Please note: Original copyright 1996 by Baltimore Yearly Meeting; made available on-line by permission of Baltimore Yearly Meeting. Minor corrections made to original by FHL Staff to reflect changes as of 2006.


One busy Friend was recently heard complaining to another about the tremendous volume of mail he received as a result of serving on Quaker committees. “It almost seems as though I need a Master’s Degree in Library Science [MLS] just to file it all,” he said. The other Friend, who was of a more practical bent, replied, “Actually, all you really need is a Bachelor’s Degree in solid waste disposal.” (Chuck Fager, Quakers Are Funny! Falls Church, VA: Kimo Press, 1987, P. 21). If you don’t have an MLS, a Bachelor’s in solid waste disposal, or training in archival science, and you suffer from the same problem as the Friend in the story above, BYMCOR, the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Committee on Records, has developed this handbook just for you and for your Meeting.


Drawings by J. Elliot Green, Jr. (1916-1994) of Baltimore, Homewood Monthly Meeting.


With deep sadness but with heartfelt thanks to God we dedicate this handbook to:

Wilma Jebrick-Pacheli
November 11, 1942 - February 28, 1990

Wilma was affiliated with the Society of Friends only a decade (1980- 1990) but in that brief span gave generously to the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Committee on Records of herself and her talents arising from her background as a professional archivist. It is not too much to say that her energetic curiosity about the activities of that Committee revitalized its program and led to the production of this handbook. Much of the content came from her hand and she edited the first complete draft.

God had already vouchsafed one miracle to the Pacheli family, in bringing back to full and normal life Wilma’s daughter Joanna after a nearly fatal automobile accident. Friends had hoped for a second such gift and that we might have a restored Wilma with us for many years to come. But divine wisdom saw otherwise. Divinity within Wilma grew and flowered during her decade among Friends and ultimately took her to earned rest and eternity.
For what you shared with us and your hours of labor in our behalf and your good humor and generous heart, Wilma, we thank God.

This special dedication of its Handbook on Records was approved by the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Committee on Records March 2, 1990.






A. Functions

B. Job Descriptions

1. Recorder

2. Recording Clerk


A. Monthly Meeting Minutes

B. Committee Minutes

C. Correspondence

D. Financial Records

E. Legal Documents

F. Membership Materials

G. Memorial Minutes

H. Newsletters

I. Oral History

J. Policy Manual


A. Indexing

B. The Role of Computers in Records Keeping

C. Disposition of Records

Suggestions for safe storage of records

Retention schedule of records

D. Some Resources


A. Sample Forms


Oral History

B. Memorial Minutes

C. Archival Glossary

D. Sample Indexes



During the last few months of 1986 the process of preparing a revised statement on “Monthly Meeting Records” for consideration by the Faith and Practice Review Committee provided the Committee on Records with a unique opportunity to communicate with Monthly Meeting Recorders. We discovered a need for clear, readily available guidelines pertaining to the taking, preservation, and use of Monthly Meeting records.

As a result we focused our attention in 1987 on the development of such a guidebook. By dividing content areas among Committee members, we were able to gather information about a variety of record-related issues, including descriptions of such functions as Recorder, Archivist, Historian, and Recording Clerk; types of records to be preserved; guidelines for preserving and storing records; information on indexing of minutes; the role of computers; oral history; sample forms; and a glossary of terms.

The enthusiasm brought to the Committee by its members, participation by several Monthly Meeting Recorders, suggestions from the staff at Haverford and Swarthmore archives, and helpful consultation with Phebe Jacobsen, Archivist at the Maryland Hall of Records, all helped to sustain our momentum and ensure another active and positive year for the Committee on Records.


Do you sometimes feel like Bartholomew Cubbins, the character in the Dr. Seuss book who had five hundred hats, and every time he took one off, another appeared on his head? Many Friends have come to empathize with Bartholomew because they too have found that in their Meeting they wear a variety of hats. Here is an alphabetical list of “hats” that Friends find themselves wearing. All of these “hats” relate in one way or another to the records created and used by the Meeting, and not all the possible “hats” a Meeting member may wear are listed. On the other hand, not all Meetings may have all of these “hats.” Functions often overlap and are frequently called by different names in different Meetings. Some of these functions may as often as not be handled by a committee rather than a single person.

l.A. Functions

I.A.1. Archivist or Keeper of the Records. The Archivist is responsible for the permanent records of the Meeting, In Baltimore Yearly Meeting this responsibility generally is held by the Recorder.

I.A.2. Corresponding Clerk. The Corresponding Clerk is responsible for handling the correspondence of the Meeting.

I.A.3. Historian. The Historian collects information about the history of the Meeting and may compile a written or oral history.

I.A.4. Librarian. The Librarian is responsible for acquiring and maintaining a library for the Meeting.

I.A.5. Newsletter Editor. The Newsletter Editor coordinates the writing, editing, printing, and circulation of a newsletter to Meeting members and attenders. At least one copy should be marked as the “record copy” and preserved in sequence as part of the Meeting records and history.

I.A.6. Recorder. “The Recorder keeps records of births, deaths, marriages, and changes in membership and marital status, and prepares and forwards to the Yearly Meeting an annual statistical report. The Recorder also has general charge of all records of the Monthly Meeting, except for current records being maintained by other officers, and is a member of the Yearly Meeting Committee on Records.” (Faith and Practice of Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends: August 1988, pp. 36, 48) A more complete job description of the Recorder can be found on pages 5-7.

I.A.7. Recording Clerk. “The Recording Clerk works closely with the Clerk in preparing for Meetings for Business and in formulating proposed minutes. The Recording Clerk is responsible for the preparation of an accurate final copy of the minutes, which becomes a permanent record of the Monthly Meeting.” (Ibid., p. 47) A more complete job description of the Recording Clerk can be found on pages 7-8.

I.A.8. Treasurer. “A Treasurer. . . is responsible for the custody and disbursement of Meeting funds as directed by that body. The Treasurer should keep accurate records and report to the Meeting periodically or on reasonable request.” (Ibid., p. 48) The Meeting may also have an Assistant Treasurer.

I.A.9. Trustee. Trustees are those members who “hold title and execute legal business pertaining to the property and securities held by the Meeting.” (Ibid., p. 42) Trustees are responsible for such records as deeds, articles of incorporation, and insurance policies.

I.A.10. Many Friends in a Meeting are involved with the records of the Meeting. If you wear any one of these “hats,” then this manual is written for you. The Committee on Records intends that this manual should be a useful signpost to those along the way, providing guidance and suggestions to Friends about the care and feeding of their records. It is not intended to give binding instructions since we recognize that each Meeting has differing problems and methods of handling all of these functions. If you have ideas and suggestions about how you or members of your Meeting do any of these things, the Committee on Records welcomes your suggestions, since we believe that this Handbook is a growing, vibrant book, not cast in concrete, and that it will be changed as conditions, ideas, and suggestions warrant.

I.B. Job Descriptions

I.B.1. Recorder

I.B.1.1. The clear responsibility of the Recorder is to make sure that the information needed for permanent records is gathered in a timely, appropriate, and adequate manner and that its permanent storage is arranged for in accordance with provisions applying to all records of Baltimore Yearly Meeting. This may also include some semi-permanent records retained until it is clear that there will be no further use for them.

I.B.1.2. Permanent records include, but are not limited to: minutes, committee reports and minutes, lists of officers and committees, newsletters, flyers announcing special events, and any letters sent to the entire membership. The Recorder should establish and insist upon procedures that insure that a good copy of each of these documents is put in a file for eventual archiving. This may include acquisition of a good filing box or cabinet that can be kept where the dangers of vandalism, theft, and fire or water damage are minimal. If the Meeting distributes any of this material by mail, the Recorder can have a separate mailing sent for the permanent record.

