The STERRY One-Name Study is a project researching the genealogy and family history of all persons with the surname STERRY anywhere in the world.

The Sterry One-Name Study Blog will keep you up to date on the latest research on the STERRY surname. You are encouraged to make your own comments, give feedback, make suggestions or add your own research contributions. Enquires about your own STERRY family line can be made either by email or using the Feedback form provided on the STERRY WORLDWIDE website: Contact

Sunday, March 24, 2019

It's been quite a while since I used this STERRY research blog but thought I'd start using it again and see what interest it generates.

The link on FamilySearch to 'The Sterry Family of America 1670-1970' by Walter Smith has been updated. It is now:

You will need to log in or create a free account to view.

Many thanks to Ashley Gaumond for this information.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thomas Sterry of Faversham, Kent finally finds a home

Every now and then one manages to find that extra little piece of the puzzle that brings all the other pieces together that have been lying about on the table for many years.

I happened to be looking at some STERRY Apprentice records from the 1600s on an excellent and free website - Records of London's Livery Companies Online - Apprentices and Freemen 1400-1900

I found some entries from the Mercers Company that I had not seen before and this one in particular:

STERRY Thomas, New Apprentice [Father] Thomas Sterry, Clerk, Finesham Kent, dead [Master] Thomas Threkeld, Co Mercer [Apprenticeship Year] 1664 [Bond] 7 years from 24 June next

By the way, Wikipedia most helpfully tells me: The Worshipful Company of Mercers is the premier Livery Company of the City of London and ranks first in the order of precedence of the Companies. It is the first of the so-called 'Great Twelve City Livery Companies'. The Company's aim was to act as a trade association for general merchants, and especially for exporters of wool and importers of velvet, silk and other luxurious fabrics (mercers). By the 16th century many members of the Company had lost any connection with the original trade.

I remembered a Will of a Thomas Sterry of Faversham, Kent proved in 1653 that had never been attributed to any Sterry family line. A transcription of the Will is on the Sterry website -

However, as this Thomas owned land in Ruardean, he almost certainly belonged to the Ruardean, Gloucestershire family line.

But Walter Sterry in his book 'The Sterry Family of America 1670-1970' published back in 1973 was unable to place this Thomas into the Ruardean line.

When this young Thomas was apprenticed in 1664, as were most apprentices at this time, he was probably aged 15-18, so born 1646-1649. And since I could find no place called Finesham in Kent, I decided this might very well be a mistranscription of Faversham. And I had previously found this baptism of a Thomas Sterry in Faversham:

Faversham St Mary of Charity
1648 Mar 10 Thomas son of Thomas Sterry a gentleman and Anne

Walter Smith had also noted in regards this Thomas Sterry of Faversham that Thomas "entered Oxford University in June 1639, aged 18 "son of John Sterry of London, gent" So we knew Thomas Sterry senior was born abt 1621. We also knew from the Will of Thomas Sterry junior that his father was John Sterry. [Walter Smith somehow got it wrong and thought the father was Joseph. That's why he never made the connection.] And we already have a John Sterry baptised 11 Feb 1619/20 at Saint Saviours, Southwark, Surrey, England, the son of John Sterry [1594-1672] and Margaret Weston.

This has to be our man!

Of course now that leads to further research. We know from his Will that Thomas Sterry of Faversham had four sons - Benjamin, Samuel, Thomas and Charles. Can we trace any of their lines? We also know from the Will that Thomas owned land in Ruardean, Gloucestershire and in the Liberty of Ely in Cambridgeshire in the parish of March. The Will suggests that this land in Cambridgeshire may have been inherited through his wife, Anne French. Can we locate any land records? And finally Walter Smith tracked down this piece of military detail on Thomas Sterry that might provide further clues:

 'From British Council of State proceedings we know that Thomas was commissioned on August 22, 1650 to be a militia Captain of county Kent. Further, on November 18, 1650 or 1651 the Council resolved to approve "what Capt. Sterry and the Mayor of Faversham have done in detaining James Greenstreet, and to require that witnesses be examined who can testify as to correspondence between Robert Greenstreet and his son"'.

There is another baptism at Faversham St Mary of Charity of Thomas' brother that confirms this connection:
1650 Jan 16 Charles son of Captain Thomas Sterry and Anne

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Latest DNA results a bit of a quandry

Our STERRY DNA Project is now in its 7th year and 26 male STERRYs have now joined. The DNA results have proved a very helpful supplementary tool in our ongoing quest to understand how the different STERRY trees are related, especially where historical documentation has not survived or is uncertain. In recent months DNA evidence has demonstrated that the Lowestoft, Suffolk; Ipswich, Suffolk; and both branches of the Southwold, Suffolk Sterry trees are all part of the same genetic group and are definitely related.

