which had meetinghouses and were on the map and reported in the census. There were also "allowed Meetings" or "indulged Meetings," so called because the holding of the Meeting for Worship was "allowed" by the Monthly Meeting; but these "allowed Meetings" had no business organization, and there will not ordinarily be any records for them, though they might have had meeting-houses.
In considering the coverage of Friends' records, it must be remembered that, in New York Yearly Meeting, at any rate, an alphabetical listing of names for the whole Yearly Meeting was a very late development. In fact, the year 1953, just before the reunion of the "15th Street" and the "20th Street" Yearly Meetings mentioned earlier, saw the first issuance of a directory for both branches, by Meeting, with a single-alphabet index. Earlier lists for the Orthodox were either (a) of the members of a given Meeting, e.g., New York, or (b) of Friends under appointment as listed in the Yearly Meeting minutes (after the mid-Nineteenth Century) Lists for the Hicksite Yearly Meeting, by Monthly Meeting, began to be published in 1887 (with an alphabetical index of Meetings, since they were listed by Quarterly Meeting, but none by individual name). Neither of these, of course, mentioned "the other branch."
At the time of the Separation, in 1828, the Orthodox prepared a list, basically by Preparative Meeting but not listing every Meeting thought to have existed at that time. This list gave, for each Meeting, first, the names of "Friends" (i.e., Orthodox), adults and minors, sometimes so differentiated, sometimes with ages given for the minors (which can be very helpful, especially where you have cousins, e.g., with the same given name): then, "those called Hicksites," also sometimes as adults and minors; and then, in some cases, "those who stand neutral." The Preparative Meeting lists are arranged by Monthly Meeting under Quarterly Meeting. It will be readily seen how important it is to know the Meeting to which a Friend for whom one is searching belonged, or is thought to have belonged.
Two kinds of Friends' Monthly Meeting records are significant for genealogical purposes: Minutes and Registers.
From earliest times (having been instituted by George Fox himself, a strong believer in the equality of the sexes) until the late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century, both Men's and Womenís Meetings existed at all levels, Preparative Meeting up to Yearly Meeting, and hence both Men's and Women's Minutes were recorded. Men's Minutes were kept by the Clerk of the Men's Meeting and the Women's Minutes, logically enough, by the Clerk of the Womenís Meeting, the Clerk being a presiding officer and not just a secretary. In both cases, the minutes record the business of the Monthly Meeting or whatever Meeting it may be. The business meeting was sometimes called the "Meeting for Discipline," and that discipline regulated the lives of the members, to be sure; but the minutes will not ordinarily have reference to the activities or circumstances of individual Friends, except a~ these enter into the business of the Meeting. Births, deaths, places of residence, and the like will not appear in the minutes as a general thing. An exception is the death in office of a Clerk, Treasurer, or Recorder who must be replaced, or of a "recorded minister" or other "weighty Friend" for whom a memorial is prepared. Meetings yearly named a committee to gather information on births and deaths and give it to the Recorder; the minutes record each year that this information was collected, but it will not be found in the minutes.
What will be found in the minutes are requests for membership and their acceptance. As previously mentioned, a person who wished to "come under the care of Friends," or join the Meeting, would make application first to the Preparative Meeting (men to the Men's Meeting women to the Women's Meeting), and the request would be passed up to the Monthly Meeting. At the session of that Meeting, to which representatives were sent each month from the several Preparative Meetings, a committee would be named to visit the "requester" (applicant) and report as to whether he or she seemed sincere, convinced of Friends' principles, and acceptable as to life and conversation (i.e., behavior). The committee took its responsibility seriously and did not, at least in earlier times, make a perfunctory report. Sometimes it would state what seemed to be a serious judgment, but still ask for more time. Sometimes it would recommend that the request be returned, but this was not necessarily a final refusal (a requester could, and often did, make another application later). If, according to the committee's favorable report, a requester was approved to be received as a member, another committee was named to notify him or her of the Meeting's decision.
When the Women's Meeting decided to receive a member, it reported this to the Men's Meeting, subject to the menís concurrence. This was a formality, but a formality regularly observed. The Men's Meeting did not submit its decisions to the Women's Meeting (at least as far as I have been able to make out), though the womenís concurrence was reported in recording decisions. Thus, even in the egalitarian Religious Society of Friends, the influence of the larger society was felt. It has been suggested that this may have been regarded as a legal necessity, since menís decisions were recognized as operative when womenís were not.
Acceptance into membership in a given Meeting is significant for genealogical purposes in several respects. It identifies a person with a very specific group, and presents the possibility of tracing that person further in the records of the group. It also places him in a definite place (well, fairly definite) at a definite time. For a person who has become a member of a Meeting by request, Registers may or may not (depending on how conscientious the Recorder was) give birthdate, birthplace, parentage, name of spouse, and names of any children. The name of a previous spouse is very unlikely to be mentioned, even if other information appears.
A person accepted into membership was a convinced Friend, one who joined Friends by his or her own decision, as distinguished from a "birthright Friend," both of whose parents were Friends in good standing at the time of his or her birth. Bear in mind that the Meeting will have no marriage records for a couple who were already married when they joined it. Indeed, when two persons of opposite gender and the same surname are admitted into Meeting membership at the same time, there is ordinarily no mention of any relationship between them, whatever it may be, since their admittance represents two separate actions of the Meeting. Only the unwary will assume that when John Jones and Anna Jones are both admitted into membership in Anywhere Monthly Meeting on Fourth Month 15, 1822, this indicates that they are husband and wife. They might be in-laws, for example, and an unsupported assumption could cause serious confusion.
Registers of Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Removals were kept by the Recorder (registrar) of the Meeting. In some Meetings, particularly in earliest times, Registers were kept of Sufferings (for adherence to Friends' principles), of Testifications (or disownment, by the Meeting against those who did not adhere to Friends' principles and were consequently dismissed from membership), and of Manumissions (recording the freeing of slaves by members of the Meeting).
