QUAKER RESEARCH VIRTUAL INSTITUTE

15 & 16 March 2021

Quaker Records of North America,

 Ireland, and the British Isles

Presented by Steven W Morrison & Annette Burke Lyttle


This two day virtual institute will cover the following topics and the teaching will be shared by Steven and Annette:

Profile of a Quaker – Finding a Friend in Colonial America

The profile of a Quaker (Friend) can be as distinctive as a fingerprint with their unique ethnic origin, belief system, marriage practices, and separate record structure. This session will teach you the profiling techniques you’ll need to spot a Quaker in colonial America. In fact, Ancestry believes that about half of the US population - with an ancestor living in or moving through the Mid-Atlantic region between 1680 and 1780 - had at least one Quaker ancestor! Finding a Quaker ancestor in your family tree may blow open multiple brick walls.

History of Quakerism – Testimonies and Beliefs

The Society of Friends (called Quakers) was inspired by George Fox in northern England during a chaotic period of the mid-1600s. The religion rejected many norms of the established Church of England. Its rejection of priests and sacraments and adoption of a theology of the ‘Inner Light’ threatened British society. Many Quakers were persecuted for their faith and as a result sought sanctuary in North America. This lecture highlights key historical events of the Friends, its leaders, and the evolution of their belief system. This background will equip you to find the records of your Quaker ancestors in Britain and North America.

Simply Amazing – US and Canadian Quaker Records Online

Quakers were one of the largest religions in colonial America. Learn the basics of their record keeping and meeting hierarchy. In addition to the traditional vital records - hatched, matched and dispatched - Friends kept meeting minutes for both men and women. This was radical for its time. Friends also collected some unique records, including travels between meetings (called Removals); and events of early religious persecution (called Sufferings). Discover how wonderfully rich Quaker records can be.

Ye Best Books for Quaker Research

Historically, Quakers often used handbills and books as a means to advance their religion. This lecture provides an essential overview of the available Quaker memorabilia. Key historical texts will be highlighted, along with other major works from both sides of the pond. An extensive bibliography of printed and digital Quaker texts is also provided.

Locating Quaker Records using the Family History Library Catalog and QuakerMeetings.com

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, has hundreds of resources for Quaker research, both in Britain and North America, many of which have been digitized. The website QuakerMeetings.com provides the best on-line resource for locating Friends meetings records in North America. Dig into the site to make sure you are mining the most out this amazing resource. Using QuakerMeetings.com in conjunction with the catalog of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City opens up a whole world of resources to further your research in both Britain and North America.

Quaker Records in Ireland and the British Isles

American Quakers most often trace their ancestors back to Ireland and the British Isles. There Friends records were collected similar to those in the States and Canada, with some important differences. Quaker records in Ireland were more centralized, and some surnames come with a detailed pedigree. Whereas those from England and Wales are collected within the Non-Conformist Records, and originally organized by county. Learn how to navigate both which are now available on FindMyPast.

Irish Quaker Migration to Pennsylvania – Uncovering an Ulster Family Story

Family traditions can create powerful imagery of a family long dead. The family becomes as full of life as any living relatives. Such is the effect of the Starr family of Pennsylvania on many of its distant descendants. There is ample evidence that five Starr brothers sailed to the Delaware River Valley before 1718 as Quakers from Ireland. However, locating historical records in post-Cromwellian Ireland is challenging at best. It is only by using Quaker records that this family’s origins, travels within Ireland, and their migration to the American colonies can be confirmed.

The Treasures of Onsite Research - In Ireland and the United Kingdom

Are you ready to locate original records overseas? This light-hearted tale will help you determine if your travels skills are ready for such an adventure. Also, explore other cost-effective options such as a genealogy tour group, or just stay home by hiring an agent! Having crossed the pond no less than six times, one picks up some tricks for carrying out primary research in Ireland and United Kingdom. So, sit back, soak up some new skills, and enjoy this travel guide to harvesting records on the other side of the pond.

Digging Deeper – Into Quaker Sufferings and Removals

Quakers created records which were unique to their faith. This session explores two in detail. ‘Sufferings’ were records of the religious persecution that Quakers experienced. These are critical in locating ancestors, since they were often the first census of active members. ‘Certificates of Removal’ documented their travels and served as a Quaker passport. Discover how to transform raw records into databases, so you can uncover previously unknown facts about your ancestor and their Quaker associates.


  • Steven W. Morrison

Steven Waltz Morrison has been a professional genealogical speaker since 2006. He is the past president of the Puget Sound chapter of APG, and his local society a decade before. Steven attained a Master’s in Public Administration from The Evergreen State College, where he taught as an adjunct faculty in the graduate program for seven years. He’s an active genealogical presenter throughout the northwest and internationally to the Irish Friends (Quakers) Yearly Meeting, and the Ulster American Historical Symposium in Omagh, N. Ireland, and Toronto, Canada. As an author, Steven received the 2016 ASG scholar award for “Quaker John Starr of Antrim and Cavan, Ireland and his five sons who sailed to Pennsylvania.” In 2018 Steven coordinated Exploring Quaker Records – At Home and Abroad at SLIG, and co-coordinated Exploring American Quaker Records at GRIP in 2020.

Annette Burke Lyttle

Annette Burke Lyttle, MA, is a professional genealogist with multiple Quaker lines on both sides of her family. She lectures at national, regional, and state conferences and presents webinars nationally. She has researched Quaker records in England, Ireland, and the United States. She was co-coordinator of “Exploring Quaker Records in America” at GRIP 2020. In 2021, she will coordinate “Finding Your Ancestors’ Migrations in America” for SLIG. Annette’s research focus is on uncovering and sharing ancestors’ stories, and Quaker records are particularly rich in helping to reconstruct life stories. She is a member of the board of directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists.


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"International Society for British Genealogy and Family History" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P.O. Box 3345, Centennial, CO 80161

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