I.B.1.3. Membership records are the responsibility of the Recorder. It is the Recorder who is expected to report annually on membership statistics to the Yearly Meeting. However, it is helpful if membership records contain more than mere number counts and if information on regular attenders as well as members is included. The ability to communicate with a person’s family in the event of serious illness is one example of the uses to which fuller membership files can be put. They may also be helpful for reference in writing a Memorial Minute about the person. The Religious Education Committee can make use of a fuller membership file in analyzing the needs for various levels of classes based on ages or simply in keeping track of children’s birthdays. The Committee on Aging may consult the membership files to determine the possible kinds of services for the elderly that may be needed. The Refugee Committee may ask that the membership files contain information on what foreign languages the members can read or speak, or what foreign experience they have had. Two sample membership information forms are found in the Appendixes. These can be adapted to each Meeting’s special needs.

I.B.1.4. While in today’s society such membership information can be stored on a personal computer and readily made available as needed, there should always be hard copy (i.e., copy on paper) of essential facts on file.

I.B.1.5. The storage of some permanent records is normally the responsibility of the Trustees. These include deeds, articles of incorporation, and insurance policies. If there are no Trustees, the Recorder should ensure that the Meeting makes some arrangement for the safekeeping of these records. A fireproof safe or box, or a bank safety deposit box is usually the safest way to store such items.

I.B.1.6. Semi-permanent records may include correspondence by clerks. Accumulated correspondence should be reviewed after a regular period, such as three to five years, and only those items of permanent value should be turned over for archiving. A clerk will often have important correspondence to keep in which Meeting philosophy or action is covered. If committees undertake projects, such as an annual Christmas bazaar or one for a special purpose such as aid to Central America, full documentation from start to finish should be kept by the committee clerk, as it will not only be useful to future project leaders but it is also a part of the Meeting history.

I.B.1.7. Two types of factors should be considered in determining if a document should be retained permanently. First: does this document show how the Meeting operated, its functions and objectives, and how these were met? These are “primary values” of records. There are also “secondary values”: What information is kept in this document which does not serve the purpose for which the document was created, but can, at a later time, be used for an entirely different purpose? For example, a membership record will show the birth of children and their entry into the life of the Meeting. That is the purpose for the creation of the record. The genealogist will look at the same record and see additional limbs on a family tree. As a general rule, strictly housekeeping records (viz., how many rolls of paper towels were purchased or copies of old electrical bills) are not permanent records. A “Record Retention Schedule,” a list of the types of records a Meeting may have and how long each should be kept, is found in Sections II.D.2 and III.C.7.1-14.

I.B.1.8. The Recorder has no responsibility for semi-permanent records but should remind those possessing such files of the need to weed out periodically those items no longer needed. The Recorder can also offer guidance in this type of housecleaning. When all but items of permanent value have been removed from semi-permanent records, what is left should be turned over to the Recorder for permanent retention.

I.B.1.9. The Recorder also serves as liaison with the Yearly Meeting Committee on Records, becoming familiar with archiving procedures in the Yearly Meeting and collecting and turning over records for possible microfilming.

I.B.1.10. It is to the advantage of the Meeting to have microfilmed those records for which only an original copy exists and to keep such copy in a separate location so that, in case of fire or flood, all is not lost.

I.B.2. Recording Clerk

I.B.2.1. The Recording Clerk is primarily responsible for writing the minutes of the Meeting for Business and assisting the Clerk in formulating the agenda for the meeting. The Recording Clerk should be expected to have available for reference any manual of procedures or other documents that contain rules for operation such as length of terms of service, restrictions on the use of facilities, or the nominating process. Recording Clerks can be helpful if they have some familiarity with past history of the Meeting, although the effort to acquire this background should not be a requirement for appointment.

I.B.2.2. Early Clerks were usually their own Recording Clerks, and often still are. Friends would sit quietly waiting when an item had been handled, while the Clerk wrote down the minute and then read it for immediate approval or revision. In the case of controversy, this waiting period often served to unruffle feathers. V

I.B.2.3. Unless the Recording Clerk also serves as the Recorder, it is not the responsibility of the Recording Clerk to arrange for the permanent storage of the minutes. As an official set of minutes is completed, it can be turned over immediately to the Recorder. It is recommended that the Recording Clerk keep and use a copy of the minutes. This avoids the chance of damage or loss to the archival set. The duplicate copy can then be discarded when no longer needed.


II.A. Monthly Meeting Minutes

II.A.1. This section is intended to give guidance to minute takers whether they be Recording Clerks of long years’ experience or brand-new committee clerks taking their first minutes.

II.A.2. The title should give the full correct name of the Meeting and the day, month, and year of the business session. Meetings may use their discretion in naming days and months according to Friends’ tradition, such as “First Month 5,” or common practice. This should be followed by the time, number of attenders and first-time visitors, details of format, name of Clerk and Recording Clerk, query read, and any other unique details of the day.

II.A.3. Aim for completeness and succinctness. Remember that what isn’t written down is lost forever. Take care that important events or decisions of the Meeting or its committees are reported in the business meeting and recorded in the minutes. The Clerk has the responsibility of stating the sense of the Meeting, particularly after a long and confusing discussion, The Recording Clerk may ask that this be stated slowly or repeated so that it can be entered in the minutes exactly as approved by the body. Whether arriving at unity was a long process or happened quickly, the Recording Clerk must be sure to record each action of the Meeting. If a copy of the agenda can be made up in advance, this will help the Recording Clerk as an outline for the minutes. Some Recording Clerks find it useful to record proceedings on tape, to verify the accuracy and completeness of the minutes. Record major points made in discussions but not individuals making these points. Wording of important minutes proposed and approved should be phrased immediately for Meeting approval. Give special care to phrasing minutes of policy or intention. Take time to get the phrasing correct when the minute is approved. Don’t wait until later. It is useful to draft minutes shortly after they are taken and to have those who gave reports verify the written record before minutes are read before the entire Meeting for approval. When reading minutes, pausing to approve item by item may be more efficient. In writing minutes, one should consider that one is writing history. From this standpoint, it is helpful to hint at the difficulties surrounding the resolution of some issues and to convey some of the atmosphere prevailing at meetings and in the world at large. Were Friends tense, apprehensive, sad, or joyous? It is important to see that marriages, births, and deaths of those associated with the Meeting are properly recorded in the minutes, as well as all matters of membership.

II.A.4. Dates and names should be recorded accurately. Use complete names when names are appropriate. Give names of all individuals involved in memberships or on committees. Be sure to get correct spellings. If there are two men, named John Milo Smith and John Brown Smith, in the Meeting, be sure to use a middle initial or middle name to differentiate between them each time either person is referred to. A Friend’s name may be mentioned when that Friend speaks to fulfill a duty, such as a committee clerk making a report. On the other hand, it is inappropriate to cite the names of Friends who speak to the issues being considered. It is our belief that the contributions we bring to the resolution of our business affairs come from an Inner Light and that we serve as channels, however imperfect, for that Light. Use proper titles for organizations and their constituent parts, For example, refer to the Quarterly Meeting by its title, not by the name of the Monthly Meeting where the session was held.

II.A.5. Memorial minutes may be attached to the minutes, included in the body of the minutes, or kept in a separate file, as decided by the Meeting. They should be signed and dated. A copy should be given to the family. A second copy may be forwarded to the Quarterly and/or Yearly Meeting if the Friend was active at those levels. Dates of memorial meetings must be given. Fuller information on Memorial Minutes can be found in a special article in this section.

II.A.6. In minuting correspondence received, do note the writer, topic, and intended action or response if appropriate, including the proposed date thereof. The correspondence section may be given a minute number.

II.A.7. Announcements may not need to be recorded if they are of passing relevance or unrelated to the business of the Meeting. This section may be given a minute number.

II.A.8. Attachments, such as accompanying reports, letters, and so forth, should be mentioned in the text of the minutes, as, for example, “See attached” or “The attached report was presented.” They should also be listed at the conclusion of the minutes, below the signatures. Each item should have written on the top corner the number of the minute to which it relates. Attachments should be dated and signed. Standard attachments include: Treasurer’s periodic reports, annual budget as approved, State of the Meeting report, committee reports, approved list of committee appointments, Memorial Minutes, and important minutes of Meeting principles or procedures.

II.A.9. In some instances it may not be necessary to keep items of the business meeting in strict chronological order in the minutes. For example: announcements made at different times might be listed together at the beginning or end of the minutes.

