After 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
Although 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