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Guide to the Transcriptions
Note: links to all transcriptions are further down this web page.

Rooted in their belief in the importance of testimonies and their role as “publishers of
truth”, Quakers have left us a rich and diverse collection of written documents. While
each meeting of Quakers regularly recorded the life of the meeting in minute books,
individual Quakers have generated a vast amount of personal correspondence.
Gleaned from the collections of the Library and Archives of Canada, various provincial
archives and the Canadian Quaker Archives, the Association is working to transcribe
these documents from their original handwritten form to more useful digital formats.
For more information about transcriptions, or to volunteer, please contact our current Chair at chair@cfha.info.
Transcribers are always welcome.

You are not alone!
Your research topic may be of interest to others. We would love to know what your interests are and we promise to respect your privacy. Please send an email to the chair at chair@cfha.info with your name and research topic and we may be able to be helpful.

In the early days of Canada, there were Quaker meetings in the Atlantic Provinces and Upper Canada. As Canada opened westward, Quaker meetings followed there as well. To see all the minute books of Canadian meetings held by the Canadian Quaker Archives go to Newsletter #13. So far mostly books from Upper Canada (Ontario) have been transcribed.

Upper Canada meetings
The first meeting to be established was at Adolphustown (1798) in the Bay of Quinte area under Nine Partners Monthly meeting in Dutchess County, NY. This was under the NY Yearly meeting. The second meeting to be established was the Pelham meeting (1799) in the Niagara area under the Philadelphia Yearly meeting. The third important meeting was Yonge St, established under Pelham in 1804 and soon after it became its own Monthly Meeting. In 1810, NY and Philadelphia agreed to establish the Canada Half Yearly meeting under the NY Yearly meeting. Adolphustown, Pelham and Yonge St were the three Monthly meetings at that time.

Adolphustown and West Lake Monthly Meeting
Adolphustown was established as a Preparative meeting in 1798 and then a Monthly meeting in 1801. These meetings were established as Preparative meetings under Adolphustown: Kingston, 1801; West Lake, 1803; Green Point, 1811; Cold Creek (indulged), 1815; Hiller (Ameliasburg and later Wellington), 1817; and Yonge (Leeds), 1818. As the Quaker community expanded, the West Lake meeting at Bloomfield was established as the Monthly meeting in 1821 and Adolphustown returned to Preparative status. The meetings that were under Adolphustown were now under West Lake and Cold Creek became a Prep meeting in 1825 and Haldimand (near Colbourne) was added in 1827. Leeds and Adolphustown Monthly Meeting was established in 1825.

Pelham Monthly meeting
Pelham was established first as a Prep meeting and then as a Monthly Meeting in the same year, 1799. These Quakers came from southeastern Lancaster County, and Bucks County in PA as well as Sussex County, NJ. See Richard MacMaster's paper, Friends in the Niagara Peninsula 1786 - 1802 about this chain migration that lasted till about 1820. These meetings were established as Preparative meetings under Pelham: Black Creek (Bertie Tp.), 1799; Yonge St., 1804; Erie (USA), 1807; Chippewa (USA), 1807; Willink (Hamburg, USA), 1810; Norwich, 1816; Ancaster, 1816; Pine St, 1819.

Yonge St Monthly Meeting
Yonge St MM at Newmarket on Yonge Street was established in 1806.
Yonge St was established by Timothy Rogers first with settlers from Vermont. Soon after Quakers from Pennsylvania and the Niagara area moved in, predominantly in the Uxbridge area. Later, Timothy Rogers started the Pickering meeting. Timothy Roger's diary is transcribed and posted on this web site. These meetings were established as Preparative meetings under Yonge St: Whitchurch, 1810; Queen St., 1810; Uxbridge, 1810; Pickering, 1819.

Norwich Monthly Meeting
Norwich MM was established in 1819.
These meetings were established as Preparative meetings under Norwich: Yarmouth (Sparta), 1823; Malahide (induged), 1822, Ancaster (indulged), 1816; Pine St, 1819.

In 1828 the Quaker Society separated in two groups: one called Orthodox and the other called Hicksite. After 1828 the Preparative, Monthly Meeting minute books and registers continued in either the hands of the Hicksites or the Orthodox Quakers. Note the library code indicating Orthodox (O) and Hicksite (H). Many more meetings developed after 1828. Click here for a chart of this complex set of meetings. This chart is from the end leaf of the A History of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Canada, Arthur Dorland, 1927.

In 1881 the Orthodox branch separated into two Orthodox branches: Conservative and Orthodox Church Friends. These two Orthodox branches maintained Yearly Meetings that met separately but in the same places. Jane Zavitz Bond wrote, "The schism occurred over living patterns, not theology. The Conservatives felt keeping silent meetings, plain dress, speech, and simplicity in way of life was required for Friends. The Church Friends were fitting into the society around them. Dress, activities, certainly more of those who came to Friends via the camp-evangelical meetings, who were not used to silent meeting and other patterns of traditional Quaker life. Also the isolation of rural meetings did not bring forth spoken ministry to meet the needs of worshippers; they wanted hymns, scripture reading, ie; a minister with order of service and these were added. But not theological differences."

"The Genesee Hicksite Yearly Meeting and Canada Orthodox Church YM began meeting in 'concurrent' sessions in 1928. They held separate business sessions for related YM business, but met for some portions together. CYM-Conservative was added in 1942 during WWII when Friends were working together for Canadian Friends Service Committee and peace activities. The Young Friends of all groups met together, helped to bring unification in 1955."

"Arthur Dorland was key to reunification having lived with Friends' separation in Canada and desiring its end over his lifetime. As an influential Friend who might be perceived as pressing too hard he went to Ireland for the summer of 1955 to be absent from YM that made the final Minute creating a unified Canada Yearly Meeting.  This was the era when other North American Orthodox and Hicksite YM's were reuniting after WWII shared work for peace.  The British Friends had not separated."

Canadian Quaker Archives and Library
The Archives is located at Pickering College in Newmarket in Ontario. Follow the Our Collection link to see the range of holdings and services. The part-time archivist may be available for more extensive research. Both CFHA and the Archives work closely togther. In 2018 a transcription agreement was made that has resulted in the transcriptions being presented on the CFHA web site. See page 8 of the 9mo 2018 edition of The Meetinghouse for an account of this agreement.

Below are transcriptions of a range of meeting books, registers, journals, diaries, memorials, documents, letters and research papers. The earliest books are from Nine Partners and Ferrisburg, VT. The Upper Canada books start in 1798 with Adolphustown and a large number of other minute books have been transcribed. We continue to transcribe books.

Nine Partners Meeting, NY

This meeting in Dutchess County reported to New York Yearly Meeting. Many of the Quaker settlers to Adolphustown and later, West Lake in Prince Edward County, Upper Canada, came from or through Nine Partners. The year 1810 is key since in that year Canada Half Yearly Meeting was established and no longer did Adolphustown Quakers have to report to Nine Partners.
Ferrisburg Monthly Meeting was in Vermont and a number of members moved to Canada.

Upper Canada, Pre 1828 Separation
Orthodox meetings
Hicksite meetings Hicksite Genesee Yearly Meeting in NY State included the Upper Canada Hicksite meetings after the separation in 1828.
Canadian Meetings outside Ontario
Journals and Diaries
Memorials and other Documents
Family Research
Research Papers