Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Starting the Bresee search in "traditional" records

I ordered two microfilms on 29 March to start my Bresee (and variant surnames) research in traditional resources. My last post about this search was here.

I'm looking for the parents of Cornelia Bresee, born about 1780 in NY, married about 1797 to James Bell in Schodack, Rensselaer County, NY (according to family records). My online research indicated that there was a small Bries/Brees family that resided mainly in Rensselaer County, and a fairly extensive Bresee/Brazie/etc. family that resided mainly in Columbia County in 1780. However, Schodack is right on the border of Columbia County. On which side of the line did Cornelia come from?

The FHC called me about two weeks ago to tell me that one of the microfilms that I ordered on 29 March was already on permanent loan at the FHC.

That microfilm turned out to be number 0,017,136 Item 1, "Cemetery Records of Rensselaer, Dutchess, and Columbia Counties (NY)," by W.S. Coons, a typed manuscript at the NYGBS in New York City.

When I ordered this film, I hoped that it would be a comprehensive survey of the cemetery records in the three counties. I thought that if I could find cemetery records of Brees/Bresee people, that I could figure out who died in which location. Boy, was I disappointed! There were only about 15 pages of excerpted records for a few cemeteries in each county. Other items on this film covered other counties, with quite a bit of data from Long Island. For me, this search was useless, but now I can cross that film off my list.

I decided to see what other microfilms for Rensselaer and Columbia Counties are on permanent loan at the FHC. There was one for Schodack Baptisms and Marriages (0,860,296), so I looked at that. There were no Bresee or Bell entries there. There is another film with Schodack Dutch Reformed Church records (on film 0,534,204), which I have not ordered yet, but probably will order soon.

Another film on site at the FHC was the Greenbush Dutch Reformed Church Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths from 1788 (film 0,017,628). After realizing that it was wound backwards (!), I fixed it, and then read it. There were entries for Brizee, Bresy, Brees, Bries, Brasy and Brosee surnames in the 1788 to 1810 time period. No Bell's though! I wrote down about 20 baptism records (listing baptism date, parents names, childs name and birth date, and witnesses if listed), one marriage record and one membership record.

Three entries really intrigued me - Hendrik and Cornelia (Van Buren) Brizee had children Cornelius (born 8 Aug 1788), Tanneke (born 25 Jan 1792) and William (born 29 Jan 1797) baptized in this church. Are these the parents of my Cornelia Bresee?

I recalled that a Cornelius Bracy resided in Jefferson County NY in the 1820 to 1840 census records. Hmm, can this be the same Cornelius? If so, he may have traveled there with a sister or aunt Cornelia. Checking my census post, I found that the Cornelius in Jefferson county was born between 1794 and 1800, so it may not be him. This may just be a coincidence.

One surprise in these church records was that they were in Dutch. The immigrants came to this part of New York before 1700, but the mother tongue is still used in the church records.

I'm looking forward to the phone call from the FHC saying that the Bresee surname book that I ordered has arrived. I will wait until after I review that book to order more microfilms of church records in Rensselaer and Columbia counties.

I think and hope that I'm getting closer! The hope is that the surname book will clearly identify her and her parents. That will set off a frenzy on my part to fill out her pedigree chart. I'm hoping that it results in identifying a distant cousin relationship to President Martin Van Buren. However, based on past experience, I have tempered my enthusiasm until I have found the link.

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