These records were only as good as the Recorder. Some were excellent, but some were about as good as nothing at all. Some Recorders were so unfortunate, both on their own accounts and on that of the Meeting, as to have their houses burn down, taking the Meeting records with them. Some Meetings have detailed lists of membership by family, with parentage, birth and death records, and places of residence. These, alas, are in the minority, and the carefully kept record may not be maintained throughout the history of the Meeting.
Prior to 1810 in New York Yearly Meeting records of births and deaths seem to have been kept only irregularly, depending on whether or not the Recorder was moved to enter them. In the new Discipline adopted in 1810, however, a form for the recording of births and deaths is stipulated. Accordingly, Registers of Births and Deaths for many Meetings in New York Yearly Meeting begin in 1810, though the Meeting itself may date from much earlier.
The same Register ordinarily contains both Birth and Death Records, often with Births on the left-hand page and Deaths on the corresponding right-hand page, or the double page may be used for a complete record of each person on one line continued across the page. Sometimes the Recorder got mixed up and listed Births with Deaths, or vice versa, which is highly confusing. Births were customarily recorded more or less chronologically. The record gives for each child, or should give, name, birthdate, names of parents, and parents place of residence. There will not be a birth certificate for each child, and there will definitely not be a baptismal certificate. Friends did not observe the sacrament of water baptism (and do not now, at least in New York Yearly Meeting, which is as far as I can state categorically).
Deaths were recorded more or less chronologically, and the record should give the name of the deceased; date of death; age in years, months, and days (sometimes in conjunction with a birth date); sometimes place of birth; identification by parentage or spouse, sometimes both in the case of women, but a man 5 spouse was not ordinarily mentioned; and late residence. The chronology could get scrambled, making it imperative to check a number of pages both forward and back when looking for birth and death dates. Also, all expected information may not be included. Age and parentage of elderly members as given in the Register of Deaths may not be reliable, since the deceased may have outlived all those who had accurate information about him or her.
Registers of Marriages and Removals are usually together in another book, sometimes kept separately, i.e., with Marriage Certificates entered from the front of the book and Certificates of Removal from the back with the book reversed, but more often all together, roughly chronologically.
Marriage Certificates tended to be the most carefully kept records. From the earliest days of the Society, Friends were scrupulous about the "clearness" of those marrying under the care of the Meeting. Since Friends' marriages were not performed by a third party of official status, they were often challenged as invalid in the early days; hence documenting them was essential.
When a couple appeared before Meeting and stated their intention to marry, the Men's Meeting named a committee of men to meet with the prospective groom, and the Women's Meeting named a committee of women to meet with the prospective bride to determine their clearness for marriage. A favorable report was not automatic; an unfavorable one meant that the marriage could not take place under the care of the Meeting. This denial might set the stage for the couple's "marrying out," which we shall mention later.
The couple appeared a first time before Meeting to declare their intention of marriage and a second time to receive the decision of the Meeting. If the Meeting approved, the couple was set at liberty to accomplish their marriage. This process was called "passing Meeting," and was similar to the publishing of the banns in other religious bodies. A Committee of Oversight, again with male members named by the Men's Meeting and female members named by the Women's Meeting, was designated for each marriage. It was their duty to report back to Meeting that the marriage had taken place in right order, and that the Certificate had been filed with the Recorder. This report customarily was made at Monthly Meeting the month following the wedding, so that if only the Minutes, and not the Registers, have survived, we shall have only an approximate date for the marriage.
The Marriage Certificate, as copied into the Register, typically will give the names, parentage, places of residence of the couple, and the date and place of the marriage. The fact that the couple has consent of parents is customarily mentioned; where this is omitted, it may indicate that they are of advanced age. If the surname of the bride differs from that of her parents, this is a significant piece of information, presumably indicating that she was a widow. There is no way of determining whether the bridegroom was a widower. Some early marriage certificates give the groom 5 occupation. The Marriage Certificate as entered in the Register gives the names of witnesses, though not necessarily all the witnesses, depending on the diligence of the Recorder and the amount of space at his disposal in the Register (sometimes he writes airily, after listing several witnesses. And many more"). On the original Marriage Certificate, everyone who attended the wedding was a witness, and everyone signed, but this is not guaranteed with respect to the names in the Register. Since the Certificates were copied into the Register, this, of course, introduces the possibility of error. It should be remembered that spelling of surnames, even into the Nineteenth Century, was highly unstandardized, so that the names as they appear in a Register may not be spelled the same way their owners spelled them. With respect to the placing of signatures on a Marriage Certificate, the order in which they are set down is said by some authorities to
show the relationship of the signers to the bridal couple; however, I am by no means sure that this is so.
Where the groom and the bride were members of different Meetings, the marriage usually took place under the care of the bride's Meeting. The prospective groom took a Certificate of Clearness for Marriage (which is not a Certificate of Removal) to the bride's Meeting. The Committee of Clearness for the groom (mentioned above in this connection) was named by and reported to the groom's Meeting. The giving of this Certificate of Clearness will be mentioned in the Men's Minutes of the groom's Meeting, not in a Register; and the mention may give a clue to the approximate date of a marriage, when the actual record of the marriage has not survived. If, as sometimes (but infrequently) happened, the marriage took place in the groom 5 Meeting, the prospective bride would present her Certificate of Clearness (which would be found in the Women's Minutes of her Meeting) to the groom 5 Meeting. After the marriage, the wife subsequently brought her Certificate of Removal to her husband's Meeting, as a general thing, or, if they were moving away, each would take a Certificate of Removal to the new Meeting.
