Tag Archives: Western Massachusetts research

Progress on Western Massachusetts Families in 1790

Western Massachusetts Families in 1790After publication of Western Massachusetts Families in 1790 in book form, the project continues as a database on AmericanAncestors.org and is becoming a more and more useful resource. While there were some 14,171 households listed in Berkshire and Hampshire Counties in 1790, one might think there would be few connections between the almost randomly distributed sketches in the project. But there are. Just the other day, in a sketch of Joseph Brown, I recognized his daughter Freelove’s husband, William Jenks, as a child in the sketch of Edmund Jenks, published online several months ago. And this is not the first time that’s happened. Continue reading Progress on Western Massachusetts Families in 1790

First steps in Western Massachusetts research

Western Massachusetts Families in 1790Although many Eastern Massachusetts colonial families have been well covered in print, the sons and daughters of those families who moved west are often lost to genealogists. The first stop on their migratory path was often in the woods of Western Massachusetts.

In many respects, Western Massachusetts is a different world from Boston and its environs. In the rural towns of Berkshire, Hampshire, Hampden, and Franklin Counties researchers can easily depart from the paved road in pursuit of a cemetery or family farm. Looking at the area via the satellite view on maps.google.com, Western Massachusetts appears to be mostly green forest, probably much of it rugged terrain, except for the major towns. Continue reading First steps in Western Massachusetts research

Westward migration from New England

The Expansion of New EnglandWhen searching for elusive New England ancestors, locating where they may have moved within New England or beyond is critical. For example, a genealogist might have traced his Michigan family back to, say, a great-great-great-grandfather in Batavia, New York, in 1820, but where was this family earlier? Continue reading Westward migration from New England