Monday, February 20, 2012

Quaker Research

Lately I have been doing some more research on my Haworth line.  Fortunately for me, the Haworths were Quakers (Society of Friends) which means they left many interesting records behind.  One of the first places to look for those records would be the Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy by William W. Hinshaw.  This is a multi-volume work and each volume is quite large.  Not something you would probably want to purchase unless you have unlimited shelf space in your house and a money tree in your backyard.  But thankfully, it is widely available at libraries which is where I found it. The surnames are indexed (yea!) but since I knew Richard and Ann Haworth were founding members of the Lost Creek Meeting in New Market, Jefferson, TN, I went to the section in Vol 1 on Lost Creek.  Each family is listed with names and birth dates.  There is an indexed section of meeting minutes that records things like movement of memberships between meetings (churches), which are very helpful in tracking a family's migration.   Disciplinary actions are also recorded.  For example, my 3rd great grandfather William Haworth, was apparently disowned by the meeting for fighting!  Member could be reinstated by going before the church and admitting their wrong but there is no record that William did this.  This might explain why four of his sons volunteered to serve in the Civil War (Friends were usually pacificists) and why none of them seemed to be practicing Friends in the years after the war.
The meeting minutes are full of rather cryptic abbreviations.  For example, the entry about William fighting was this:
                1824, 5, 29. William, Jr. dis fighting
Not too hard to figure out once you know 'dis' means 'disowned'.

But what about this entry?
                1793, 8,24. William, of Nolechucky, rpd mou.
followed by-
                1798, 10,20. William con his mou.


The 1792 entry means that William Haworth of the Nolechucky area was reported to have married out of unity i.e. married a non-Quaker.  But in 1798 William "condemned his marriage out of unity" which basically meant he went before the church and admitted his wrong.  Presumably, he was reinstated in the church at that time.  Sometimes the record will report the reinstatement, sometimes not.  It is interesting that the very next entry, on the same date, says that his wife Jane also "condemned her marriage out of unity".   I'm not totally sure what all this means since I know that William was from a Quaker family and I'm pretty sure his wife Jane Brazelton was as well.
At any rate, you get the idea.  Hinshaw has a key in the front of each volume of his encyclopedia but I found this book, Our Quaker Ancestors : Finding Them in Quaker Records, to be very helpful.  It also contains  a key to the abbreviations but gives you some background on Quaker theology and customs. There is also a good chapter on the various migration routes taken by Quakers.  Did you know that by 1850, half of Indiana's populations was Quaker?  I didn't.
Always something new to learn.


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