Certificates of Removal (what we would call transfers) are important as documenting movements of individuals and families. The "clearness of those removing from one Meeting to another was also important. Some Registers of Removals include both certificates received and certificates sent, which can be helpful. A typical certificate for a family will include the name of the head of the family and, if you are lucky, the names of his wife and children (although it may just say" John Jones and his wife and 7 children," or perhaps not even give the number), statements that the older children are clear of marriage engagements, and a statement that the family "has settled their outward affairs to satisfaction as far as appears." It will quite often be signed by the Clerks of both Men's and Women's Meetings (or, alternatively, there may be one certificate signed by the Clerk of the Men's Meeting for the males in the family and one signed by the Clerk of the Women's Meeting for the females). Certificates of Removal for individuals will mention both that the person is clear of marriage engagements and that he or she has settled his or her temporal affairs to satisfaction. Sometimes we find Certificates of Removal for quite young children as individuals, boys going as apprentices (preferably under Friends as masters) and girls going to live with another family (comparable to apprenticeship).
A special case, in which Certificates of Removal may be sought but not found, would occur when a Meeting divided or set off one of its Preparative Meetings as a Monthly Meeting on its own account. There will be no indication of removal to the Meeting which was set off, either for families or for individuals, because technically removal did not take place. Sometimes, but very rarely, you may
find an opening roster for the new Meeting; otherwise, you just have to rely on picking up mention of individuals in the Minutes, assuming that the Minutes have survived.
A remarkable lot of movement took place back and forth -- usually (and preferably) with the approval of the Meeting. When someone "proposed to unsettle himself'" and go to another place, he was likely to bring this intention before the Meeting for approval, and a committee would be named to consider the move with him. Since a Friend's going from his home Meeting community to another locality had an effect both on him and on the Meeting, regarding his removal as a religious issue made sense. If he were leaving for personal gain, or to avoid responsibilities, or if he were going to a place where there were no other Friends, and he would not be "under the care" of a Meeting, his spiritual wellbeing was in question. Similarly, if the Meeting community were to be decimated by a large-scale movement elsewhere, this posed a genuine problem of the survival of the Meeting. There were instances of Friends being disowned for removing without the approval of their Meeting or for refusing to take Friends' advice (such advice presumably being that they should have stayed put).
We may find included in a Register, along with the Marriage and Removal Certificates, copies of Minutes of Travel for "recorded ministers" from other Meetings, with the names of members signing the minute. A recorded minister (not a pastor, you recall) would have put before his or her home Meeting the feeling that he or she was called to "travel in the love of the Gospel." If the Meeting approved, a Minute of Travel would be prepared, and the Friend would take it along on the journey, to be endorsed at each Meeting visited. The traveling ministry of Friends was important in maintaining contacts between Meetings.
Recorded ministers, by the way, would not have been referred to or addressed as "Reverend" --- this would have been called a "flattering title" by Friends. So would Mr. or Mrs., for that matter. Friends (at least during the first two-and-a-half centuries of their history) had a testimony against addressing persons by words which connoted status. A person would be addressed by given name and surname together, e.g., "How does thee do, Elias Hicks?" and not "How do you do, Mr. Hicks, sir?" The "plain speech" called for addressing one person in the singular, and not in the grammatical plural, as if he were twice as important.
Friends also had a testimony against using the pagan names for days and months, and hence used numbers rather than the common names. Prior to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar by England and the American Colonies in 1752, the year was considered as beginning on March 25 rather than January 1, 50 that dates between January 1 and March 25 (Old Style) would be set down as being, forexample, 1744/45, with January as Eleventh Month and February as Twelfth Month. Presumably, March would be First Month, 1744/45 until the 25th and First Month, 1745, thereafter. Then April would be Second Month, 1745, May would be Third Month, 1745, June Fourth Month, July Fifth Month, August Sixth Month, September Seventh Month, October Eighth Month, November Ninth Month, and December Tenth Month. After 1752, January 1 became First Month 1, and other changes in terminology took place accordingly. Friends consistently used numbers for the names of the months and days of the week, but might say in legal documents, e.g., deeds, "on the 5th day of the 8th Month, called August...." Where family papers refer to a contemporary date in conventional terms only, this leaves doubt as to whether the persons involved were Friends; however, if a date has been transcribed in conventional terms by a later hand, this may not necessarily be the case.
We now come to disownments, a topic which comes up in any discussion of Friends' practices. Disownments are defensible as an attempt to maintain a consistent corporate witness in given circumstances. The best-known reason for disownment was, of course, "marrying out," which was short for "marrying out of the unity of Friends." The term covers several different circumstances: (a) "Marrying one not of our Society by the assistance of a hireling priest" or "by the assistance of a magistrate" (in the case of a New York Friend from a rather grand family, "marrying a person not a member of our Society by the assistance of the Mayor of New York") , or (b) marrying "contrary to Discipline, i.e., marrying another Friend, but not under the care of Meeting, for whatever reason (too close kin, lack of parents consent, previous disapproval of the couple's intentions by the Meeting, too great haste) with the assistance of a hireling priest or magistrate. In the case of "marriage contrary to Discipline," both individuals would customarily be "put under dealings" (i.e., subjected to disciplinary proceedings), but final disposition would depend on the individual's response. Sometimes one spouse might "make acknowledgment" (i.e., confess his or her offense and request forgiveness) and be reinstated, but not the other. Disownment of both parties to a marriage "contrary to discipline" may appear in the records without indication that they were married to each other. Attending the marriage of one who "went out in marriage" was also a disownable offense, as was "conniving at" the marriage of one 5 child "contrary to Discipline. After 1828, marriage to a member of "the other branch" would definitely have been "contrary to Discipline."
"Marrying out" cannot be said always to have resulted in automatic disownment. At some periods and in some Meetings, this may have been true, but it was not invariable. On occasion, there seem to have been extenuating circumstances, as in the case of the young male Friend who "married out," and in defense of this stated that there were only two unmarried women Friends of appropriate age in his Meeting, that he had proposed to each of them, and that both of them had turned him down. Proceedings against him were dropped.