II.A.10. Brevity and accuracy are major goals in the choice of language. A Recording Clerk should learn ways to state action smoothly and concisely. For instance, while approval is the last action in consideration of an item, it can often be recorded as “Friends approved. . .“ instead of writing “Friends considered. . . . This was approved” or “After consideration of. . .Friends approved.” If a report is to be included in its entirety as an attachment to the minutes, reference should be made to the attachment, but it is unnecessary to include any of the contents. The Recording Clerk should make sure that written materials to be included in or with minutes are received as soon as possible, preferably immediately after being delivered.

II.A.11. Whether the notes taken by the Recording Clerk are in penciled longhand, shorthand, or some other process including cassette tape, they should be transcribed in final form, preferably typed. Ink should be black or blue-black. Paper should be white and of permanent quality such as 100% rag paper or archival bond. Storage of minutes in an acid free, buffered file folder assures that the papers will be kept neat and not be lost. Having an electrostatic copy is a safeguard against loss. The use of carbon copies is not a good alternative since the paper is of poor quality and the ink is not permanent. Changes in the minutes that are approved after the official copy has been made become a minute of the subsequent meeting at which the changes are approved.

II.A.12. Experience shows that a numbering system is extremely useful for accessing and referring to items in the year’s accumulated record. The following suggested system has proved successful but is not required. Number minutes thus: “85-1” for first minute of year through “85-99” for the last minute of the year. Prefacing this with the month, as in “9/85-52,” is helpful. Note in the top corner of each page the numbers of minutes on that page, for example: “9/85-45 — 9/85-56” or “9/85 Minutes 45-56.” Give a new number each time the topic changes. For instance, assign separate numbers for different topics within a single committee report rather than one number for a report covering several topics. Minutes of called meetings for business or executive committee meetings may also be numbered within this system. Numbers of relevant prior minutes may be included for reference in subsequent meetings, for instance, when a topic carries over from month to month.

II.A.13. Putting short titles at the start of each item taken up and minuted can be of great help in locating a reference to that item later. Such titles may be in full capitals or boldface type or underlined, or any combination of these. They should stand out from the body of the text but do not need to be on a separate line. Examples:

“9/85-2 MAIN HEADINGS”  followed by several spaces, with the line immediately below indented past the

heading, leaving much white space, and subsequent lines flush left.

“9/85-3 Subordinate headings” Alternatively, the second line can be indented past the number only, which

will emphasize the number.

II.A.14. It is useful to develop the habit of minuting the exact time when a meeting is called to order and when it is adjourned. The adjournment time should be mentioned in the concluding paragraph, as well as the time of the next meeting. It is customary to state in Friends’ minutes when the next meeting will be, quite apart from any minute covering that subject. “Adjourned at 9:30 p.m., to meet again as way opens on Tenth Month 7, 1974.” Both Clerk and Recording Clerk should sign the minutes. Date of approval may also be given. Attachments should be listed.

II.A.15. Devices to verify the continuity of a set of minutes are advisable. At the very least, each succeeding set of minutes should refer to the date of the previous meeting. Numbering minutes consecutively throughout the year also serves this purpose. The first set of minutes of the next year can state the date and the minute numbers of the previous meeting to continue this system. Numbering minutes is also very helpful for quick reference at a later time, for example: “See Minute 14 of First Month 16, 1946.”

II.A.16. Each page of minutes should have a heading that clearly identifies the body for which the minutes are taken, the date of the meeting, and the page number. Then, if pages are misplaced, there is no problem knowing where they belong. Also, if there is occasion to photocopy a particular minute, the heading will identify the source of the minute.

II.A.17. Some phrases are frequently used by the Recording Clerk. “As way opens,” “Mindful of the lateness of the hour, Friends spoke very briefly of…,” “Friends lacked unity on. . . and asked the. . . Committee to labor further with the issue and bring back a further report on…,” and “Friends were in unity on the following minute. . .”

II.A.18. As the Recording Clerk becomes more familiar with how business usually flows, how regular agenda items are handled, and how the minutes are to read, recording the business goes more quickly. One can learn to be formulating the final minute as the discussion proceeds.

II.B. Committee Minutes

It is advised that minutes of all committee meetings also be carefully kept, in chronological order, and turned over to the Recorder for preservation when no longer needed by the individual committee. Generally speaking, the advice given for taking and indexing Monthly Meeting minutes on the preceding pages should also be followed for committee minutes.

II.C. Correspondence

II.C.1. Correspondence may be handled in several differing fashions depending on the type of correspondence and the needs and desires of the individual Meeting or committee. Correspondence may be kept in a separate chronological file, or may be attached to relevant minutes, or may be kept in some other fashion.

II.C.2. Not all correspondence needs to be kept. Routine mailings from the Yearly Meeting and other organizations are among the types of correspondence that can be thrown away.

II.D. Financial Records

II.D.1. Accounts are normally kept by the Treasurer, usually under the direction of the Monthly Meeting Stewardship and Finance Committee or Trustees. Care should be taken that all accounts are kept in such form as enables them to be clearly reported to the Meeting when required—at least annually, commonly quarterly, or even monthly.

II.D.2. A CPA source suggests the following record-retention schedule for financial records:

Retain indefinitely:

--Audit reports and financial statements

--Checks related to taxes, capital purchases, or important contracts

--Capital stock and bond records

--Cash books

--Contracts and leases in force

--Copyrights, patents, trademark registrations

--Corporation charter, minute books and bylaws

--Correspondence on legal and tax matters

--Deeds, mortgages, easements and other property records

--General ledgers and journals

--Insurance records

--Property appraisals

--Tax returns and work papers, including records to support carry backs and carryovers 

Retain 7-8 years:

--Other canceled checks

--Vouchers for payments to vendors, employees, etc.


--Payroll records, including time sheets

--Expense reports

--Payables and receivables ledgers

--Expired contracts and leases

--Purchase orders

--Invoices and other sales records

--Plant cost ledgers

Retain 6 years:

--Monthly trial balances

--Employee withholding tax statements

--Employee disability benefits records

Retain 3 years:

--Personnel files on terminated employees

--Bank reconciliations

--Petty cash vouchers

--Expired insurance policies with no residual values

Retain 2 years:

--General correspondence


The preceding is only a rough guide and should be adjusted to specific needs and statutory requirements. While only one document out of a hundred may ever be needed, that indispensable single piece of paper is hard to identify in advance. In case of a loss of property covered by insurance, for instance, documentation of the value of the property would be invaluable. Those Monthly Meetings with paid staff must keep such records as are required by municipal, state, and federal government. And one never knows when the exact boundaries of property may need to be verified from a very old deed, or the restrictions checked on the use of rented space.

II.D.3. Either the Monthly Meeting or the appropriate committee should appoint an auditor or an auditing committee to examine the accounts once a year. When they are no longer needed for current business, they should be turned over to the Recorder for permanent retention.

II.D.4. Treasurer’s quarterly and annual reports and auditor’s reports are permanent records.

II.E. Legal Documents

Legal documents may include deeds, notes, trusts, safekeeping insurance policies, and other types of legal documents required by the Meeting for ownership or other legal purposes. These should be kept in a fire-proof safe or box or a bank safety deposit box for safekeeping.

II.F. Membership Materials

The Monthly Meeting Recorder is responsible for maintaining the roll of members and keeping it accurate and up-to-date. Care should be taken to record in the Monthly Meeting minutes each change in a statistic or membership status. Meetings are advised that the Recording Clerk should review the Meeting membership records once a year and report to the Monthly Meeting for the Meeting minutes. Sample forms for membership purposes are found in the Appendixes.

II.G. Memorial Minutes

II.G.1. When a Friend dies, the Meeting may find it appropriate to write a Memorial Minute detailing and commemorating that Friend’s life. But Friends often do not know what to include in such a Minute. Using the example of Sara Strong (bearing no relation to any person either living or dead), let us consider what might be included in a Minute, why some items are more important than others, and what should happen to such a Minute. Two examples of a Memorial Minute for the mythical Sara Strong appear in Section IV. B.

