New Content From Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Kentucky, and More

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This week’s major collection includes ten new databases filled with rich content from Genealogical Publishing Company. All of the U.S. content in this launch will be free to access for ten days. Descriptions of each database are provided, courtesy of

Census Returns, 1841–1881

The original books of enumerators’ returns for the censuses of 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, and 1891 for England, Wales, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man are at the National Archives in Kew, southwest of London. Those for Scotland are in the General Register Office of Edinburgh, Scotland. Microfilm copies of selected portions of these six censuses are in libraries and record offices throughout Britain. This guide shows what microfilm is available and where, and it provides–county by county, library by library–a breakdown of local holdings and the registration districts that are covered.

British Roots of Maryland Families

In this new and comprehensive collection of genealogies, noted Maryland genealogist Robert Barnes has put together the most authoritative account of the British origins of Maryland families ever published. Families included in this groundbreaking work were chosen by Mr. Barnes based on the following criteria: (a) there was some reason to believe that the families’ home parish in Britain had been identified, (b) the families had taken root and left descendants in the New World, and (c) most had arrived before the year 1800. Source materials on which these genealogies are based derive from a combination of Mr. Barnes’s own extensive research over the past thirty years and the pioneering work on the origins of Maryland families made by earlier researchers such as Henry F. Waters, Lothrop Withington, Harry Wright Newman, Jack and Marion Kaminkow, and, more recently, Peter Wilson Coldham.

Some British sources used by Mr. Barnes include printed and manuscript genealogies, county histories and heraldic visitations, works on the peerage and landed gentry, and distinguished periodicals such as The Genealogist, Harleian Society Parish Register Series, and Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica. Clues in Maryland source records were discovered in land records, county and provincial court records, parish registers, probate records, printed and manuscript family histories, and in dozens of well-known periodicals specializing in genealogy and family history. The result is a world-class combination of genealogical source materials that extends the reach of Maryland genealogy well beyond what has been known up until this point.

Altogether this work contains information on nearly 500 individuals and families whose descendants came to Maryland. Many of the families, such as the Frowicks, Lewkenors, and Wroths, did not come to Maryland themselves but were ancestors through the marriage of daughters of those who did. Some families, such as the Blakistons, Towneleys, and Keenes, sent more than one individual to Maryland. One hundred and nineteen of the arrivals (24.1%) had a right to bear a coat of arms; 58 families (11.7%) had a well-proven royal descent, while another 73 (14.6%) had a professional, clerical, or mercantile background. The remaining families comprised indentured servants, convicts (only 6), and a number of individuals of undetermined status. More than half of all settlers came from London and the Home Counties and the northern counties of England.

In general, families are traced back two or more generations in England and brought forward two or more generations in Maryland. A clear, well-formatted text of more than 500 pages is followed by a 140-page index containing the names of 20,000 individuals–remarkable in themselves in that they can be said to have seeded the population of early Maryland.

British Roots of Maryland Families, Volume 2

British Roots II is the culmination of research that was undertaken after the publication in 1999 of British Roots of Maryland Families, the groundbreaking work that identified 500 individuals and families who seeded the early population of Maryland. Using the same format as the parent volume, British Roots II discusses the British origins of an additional 203 Maryland settlers and establishes connections to 120 settlers in other colonies. Its publication was necessitated by information that came to light after the publication of the first volume, important clues that enabled the compiler to extend his research in Britain and provide genealogical evidence relating to hundreds more families.

The families included in this work were chosen because (a) their home parish in Britain was identified, (b) the families had taken root and left descendants in Maryland, and (c) most had arrived well before the year 1800. Source materials on which the family histories are based derive from a combination of Mr. Barnes’s own extensive research over the past thirty years and the pioneering work on the origins of Maryland families made by earlier generations of researchers. In addition, Mr. Barnes has profited by the work made available to him by several distinguished contemporaries.

In general, families are traced back two or more generations in Britain and are brought forward two or more generations in Maryland. The specific British sources used by Mr. Barnes include printed and manuscript genealogies, county histories and heraldic visitations, works on the peerage and landed gentry, and, most importantly, marriage bonds and allegations published as part of the Harleian Society Visitation series. Clues in Maryland source records were discovered in land records, county and provincial court records, parish registers, probate records, and in printed and manuscript family histories.