Reinstatements of those disowned for "marrying out" (as well as for other reasons), even after a number of years, were by no means uncommon; but reinstatement required acknowledgment, or confession of the offense by the individual' and acceptance of that acknowledgment by the Meeting. It should be emphasized that acknowledgment of having "married out of the unity of Friends" in no way constituted repudiation or dissolution of the marriage.
There were other causes for disownment. One was compliance with military requirements, which was contrary to the "peace testimony" of Friends, enunciated first in England in 1660. Such compliance included the following: (a) Serving in the Army or Navy or Militia, "training," or even being present at a training or militia muster; (b) Voluntarily paying war taxes, or even accepting payment for supplies, etc., commandeered by the military.
I used to say that, on account of the "peace testimony," Friends' records were not of much use for Daughters of the American Revolution or Sons of the American Revolution documentation, since an activity on the part of an ancestor that would support a person 5 eligibility for one of these patriotic societies would have gotten that ancestor disowned, thus bringing about his or her removal from the records. I have had to recognize, however, that this is not necessarily the case in a final sense, for several reasons. After the Revolution, Meetings did accept acknowledgments from those who had been disowned for military activity, with subsequent reinstatements. Also, statements of sufferings, such as distraints or commandeering of supplies, seem in some cases to have been regarded as substantiation of Patriot support. I do not take sides in this matter; I just report Meeting action and let others evaluate it.
Involvement in the slave trade or the holding of slaves after the Society condemned slavery was also a disownable offense. The first testimony of Friends against slavery dates from 1688 in Germantown (Pennsylvania) Monthly Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, but it did not become the universal testimony of the Society until a century later. Perhaps the best-known name in the movement of Friends against slavery is that of John Woolman (1720-1772); he traveled amongst Friends all up and down the Colonies appealing to those who held slaves or were involved in the slave trade to consider whether this accorded with their religious principles. It was not easy to persuade the Quaker shipping barons of mid-Eighteenth Century New England that what had made their fortunes contradicted their religious professions; and for a long time slaveholding Friends maintained that if they treated their slaves humanely this fulfilled their religious duty. However, Friends did eventually, as a group, come to realize theincompatibility of slavery with their principles, and Friends ceased to be slaveholders --- or ceased to be Friends --- nearly half a century before slavery was officially outlawed by the State of New York. In New York Yearly Meeting, supposedly, no slave-owners continued in membership after the 1780's, though some manumissions in Westbury Monthly Meeting on Long Island are dated as late as the 17901s. These may, however, have been legal documentation of earlier agreements.
In passing, I would like to make an important point with respect to the documentation of Friends' anti-slavery concerns in the Nineteenth Century. I have been asked more than once for information on the Underground Railroad from Meeting records, and have had to disappoint completely those who asked. Though a number of Friends, both Orthodox and Hicksite, were dedicated Abolitionists, and some of these may well have been involved in the Underground Railroad, this was definitely not in any official capacity. I think I can categorically state that no mention of these activities is likely to be found in any Meeting records in New York Yearly Meeting.
To return to disownments: other disownable offenses included not attending regularly Meetings for Worship and Business; "dress and address," the term used to refer to being out of plainness of speech and apparel; "attending frolics" and "frequenting places of diversion" (including horse-races); and excessive use of spirituous liquors. "Tale-bearing and detraction" sometimes occasioned disciplinary action. Several of these charges might be brought against the same person. I recall the instance of one feckless young man of whom complaint was made for "attending a training," "marrying one not of our Society by the assistance of a hireling priest," "appearing out of plainness of dress and speech," "frequenting places of diversion," --- and stealing watermelons. One would have to conclude that he was a thoroughly bad lot -- at least from Friends' point of view.
Also a cause for being "put under dealings" and disowned was engaging in business beyond one 5 ability to manage, with subsequent business failure, or being involved in an unacceptable occupation, such as keeping a tavern where spirits were sold or dancing was allowed. Disownment for this sort of offense did not necessarily, or even customarily, extend to the wife and children of the man who was disowned. This fact may sometimes explain why we find a Certificate of Removal for Jane Brown, wife of Henry, to go with her husband to such-and-such a place, but none for Henry.
Parenthetically, there may be a separate Register, for Testifications, or disownments, mentioned earlier, or, alternatively, they may appear in the minutes. Since a copy of the testification was supposed to be given to the person disowned if he or she requested it, such papers may sometimes be found in family collections.
Reinstatements were possible, at least in theory, in all disownments if the Meeting was satisfied that the disowned person 5 acknowledgment was sincere and reflected real reformation. One might also say, somewhat cynically, that if a disowned Friend had left the locality, his or her acknowledgment might be more readily accepted because he or she was not going to be around the neighborhood to reflect unfavorably on Friends thereabouts. Often a Friend who had been disowned back home moved "within the verge" of another Meeting (i.e., into a locality which was by agreement in the jurisdiction of that Meeting), and sent an acknowledgment back to the original Meeting. The new Meeting was asked to investigate and report back to the person 5 home Meeting. The report might be unfavorable, in which case the disownment was sustained; but if the report was favorable, the acknowledgment was accepted, and a Certificate of Removal was forwarded. This might happen, as we have said, after a considerable time, so that disownment cannot be regarded as final until the disowned person dies.
Disownment did not mean that a person was not allowed to attend Meeting for Worship, or that he or she was ostracized or shunned, but just that he or she was not allowed to participate in Meeting for Business, or to contribute financially to the Meeting (as Henry J. Cadbury has said, "To many Friends today these are not especially cherished privileges"), or, of course, to hold Meeting office. Many did continue to attend Meeting for Worship, apparently. The best-known instance of this involves Isaac T. Hopper, a prominent Hicksite Abolitionist Friend in New York City, who was disowned around 1840 on rather specious grounds. He not only continued to attend Meeting, but to "sit facing, " i.e., in the "facing seats" (called today the "facing-bench") or ministers' gallery at the front of the meetinghouse. When chided for this, he replied, "Friends have disowned me---I have not disowned them!"