John Sterry from the Ipswich, Suffolk line is our most recent and is the second member of the Ipswich, Suffolk to join. As these two Sterrys were second cousins, an exact match was anticipated.

However, a 2-marker mismatch between them was recorded and both were now 3-markers distant from the calculated mode or 'signature' of the DNA group to which we believed they both belonged. This was rather disconcerting. [Specially selected DNA 'markers' are used to determine relatedness; such markers being passed down largely unchanged from father to son over hundred of years.]

So we sought the advice of two excellent Rootsweb mailing lists: the Guild of One-Name Studies mailing list [available to members only] and Y-DNA-Projects [a public mailing list for the discussion and sharing of information regarding practical issues related to testing for Y-DNA surname projects] as well as the helpdesk at Family Tree DNA.

June Willing from the GOONS mailing list provided a particularly detailed and helpful reply. [The #numbers are the IDs of the two Ipswich line participants in the STERRY DNA Project.]

"I don't see any problem with #349959 being closely related to #169049, even though they have a GD [genetic distance] of 2. #349959 has a mutation on [marker] CDYb which the others in the group do not have. #169049 has a mutation on 385b which the others in the group do not have. So each has picked up one mutation in 3 generations. Nothing unusual in my experience. They both have a mutation on [marker] 570, suggesting they could be more closely related to each other than to the others in the group. Some markers tend to mutate pretty quickly and those concerned in your results, CDY and 385, are among the fast- moving markers.

DNA results do not in themselves prove a relationship, but must be used in conjunction with the documentary evidence. But in this case, in my opinion, the results do not contradict this."

Darren Marin from Family Tree DNA provided an intriguing insight into the possible cause of the unexpected mutations:

"While this is unusual to have two mutations and be related within the past 4 generations it is entirely possible. One way of reading the TiP calculation would be to say we see this exact scenario almost 30% of the time.  While what causes mutations is not well understood one thought is that the older a man is when he has a child the more likely a mutation will be to occur since the DNA replication seems to not work as well as when younger.  If either of their lines have older fathers this may explain the more recent mutations. "

David Sterry, Co-Coordinator of the Sterry DNA Project comments:

"We were thereby reassured that the two members of the Ipswich Sterry tree were indeed related and that the mismatch could have been the result of genetic mutation in a recent generation, possibly caused by the common ancestor fathering one of his sons "later" in life. In this case we noted that George Arthur Sterry was 24 when Mervyn`s grandfather Ernest Sterry was born whilst he was 42 when John`s father Robert Charles Sterry arrived.

Another feature noted was the sharing of a common marker difference to the combined Lowestoft, Southwold & Ipswich modal indicating an earlier mutation which may be related to the progenitor George Starry being 48 when his son, George, was born.

Ultimately, the suggested connection of the Ipswich line with the Southwold branches and the older Lowestoft tree appears to be firming up.

We would now very much like to recruit a member of the Pakefield, Suffolk line to check out our developing suspicion that the progenitors of both that line and the Ipswich line were brothers! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sterrys in the Republic of Ireland

A new and improved set of Irish civil registration indexes has been launched on IrishGenealogy, the state-run website best known for its church records microsite. These free indexes differ from those currently available via FamilySearch, Ancestry and findmypast by including births, marriages, and deaths right up to 2013 - as well as a certain amount of additional detail to aid identification.

"The Births Index, which dates from 1864, includes the mother's maiden surname from 1900. Additionally, the actual date of birth is included from 1900 to 1927 and from 1966 to current. The Marriages index, which dates from 1845 for non-Catholic marriages and from 1864 for all marriages, includes the names of both bride and groom for all marriages from 1913, and for some marriages from 1900 to 1912. The Deaths Index, which starts in 1864, includes the age at death from 1924 and the marital status of the deceased from 1966.

"As with the pre-existing online database, the new GRO Indexes cover the entire island up to and including 1921. Thereafter, it includes only those events registered in the Irish Free State/Republic of Ireland.

Almost all of the STERRY events listed in these new enhanced indexes relate to one Dublin family descended from John Edmund Bagge Sterry [1889-1965] and Mary Margaret Felton. John Edmund Bagge Sterry and his descendants can be found on the Southwold, Suffolk, UK Sterry tree.

