Illinois Ancestors: Quaker genealogical research presents challenges

Illinois Ancestors: Quaker genealogical research presents challenges

Anyone whose male ancestors do not appear in military records may come to find out that those individuals belonged to the religious sect called Quakers. George Fox, its founder, declared in 1660, "We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fighting with outward weapons for any end or under any pretence whatever."

Personal patriotism often outweighed this principle, however, as described in an article by Mark A. Schmidt and available at "In order to maintain peace and tranquility within their own ranks, Quakers tended to avoid recording controversies in their official proceedings."

Quaker proceedings have been published and indexed in William Wade Hinshaw's "Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy," in six volumes, and are available at many libraries. A guide to using this work has been created by Guilford College and is available at It includes a full explanation of Hinshaw's abbreviations, "the trickiest part" of his work.

The Family History Center at Brigham Young University's Harold B. Lee Library has prepared a lengthy (77 pages in PDF format) guide to Quaker Genealogical Records at Some of the topics listed in The Table of Contents include: Historical Origins of the Quakers; Records and Record Extraction in the British Isles; Records and Record Extraction in America; Some Quaker Records at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah; Remember Gateway for Quaker Genealogy Sources (materials on interlibrary loan from other libraries); Quaker Repositories, Historical Societies & Libraries; Notes on Quaker Records; Glossary of terms in extracted records of Hinshaw and Heiss; and "My Ancestors Were Quakers," a copy of an important British text. This helpful guide should be part of any Quaker library.

Last but not least, the FamilySearch guide to U.S. Quaker Research (Society of Friends) can be found online at It also includes links to online help for Quaker research.

Michael John Neill's postscript

Michael John Neill's writings were detailed in a previous column, but a recent "find" needs to be shared. His RootDig article, "The Census Taker Cometh," tells of three (imaginary) visits by census takers to an Illinois home. It is easy to imagine that our own census findings were provided under similar circumstances, thus creating challenges for those of us who depend on such census data. Read his interesting article at

Chicago graves being moved

The graves of 27 19th-century Illinois settlers found buried in the Brook Forest subdivision of Oak Brook are being relocated "so a proper home can be built atop them," according to a recent article in Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, found at According to reader comments at the end of his article, this is not the first time that developers have shown little regard for individuals buried in old cemeteries. Also, read an article on The Chicago Tribune website at

It would be interesting to know if the burial information is maintained by a genealogical society in that area. Since the graves had been discovered in a housing development, it is unlikely that burial records exist. How sad — especially for descendants.

Free images

GenealogyInTime Magazine maintains a collection of hundreds of images, all in high resolution and all free for personal use. Have you ever wished to include illustrations in a family history or personal letters? Now it is easy to do so. Visit and follow the instructions for obtaining full size images in such categories as brick wall images, classic car images (for example, a 1938 Pontiac coupe), pioneer images (including an antique Singer sewing machine with case, an antique writing desk, a frontier kitchen), and horses (including draft horses, and an antique rocking horse.)

The GenealogyInTime website at is a helpful website for other uses as well, such as listing new online resources and providing a helpful genealogy search engine.

One can also sign up to subscribe to the free newsletter. The website also provides a link to "articles" which include many helpful how-to guides, genealogy tools, genealogy trends and "miscellaneous stuff" (such as Abraham Lincoln's health and Cleopatra's ancestry.)

Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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