Several genealogical problems are caused, or primarily caused, by disownments. In the first place, it will be remembered that the term "birthright Friend" applies only to a child each of whose parents were in good standing as members of the Meeting at the time of that child's birth. A child does not automatically appear in the membership records unless, at the time of his or her birth, both parents were members in good standing. This is regardless of whether either or both of them is subsequently reinstated or joins Meeting. Such children would become members only if their parent or parents requested membership for them, or if the children requested membership for themselves. In the second place, when a man is disowned for "marrying out," no name of a spouse appears in the records. When a woman is disowned for this reason, she may be identified as "Mary Jones, formerly Brown," but her husband's given name is not likely to appear (though a Certificate of Removal for a woman member whose husband was not a member might still refer to her as "Mary Jones, wife of John," thus providing that information).
It is occasionally possible, with a fair amount of detective work, to piece together family relationships from external evidence. Let us say that Mary Brown, of Anywhere Monthly Meeting, keeps company with and marries, in spite of having been precautioned, "one not of our Society, by the assistance of a hireling priest." She is disowned as Mary Jones, formerly Brown. She later acknowledges her offense, and asks Friends to pass it by. The committee sent to visit her reports that her acknowledgment indeed appears sincere, and she is received again a member. This action is taken by the Women's Meeting, with the concurrence of the Men's Meeting (as was the case with the original disownment). All we know about her husband is that his surname is Jones. We do not have their marriage date, since the marriage did not take place under the care of the Meeting; all we know is that it was prior to the time a complaint was brought.
Subsequently, perhaps after several years' one John Jones appears in the Men's Minutes of Anywhere Monthly Meeting as requesting to "come under the care of Friends." A committee, named to visit him, reports that his request appears sincere, and he is accepted as a member. No mention is likely to be made of his wife's name, or even of the fact that he is married. Subsequently, perhaps again after several years, John Jones and his wife Mary request membership for their minor children, Henry, Mary Ann, and James, and this is granted. It is now substantiated from Meeting action that John and Mary Brown Jones are husband and wife, and that they are the parents of Henry, Mary Ann, and James (but we may never learn those children's birth dates from Friends' records unless Anywhere Monthly Meeting has a very conscientious Recorder). Later, the births of Eliza Jones, daughter of John and Mary, and Stephen Jones, son of John and Mary, may be entered in the Register of Births and Deaths of Anywhere M.M. (with, if you are lucky, birth dates and parents' place of residence), and they can be documented as members of the family also.
I should point out that there is a possible complication which comes up, and not just in cases of disownment and reinstatement. This occurs in instances where husband and wife, who already have one or more children who are adults or nearly so, join Meeting at about the same time, but in separate Meeting actions, remember, with no guarantee that they are in fact husband and wife. Say that John and Mary Jones had a first son, John, Jr., older than Henry and the others, born when neither of the parents, or only one, was a member in good standing, for whom they did not request membership, and who never requested membership for himself. He will not appear in Meeting records, though actually a member of a Friends' family. If Lucy Smith, daughter of the Friends next door, wants to marry him --well, the story starts all over again. John and Mary should really have encouraged John, Jr., to join Meeting it would have made things so much easier for us genealogists'
Talking about complications --- you remember that when a man "married out of Meeting," his spouseís name was not mentioned. You really have a problem when Mary Brown Jones's brother James Brown "marries out" and you try to trace his family tree.
WHAT CANNOT BE FOUND IN THE RECORDS
That dreary prospect is a good introduction to our next subject --- what you cannot expect to learn from Friends records. We have mentioned a number of facts you may be able to discover about a given Friendís family from Friends' records' assuming that their Meeting had thorough and accurate Clerks and Recorders, and that the records have survived, both of which may be rather rash assumptions. A number of facts you probably cannot find out from Friends' records: any personal information, family circumstances, business or profession, property holdings, or guardianship proceedings. There are always exceptions, of course: for example, mention of the groom 5 occupation in early marriage records, mention of apprenticeships, mention in the minutes of assistance to indigent Friends, mention in testifications of certain offenses of disowned Friends which their descendants would prefer to leave unmentioned. Clues to residence may be found in the fact that a request to join Meeting came up to the Monthly Meeting from a given Preparative Meeting (especially if a specific statement of the bounds of that Preparative Meeting can be found). Registers of Births and Deaths should mention places of residence --- no street addresses, though, until (and that not in all cases) the latter part of the Nineteenth Century.
My prize example of a question that could not be authoritatively answered through Friends' records was the one from a lady who was involved in restoring her great-great-grandfather 5 house, built, let us say, in 1838 somewhere in the middle of New York State. He was a Friend. How would his house have been decorated? Well, as it turned out, he was not a Friend, at least not at the time he built the house. His wife was; she had been put under dealings in her Meeting back east for marrying out, but had made acknowledgment and had not been disowned. Around 1836, she brought her Certificate of Removal to a Meeting in the general vicinity of the place where this house was later built. Other persons of the same surname brought certificates from the eastern Meeting to the western one, but the husband was not among them. We may assume that he came along, however, for there was his house. The lady who wanted the information surmised that his furniture would have been of good and durable quality, but plain. Well, yes but as for more detail, it was difficult to produce. There would have been no portraits in oils, in all probability, but there might have been portrait silhouettes. There would definitely not have been a piano or other musical instrument. Seeing that the wife's Certificate of Removal was to an Orthodox Meeting, there would be no bound volume of Elias Hicks's Journal on the parlor table. That was about all I could tell the lady; and I had just about concluded that it did not seem any more informative to her than to me, because months had passed, and I had not heard from her. Interest of truth compels me to relate, however, that after a great while, when I had quite given up, I received from her a graceful note of apology and thanks, accompanied by a check in payment for research.
