Birth, marriage and death records for the Society of Friends or Quakers are amongst the most accessible and systematic for any religious denomination in Ireland.
The Quakers arrived in Ireland in the seventeenth century and from their date of arrival clear and concise records were kept for the life events of members of the Society. Although the Quakers did not keep records that could be compared to Parish Records for other denominations, such as the Catholic and Protestant Churches and the Presbyterian Congregations, the format in which records were kept make them all the more accessible.
Members of the Society of Friends met weekly in a local meeting house, which in most cases was the house of one of the members of the Society. These local weekly meetings communicated any births, marriages or deaths that had occurred in their Society to a larger Monthly Meeting. The majority of these Monthly Meetings took place at a permanent Meeting House, such as the Quaker Meeting House in Temple Bar, Dublin.
Registers for births, marriages and deaths from the mid-17th century until 1859 are available for the following monthly Meetings: Ballyhagan, Bandon, Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Edenderry, Grage, Lisburn, Limerick, Lurgan, Moate, Mountmellick, Mountrath, Richhill, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow and Youghal.
Due to the decline in members of the Society of Friends one national register for births, marriages and deaths was kept from 1859 to the present day.
Birth, marriage and death entries contain the names and address of the immediate parties as well as ages for the deceased. These entries are arranged alphabetically and in most cases it is a very simple matter to trace many generations as well as cadet branches of the same family.
Where to Find Quaker Records
Quaker records for births, marriages and deaths reported to the monthly meetings are kept on microfilm at the National Library of Ireland. In addition to these records the National Library holds some Minute Books for monthly meetings as well as some Provincial Records and Pedigrees. Quaker Wills were usually read out at monthly meetings and recorded in the Society’s Minutes. The remainder of the monthly meeting minute books as well as a large collection of letters and other material relating to the Society of Friends are kept at the Society’s Archive at Stocking Lane, Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin. A large portion of this collection has now been digitised and published online at www.findmypast.ie where you can find birth, marriage and death records, as well as migration records, when members moved from one meeting to another.