Quaker Meeting Records
Friends Historical Library (FHL) is an official depository for the records of many North American yearly meetings of the Society of Friends. Its holdings include over 3700 linear feet of original archives: membership books, minutes, and other original records. FHL also holds over 2500 reels of microfilm of Friends' records from Canada, United States, Britain, and Ireland.
Information about our original holdings can be obtained by searching both the on-line Library catalogue (Tripod) as well as the on-line finding aids, organized by Yearly Meeting affiliation:
- Baltimore Yearly Meeting
- Illinois Yearly Meeting
- Lake Erie Yearly Meeting
- New York and Genesee Yearly Meetings
- North Pacific Yearly Meeting
- Ohio and Indiana Yearly Meetings
- Pacific Yearly Meeting
- Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
- South Central Yearly Meeting
- Southern Appalachia Yearly Meeting and Association
The oldest meeting records in the Library date from 1665. To guard against damage to fragile originals, most of the records have been microfilmed. We also have microfilm for many Quaker meetings, domestic and foreign, for which we do not hold the originals. A comprehensive in-house card file to this extensive microfilm collection is maintained on-site. Researchers are encouraged to email the Library to ascertain whether a particular meeting's records are represented in the collection. None of this material is available for inter-Library loan.
Before searching for information about individual members of the Society of Friends, it is useful to know the name and history of the monthly meeting of which they may have been members. The best site for narrowing this search is Tom Hill's quakermeetings.com. It is particularly useful to search by state and county, keeping in mind that vital records of Friends were maintained by the monthly meeting -- which may have included persons who worshiped in a number of meeting houses in what may have been a large geographical area. Hill's database includes not only the dates of establishment and, if relevant, dates of the monthly meeting's laying-down, but also the names of its preparatives and useful information about the current location of records, if known.