Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Brazies of Berkshire County, Massachusetts

I became interested in the Brazies of Berkshire County, Mass., for two reasons.  One reason is because I had heard that at least some of them had Native American ancestry.  The other reason is that I found Andrew Brazie living with the John Woodbeck and his wife Clarissa Winchell and their family in 1850 and 1855 in Sheffield and with Clarissa after John died in 1870 in Sheffield, Berkshire Co., Mass.  In 1880 he was living with William N. Woodbeck, John and Clarissa’s son, and his family.  I wondered why and if it was because they were related. 

I searched for Andrew’s death record a few times on Familysearch. I also went to the Local History Room of the Berkshire Athenaeum looking for it with no luck.  I came home and tried one more time on Familysearch and it came up. Andrew died 9 July 1900 in Sheffield, Mass., and his parents were given as Andrew Brazie and Clara Winchell. 

Who was Clara Winchell? Clarissa was the daughter of Eliakim Winchell Sr., whose grandfather was the Mohican-Wappinger man John Van Gilder.  Four of Eliakim’s children were baptized 19 June 1782 in Egremont by the Rev. Gideon Bostwick.  The first child listed was female and her name was recorded as “Chillup.” Could this name be a bad transcription of the name “Clara?”  Eliakim’s mother Catherine’s name was misread as “Garthiat” and “Cartharight” because someone had originally written her name as “Catalynte” and scrubbed it out and wrote “Catharine” over it.  The baptismal records were obtained from the Remarkable records of Rev. Gideon Bostwick, 1770-1793, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, transcribed and indexed by Arthur C.M. Kelly.  I am trying to locate the original records so that I can view them for myself. 

Then I came across a man named Anthony or Tunis Brazie. I was researching the family of Sena Mae Ferry who married Walter Russell Snyder. She was the daughter of Vernon “Dick” Ferry and Melba Gray who once managed the East Greenbush Airport. Anthony is an ancestor of Vernon Ferry. 

There were two Anthony or Tunis Brazees. The father was born between 1788 and 1790 in Massachusetts, the son about 1828 in Canaan, Columbia Co., NY. By this time I was looking to see if there were any more connections between the Brazies and the Winchells. The son’s death record gave the name of his mother as “Debrah Winchell.”  However, the father was enumerated on census records with a wife named Rebecca. I wondered if the record was accurate.  I found a marriage record for John Brazie born about 1823 in Salisbury, Litchfield, CT, giving his parents as Anthony Brazie and Debrah Winchell. (It’s difficult spelling my name differently.) My guess is that Anthony/Tunis the father was married to Debrah before Rebecca. The father’s death record said his father was Cornelius Brazie, who is a friend’s ancestor. 

The next question is who were Debrah’s parents? The only Winchell I’m aware of so far in the area having a daughter with that name at the right time period is Eliakim Winchell Sr.  She would have been the right age to have the sons previously named. However the Town of Egremont records burned so I can’t rule out the possibility of someone else naming their daughter that. The Winchell family seemed to have many favorite given names they used frequently. 

I chose the Brazie spelling arbitrarily.  The name has been written many different ways: Brazie, Brazee, Brasie, Brasee, Bressy, Brissey.  I may have left out a variation.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, and Greetings.
    My name is John Van Galder,
    Im from the wisconsin Van Galders.
    My grgr Grandfather is Samuel Clark Van Galder, my gr Grandfather is Louis Ambrose Van Galder his wife is Nellie Maria Bostwick. The same( Bostwicks)
    That is the Minister, that baptised the above mentioned children.
    I find very ironic!" Im related yo both by blood. Both. Gideon Bostwick and John Van Galder.....simply. AMAZING!"

    I want to thank you Debra Winchell for all your hard work you have done none of this history of our ancestors would never have been possible, if it wasn't for your time and effort as well as dedication.
    Also not to mention Carol Ann Van Galder
    wife of Kurt Van Galder my cousin.
    Many blessings to you ( Cousin Debra)