In trying to trace a supposed Friend through Friends records, it is absolutely necessary that you know specifically where your people were, not just "somewhere in the Hudson Valley," and their dates as exactly as possible, not just "sometime in the Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century." You really ought to know the name of the Meeting, but that can sometimes be worked out from the name of the community. Spafford's Gazetteer of 1824 and French's Gazetteer of 1860 are both useful in identifying communities with Meetings. As previously mentioned, Monthly Meetings were often named for the Town they covered, but it must be remembered that Town and other place names change over time.
The effect of the various separations mentioned earlier has considerable significance for genealogical research based on Friends' records. At the time of the Orthodox-Hicksite Separation of 1828, about 20,000 Friends were on Meeting rolls in New York Yearly Meeting (there are under 5,000 now). After the Separation, many left Friends altogether, some joining other churches, but many not. As my daughter says, "There is nothing like a Quaker upbringing to spoil you for other forms of religion."
Those who adhered to the Hicksite side were formally disowned by the Orthodox. Some claim that the Hicksite did not disown the Orthodox. I always doubted this, and my doubt was substantiated when I found that in 1829 the Hicksite New York Yearly Meeting did in fact send a communication to its subordinate Meetings authorizing such disownments and furthermore providing a procedure and forms for the purpose. The Hicksites certainly did disown their own dissenters on occasion.
In any case, after 1828 in New York Yearly Meeting, two Meetings might exist in a given community where there had been one before, each calling itself "Anywhere Monthly Meeting." In later separations occurring among the Orthodox, the various parties disowned each other right and left. As I mentioned, in the Finger Lakes area at one time five New York Yearly Meetings were represented. Hicksite Friends, so-called by others, were at pains not to call themselves Hicksite. When Shadrack Ricketson in Dutchess County left a bequest for educational purposes, the term his will used was "that branch of the Society of Friends not called Orthodox."
The Separation also had its effect on the survival of records. Even before 1828, records had been lost, sometimes by fire, sometimes by the copying of current membership information and discarding of earlier registers, sometimes by a Clerk's or a Recorder's not handing over earlier books to his or her successor simply through oversight. At the time of the Separation, however, the problem of missing records became more serious. When the Clerk adhered to one branch and most of the Meeting to the other, the former Clerk might refuse to give up the minute books, and the other branch would have to start new ones. The same situation might occur with a Recorder and registers. Sometimes the Men's Minutes were kept by one branch and the Women's Minutes by the other. The pattern of losses and survivals was thus a checkered one. In many instances, the records of one branch may have survived, but not the other, so that your likelihood of finding information on an ancestor may depend on the branch to which he or she belonged.
In some cases, where the Meeting died out, or where descendants of the person who retained the minute books or registers were not Friends or not interested in Friends, the books were thrown out, used for scrapbooks, or just put up in the attic and forgotten. Some were said to have been taken West by migrating pioneers; of these, some have come back, but some have not. Missing minute books or registers may surface unexpectedly; in fact, several have reappeared within recent years, and have found their way to the Haviland Records Room. Some, of course, have found there way to other repositories from which replevin is impossible, or at least unlikely. For instance, Preparative and Monthly Meeting books from Coeymans Meeting, not far from Albany, are in the New York State Library, which is keeping them in mint condition in beautiful Hollinger boxes --- but the State Library has no mechanism for de-accessioning any of its holdings (or so I am told). In fairness, I should grant that the State Library has made microfilms of these records available to the Records Room.
I might at this point make a plea to you on behalf of the Haviland Records Room as the official archives of New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. If you know of, or learn of, any minute books or registers which are in private or institutional hands, may I ask you to be advocates for their being put in their rightful place, the Haviland Records Room? These are, after all, records of religious bodies, and it is only proper that they be deposited in the archives of the superior body to which the institutions belonged that produced them. Personal papers of individual Friends or of Friends' families belong in historical collections in their own home communities, and I would exert every influence, if such were to come within my ken, to see that they stayed in or were deposited in the appropriate local institutions. At the same time, I appeal to your good offices to see that Meeting records from constituent Meetings of New York Yearly Meeting --- or Meetings, remembering the separations --come to the Haviland Records Room, where, I must maintain, they belong.
ACCESS TO THE RECORDS
In citing sources of information about New York Yearly Meeting Friends' records, I would mention, first and foremost, John Cox, Jr.'s Catalogue of the Records of the New York Yearly Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends, my Bible, so to speak. It was published in 1940 as part of the WPAís Historical Records publications, in the Religious Archives of New York City series, but it represented work he had been doing since the early years of the 20th Century. It is a finding aid to our collection as of the time it was compiled; as such, it contains nothing that has reappeared since that time. It also betrays his prejudices. John Cox, Jr., was very Hicksite. As far as he was concerned, the principles of Friends since the beginnings of the Society were those represented by the Hicksite branch, and the Orthodox constituted an aberration, one about whose manifestations he did not know very much---no more than he could help, at any rate (though he did in fact work cordially and cooperatively with Orthodox Friends in preserving the records of both branches). This strong identification with Hicksite Quakerism, however, explains why one may find Oblong Monthly Meeting records of, say, 1761 identified as Hicksite!
John Cox, Jr., really deserves detailed mention. He was the first Keeper of the Records of the New York Yearly Meetings, and active in the preservation of Friends' records for over fifty years, starting around 1890. He was a birthright member of Rochester Monthly Meeting (Hicksite) through Wheatland Preparative Meeting, and he first became involved with Friends records as a very young man interested in tracing his Quaker ancestry. What Friends' records had been preserved by Hicksite Friends in New York City were in the care of the janitor of Fifteenth Street Meeting Rouse, and were by no means carefully tended. When John Cox, Jr., expressed concern to the Property Committee over this state of things, he was put in charge himself, as frequently happens in such cases. From then on he was active in collecting and preserving Friends' records, and soon became chairman of a joint committee of the two Yearly Meetings devoted to this concern. It is not far-fetched to say that the existence and efforts of this joint committee constituted at least one of the factors eventually leading to the reunion of the two Yearly Meetings. John Cox, Jr., was a man of parts; although his formal education ended with eighth grade, he qualified as an architect, in addition to being distinguished as a genealogist.