A History of Watauga County, North Carolina
In the decade preceding the Revolutionary War, frontier settlers migrated into the western parts of North Carolina, settling on lands along the Watauga River that belonged to the Cherokee Indian Nation. Many were Scotch-Irish who had traveled to the area through the Shenandoah Valley down the Great Wagon Road, while others were settlers who wandered westward over the mountains after the collapse of the Regulator movement in North Carolina. In May 1772 these settlers, led by John Sevier and James Robertson, established the Watauga Association, which boasted the country’s first majority-rule system of government, and the first written constitution in America. The Watauga Association negotiated a ten-year lease with the Cherokees, and later purchased the land from the Indians. In 1776 the Watauga settlement was annexed to North Carolina, then was ceded to the federal government in 1784, briefly comprised the State of Franklin, and finally became part of Tennessee when it attained statehood in mid-1796.

Although Watauga County, North Carolina, was not established until 1849 from the existing counties of Ashe, Wilkes, Caldwell, and Yancey in northwestern North Carolina, “all of Watauga County on the waters of Watauga River was once a part…of the famous and immortal Old Watauga Settlement of Sevier . . . .” In his History of Watauga County, North Carolina, John Preston Arthur provides an invaluable study of the origins and early settlers of this area rich in genealogical history. Arthur’s History not only covers the topics standard to such histories–the first settlements, Indian raids, churches, Revolutionary and Civil War activities, geological facts, legislative and other officers, population and agricultural statistics, place names, schools, etc.–but also peppers his narrative with innumerable names of early settlers, biographical sketches, and anecdotes about county residents. One chapter of the book deals with Daniel Boone, who according to local tradition, “hunted all through the mountains of what is now Watauga County during several years preceding 1769, and knew the country thoroughly.”

Of particular interest to genealogists are biographical sketches of the following prominent Watauga County families: Adams, Baird, Banner, Bingham, Blackburn, Blair, Brown, Bryan or Bryant, Cable, Coffey, Cottrell, Councill, Critcher, Davis, Dugger, Eggers, Elrod, Farthing, Franklin, Gragg, Greene, Greer, Grider, Grubb, Hagaman, Hardin, Harman, Hartley, Hayes, Hodges, Holtzclaw, Horton, Ingram, Isaacs, Lenoir, Lewis, Linney, Lovill, McBride, McGhee, Mast, Miller, Moretz, Morphew, Norris, Penley, Perkins, Presnell, Reese, Rivers, Sands, Shearer, Sherrill, Shull, Smith, Story, Swift, Tatum, Tester, Thomas, Todd, Trivett, Tugman, Van Dyke, Vannoy, Ward, Watson, Welch, Wilson, Winebarger, Winkler, Woodring, and Yountz.

Ages from Court Records, 1636 – 1700: Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk Counties, Massachusetts
From thousands of court cases in Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk Counties, Massachusetts, dating from 1636 to 1700, Melinde Sanborn has extracted the names of all deponents and witnesses whose ages are given in the court records of those counties. Depositions provided in early court records are among the richest sources of personal information surviving from New England’s first century, and Ms. Sanborn argues that “so many people in early New England were deponents for one reason or another that no biography or genealogy can be complete without a search through court records to see if a pertinent deposition exists.”

For this early period, the single most useful bit of evidence included in the depositions is the age of the deponent. While most depositions vary in quality from being virtually useless to providing corroboration of marriages, wills, and deeds, ages alone provide incontrovertible value to the genealogist. Sometimes the age of a deponent was very important to a particular case. Men over sixty, for example, were often brought into court to support the claims of the ancient boundaries of litigants’ property. Likewise, many older women who were experienced midwives were called upon to offer opinions on the timeliness of a birth in a fornication case.

Also, one of the most common errors in genealogical work is confusing two or more individuals of the same name. If “senior” or “junior” or “tertius” is not used, it is very difficult to assign events to the correct individual. Frequently, fathers and sons with the same given name came to court together, but with stated ages they are easily differentiated. Men with the same name and of the same generation can be another problem, but again a deposition with a specific age given can make all the difference.With this index–which lists the names and ages of 11,000 deponents, and the year and source of the court records–researchers can quickly determine whether it is worthwhile to track down the original court record.

Schlegel’s American Families of German Ancestry in the United States, Volumes 1-3

This is a reprint of the largest collection of German-American genealogies ever published, a full-blown compendium of family history and biography unknown to all but a handful of specialists. The first three volumes were published somewhat inopportunely between 1916 and 1918, with a fourth volume added in 1926. Each volume was limited to 200 numbered and registered copies, and consequently only a dozen or so three-volume sets can be located today, while the fourth volume is all but unknown. This is a complete paradox, for like similar compendia by Virkus and McKenzie, this work should be available to all students of genealogy and should be the very first resource for anyone researching German-American ancestry.
Unlike other great compendia, however, Schlegel doesn’t just start out with the immigrant ancestor; rather, each family history usually begins two or three generations back, examining the family in its historic setting before bringing it forward to the immigrant ancestor and his descendants in America. Averaging about ten pages in length, including portraits and coats of arms, the family histories are no mere catalogues of births, marriages, and deaths but are rich biographical and genealogical studies, each depicting the education, service, achievements, life, and career of the various family members, and each tracing the roots of the first four or five generations in America, usually commencing in the 18th or the 19th century, naming thousands of related family members.