II.G2. A Memorial Minute should say when and where the Friend died and the names of the immediate family. This will help genealogists, who are prime users of Friends’ records. The Minute should say when and where the person was born and the names of parents. This will help a researcher in further investigation of the membership records of the Monthly Meeting to get more details.

II.G.3. Not everything that the member did can or should be listed, since with particularly active members this could become a book in itself. Mention of notable community activities may be made. If the member was active at the Quarterly or Yearly Meeting level, a brief summary of those activities should also be made. If the member’s occupation was significant in his or her life, this may be stated. Some comment about those personal qualities that endeared the person to the Meeting community may be offered.

II.G.4. Memorial Minutes need not be long to be effective. The first example for Sara Strong is only 206 words long. Yet by reading this Minute a researcher will know something of her family, where she lived, and what her primary interests were.

II.G.5. What should happen to a Memorial Minute after it is written? The “record copy” or “original” is kept at the Monthly Meeting. This may be either with the regular Monthly Meeting minutes or in a special memorial book of minutes as each Monthly Meeting decides. A copy should be given to the family of the deceased. A second copy may be forwarded to the Quarterly and/or Yearly Meeting if the member memorialized was active in the Quarter or Yearly Meeting. In the example of Sara, her minute could be forwarded to the Yearly Meeting since she had spent years working with the Yearly Meeting Religious Education and Camping Program Committees. Conversely, had the fourth paragraph not been included and had Sara participated in Friends’ activities only at the local level, then her Memorial Minute would not be forwarded. A Memorial Minute should be signed by the Clerk of the Monthly Meeting on behalf of the Meeting.

II.H. Newsletters

The Newsletter Editor should keep one copy of each newsletter as the record copy. These should be kept in chronological order and turned over to the Recorder for permanent preservation.

II.I. Oral History

II.I.1. Every Meeting within Baltimore Yearly Meeting, at whatever level it exists, has a history. Some of these histories extend back for three hundred years; others are newly formed; and most fall someplace in between. Friends have a strong reputation for keeping good records of their Meetings. Oral history can add another dimension to recording the life and history of the Meeting.

II.I.2. What is oral history? Briefly, it consists of systematically interviewing Meeting members and former members to elicit their memories of events within the time of their attendance in the Meeting. These first-hand reminiscences can add new insights to the Meeting history, viewpoints of events that would not otherwise appear in any depth in the minutes or other official records.

II.I.3. What are the necessary steps to creating an oral history of the Meeting?

II.I.3.1. Do background reading. Read the Meeting minutes, reports, and any other written documentation relating to the individual, particular incident, or whatever area the interviewer intends to explore during the interview. Do not go into an interview “cold,” with no background on which to base the discussion.

II.I.3.2. Plan ahead what specific topics, areas of interest, and questions are going to be covered during the course of the interview. Do have a list of written, detailed questions to be asked. It is perfectly acceptable to deviate from that list of questions should unexpected avenues of interest open up during discussion. But do not forget to have that prepared list of questions with you, along with any notes that may be of assistance in conducting the interview.

II.I.3.3. Tape the interview. Unless the interviewer has training as a court stenographer, it is advisable to tape the interview. Always secure permission from the interviewee before taping begins, preferably when setting up the interview. This should be supplemented with notes taken during the course of the interview. Plans should also be made to have the tapes transcribed within a reasonable length of time following the interview so that a written copy can be taken back to the interviewee for additions, corrections, and other comments. Then a final transcript of the interview can be made.

II.I.3.4. Secure signed release forms for both the taping of the interview and for release of the information obtained during the course of the interview. These release forms may provide the interviewee with confidentiality if desired, as well as provide the Meeting historian with access to important information relating to the history being developed. Release forms will also provide for final disposition of both the original tape and the transcript made from the tape. It may be desirable for the Meeting to keep possession of these documents or they may wish to deposit them with either Swarthmore or Haverford libraries.

II.I.4. When doing an oral history of the Meeting, remember not only that it is being done to preserve the history of the Meeting but that it should be an enjoyable experience for all who participate in it. Oral history should not become a drudge activity that is done only reluctantly.

II.J. Policy Manual

It is sometimes useful for a Meeting to develop a “policy manual,” a specially kept notebook that contains all the minutes that relate to policy established by the Meeting for carrying out its functions: for example, a minute on the state lottery, guidelines for scholarship assistance for college students, or Meeting assistance for members attending Yearly Meeting, policies on burials in the Meeting graveyard, and other topics which may arise again and again over the years and of which it would be useful to have a ready reference available to determine what decision had been reached in previous times on the same subject. This should be kept in addition to the minutes or other records the Meeting may have.


III.A. Indexing

III.A.1. Do you remember what year it was decided to change the schedule of Meeting for Worship in the summer? Does anyone know what the Meeting said about the town’s plan to straighten the road running past the Meetinghouse? Did we ever decide how to handle sojourning members?

III.A.2. Even if some Friend does remember approximately when such events happened, it may still take some time to delve through minute books to veri1y the exact desired information. The solution is to start a listing system to facilitate retrieval of information. That system is customarily called “indexing” and that’s where those little stiff cards got the name of “index cards,” because they are useful in making an index.

III.A.3. We don’t want to imply that every Recording Clerk or Recorder must also become a professional indexer. A few pointers are supplied to assist Meetings that desire an index to help them locate information. Indexing is not difficult to learn, but unfortunately is seldom done. The value in the future of having an index for the minutes of each year cannot be overstated. As long as there is no written index, Meetings must rely on the unwritten indexes in the minds of their members. Eventually that unwritten index for earlier years becomes forgotten or remembered inaccurately.

III.A.4. Pre-computer indexing generally consisted of entering each topic on an index card with the page or minute number (and the date if necessary) to locate where the topic was treated. The cards were then put in alphabetical order. These cards could then be typed on letter size paper and filed with the minutes. This can be done with a computer that will do the alphabetical sorting and printing of topics in any desired order.

III.A.5. To begin indexing, take a look at some cookbooks. They will illustrate some indexing principles understandably. Chances are, most people seldom use a cookbook without consulting the index, and will already have discovered how useless an index is if a recipe for a certain kind of pie is listed only as “Pie, p. 52,” along with about twenty other kinds of “pie” on other pages, if there is no explanation of what kind of pie each is. So one rule is, while the listing should be as brief as possible to save space, include enough information to give some hint of exactly what the searcher will find under each listing. Remember not to be misleading. There are funny stories about entries such as “Pornography plans taken up,” for a minute opposing pornographic books displayed at shopping centers.

III.A.6. In a general all-purpose cookbook, there will probably be several entries under “Apple.” However, in a cookbook issued by the Apple Growers Association, every recipe will be using apples so there will not be an entry for “Apple.” Similarly, if the index is for business of the Quaking Monthly Meeting, there will not be an entry for “Quaking Monthly Meeting,” but in the minutes of the Yearly Meeting including Quaking, there might be.

III.A.7. An index is different from a table of contents, although not everyone apparently understands this. A recent guidebook to services offered by Fairfax County in Virginia had no entry under “Aging,” but there was an entry under “Senior Centers.” The indexer had simply gone through the booklet, written down all the section headings, and then put them in alphabetical order and called that an index. That is how to produce a table of contents, except that in a table of contents the items are listed in the order in which they appear in the book.

III.A.8. For an index, the question that needs to be asked is “If Friends want this information, what word or subject would they look for in an index?” There may be several topics such as “Religious Education,” “Young Friends,” and “Children.” The indexer then has the option of entering all three topics with appropriate page references or entering one topic with all the page references and entering the others with a cross-reference, such as “Children, see Religious Education.” If the topic comes up frequently, it will probably save space to select one heading under which to list all references to it, and use cross-references for other topics under which people might look for the information.

III.A.9. Topics that may be included in an index are: proper names for births, deaths, marriages, appointments, and so forth; committees, their reports and actions; special events; and issues and policy positions considered or acted upon.