Details on this Dublin Sterry family can also be found on the My Heritage website on the well researched Dolan-Haugh Family Tree. You need to sign up [for free] and login to view.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Researching Norfolk Parishes

Have returned to working on parish registers in Norfolk, England. I recently rejoined the Norfolk Family History Society. NFHS has a large number of their own transcribed Norfolk parish registers and memorial inscriptions accessible from their website through their Norfolk Online Record Search [NORS]. All their online records have now been cross referenced to what we already have on Sterry WorldWide. I will now be trawling through any Norfolk parish registers on the Family Search website that have not already been checked through other sources. These are being done in simple alphabetical order for all baptisms, marriages and burials 1700-1780 and have so far been checked up to Great Massingham.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Sterry Family of America 1670-1970 by Walter Smith now online

This seminal book on Sterry Genealogy has been published online as an ebook by the Genealogical Society of Utah aka FamilySearch.

Copyright free the entire book of 368 pages in pdf format can be freely viewed online or downloaded

The Connecticut Clan, Descended from Roger, of Stonington by 1670, and the Maine Clan, Descended from Samuel, of Ipswich [Mass.] by 1753, with Mention of Other Sterrys and the Family in England Back to 1190 [Sturry]) by WALTER BURGES SMITH.

Printed privately in Israel for the author.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Researching Wills in Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire

I am currently researching the STARY/STARIE family of Burford and Corely in Shropshire, Knighton-on-Teme and Neen Sollars in Worcestershire and Stoke Bliss and Stoke Prior in Herefordshire. Although this sounds as though they are spread over quite a large area, in fact they are all within about 15km of where they appear to have originated in Burford, as the following snip from a googlemap shows.

It so happens that almost this entire area, although covering three counties, came under the Diocese of Hereford as far as pre-1858 probate records are concerned and the Episcopal Consistory Court of Hereford in particular.

There is a very useful Family Search wiki article on the Episcopal Consistory Court of Hereford. The wiki very conveniently cross references to Family Search films that can be ordered online and viewed at your local LDS Family History Centre.

The titles of the films indicate fairly clearly what they contain. Here are some I have looked at so far, with some excellent results: see Stary/Sterry Herefordshire Wills.

Original Wills, Administrations, Inventories Court of the Bishop of Hereford 1579-1631 [LDS Film 91671]
Original Wills, Administrations, Inventories Court of the Bishop of Hereford 1602-1623, 1631-1650 [LDS Film 91672]
Probate Indexes and Abtracts, Court of the Bishop of Hereford 1662-1669 [LDS Film 1647469]
Registered Wills, v.17-18, 1709-1714 [LDS Film 91597]
Registered Wills [Court of the Bishop of Hereford] 1709-1714 [Film 91597]

The series 91632-91679 are Wills, Administrations and Inventories 1540+-1660+  proved at the Court of the Bishop of Hereford. Apart from the probate declaration at the end of the document, they are in English and are indexed. They are arranged by letter of surname and year range. However,  some of the years are out of sequence. Some are organised by particular surnames.

The series 91588-91621 are complete, registered Wills from 1663-1858 proved at the Court of the Bishop of Hereford. Apart from the probate declaration at the end of the document, they are in English and are indexed. They are arranged by letter of surname and year range. Note however that the index and the Wills they refer to may continue over two films.

The series 1647469-1647653 are only abstracts proved at the Court of the Bishop of Hereford from 1662-1858 and contain only very limited information, such as the most recent parish where the testator lived and the names of the executors.They are also in Latin. However, they are useful as they effectively provide a combined index to Wills and Administrations from 1663-1858.

There are two series that I have not looked at. Films 91680-91716 contain Administrations and Inventories from 1662-1736; films 91622-91628 contain Act Books from 1662-1858.

An Index to Wills proved in the Bishop's Court of Hereford 1442-1579 [Film 990127] is also available.

Apart from the Family Search collection, there are two published indexes for the Court of  the Bishop of Hereford that can be referenced at family history libraries and some record offices - if you're lucky enough to have one that is accessible.

Calendar of Probate and Administration Acts, 1407-1550 in the Consistory Court of the Bishops of Hereford, with an Appendix of Abstracts of Registered-Copy Wills 1552-1581, ed. Michael Faraday, 2009

Calendar of probate and administration acts 1407-1541 and abstracts of wills 1541-1581 in the court books of the Bishop of Hereford, ed. M.A. Faraday and E.J.L. Cole, British Record Society, 1989.

But the Wills they refer to in the above indexes evidently no longer exist.

There is a long-standing project by the British Record Society to produce a consolidated index to all records in the Episcopal Consistory Court of Hereford and  the Consistory Court of the Dean of Hereford [that covered parishes in Hereford itself and nearby parishes] up to 1700, but this is currently unpublished.

Of course it's one thing to locate a probate record; it's not necessarily an easy task to read it - especially if it's pre-1700 and partly in Latin. But it is possible to teach yourself with enough determination and patience.

And I have found quite a few online resources to help me do this.

But I'll leave that topic for another post!