I. Introduction

A. Mission Statement and Acknowledgements


     This report on the early ancestry of a group of 18th century Scotch-Irish immigrants to the American colonies is the result of the concerted efforts of the Berry Team, a group of distantly related Berry descendants. The common experience of all of the team members, and one of the motivating factors drawing us together, was the observation that the farther back one goes in this lineage, the more complicated and contradictory the information becomes. While studying the work of earlier Berry researchers, it became apparent that we needed to acquire and review all of the primary source documents in order to try to more fully understand and resolve the conflicts in the family relationships of this large group of early Virginia settlers. As a result, copies of nearly all of the known Berry writings, and a large amount of primary source documents have been obtained and reviewed by the Berry Team. 

     All of this source material leads us to the conclusion that there were two progenitors to the Berry clan that can be traced through the Augusta and Washington County, Virginia records: James Berry and John Berry. Due to the repetitive use of these two given names in these families, these individuals are, here, referred to as the elder James Berry and the elder John Berry. The evidence that we, and other researchers, have uncovered drives interpretations of the relationship between the elder James and John Berry as being either father and son (the father/son theory), brothers (the brother theory), or perhaps cousins (the cousin theory). Critical evidence supporting these theories comes from court records concerning the "orphans" of a younger James Berry, who passed away in 1749, the will of the elder John Berry, and, to a lesser extent, land records. A separate interpretation issue has been the identity of the orphan named John Berry, with the two potential candidates being the John Berry who married Hannah ? (unknown last name) and the John Berry who married Jane Campbell. Most earlier researchers have reconstructed this family by settling on the "father/son theory", thus interpreting the elder James Berry as being the father of not only the elder John Berry of this report, but also the James Berry that died in 1749, and, thus, the grandfather of the orphans. Based on the documentation presented in this report, however, the "brother theory" is embraced, and the elder John Berry is interpreted as being the father of the James Berry that died in 1749, and, thus, the grandfather of the "orphans". Furthermore, based on the documented source material presented in this report, it is our conclusion that the John Berry who married Jane Campbell was the "orphan" John Berry. Our acceptance of the brother theory for defining the relationship between the elder James Berry and the elder John Berry is the keystone for the family structure defined in this report. 

The Berry Team, individually, at first, began the tedious process of sewing together the complicated fabric of Berry family history. Through a process of search and discovery, which was aided immensely by the Internet and email, several individual researchers eventually pooled their efforts, discovered new interested researchers, and coalesced their labors into the present team structure, which claims membership from Georgia to California and Louisiana to Wisconsin. Members of the team include the authors of this report: 

Jim Jackson [Berry-Campbell],
Carol Vass [Berry-Dryden],
Marie Loughlin [Berry-McCutcheon],
Donna Fischer [Berry-Hannah Unknown]

And the following Berry family researchers who have also contributed their research: 

Judy Carter [Berry-McChesney]
Dorothy C. Hay [Berry-Musick]
Nancy Wood [Berry-Edmondson]
Trish Harris [Berry-McCutchen]
Sterling Price Berry [Berry-Berry & Oliver]
John Nichol [John Berry]
Gayle Kent [Berry-Berry & Oliver]
Doris Collier [Berry-Temple]
Charlie Bourland, a descendant of a completely different group of  BERRYs originating in King and Queen Co., VA, played an invaluable and much appreciated role in the development of this Berry Team's original theories and forward direction.

     While this work presents much original material, it also stands on the shoulders of many other Berry researchers, who have made significant contributions to the study of the many lines produced by this family. We cite the prior research work of John Berry Nolan, Frank & Ethel Berry and Lucy Ross Berry. Much of their research provided invaluable assistance to this project. In addition, present-day Berry descendants and researchers have contributed to the store of knowledge available for this family, and have shared massive amounts of information with us. Grateful acknowledgement must go to Hobert Berry of Kentucky, Beth Crow of Oregon, Jim Berry of Idaho, Galen Willis of Washington, Beach Carre of Virginia and David Hinde of Illinois. While they may not always agree with our conclusions, they enjoy the "search" as much as we do, and their generosity is most gratefully acknowledged.3,4,5,6,10,11,100

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  Last Revised: 02/26/2009