III.A.10. Page references deserve a comment. With a cookbook, this is easy because every page has a number, but the Meeting minutes probably do not. Each set of minutes may be numbered from one to three or four or whatever. Some system needs to be devised so that the reference will send the searcher to one unique spot. This is why the Recording Clerk often numbers minutes consecutively through the calendar year so the reference to the thirty-sixth minute in 1972 can be to “72-36.” If each set of minutes is numbered but the numbers have been repeated each time the monthly meeting met, then a reference to the date and the minute number, as “8/6/ 72-3 6” is a possibility. Another option, if the minutes for one or more years have been bound into a binder, is to go through and neatly enter page numbers on the upper corners of the pages and use those page numbers for references. If references to minutes are going to be merged with references to membership record books and to committee minutes or other types of records, it may be workable to have a different code letter assigned to each kind of records and prefix any reference to that kind of record with the code letter.

III.A.11. This is probably the point at which the big decision is made. Is this getting too complicated, and someone else like the Librarian or the Treasurer’s clever daughter or father will have to worry about it, or is this a challenge to try to do what will constitute a major service to the Meeting? After all, a usable index will be handy more than once, and Friends will be thankful that this job has finally been done. Remember, it doesn’t all have to be done at once. A member who has just invested in a personal computer may be persuaded to index every reference to a person, including births, marriages, deaths, committee appointments, and other details, and print them out in alphabetical order by name and by category. Indexing can be done in blocks of one or more years at a time with several people contributing time to the project.

III.A.12. Indexing does not require using a computer. Filing index cards in a shoe box in alphabetical order can be just as easy as having to turn on the computer to call up a specific title. Whether done on index cards or on a computer or in some other fashion, what is done must be put into some kind of order. Alphabetical order is customary, although for some purposes chronological order, by date, may be preferred, or useful as a supplemental list. Computers do make alphabetizing quick and easy but be forewarned that typing “Buster” when “Duster” was the intended word will force the computer to file it under “B.” A computer is very stupid and will only know or do what it is told. “GIGO” is computer language for “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” What goes into the computer is what will come out. If index cards are being used, errors such as “Buster” for “Duster” are likely to be caught and fixed as the cards are alphabetized.

III.A.13. An advantage of card files is that they can be expanded and added to indefinitely or until there is no more shelf or file drawer space. A computer with floppy disks will be filled up sooner. To avoid that problem, indexes may need to be divided by years, such as putting each decade on a single disk.

III.A.14. Appendix IV D. 3 includes a list of some topics that have been found useful headings in making up an index of Friends’ minutes. It is sometimes helpful to list the names of people in a separate index. Appendix IVD. 1-2 takes a page of Yearly Meeting minutes and demonstrates an index.

III.A.15.1. The actual process of manually making an index involves reading the material to be indexed, starting at the beginning, and as the material is read, filling out an index slip for each piece of information that will be worth retrieving. As a general rule, jot down more information under each entry than may eventually be needed; it will help in deciding how to list it in the final index. Cross-references may be listed on separate slips as the index is created or left until the end. It is often easier to select cross-references at the end when all the entries can be reviewed. If it is found that there are many entries under “budget” but only one entry under “bank,” perhaps the entry for bank can be listed with “budget” and a cross-reference to “budget” listed under “bank.” It may help to sort out entries into major headings such as finances, peace, religious education, and so forth, then take a look at them to see if they can be indexed under just a few subheadings for each major area, with cross-references entered under the other names under which a researcher might look in hunting for information. This can be expedited if each entry is identified as it is written down by the major subject area under which it falls.

III.A.15.2. If you are using a computer for indexing, follow the instructions that came with your word processing software. They usually provide for marking key words in the text and/or entering indexing phrases imbedded in the document which will not print with the regular text. The computer then generates an alphabetized index.

III.A.16. Finally, to provide something for the benefit of future clerks and researchers, type the index for each year or specific set of years.

III.B. The Role of Computers in Record Keeping

III.B.1. In recent years the decreasing cost and increasing availability of personal computers have made computerized record-keeping a viable option for many Friends Meetings. Although Meetings do not generally own their own computers, an increasing number of individual Friends either own or have access to a computer and are willing to use it for Meeting-related purposes.

III.B.2. A computer is an electronic device that is capable of accepting and storing large amounts of information, which can then be easily rearranged and reported out in a variety of ways. If the computer has word-processing capability, then minutes can be typed in, changed any number of times, and the final version printed out without having to retype the entire document again. Word processors can be used for writing and keeping letters, minutes, newsletters, announcements, biographies, handouts, programs, and other documents. See, however, the caution under Section III.C.6.8. concerning storage of material on computer disks.

III.B.3. Most computers can run software that has data-base capability. This will allow the entry of a number of facts about each member, each committee, each category in the budget, or almost anything else currently kept in a paper file. These data-base systems allow the user to pick out the specific information desired, sort it in any order, and print it out in any format. Data bases are handy for mailing lists, membership records, budgets, and so forth.

III.B.4. Using a computer for Meeting records can save the time previously spent copying information by hand. It can also help produce lists and reports neatly and accurately. There are also a number of disadvantages to consider as well. It requires people with an understanding of or an interest in computers.

III.B.5. If the Meeting has only a few members who feel comfortable with computers, those few may end up being relied on to too great a degree. If the Meeting is interested in going in the direction of computerization, members should consult locally and within the Yearly Meeting with others who have already done so. Although this may be a major decision for the Meeting to make, remember that the Meeting can always return to doing the job by hand if key people find they can no longer do the job.

III.C. Disposition of Records

III.C.1. Introduction and Definition of Terms

III.C.1.1. Permanent preservation of Quaker records is important not only because it facilitates the work of future historians and genealogists, but also because it documents the rich and diverse heritage of the Religious Society of Friends. Before looking at specific aspects of record disposition, here are a few words and phrases that will have specific meanings in this discussion.

III.C.1.2. Disposition refers to the fate of a document after it has served its primary purpose of communication. Some documents are discarded; some may be circulated around the Meeting; some may be filed; and some may be preserved in permanent storage.

III.C.1.3. A document is any piece of paper one might retain in a Monthly Meeting, such as minutes of Monthly Meetings and committee meetings, newsletters from your Meeting or other Meetings, the many sheets of paper on the bulletin board, or the financial ledger, receipts, and other papers of the Meeting treasurer.

III.C.1.4. Document owner refers to the Monthly Meeting responsible for the disposition of a document.

III.C.1.5. Record refers to a document that a document owner wishes to preserve permanently and store.

III.C.2. Deciding Which Documents Will Become Records

III.C.2.1. The Monthly Meeting decides which documents should be transformed into records and which do not need to be kept. Neglecting to address this question may result in too much or too little being kept or — more often — in an inconsistent or haphazard pattern of record preservation. The Monthly Meeting recorder and Records Committee, if such exists, can assist the clerk, recording clerk, committee clerks, treasurer, and others in the Meeting in formulating a policy on retention and disposition of records.

III.C.2.2. Does the Meeting want to have all past records readily available, or can some be available only in archival storage? How much space does the Meeting have for storing past minutes and other records? Should the minutes of every committee be kept? Or is the committee’s written report to Monthly Meeting for Business sufficient? If committee minutes or the treasurer’s records are preserved, issues of confidentiality need to be addressed.

III.C.3. Periodic Packaging of Records

III.C.3.1. Document owners are encouraged to “package” periodically the documents that will become permanent records. This may involve gathering minutes and other documents from present and previous Meeting officers, discarding unwanted material, putting the remainder in order, and packaging them in an appropriate container, such as a binder or box. Try to remove all staples, paper clips, metal spread fasteners, tape, glue, other adhesives, and any other foreign matter that might promote deterioration of the records.

III.C.3.2. At regular intervals Meeting records should be microfilmed and prepared for archival storage. Some Meetings store their records every ten years, keeping the most recent five years available at the Meeting and sending the previous ten years for microfilming and archival storage.

III.C.4. Microfilming Records

III.C.4.1. Permanent Meeting records should be microfilmed in order to preserve a copy of the content in case the original is lost or destroyed. When at least five hundred pages of records have accumulated, or when the stack of records is at least two inches thick, microfilming is appropriate.

III.C.4.2. The repositories at Haverford and Swarthmore can arrange to have the records microfilmed, or the Meeting may prefer to have the work done by a commercial microfilming service. If the material does not require special handling, microfilming arranged by the former generally runs about 35 cents a page (2005), and includes one each service copy, copy master, and archival reel. Meetings may have additional service copies made for deposit at the Maryland Hall of Records or another site for about $35. a reel; one reel of microfilm holds about 1,000 8-1/2-by-1l-inch pages.

