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  • #12 Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources: NEHGS Manuscripts Covering Families

    Gary Boyd Roberts

    Published Date : October 31, 1986
    After a week off following the FGS conference in Cincinnati, I return today to the subject of the Society's manuscripts--as promised, the dozen or so greatest collections covering families. The first of these is 53 vols. by Henry Franklin Andrews on his Andrews and Hamlin kinsmen. The Hamlin material was later published; 32 of these vols., however, cover all descendants (daughters of daughters of daughters, as well as sons of sons of sons) of the author's immigrant patrilineal forebear, John Andrews of Ipswich, d. 1708. I believe these vols. are unindexed and have used this enormous collection very rarely.

    The second collection is that of Edmund Dana Barbour—l0 bound vols. (now on the open shelves), dated 1907 and indexed, on all descendants, again through female as well as male lines, of Captain George Barbour, a founder of Medfield, Mass. We also have 5 boxes of the original manuscript and notes. See also NEXUS 3 (1987): 29. I was especially pleased to find William Marsh Rice of Houston, the founder of Rice University (my family's home when I was born was on Rice Blvd., named after the philanthropist and university) in this set.

    The third collection consists of 12 small vols. covering many New England Cook/Cooke families and 31 small vols. covering most Connecticut Lewises. This collection is by Rollin Hillyer Cooke, the great Berkshire Co. genealogist, whose 10 vols. on all early Pittsfield families were copied by W. E. Corbin and are part of that collection (covered in the last column). Mr. Cooke also gave us 9 vols. of Berkshire Co. deed abstracts and two cartons of miscellaneous genealogical notes (see Register 139 [1985]: 154-55). Another 54 vols. of Berkshire Co. source material collected by Mr. Cooke is at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield. I might add that Mayflower and Rhode Island Cookes are covered in vol.12 of Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, and the 2-vol. 1987 Thomas Cook genealogy by Jane Fletcher Fiske (plus some TAG and Register contributions).

    The fourth collection, by Elwin Gerry Davis and Samuel F. Rockwell, consists of 4 boxes of 14 bound record books that collectively cover most New England Davises. This collection is only partly indexed and should generally be used only after printed sources have been exhausted. The fifth collection to note is 122 vols. of alphabetically arranged lineage papers and membership applications for the Governor Thomas Dudley Association. Gov. Dudley, of royal descent, a major colonial figure, left an extremely large and prominent progeny, including Channings, Danas, Wendells, Holmeses, Elliots, Nortons, Morisons, Lowells, Parkmans, Winthrops, Alsops, Auchinclosses, and various duPonts.

    The sixth collection consists of 28 vols. by William Crowninshield Endicott, Jr., on the descendants of Governor John Endicott, 1588-1665/6. Many female lines of this noted Salem family are also included. The Willis Freeman genealogical collection is, in my opinion, one of our major possessions. Its consists of 60 bound folio vols. authoritatively covering almost all Freemans in England, New England, and the mid-Atlantic states, plus numerous southern Freemans. Arranged alphabetically by given names, and then chronologically by birth year, 32 vols. cover male Freemans, 22 vols. treat female Freemans, and 6 vols. cover Freemans of Woodbridge, N.J.

    Henry S. Gorham's 28 vols. on the descendants of Captain John Gorham of Bamstable is a massive typescript compiled 1931-1944. Captain Gorham was the son-in-law of John Howland of the Mayflower and the first four generations of this study (to about 1720) are superseded by Elizabeth P. White's vol. one (1990) on the descendants for five generations of that Pilgrim.

    The ninth collection consists of 28 vols. on the agnate and some female-line descendants of William Nickerson, first settler of Chatham on Cape Cod. These vols., by William Emery Nickerson, are a major basis for the ongoing Nickerson genealogy (4 vols. to date) published by the Nickerson Family Association. Also included in the collection are 7 boxes of notes by Anna C. Kingsbury, sponsored by Mr. Nickerson, on over 50 other largely Massachusetts families. Horace Wilbur Palmer's "Palmer Families in America," contains 13 typescript vols. on almost all New England and many mid-Atlantic and southern Palmers. Other copies of the collection are at the New York and Los Angeles Public Libraries. Two parts of this collection, on the descendants of William Palmers of Yarmouth and Duxbury, Mass., respectively, have been published; see Register 130 (1976): 57-59. The unpublished part of this collection is unindexed, and much concerns the progeny of Walter Palmer of Stonington.

    Wesley Weyman's "Descendants of Captain Myles Standish, Male and Female Lines," 5 cartons, is the largest study to date on the progeny of the military leader of the Mayflower company. It is superseded for the first 5 generations, to about 1720 only, by vol.14 of Mayflower Families Through Five Generations. Two other cartons compiled by Mr. Weyman treat Bennetts, Ramsdells, and Wymans.

    Many other families are well covered by sizable or large manuscript collections at NEHGS. We also have the original notes for numerous genealogies (those for the John Hayes of Dover, N.H., work are especially voluminous). The above are simply those collections I have much used or noticed and those, with the caveats about indexes, etc., noted above, that I think visitors to the library will most want to use. These collections are open to members but cannot be loaned. I encourage everyone who would like to delve into one or more of them, to visit Boston and NEHGS.
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