The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

January 9, 2012

Frankie Meyer: Quaker history reaveals hidden genealogy

JOPLIN, Mo. — About a year ago, I found online digital images of journal entries written by a distant cousin, David Kenney Capps, in the 1890s. The records were at the USGenWeb website for Lincoln County, Mo.

David was a man of many trades, often buying, selling and trading a variety of items to relatives and other neighbors. Each transaction was recorded in his journal. He also wrote detailed accounts of his family history.  

After studying David’s records, many loose ends of my Capps ancestry fell together.

He listed the areas where his parents and grandparents lived in the 1770s-1790s, and he also noted that his father and two of his uncles married sisters who were Quakers. Using that info, I researched those areas and the Quaker churches that met there. I learned that my ancestry goes back to Quaker families by the name of Smith, Sanders and Hollowell.

The church records were found in book entries recorded by three historic groups: the Chuckatuck (Nansemond) Monthly Meeting in Virginia, the Cane Creek Monthly Meeting in North Carolina, and the Wrightsboro Monthly Meeting in Georgia.

As a result of the research, I have taken a second look at two unique family terms. One of those terms is found in David’s journal entries about a Baptist church in Lincoln County that was founded by a Capps aunt and uncle and their families.

When David referred to the building, he didn’t call it a church Ñ he called it a “meetinghouse.”

My mother also used an unusual term when describing church services that she attended as a child. She and her parents and relatives gathered every week on Sunday in each other’s homes for a “prayer meeting.”  

Do you have unusual terminology that pops up in your family history? Investigate the terms, because they may provide clues to your ancestry as well.

The best resource on Quaker ancestry is “Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy,” compiled by William Wade Hinshaw. His six-volume set includes data gathered from three types of books that were kept by Quaker groups.

One type of book has minutes of men’s meetings, one has minutes of women’s meetings, and the other type of book has records of burials, marriages and births. Data in those three types of books came from local meetings, monthly meetings, quarterly meetings and yearly meetings. Because Hinshaw’s set is so helpful, most libraries have it.

Microfilm copies of many Quaker records can be ordered for a small fee at family history centers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After the microfilm arrives, a researcher has several days to study the info before it is returned.

To learn more about Quaker genealogy, check www.cyndislist.com. When the site opens, click on “Categories.” When the next screen opens, do a search for “Quakers.” You will then be provided with a glossary of Quaker terms and other info to help with your search of Quaker ancestors.

Suggestions or queries? Send to Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168, or contact:     frankiemeyer@yahoo.com.

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