III.C.4.3. Records which are to be microfilmed should be arranged chronologically from the oldest on the top to the most current on the bottom. Monthly Meeting minutes should be first, followed by committee minutes, and then other items.

III.C.4.4. If the Meeting has only one copy of its records, and commercial microfilming is desired, a photocopy should be made before they are sent for microfilming. If possible, the records should be delivered to the microfilm service in person by a member of the Meeting, or sent by a commercial carrier such as United Parcel Service, rather than by the U. S. Postal Service. The records will probably need to be left with the microfilming agency for several weeks, and then retrieved by the Meeting, preferably in person. If the depositories ar arranging microfilming, only the original is necessary.

III.C.5. Storing Records

III.C.5.1. Ideally, records of a Monthly Meeting should be available today as well as in the future, and they should be available to members of the Meeting and other Friends, as well as to scholars and genealogists both within and outside the Religious Society of Friends.

III.C.5.2. To achieve these goals, the Monthly Meeting has several options. The Meeting may choose to send the originals for archival storage or it may prefer to have the originals filmed/copied and returned to the Meeting’s own library, while the microfilm/copy is stored. If the originals are stored away from the Meeting, copies might be kept where Meeting members can refer to them.

III.C.5.3. Microfilm of the Meeting’s records can be kept at the State Library or archives, at a Quaker archival repository such as the Quaker Collection at Haverford College or the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. If the Meeting keeps a copy of the microfilm, it may wish to purchase a microfilm reader, or — a much less expensive alternative — to use a microfilm reader at a nearby public library.

III.C.5.4. Acid-free, alkaline pH, 100% cotton fiber paper will withstand time, temperature, and humidity better than other paper. When possible, the original Monthly Meeting minutes, committee reports, and other permanent records should be typed or printed on acid-free paper. An acceptable alternative is to photocopy the original onto the acid-free paper. If a Meeting’s storable records are on ordinary paper, and if the Meeting wishes to keep these records at the Meetinghouse, consider copying the originals onto acid-free paper, sending the copy for microfilming and archival storage, and keeping the more vulnerable originals at the Meetinghouse. If and when these originals begin to deteriorate at some future time, copies can be made from the acid-free copy or the microfilm. A note of caution: Be careful when photocopying old bound volumes, as bindings are easily broken when pressing a book on glass for photocopying.

III.C.5.5. As is the case with microfilming, it is best if the Monthly Meeting can personally deliver the recently microfilmed records to a Quaker archive for storage. The Haverford and Swarthmore libraries prefer to receive five to ten years of record. If parts of the records are confidential or are to be shown only to certain groups, such instructions should accompany the records. Both Swarthmore and Haverford acknowledge to the Clerk in writing that the Meeting’s records have been received.

III.C.5.6. The library staffs at Haverford and Swarthmore work in close cooperation to ensure that a Monthly Meeting’s records reside in one location. If a Meeting’s previous records are already at one place, subsequent records are usually filed at the same location. Please check with the Libraries themselves at (610)328-8496 (Swarthmore) or (610) 896-1161 (Haverford) for up-to-date information about the location of the older records.

III.C.6. Suggestions for Safe Storage for Meeting Records

IILC.6.1. Security and an acceptable environment in terms of temperature and humidity are the two paramount considerations for safe storage of records. A secondary but significant consideration is the use of acid- free containers and folders for the records.

III.C.6.2. If a Meetinghouse has a locked closet, room, or safe which is accessible only to the archivist/recorder and perhaps clerk, and if such a secure area is reasonably dry and free from extreme heat, such conditions are optimal for the records you are preserving for posterity locally.

III.C.6.3. Locked file cabinets may be less secure unless they are in a locked room or closet. Closed, locked cupboards or shelves may be acceptable, although only if they are deep and high enough for the file folders, ledgers, journals, document boxes, and minute books found in most Meeting archives.

III.C.6.4. If no secure area exists in the Meetinghouse, security considerations may indicate that records be kept in safer storage in the home of the archivist/recorder. Again, the records should be kept in an environment not susceptible to fire, humidity, or heat.

III.C.6.5. Acid migration from wood, cardboard, or other paper containers housing the records may be a real threat to records overtime. The use of acid-free folders, documents and records boxes to store the Meeting records will go far in preserving those records longer.

III.C.6.6. Some Meetings may feel that their earliest and most precious records, including old deeds, should be kept in a bank vault, although it would seem more appropriate to deposit them in an archival repository such as that at Haverford or Swarthmore.

III.C.6.7. All permanent paper records should be kept on acid-free (archival-bond) paper in a secure place, with temperature at approximately 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit, humidity 50%, with smoke detectors, and an adequate automatic fire-extinguishing system, and in acid-free containers. It is recognized that most Monthly Meetings will not have such storage facilities, but these are the optimum conditions. It is often useful to make a copy of the records to be kept at the Meetinghouse for reference as needed.

III.C.6.8. A special note of caution about records kept on computer disks: Computers do become obsolete. The Library of Congress, for instance, found they had some data stored on a computer disk that could be read by only two computers still extant in the world! Needless to say, it was time to make other plans for permanent retrievable storage! Therefore, be sure always to have a hard (paper) copy of data kept on a computer disk. If there are some procedures for which computer processing may become advantageous, review the storage arrangement every six months and upgrade or recopy as needed. If the disk will soon require an obsolete computer to be readable, make a copy to some other system before all the computers of that type have disappeared.

III.C.7. Retention Schedule for Records

This section shows a list on the left-hand side of the page of various types of records which the Meeting may acquire and on the right-hand side of the page advice on the length of time each type of record should be kept. Immediately following each type of record are suggestions on how it should be kept. Records are not listed in any special order of importance.

1. Monthly Meeting Minutes  [Permanent]

The permanent record copies should be kept chronologically (by date).

2. Monthly Meeting Committee Minutes [Permanent]

These records should be kept and stored in the same fashion as the Monthly Meeting Minutes.

3. Real Property Records and Other Legal Documents [Permanent]

These include deeds, purchase agreements, records of loans, incorporation documents, burial ground records, and other legal records.

4. Outgoing Correspondence [Permanent]

5. Incoming Correspondence - Routine Mailings [Non-Permanent]

These may be disposed of after any needed action has been taken on them.

6. Incoming Correspondence - Non-routine Mailings [Permanent]

7. Financial Records [Permanent]

8. Membership Records [Permanent]

These records should include new member forms and other information about members, including information about burial wishes and memorials.

9. Memorial Minutes [Permanent]

May be kept either alphabetically by name of deceased or chronologically by date of death or date of Memorial Minute.

10. Newsletters [Permanent]

Should be kept in chronological order by date of newsletter.

11. Policy Manual [Permanent]

May be kept either chronologically by date of policy decision or alphabetically by topic with later changes or updates added to the file.

12. Newspaper Clippings [Permanent]

If the clipping is about the Monthly Meeting or its activities, it should probably be kept permanently. If so, make an electrostatic (XEROX) copy on archival-bond paper and dispose of the original clipping, since newsprint is highly acidic and will fall apart within a very short period of time. If, however, the article is not relevant to and of only passing interest to the Meeting, it may be disposed of when that interest is past.

13. Artifacts [May be Permanent]

These may include period costuming of older members of the Meeting and other three-dimensional objects.

14. Miscellanea [May be Permanent]

Photographs, programs/announcements of special events, such as a lecture series or celebrations, slides, videotapes, tape recordings, special bulletin board displays—these are perhaps more pertinent to American culture as the very stuff of change (or history) than anything to be found in the Smithsonian! 

III.D. Some Resources

Haverford College Quaker Collection, Magill Library, Haverford College, 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford PA 19041-1392

Telephone: (610) 896-1161


Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College, 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081-1399

Telephone: (610) 328-8496


Maryland State Archives, 350 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, MD 21401

Telephone: (410) 260-6400


Library of Virginia, 800 E. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23219

Telephone: (804) 692-3888


IV.A. Sample Forms

Not all forms of use to the Meeting are included in this appendix. Some sample forms may be found in the 1988 Faith and Practice of Baltimore Yearly Meeting.

