Genealogy + Names Research
While there is no comprehensive name index of Quakers, there are online resources. Ancesty.com has scanned our Quaker records from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia.
- Using your own Ancestry account, log in and then use this link to visit the Quaker records portal where your search will be limited to Quaker records.
- If you are on campus at Swarthmore, use this link for free on-site access to the Quaker records portal.
You may search records directly by state, county, and meeting using the right panel on the page. We've noticed some mislabeling and errors in Ancestry's databases, so feel free to contact us with a specific question if you can't find what you are looking for or suspect a volume may be misidentified on Ancestry.
The records of New York and New England Yearly Meetings are not yet online, but the is an online name index for New York Yearly Meeting created by our friend Jim Hazard.
Genealogically significant Quaker records (births, deaths, and marriages) are not maintained at the very local level, but rather by what was known as the monthly meeting. Friends were and are members of a monthly meeting, which before the 20th century included members who worshipped in several different meeting houses in a given geographic area. They worshipped in a meeting house close to where they lived and then either traveled themselves or sent representatives to a monthly business meeting in a central location. The area under the care of a specific monthly meeting was not limited by state or municipal lines and could, in some areas with scattered populations, be quite large.
Some of the words that Quakers used in their records are unique to Friends and can be confusing. Interpreting Quaker dates before 1752 can also be difficult. Please consult our Friendly Glossary and guide to the Quaker Calendar for help.
For more information, see our TriCollege Library Research Guide for help getting started with genealogy research, Quaker genealogy research and using Ancestry.com
QuakerMeetings.com is another invaluable site that includes historical information about every monthly meeting, former name(s), parent bodies, names of subordinates, location, dates of establishment, etc. If you know the name of the meeting house for instance, but are unsure about the monthly meeting to which it belongs, you can enter a general search work and you can also search by state.