Thursday, May 26, 2016

Finding Published Surname Books for My Ancestors

There have been several significant advances in the number of online digitized genealogy books beyond Google Books and the Internet Archive.  I'm talking about FamilySearch Books with over 200,000 genealogy books, the "Compilation of Published Sources" on MyHeritage with over 447,000 genealogy books, and the collection of "North American, Family Histories, 1500-2000."

I have quite a few ancestral families who were the first generations in colonial New York and colonial New England that I need to add information about to my database.  Published surname books, if done well, are really useful to define vital records, relationships, social and political events, and so on.  While these are compiled works, they are often based on records in original sources and often have source citations to those original sources.

Today, I received an Ancestry Hint for Robert Treat (1624-1710), one of the colonial governors of Connecticut.  He is my 9th great-grandfather.  The Hint was for the book:

John Harvey Treat, The Treat Family : A genealogy of Trott, Tratt, and Treat : for fifteen generations, and four hundred and fifty years in England and America: Containing more than Fifteen Hundred Families in America; with Illustrations, Autographs, and a Map of Somersetshire (Salem, Mass. : The Salem Press, 1893).

This book has 706 images on  I have four generations of Treats in this book, and there is significant biographical and historical information about the first three generations of my Treat ancestors who settled in Connecticut, including:

1)  Richard Treat (1584-1670) starting on page 26 (image 95):

2)  Robert Treat (1624-1710) starting on page 130 (image 199):

3)  Samuel Treat (1648-1717) on page 167 (image 236):

There is a wealth of information on these three families that I could add to my database, and plenty of references to original source material that may be available in digitized records (I've already found Richard Treat's will indexed on  I will probably try to summarize the information for each of these persons into a number of paragraphs, instead of trying to transcribe tens of pages on these pages, and attribute the information to this book.

I will download the useful pages from this book to my Treat surname file folder on my computer in order to have a good record from this book.  It is out of copyright protection, so I can do this.

I will use the book information as a source citation for many of the events in these families, since the book seems remarkably complete and well researched, but it does not provide source citations for each event (it does provide some in-text source citations).  When I do find other sources, I will add source citations for those records in the person profiles in my RootsMagic database.

I had not found this book before - it is in the UCSD library in La Jolla, but I've never been there (bad boy, eh?).  The next closest place, according to WorldCat, is Stanford library, over 400 miles to the north).  It is available for free on Google Books and Internet Archive.  I added it to My Books collection on Google Books.

Do any Genea-Musings readers share my Treat ancestry?  Have you seen and used this Treat surname book?   If not, go read it on, Google Books, or Internet Archive.


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Geolover said...

That's a nice find.

I keep getting book-hints from for their reworked DAR Lineage books. Not much help there. The books on FamilySearch were uploaded in a way that makes them very hard to use. Wish they had used the format that used to be on the Harold B. Lee Library site at Brigham Young University. Very searchable and very navigable. Sigh.

Jana Iverson Last said...

My 9th great-grandfather, Governor John Webster, was elected as governor of the Colony of Connecticut in 1656. His son, Robert Webster (not my direct line), married Susannah Treat, daughter of Captain Richard Treat and Alice Gaylord.

I'll have to check out the book you found and see if they are the same Treat family. Thanks for sharing your finds!

Kathleen Moore said...

I haven't seen this book specifically but I've run across the Treat family before.

I have a book called A Fagan Genealogy by John J. Fagan, Jr. that was sent to me a number of years ago when someone ran across my website. It lists a ton of different families, including the Plume family (they married into my Thorwards) which married into the Crane family, who married into the Treat family. I wasn't in a huge rush to untangle all these webs but the book has a lot of information. It does seem to cite a lot of different family genealogies but it is very good about saying where the information came from.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

I usually start with a Google book search, and then move on to checking online archives like MyHeritage, Ancestry, FamilySearch, etc. for compiled genealogy books. Don't forget to check town and county histories, too. At least in New England they are full of genealogy information, and some have the last half of the book or a second volume devoted to family genealogies. I know that there is an "Index to Genealogies in New Hampshire Town Histories" by William Copley and the New Hampshire Historical Society, but I don't know there is a similar index for other states.

Dona said...

Yes, I share this ancestral line with you, Randy (just one more way we're cousins). Richard Treat and Alice Gaylord are my 10th great grandparents; their son Richard and wife Sarah Coleman are my 9th greats.

Gary Treat said...

Yes, Randy, I too am a descendant of Governor Robert Treat through his son, Joseph Treat. I have used the John Harvey Treat book extensively over many years to aid in my research of the Treat family, especially for the earlier generations. Written in the style common for family histories of that era, as you say, it does not document every fact, however there are often clues within the text to where the information came from. That is very helpful.