These include: Transfer of Membership, Acknowledgment of Membership Transfer, Letter of Introduction, Travel Minute, Endorsement of Travel Minute, Minute to Establish a Preparative Meeting, and Marriage Certificate.

IV.A.1. Membership

IV.A.1.1. New-Member Form

Note that there is little difference between a new-member form and a membership record form. The facts to be entered are the same. The difference is that the individual provides the facts as they are at the time of joining the Meeting; subsequent to that the Recorder should add additional facts to the record. It has been realized that space should be provided for more than one marriage and dates of termination of marriage, for instance, and—in the case of adopted children—both the date of birth and the date of adoption.

Please complete this form carefully and return it to the Meeting Recorder.

Full  name:        ________________________________________________

(include maiden name and other names used, if any, in parentheses)

Current  mailing  address:          ____________________________________



Date  membership  was  approved  by  Monthly  Meeting:         ___________

(circle one) Full Active Member or Associate Member

Comments:       ________________________________________________



Birthday:    ________________           Birth place:       __________________

Father’s full name:         ___________________________________________

Mother’s full name:       ___________________________________________

Marriage date: ______________         Marriage place: ___________________

Spouse’s full name:       ___________________________________________


Name                                       Date of Birth




IV.A.1.2. Membership Record

IV.A.1.3. Marriage Record

Date record closed: ________

Marriage Record

To whom married: _____________________________________

Date: ________________       Place: ________________________


Membership (where): ___________________________________

Birth of spouse

Date: _________________     Place: ________________________

If deceased

Date: _________________     Place of burial: _________________


Father’s name: ________________________________________

Mother’s maiden name: _________________________________


Name: ______________________________________________

Membership (where): ___________________________________

Date of birth: ___________ Place: ________________________

Date of marriage: _________ To: _________________________

Name: ______________________________________________

Membership (where): ___________________________________

Date of birth: ___________ Place: ________________________

Date of marriage: _________ To: _________________________

Name: ______________________________________________

Membership (where): ___________________________________

Date of birth: ___________ Place: ________________________

Date of marriage: _________ To: _________________________

IV.A.1.4. Membership Information Form

Alexandria Friends Meeting--Baltimore Yearly Meeting

Membership Information Form

We hope all Meeting members will provide answers to applicable parts of this questionnaire. Replies will help committees make plans and will provide the kind of information needed to write about Friends when they do something noteworthy. Please return the form to the Recorder.

Member’s full name:     (include maiden name where applicable)


Chronological Membership History in Religious Society of Friends

Years               Monthly and Yearly Meeting     Office held or MM Committee


Personal Information:

Date of Birth: _________________ Place: _____________________________

Father’s full name: ________________________________________________

Mother’s full name: _______________________________________________

Current next of kin for emergency (name, address, phone number)


Your occupation:

(If answer is “retired” or “unemployed,” what was/is main work area.)

Marriage information:

Date of marriage: __________ Place: __________________________________

Spouse’s full name: ________________________________________________

If marriage terminated, when: ________________________________________

By death or divorce: _______________

Children’s names and birth dates:



Please list the highlights of your history, including experience outside the U.S.; any association with Friends’ bodies not mentioned above as a clerk, committee member or participant; community service; leadership in other denominations; major hobbies--in other words, a profile of yourself.______________________


How did you learn about Alexandria Friends Meeting?______________________


Special Interests: (How would you like to serve the Religious Society of Friends and the Monthly Meeting?):

Have                Willing to          Would like to

experience        help lead          participate

In the field of music

Theatrical arts

Historical research

Planning social events


Peace & Social Concerns

House and Grounds

Adult discussion groups

Young Friends

Camping programs


Yearly Meeting Committees

Other (specify)

Planning Ahead for the Inevitable: A Friends Meeting is a community which in times of disaster may be able to function temporarily in the place of a family. If you have preferences relating to such matters as the place and manner of burial, a person’s right to die, where notifications should be sent, we will be glad to have these stated below, to be honored as way opens.

IV.A.2. Oral History

IV.A.2.1 Oral History

Legal Agreement Pertaining to the Meeting’s Oral History Interview

I hereby give, donate and convey to ___________________ Meeting, (address)_______________ all my rights, title and interest in the tape recording and transcript of a personal interview conducted with me on (date)_________ at (address)_______________by (interviewer)___________________________. The material in the tape recording and the transcript may be used for any purpose of________________ Meeting. Copies of the tape recording and transcript may be made available to qualified researchers and other interested parties when approved by the Meeting or its designee, with the undertaking that any costs will be borne by the person(s) requesting use of the tapes and transcripts. I hereby assign _________________ Meeting all copyrights I may have in the interview, tape and transcript. _____________________________________(donor)______________(date) _____________________________(accepted by)______________ (date).

 IV.A.2.2. Interview Record

Person Interviewed: ______________________Date: __________

Interviewer: ______________________________ Phone #:

Length of interview: minutes. Last # on tape: __________

Place of interview: ________________________________________

Interview situation: ________________________________________

Comments (quality, contents, etc.) ____________________________

Guide to topics discussed (Identify highlights with *. Continue on back and additional pages if more space needed.)

# on tapes Topic discussed

______     ________________________________________________

______     ________________________________________________

______     ________________________________________________

IV.A.2.3. Biographical/Family Data Form

From the Records:

Name: _______________________________________[first middle last]

Address: _________________________________________________

Date of birth: ____________ Place of birth: _______________________

Membership date: ___________________________

Relatives who are members: __________________________________

Profession/occupation (when working): __________________________

Other information from the file and from conversations: (This information can be shared with the Membership Committee; Ministry and Counsel, and service groups in the Meeting.) ________________________________________________________________________________________

Special friends, family background, physical condition, living arrangements, employment, activities, special needs, and other information pertinent for interview and follow-up. (Use back if needed) _____________________________________________________________________________

IV.ll. Memorial Minutes

IV.B.1. Memorial minute for Sara Strong (example 1)

Sara Strong, a birthright member of the Swathford Monthly Meeting, died on August 14, 1987, at the age of 73. She leaves four children, Edgar, John Hayes-Strong, Samantha Everetts, and Anianda Strong-Ames, and three grandchildren.

Sara was born July 20, 1914, at Swathford, the youngest daughter of Ernest and Abigail Sweetwater. She married Charles Strong June 6, 1935, under the care of Swathford Monthly Meeting.

While Sara served Swathford Monthly Meeting in many capacities during the next fifty years, including Trustee and Treasurer, her primary interest was in the education of children. She served as Clerk of the Religious Education Committee of Swathford Meeting and as Trustee of the Swathford Meeting School, a K-12 school under the care of the Meeting, for many years.

Sara was active in the Yearly Meeting Religious Education Committee and served as its Clerk for several terms. She was an active participant in the Yearly Meeting Camping Program.

In addition to her activities within Friends, she was also instrumental in the establishment of a Head Start program in Havamore County. Sara’s contributions to the Meeting’s children and their families will be missed. Her warm smile and unfailing interest in their development always lifted up the spirit of the Meeting community.

IV.B.2. Memorial Minute for Sara Strong (example 2)

When the name of Sara Strong is mentioned, Friends find themselves remembering a small cheerful person sitting in the porch swing in the front of the historic old Swathford Meetinghouse, surrounded by a circle of spellbound children listening to Sara telling stories. Although she wore other hats (including Treasurer and Trustee of her Meeting at various times), what she most cherished and enjoyed was being with and working for children.

Sara was for many years Clerk of the Religious Education Committee of Swathford Meeting and Trustee of the Swathford Meeting School, a K-12 school under the care of the Meeting. She was also active on the Yearly Meeting Religious Education Committee and served as its Clerk for several terms. She also participated actively in the Yearly Meeting Camping program. Nor was her concern limited to the Society of Friends, for she was instrumental in the inauguration of a Head Start program in her home county.

She truly followed the teaching of Jesus, who said “Suffer little children to come unto me.” They came and were nurtured in the Spirit dwelling in Sara Strong.

