Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Searching in the HQO RevWar Pension Files

Another web site that I wanted to use for my Bresee/Bries/variants was the HeritageQuestOnline database of Revolutionary War Pension records. Again, I used my Carlsbad library card to access HQO.

In the search box you have the choice of Surname, Given Name, State and Service. The temptation is to input all of the name variations and see if any from New York (in my case) come up. I decided to see if a wild card in the surname would work.

So I started with Surname = "bre*" hoping to find Bresee, Brezie, Bressy, etc. What happened surprised me. The search worked - 3750 entries! But it found all surnames with the letter combination "br" (not "bre") - so I got surnames like aBRaham, alBRo, etc., plus the BResee names I was hoping for.

OK, let's try Surname = "bres" - only 268 hits with BRE in the surname. 748 with BRI in the surname. 682 hits with BRA in the surname. 161 with BRU in the surname.

Of these, only four entries were in New York - a pension record for Mary Brizee, widow of Philip Carpenter, which mentioned Philip and Peter Carpenter, which were indexed as Brizee. And a pension for Wynsim Bruizee of Columbia County NY which mentions only his uncle Teunis Bruizee. There were about 15 Brees/Breese/Breeze entries in NJ, where another family of that name lived.

I could have done the same type of search and limited the search to New york entries only. But I didn't. It is not hard to look through even 700 index entries when almost all of them are not close to the name you are searching for.

So it's another strikeout here -- but I'm gradually eliminating resources that might have records of Cornelia Bresee! The game is still on.

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