I am very hopeful that one of our subscribers can help solve this mystery. As you will see, several of the Lost Colony Research Group are working on this project, but we currently need Berry family members from both Robison and Hyde Counties to DNA test.
There are two Berry families who claim descent from the Lost Colonists, Henry and Richard Berry, who are presumed to be related to each other, likely brothers.
One line is the line that includes the Lumbee and the progenitor is Henry Berry or O’Berry who is first found owning land in the 1730s in what is today Robison County, NC. This is also the Lumbee Berry line. Priscilla Berry Lowery, the supposed sister of Henry Berry/O’Berry reportedly talked about her family’s oral history of descending from Henry Berry, the colonist. I began writing a report about the various pieces of oral history and documentation that surround this legend and that is what started this whole little Berry comparison project. That report is lengthy and will follow in a future newsletter.
We do have two people who believe they descend from this Berry line and their DNA does match. We are working with the Berry Family DNA project. This is the group known as the English Colony Berry’s by the Berry family DNA project. Scroll down on this link to find “English Colony Berry Family” — there are seven men in this group, our ID #43, 61, 107, 112, 138, 140, 181]
We do not have a Berry from the confirmed Lumbee line, but one of our members is attempting to find one. I do believe this is the correct line. We have one person from Craven County where Henry Berry’s son inherited his land and one from SC where other families from this group were known to have moved.
A second Berry line carries a very strong oral history of descent from Richard Berry, the second Berry colonist. This family is from the New Bern/Hyde County region. Faye “Mary” Fulford Moore descends from this line. This family was introduced in 1937 when the Lost Colony play opened as the living descendants of the colonists. Unfortunately, Mary has no living Berry people to test. However, her father used to go to Hyde County when she was young and visit the Berry family there whom he claimed to be related to. One of them was a mortician. Mary’s father also duck hunted with a Mr. Stotesbury whom he also referred to as “cousin.”
Sharron Brace’s father was a Berry. They are from Hyde County and this line has DNA tested.
In the Berry DNA project, this is known as the Spartanburg line and it does not match the English Colony Berry Family line. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~langolier/BerryDNA/Family_yAncestry/spartanburg_co_sc_yancestry.html
Sharron tracked down the line of the mortician’s family and she cannot prove that this line descends from or is related to her line using documentation alone. We need someone to DNA test that we can prove is genealogically connected to the same line as the mortician, whom Mary’s father said they were related to.
Here is what Sharron found about the mortician’s line:
The funeral director in Swan Quarter in 1944 was Dan Berry. In the 1930 census I found Daniel Berry, age 44, living on Main Street in Swan Quarter with his wife Noi. At that time he was a general store merchant. He died in September 2, 1959. His father was listed in the death record as James Edward Berry Sr. and his mother was Evelyn Benjamin Williamson. According to Jim Berry’s website James Edward Berry Sr. is the son of John Berry Jr. and Sally Stotesbury. That John is the son of John Berry Sr. and Rebecca Benson. John and Rebecca had a son Richard Thomas Berry born in December 1813. And that John born in 1778 is the son of William Berry and Sarah Green.
The John Berry born in 1778 may or may not be the brother of Sharon Brace’s ancestor, William Berry born in 1786-88 so we still don’t know if the two BERRY lines were related.
So, we need a Berry male to take the DNA test who descends from John born in 1778 through any of his son’s lines. I expect this line will match Sharron’s line, but it may not.
If Henry Berry and Richard Berry, the colonists, were indeed brothers or from the same paternal line (like uncle/nephew, etc.) their DNA will match each other, and their descendants DNA will match each other as well.
Sharron’s line does not match that of the Henry Berry line. Her line is grouped by the Berry project as the Spartanburg, SC line. The John 1778 Hyde County line could match Sharron’s line, or could match Henry Berry’s line, or could be a completely different line.
What we need is someone to test from the John 1778 line. Because we know that Faye “Mary” Fulford Moore’s Berry family claimed to be related to this Berry line, the person who tests from the Swan Quarter John 1778 Berry line is representing the Richard Berry potential colonist line.
You can read more about the Hyde County Berry family at this link: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~langolier/Swan_Quarter/wc_toc.html
You can see John Berry’s genealogy and his children at this link: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~langolier/Swan_Quarter/wc01/wc01_019.html
We have it within our power to solve this mystery!