She was born July 20, 1914, at Swathford, the youngest daughter of Ernest and Abigail Sweetwater, and married Charles Strong, June 6, 1935, under the care of Swathford Monthly Meeting. At her death on August 14, 1987, she left four children (Edgar, John Hayes-Strong, Samantha Everetts , and Amanda Strong-Ames), and three grandchildren.

IV.C. Archival Glossary

Source: Frank B. Evans, Donald F. Harrison, and Edwin A. Thompson, Compilers, and William L. Rofes, Editor: “A Basic Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers.” The American Archivist, XXXVII, 3 (July 1974), PP. 415-433. Most of the definitions in this section are taken from this article.

ARCHIVES 1) The non-current records of the Meeting preserved because of their continuing value. 2) The building in which such records are held. 3) The institution which has physical and/or legal custody of such records.

ARCHIVIST The person responsible for any aspect of the selection, preservation, or use of archival, permanently valuable, materials.

DEED OF GIFT A legal document accomplishing donation of documentary materials to an archival institution through transfer of title. A “Deed of Gift” in this context is not the same as a deed of property.

DEPOSIT AGREEMENT A legal document providing for deposit of historical materials in physical custody of an archival institution, while legal title to the materials is retained by the donor.

DOCUMENT Recorded information, regardless of form or medium, with three basic elements: base, impression, and message.

EVIDENTIAL VALUE The value of records or papers as documentation of the operations and activities of the Meeting.

INFORMATIONAL VALUE The value of records or papers for information they contain on persons, places, subjects, and things other than the operations of the Meeting.

LIBRARY An institution containing books and other material in print and non-print form, such as sound and film recordings.

LIFE CYCLE OF RECORDS The concept that records pass through a continuum of identifiable phases from the point of their creation, through their active maintenance and use, to their final disposition by destruction or transfer to an archival institution.

MANUSCRIPT REPOSITORY An institution containing personal papers and manuscripts of individuals rather than institutions.

NONRECORD MATERIAL Material that is not record in character because it comprises solely library or other reference items, because it duplicates records and provides no additional evidence or information, or because its qualities are non-documentary.

ORIGINAL ORDER The archival principle that records should be maintained in the order in which they were placed by the Meeting.

PRIMARY VALUES The values of records for the activities for which they were created or received.

PROVENANCE 1) The archival principle that records created or received by one record-keeping unit should not be intermixed with those of another. 2) Information on the chain of ownership and custody of particular records.

RECORD COPY The copy of a document which is designated for official retention in the files of the creator.

RECORDS All recorded information, regardless of media or characteristics, made or received and maintained by an organization or institution.

SECONDARY VALUE The values of records to users other than the creator or for reasons other than the original.

IV.D. Sample Indexes

IV.D.1. The following is a page from the Proceedings of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting sessions of 1987. Immediately following it is a sample of how that page could be indexed. Terms on the page which are indexed are highlighted:

the Nominating Committee was approved, and is incorporated in the Directory in the Yearbook.

60. Gene Hillmann, Clerk of the Peace Committee, read that committee’s revised minute declaring Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s properties to be a nuclear-free zone. With minor changes, and knowing that further steps may be taken in years to come, the minute was approved. It is included in the Yearbook (p. 110).

61. As the Yearly Meeting became painfully aware of the pressure of the clock, a Friend spoke of the desirability of reconsidering our methods of receiving and approving minutes and minuting our sessions.

62. The Social Concerns Committee’s revised minute on the death Penalty was presented by Susan Harris, the committee’s clerk, and spoken to. Theology and Bible interpretation both entered into the discussion. The minute was approved with some changes. It is included in the Yearbook (p.111).

63. The Social Concerns Committee’s revised minute on Central American refugees was read by Susan Harris, and spoken to. The minute was returned to the committee for another revision, with the assistance of some of those who had spoken.

64. A memorial minute for Cabot Coville of Friends Meeting of Washington was read. It appears on page E4.

65. The sessions adjourned.


THE SEVENTH SESSION OF BALTIMORE YEARLY MEETING convened at 7:00 p.m. on sixth day, 14th of eighth month 1987. Winifred Walker-Jones presided and John Kirk, Nottingham Monthly Meeting, served as Reading Clerk. The format for the first half of this session was “traditional,” I and the second half was “Round-Robin Reports.”

66. Following a period of silent worship, a memorial minute was read for Theodate Wilson Souder of Goose Creek Meeting. It is recorded on p. E8.

67. Minutes from the last half of Session VI were read by Eleanor Webb and approved with minor corrections.

68. Educational Funding Resources Committee: Miriam Green reported that contributions added to the principal now total $10,526.15. Because an interview is a necessary part of the application for an education loan, each Monthly Meeting should designate a correspondent member for the Educational Funding Resources Committee. The individual is asked to receive the application, interview the candidate, and ensure that the application papers are completed correctly. At present only 12 Meetings have 

IV.D.2. Suggested Index for Preceding Excerpt:

Central America

Refugees, minute of concern discussed, Y87:62

Coville, Cabot

Memorial Minute, Y87:64

Death Penalty

Minute opposing, approved by YM, Y87:62

Educational Fund

Application process

Interview by MM rep. required, Y87:68

Educational Funding

Report from committee, Y87:68

Memorial Minutes

Cabot Coville, Y87:64

Theodate Wilson Souder, Y87:66

Nuclear-free zones

SEE Peace


Committee on BYM nuclear-free zone

YM approves for its properties, Y87:60

Procedures, business

Need to streamline YM business, Y87:61

Property of YM

SEE Peace re nuclear-free zone


Central America

Minute of concern discussed, Y87:63


SEE Educational Funding

Souder, Theodate Wilson

Memorial Minute, Y87:66

IV.D.3. Sample Indexing Terms

Adoptions, see Births and Adoptions

Adult Education - see also under Religious Education Bible study; Classes; Course proposal Concern; Discussion Group (see also Friendly Eights); Survey, Miscel1aneous

After-meeting refreshments

Affirmative action, see under AFSC

African Students Fund

AFSC - Potomac Quarterly Mtg.; Affirmative Action; clothing relief, Langley concern for; Reports concerning activities of (not indexed before 9/65 under this heading)

Alcohol, Concern re testimony on use; Use at weddings

Amawalk Meeting, request for funds

American Friends Service Committee, see AFSC

Amnesty International

Announcements in Meeting

Arlington Cemetery, worship at

Art class (see also Race Relations)

Assembly, see under Religious Education

Assistance to non-members (see also Care of Friends)

Attenders, new

Audit of Meeting books

Baby welcoming

Baltimore Yearly Meeting, see BYM

Bank account, LHPM

Bible study, see under Adult education

Births and adoptions


Budget (subhead for each year); survey of giving intentions

Budget process

Building Fund

Bulletin Board, see under Meetinghouse

Business meeting, see Monthly Meeting

BYM (see also under Committee of Ten), Advancement and outreach; camping committee; committee day; discipline, book of, Baltimore Yearly Meeting; educational funding resource comm.; guidebook; mailing list, use for Scull memorial project; merger of two Yearly Meetings (see also Committee of Ten);Representatives; Representative Meeting, Site

Cambodian doctors

Camping Committee, see under BYM

Capital punishment

Catoctin camping weekends

Catoctin Quaker Camp

Cape May Conference

Care of Friends

Caring Community

Chesterbrook Pre-school

Child care



Church Building use

Church Women, Council of

[For reasons of space, inclusions below this point are selective, but will give the reader an idea.]

Clearness Committee

Committee of Ten

Conflict resolution

Consensus process

Contributions, see under Finances

Counseling workshop


Death and dying

Death penalty


Education and School Committee

Family Emergency Fund

Finance Committee

Financial aid, personal

Friends General Conference

Friends Journal

Friends United Meeting

Friends World Committee for Consultation

Fund for Suffering

Gun control

Happy Hill School



House and Grounds Committee




Mailing list, use of

Marriage (with lists of those married)

Meeting for worship


Meditation Center

Ministry and Oversight Committee


Nominating Committee

Offender and Aid Restoration

Paid staff

Parking lot