Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Surname Search in the Ancestry.com Books

My post yesterday about searching the Ancestry.com Card Catalog file focused on finding records in a specific county - in this case, Columbia County, New York.

Last night, I tried to find records for the Bresee (and variants) surname in the Ancestry.com "Family and Local History" collection. I am especially interested, at this point in my search, in records before about 1820 that provide information about Bresee families that might have a daughter Cornelia, and their ancestors. Therefore, I'm going to look at, but not download or print, records of Bresee families in the New York area or after about 1820.

I searched the surnames Bresee, Brazie and Brazee by themselves, then the surnames Bries^ and Brees* with a wild card. There were many hits, but books with several Bresee families in them will have more hits than others - so I concentrated on books with more than 5 pages with the name on them. Out of these searches, three works came up that provided significant information.

1) The Jonathan Pearson book, "Collections in the History of Albany, New York..." published by Munsell in 1871, had several generations of Bries/Breese families in Albany and Rensselaer Counties; it also had a few mentions of Bresee/Brazee/Brissy/Brusie/etc.

2) The book "Arnold, Redway and Earle family" had details on one family.

3) The book "Van Duersen family" had details on one family.

These works help some in my search, especially the Pearson book.

It appears that there are two separate family lines here - the Bries/Breese line which starts in Albany and goes to Rensselaer County, and the Bresee/Brazie line which is in Greene County and Columbia County early on, with offshoots to Berkshire County MA and Rutland County VT.

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