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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course United States Migration Patterns  by Beverly Whitaker, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Quaker Migrations

The migrations of those persons called Quaker or Friends is of special interest. Their detailed records offer a clear picture of some interesting migration patterns. The monthly meeting is their basic record keeping group for it is there that births, marriages, deaths, removals, denials, and other business concerning individuals is recorded.

Virginia Quakers can be divided into four groups. An early group of Quakers on the Eastern Shore fled to Maryland, but because this occurred before formal organization took place, no records from this period are known to survive. Quakers who established meetings in Tidewater Virginia moved up the James and Appomattox Rivers. These meetings constituted the Virginia Yearly Meeting. Many of the Quakers from this area also moved south into eastern North Carolina. Then there were the Quakers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware who migrated into the Northern Neck in the mid-18th century, forming the Fairfax Quarterly Meeting. Many of these Quakers either continued on south over the Great Wagon Road into western North Carolina or else moved into western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. Lastly, the Quakers in extreme southwestern Virginia were an offshoot of western North Carolinian meetings and belonged to North Carolina Yearly Meeting.

Note also that in the 19th century, the religious convictions of Quakers regarding slavery led many of them to leave the South and move west into Ohio, Indiana, and beyond.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course United States: Migration Patterns offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at 

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