If you have worked at all with Friends' records, you probably know about William Wade Hinshaw's Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. Volume III, Records of New York City and Long Island, was prepared from John Cox, Jr.'s notes. John Cox, Jr.'s handwriting was of legendary illegibility; hence, there are errors in Volume III of Hinshaw. The same is true of the WPA Catalogue, for the same reason. In addition, as John Cox, Jr., himself states, in a testy typed and signed note tipped into our desk copy of Hinshaw, Vol. III, he was never given a chance to proofread the manuscript of the work, and therefore took no responsibility for its correctness (or lack of it). Another caution about Hinshaw: he does not seem to differentiate between Certificates of Removal, Certificates of Clearness for Marriage, or even Minutes of Travel. This can cause great confusion to the unwary, causing them to assume removals where none took place.
Unfortunately, William Wade Hinshaw died before he could continue his work for the rest of New York Yearly Meeting. However, alphabetical abstracts, similar in format to that used by Hinshaw, were prepared by the late Willard Heiss of the Indiana Historical Society, also from John Cox, Jr.'s notes. These include the three Westchester County Monthly Meetings (Purchase, Chappaqua, and Amawalk), the five Dutchess County Monthly Meetings (Oblong, Nine Partners, Oswego, Creek, and Stanford), Chatham and Hudson Monthly Meetings in Columbia County, and Rochester Monthly Meeting in Monroe County (John Cox, Jr. 5 ancestral Meeting, and hence a particular object of his interest). There are similar abstracts for three Meetings in northern New Jersey, Hardwick and Mendham, Shrewsbury, and Rahway and Plainfield, from which, particularly the last, Friends came to Meetings in Central New York. These abstracts are very helpful, but they have their shortcomings. They are good for marriages and for transfers out, but often omit requests for membership and transfers in. Also, if Friends move back and forth between Meetings (as they often did), there may be mention of the first move only. And, alas, these abstracts, too, are based on the notes in John Cox, Jr.'s cryptic handwriting. This is carping criticism, however, as they are basically very useful. Other than in the Haviland Records Room, or so I understand, these particular abstracts are to be found only at Haverford College, Swarthmore College, Earlham College, Friends University, Wichita, the Indiana Historical Society, and the Library of Congress.
John Cox, Jr., also made compilations of Marriage Certificates and Dealings Relating to Marriage for a phenomenal number of Meetings all over the Yearly Meeting. Taken from whatever records were available to him at the time, they begin with the earliest records extant, and generally terminate around 1850. In addition, Josephine Frost prepared abstracts for a number of Meetings. We have four volumes of these, mostly duplicating the Heiss abstracts in coverage, but I believe the New York State Library has a full run of them. In 1980 Shirley Anson and Laura Jenkins of Clintondale Monthly Meeting in Ulster County prepared a very good genealogical history of Marlborough and allied Meetings, based on the Haviland Records Room holdings (Clintondale being the contemporary descendant of Marlborough).
While I am telling you what there is in the way of access to New York Friends' records, I should also tell you what there is not. There is, as I have previously explained, no overall name index to New York Yearly Meeting records. There is none by surname, let alone by individual name. Samuel J. Seaman made exhaustive indices for Westbury Monthly Meeting records, and Oren B. Wilbur, followed by Emma B. Briggs, did the same for Saratoga Monthly Meeting (called Easton after 1794), but these are the exceptions rather than the rule. Indices may be found in a few registers for individual Meetings, but sometimes the index which has survived turns out to be for a register which has disappeared, and that is not much help. In the "1828 List" which I have mentioned, the Preparative Meeting lists therein are sometimes in alphabetical order, but not always (and for some there are tabulation numbers only, but no names).
A monumental aid, however, has just been produced in the form of an index to the "1828 List." Working from Latter Day Saints microfilms (which I will mention subsequently), Loren V. Fay of Albany has recently produced Quaker Census of 1828, which may be ordered from Kinship, 60 Cedar Heights Rd., Rhinebeck, NY 12572. The cost is $20.00 (postage/handling included).
With this exception, however, important though it be, individual names are not easy to find, nor are family names. The key point to remember is that our records are arranged by Meeting, not by family or individual name (I can not reiterate this too often). The duplication of surnames in Meetings, not to mention the duplication of individual names, even in the same Meeting, is horrendous. The indefatigable Samuel J. Seaman plaintively pointed this out in a note to his Westbury indices. Having undertaken to index names of witnesses to Westbury Marriage Certificates, he found that there might have been, for example, five separate and distinct Mary Posts listed as signing the same certificate, with no clue (at least none in the Register) as to which was which. Accordingly, anyone who assumes that full information on any named person is immediately retrievable from easily consulted card files or floppy disks is doomed to disappointment.
Some of our records are on microfilm. For instance, there are microfilms of New York Yearly Meeting Friends' records (though not for all Monthly Meetings) up to 1850, made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints around 1950. The Haviland Records Room has prints of these (as do the Quaker Collection at the Haverford College Library and the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College). They are also available on loan through local Latter Day Saints' family history libraries. Loren V. Fay, to whom we are indebted for Quaker Census of 1828, has also made a compilation of the New York Yearly Meeting L.D.S. microfilms, with order numbers. This useful publication is available from him at P.O. Box 2167, Albany, NY 12220, for a very reasonable amount.
In addition to the Meeting Registers and Minutes, the Haviland Records Room has in its collection a series of notebooks of cemetery records for a number of Friends' burying grounds throughout the Yearly Meeting area, though not for all, by any means. A number of these were compiled by A. Day Bradley, whose contributions in the field of Friends' records and history have been noteworthy.
