As a result of both persecution and social isolation, Friends historically constituted a small, but tightly knit community. Quaker wills can provide family historians with a valuable insight into family, family life, friendships, work and business connections as well as participation in the Religious Society of Friends and in various social movements or other public activities.
The goal of the database is to
- Collect as many Wills of Friends* as possible.
- Make transcripts of these Wills available publicly.
- Index and cross-reference the names of individuals who appear in these Wills and their connections, where known, to the testator.
In addition to the transcripts of Wills and the names of those appearing in them, each Will will also include brief biographical notes about the testator, provided by the person submitting the Will, to help better identify family connections that may not be obvious from the Will itself. Additional notes concerning individuals mentioned in the Wills may also be provided.
We invite you to
- Share copies of Quaker wills in your possession, already transcribed if at all possible.
- Volunteer to transcribe Quaker wills that have not already been transcribed.
We believe this database, as it grows, will provide a rich resource for family historians researching their Quaker ancestors.
Please submit wills to firstname.lastname@example.org
*We are defining a Friend as anyone who was at any time a member of the Religious Society of Friends, including persons who were disowned for marrying out or other reasons or who may have voluntarily left the Society at some point in their life.
Before looking at Quaker wills please make sure you are familiar with the Quaker calendar and especially the date changes of 1752 when England and Wales as a whole changed from the Julian to Gregorian calendar.
- the start of the year was officially set to 1st of January
- there was an adjustment cutting out 12 days in September 1752 so the 2nd September was followed by the 14th September that year.
“The indexing system used here is based on that devised by Oxfordshire Family History Society for their own Oxfordshire Transcribed Wills and is used with their permission and encouragement. The Oxfordshire Wills may be viewed at http://wills.oxfordshirefhs.org.uk