Finding My Quaker Ancestors in Dover, New Hampshire

Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent some time researching the Hanson family, a branch of my family tree who lived in Dover, Strafford County, New Hampshire. I had an inkling from prior research that the Hanson’s might have been Quakers, but I had yet to find anything to confirm that. Today, I decided to finally find that missing piece of evidence.

So, I went to GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives and searched the New Hampshire newspapers for Hanson and “Society of Friends.”

A screenshot of GenealogyBank's search page showing a search for Hanson and "Society of Friends"
Source: GenealogyBank

The first result of this statewide search was an obituary for a Solomon Hanson who died in 1805, and – bingo – he was a member of the Society of Friends, which is the formal name of the Quaker movement.

An obituary for Solomon Hanson, Sun newspaper article 5 October 1805
Source: GenealogyBank, Sun (Dover, New Hampshire), 5 October 1805, page 3

I kept on looking and soon found another Hanson obituary that mentioned the Society of Friends, this one for an Anna Hanson.

An obituary for Anna Hanson, New Hampshire Sentinel newspaper article 10 January 1844
Source: GenealogyBank, New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, New Hampshire), 10 January 1844, page 3

Upon reviewing Solomon Hanson’s FamilySearch records, I noticed that he had a sister named Ann Hanson (1857-1843). I compared the records and found that she had died in late December 1843 at age 86 in Dover, New Hampshire, meaning this obituary was very likely hers, and again corroborates that the Dover Hanson’s were Quakers.

I then did a general search on the Internet for “Hanson family of Dover, New Hampshire + Quaker” to see if I could get any specific names for my GenealogyBank search. This led me to a Hanson Family History page that named several people as confirmed Quakers. One of these was Solomon Hansen.

Photo: the Hanson family page from

It looks like the family were Quakers.

I will have to keep digging in GenealogyBank to look for how many generations they continued with that religious faith.

Genealogy Tip: Obituaries can be great places to find information about your ancestors’ religious traditions. Begin your search at

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6 thoughts on “Finding My Quaker Ancestors in Dover, New Hampshire

  1. Nice article, cousin! Haha! Lots of us are Hanson descendents! You must have identified our patriarch, Thomas Hanson. I hope you found the Dover “Hanson monument”!

  2. We share Silas as a direct ancestor. I am descended from his son, Richard, and Richard’s wife, Patience Sawyer. If you are interested, I have quite a lot of information on the Hansons, both in the UK and after their migration to the colonies. Most of what I know is readily available, however, so you probably have this info already.

    There is no doubt the Hansons were Quakers from a fairly early period. I have looked at the Quaker meetings records at the Library in Dover and they are full of Hansons. (One Elizabeth Hanson was excommunicated in 1712 for incest, having married a second cousin, something prohibited by the Quakers at the time.) My own direct ancestor was named George Fox Hanson, which is a pretty strong clue. He migrated to Iowa in 1839. Hanson Quakers in Dover were repeatedly attacked by Indians; being pacifists they were easy targets for French-affiliated tribes. One Hanson wife, another Elizabeth, was carried off to Canada with her children and servant. She left a detailed account of her capture and ransom. I know a lot about the Hansons in West Yorkshire, UK, from about the 13th century up to the migration to Dover in 1644 (there are several dates listed, but this is the earliest. Contact me if you would like to exchange information. My email is: (my mother was a Hanson).

  3. I am a descendant of William Varney and his son Humphrey and have extensive history of the early Quakers Varneys in Dover.

    1. Hi Richard,
      I too am a desendant of William Varney. I would love to learn more about the Quaker Varneys in Dover.

  4. I descend from my 6th maternal great grandparents, Nathaniel Hanson, 1692-1749 and his wife, Martha Bickford, 1692-1782, it is through their daughter Abigail, 1721-1746, Silas Hanson’s sister.

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