It should be pointed out that burial in a Friends' burying ground does not of itself constitute proof of membership in Friends, and does not guarantee appearance in any other Friends' records. From early times Meetings named committees to have charge of burying grounds and burials therein, and the inference may be drawn that these committees had authorization to allow burial of non-members, provided that the restrictions placed by Friends were accepted. These restrictions included, from the early 18th Century through 1852, at least officially, a prohibition on the use of tombstones. Tombstones in Friends' burying grounds which bear dates falling within that period were either, I think I would have to say, placed later on, or, if placed within that period, tacitly allowed but not officially sanctioned. Early Friends' burying grounds in upstate New York were sometimes the only ones in their communities. Later Friends' cemeteries might have been opened to non-Friends as a kind of community service. Persons buried in them usually had some Friends' connection, but this is not invariable.
The Haviland Records Room also has other materials of a reference nature which can be useful to genealogists. We have a vertical file on Meetings, arranged alphabetically, containing newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and the like, which can often shed light on individuals or families of those Meetings. We also have a modest Personalia file on individual Friends and families, similar in its contents to the Meetings file. We have a small reference collection of works on the Religious Society of Friends in general and on New York Yearly Meeting in particular. This includes a number of printed genealogies of Friends' families or families with Quaker connections. Some of these are more reliable than others, the standards of contemporary research in genealogy being more exacting than those of an earlier time.
THE HAVILAND RECORDS ROOM
[N.B. The Records of the New York Yearly Meeting have been moved to the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore. The information here is based on 1989.]
With respect to the Haviland Records Room itself as a place, it is in the basement of Friends Seminary, the day school under the care of 15th Street Monthly Meeting in New York City. The postal address is 15 Rutherford Place, New York, NY 10003, and the telephone number is 212-673-6866. The actual physical location is 222 East 16th Street, on the south side of the street, not quite a block east of Third Avenue. The reading room and vault which constitute the Haviland Records Room were the gift of Elizabeth E. Haviland in 1963, as a memorial to her parents, Henry Morris Haviland and Susan B. Haviland. In the days of John Cox, Jr., the records were kept in several enormous safes in a cramped cubbyhole in the 15th Street Meeting House. The Meeting House and original school building, both dating from 1860, are part, with the new school building and the Kelley House next door on 16th Street, of the complex of buildings on Rutherford Place in the block between E. 15th St. and E. 16th St., facing Stuyvesant Square. The offices of New York Quarterly Meeting and New York Yearly Meeting are here, as well as those of the New York Metropolitan Region of the American Friends Service Committee.
The successors of John Cox, Jr., as Keeper of the Records have been Percy E. Clapp, Agnes H. Campbell, Mary G. Cook, and, since 1978, Elizabeth H. Moger. Agnes Campbell was in charge of the moving of the archives to their present location, under the supervision of Gerald D. McDonald, Chairman of the Records Committee at that time. It was Agnes Campbell who did the important basic work on the card file that serves as the finding aid to our records.
The Haviland Records Room is ordinarily open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 A.M to 12 noon and 1 P.M. to 4 P.M., except during New York Yearly Meeting week at the end of July, legal holidays when the building is closed, and the times when the Keeper of the Records is on vacation. The Records Room is open to non-Friends as well as to Friends. The fee for use by those who are not members of the Religious Society of Friends is at present $5.00 for the first visit and $2.00 for each subsequent visit. Appointments for use should be made and confirmed, preferably in writing, at least a week before a visit is intended. This is particularly important in the case of persons coming from a distance.
As Keeper of the Records I am no longer able, because of other responsibilities for the Records Committee, to do genealogical research of an extended nature. I am authorized to do preliminary research, not to exceed one hour, to determine whether further search is indicated, upon receipt of a check for $10.00 (nonrefundable) drawn to the account of the Records Committee, New York Yearly Meeting. If sufficient information is found to encourage further research, I will so state. Requests for such further research will be referred to one of our panel of genealogical researchers, whose fee (as of the time of writing this) is ordinarily $20 per hour.
In connection with requests for research, I should mention that photocopies of manuscript material (which includes the greater part of our holdings) cannot be made, and hence should not be requested. Photocopies of printed source material (such as the alphabetical abstracts of Meeting records mentioned previously, which are in typescript form) are $.25 per page.
The Haviland Records Room does not have actual records other than those for the New York Yearly Meetings and the Meetings in the United States of the former Genesee Yearly Meeting. We do, however, have the six volumes of William Wade Hinshaw's Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy and Willard Heiss 's monumental seventh volume continuing "Hinshaw" for Indiana.
OTHER RECORD LOCATIONS
Other Friends' records in the East will be found in the following archives:
(1) New England Yearly Meeting: 17th and 18th Century records, Newport Historical Society, 82 Touro St., Newport, RI 02840, and some other local historical societies. Later records and microfilms of all extant records at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library, 121 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906, Rosalind Wiggins, curator.
(2) Canadian Yearly Meeting: Archives are at the Arthur Garratt Dorland Friends Historical Collection, Pickering College, Newmarket, Ontario, L3Y 4X2, Canada, Jane V. Zavitz, archivist. The early Canadian records are rather fragmentary, but what have survived are being exhaustively indexed.
(3) Philadelphia Yearly Meeting: Records are divided between the Quaker Collection, Haverford College Library, Haverford, PA 19041 (originals of records up to the Separation, 1827 in Philadelphia, plus Orthodox records) and Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA 19081 (originals of Hicksite records plus records of the reunited Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1955). A very ambitious computer project will make it possible to find out what records are where. Swarthmore and Haverford do not do genealogical research, but maintain a list of researchers with whom you may make your own arrangements.
(4) Baltimore Yearly Meeting (including Virginia Yearly Meeting, later part of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, Orthodox): Microfilms of records are at the Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, MD 21401; originals are divided between Haverford and Swarthmore, as above. (5) North Carolina Friends' records: Quaker Collection, Guilford College, Greensboro, NC 27410.