Of all the information-rich sources of German-American ancestry, none is this comprehensive or as useful to the researcher, as illustrated by its coverage of the following families:

Ackermann, Aichmann, Altenbrand, Ammann, Auer, Barkhausen, Bauer, Baumann, Becker, Bender, Bermel, Biertuempfel, Boos, Bossert, Brandis, Braunstein, Breidt, Broking, Burger, Cordts, Cronau, Dangler, Dannenhoffer, de Kalb, Deck, Dippel, Dittenhoefer, Dochtermann, Dornhoefer, Doscher, Draesel, Dreier, Dressel, Drewes, Dreyer, Eichacker, Eichhorn, Eimer, Engelhardt, Espenscheid, Faber, Faller, Fink, Fischer, Flammer, Focht-Vogt, Frank, Frey, Fritz, Froeb, Funk, Gaus, Gobel, Goebel, Goepel, Golsner, Grell, Gretsch, Groborsch, Gunther, Hauenstein, Haug, Haupt, Haussling, Havemeyer, Hechtenberg, Hecker, Helwig, Hering, Herkimer, Herlich, Herrmann, Hoecker, Hoffmann, Jaeckle, Jahn, Janson, Junge, Just, Katz, Keene, Kern, Kessler, Kiefer, Kircher, Kirsch, Kleinert, Kline, Kny, Kobbe, Kochersberger, Koelble, Komitsch, Korth, Kost, Koster, Kraemer, Kramer, Kroeger, Kuhn, Lafrentz, Lamprecht, Lausecker, Leisler, Lexow, Liebmann, Limbacher, Lohse, Lotz, Luckhardt, Luhrsen, Lutz, Marquardt, Martin, Maulbeck, Maurer, Meeker, Mehlin, Mende, Meurer, Meyer, Mielke, Mietz, Moeller, Moser, Mueller, Muhlenberg, Muller, Naeher, Nissen, Nungesser, Oberglock, Offermann, Otto, Pedersen, Peter, Pflug, Poppenhusen, Prahl, Rasch, Rath, Reichhelm, Reisinger, Reppenhagen, Reuter, Ridder, Riedman, Ries, Ringler, Roehr, Runkel, Ruoff, Sauerwein, Schaeffer, Schalck, Schering, Scherrer, Schieren, Schill, Schilling, Schissel, Schlegel, Schlitz, Schmelzer, Schmidt, Schmieder, Schneider, Scholzel, Schortau, Schrader, Schroeder, Schultz, Schumann, Schurz, Schwarz, Sebold, Seyfarth, Sigel, Solms, Specht, Spengler, Stadler, Steiger, Steil, Steingut, Steinway, Stemme, Stengel, Steubner, Steurer, Stiefel, Stier, Stohn, Strebel, Stuber, Stutz, Stutzmann, Sutro, Thumann, Vogeler, Vollweiler, vom Hofe, von Bernuth, von Briesen, von Steuben, Wahlers, Weber, Weimar, Weismann, Weitling, Wendel, Wenk, Wesel, Wilhelms, Wintjen, Wischmann, Wolffram, Zaabel, Zechiel, and Zobel

Craftsman of the Cumberlands, Tradition and Creativity
Sensitive, illustrated account of wood craftsmen in the Cumberland Mountains of southeastern Kentucky as reflected in the life and work of woodworker and chairmaker Chester Cornett. Describes not only Cornett’s tools and techniques but also his aspirations and values. Considers Cornett’s experience vis-Ã -vis other Cumberland craftsmen and their views about the world.

A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Volume 1

This is the basic genealogical dictionary of early New England settlers, giving the name of every settler who arrived in New England before 1692 regardless of their station, rank, or fortune. Alphabetically arranged for each, it gives the dates of his marriage and death, dates of birth, marriage and death of his children, and birthdates and names of the grandchildren. According to the author, “nineteen twentieths of the people of these New England colonies in 1775 were descendants of those found here in 1692, and probably seven-eighths of them were offspring of the settlers before 1642.”

Owners of this series will also want to purchase the newFemale Index to “Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England,” which indexes all the females scattered throughout Savage’s four volumes by both maiden and married names.

“Probably the greatest work on genealogy ever compiled for the New England area.”–P.W. Filby, American & British Genealogy & Heraldry

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