Tuesday, July 3, 2012

William Berry: Where There's a Will There's a Deed

Archives.com has just posted my digest version of research on William Berry (1753-1839), who was born in Rhode Island, served in the American Revolution from New York, and lived much of his life in and around Stephentown, Rensselaer County, New York, and Hancock, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. The first installment of the full account was published in NEHGS's American Ancestors Journal last fall, with the second and final installment this fall. Berry made his will in Allegany County, New York, in 1839, naming seven children and ten grandchildren. Deeds made in the decades following his death enable us to identify twenty-three additional grandchildren.

Surnames involved include Bliven, Coleman, Daboll, Green, Hackett, Hungerford, Monroe, Palmer, Parks, Potter, Saunders, Sprague, Sumner, Swartwout, Trask, and Walrath. Some stayed in New York; others went west to Illinois, Wisconsin, and beyond.

Studying those records was a bit like walking into a party where everybody knows everybody else and assumes you do too. Even though this party was more than 150 years old, enough of the participants were willing to "talk" so that eventually most of it made sense. There are still some descendants on the loose!

[Note to fanatics: this is my sixth article on Archives, but the site lists only the five most recent under my name. The first one, no longer listed in that way, is "Indirect Evidence to the Rescue," 25 August 2011.]

Harold Henderson, "William Berry (1753-1839) and His Children and Grandchildren in Massachusetts and New York," part 1 of 2, American Ancestors Journal, third annual supplement to The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 165 (October 2011): 368-78.

Harold Henderson, "William Berry: Where There's a Will There's a Deed," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 3 July 2012 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

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