Quaker Family History Society                   for family historians with Quaker ancestors from the British Isles

The Friend and The British Friend

These two Quaker periodicals both began publication in 1843. The Friend is still published, though is now of little use for family history. The British Friend ceased publication in 1913.

Throughout the Victorian era both periodicals are superlative sources – as indeed is The Friend alone for much of the last century – not just for birth, marriages, deaths, and obituaries, but for wedding anniversaries, exams passed, Quaker demographics, the recording of ministers, travelling in the ministry, participation in meetings and conferences, philanthropic activities, lists of subscribers to charitable funds, articles, reviews, letters, historical features, display advertisements, small ads, and even, for a few years, sports coverage.

A full account of the possibilities of this source is given in the article by Ben Beck published in the Genealogists’ Magazine in 2003, on ‘The Friend and The British Friend as sources for Quaker family history in the 19th century’, available on Ben Beck's website at,


from which the above is a summary. Thanks Ben for allowing us to use it).

QFHS Transciption Indices

– Recorded Ministers (1861-1896)



 – British Friend births


 – British Friend marriages






There is a full set on the shelves at Friends House Library.

Example Births in The Friend

Useful online links at:

Ben Beck's article – https://benbeck.co.uk/fandbf.html

Early 1849 copies – https://archive.org/details/britishfriend07glas

Access to copies through a link at Friends House Library,  – https://raindrop.io/Library_of_the_Society_of_Friends/british-friend-21579858 in addition to other resources.