How This All Started

The Beginnings

Websters in England

Coming to America

Websters in western NY

They settle in Addison

Into the 21st Century

Appendices

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July 2008:

After my father's death in 1989, I inherited a manuscript written by my grandfather's uncle that portrayed the Webster family tree as he knew it and was, naturally, centered on his branch of the family. At some point the following winter, I scanned the document into my computer and filed the original away. There it has remained until this spring.

When I was growing up, my family was very tight-knit and had always had a great oral tradition with many family stories told at home and much family history discussed at family gatherings (gatherings could be quite large; I have over forty first-cousins between my mother's and my father's families). After the death of my grandfather in 1964, this tight-knit clannish attitude seemed to disintegrate and my immediate family, as well as my extended family, has grown and spread out and now encompasses members in at least a dozen states. Because we lived in a very rural area, with the next nearest family members sixty miles away and a seeming loss of interest in family gatherings, my children heard the stories I knew but were not exposed to the larger family history. With the imminent birth of my sixth grandchild, the decision was made to try to leave to my children a sense of where their family fits into the history of this great nation. I therefore dusted off the manuscript and this project began.

As I began to transcribe the contents of great-uncle Bob's manuscript, I found some minor, and a few major, inaccuracies. One of these stated that Governor John Webster, the first Webster to emigrate from England to America, was a Puritan when, in fact, he was a Congregationalist
See: "Congregational Church"
Appendix A
(about 34% {35 of 102} of the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower were either from the underground churches in England or were exiles from Holland). There was barely any mention of John's father and absolutely no direct lineage beyond that; just vague references to persons named Webster that had existed in Tudor England.

This is not meant to impugn the massive amount of labor and time Robert Webster invested in this project. In the 1940s and '50s, when this project was originally being researched, a person had to either travel to locales where suspected ancestors had lived and then gain access to documents and histories that might mention family members or correspond with persons knowledgeable about these same documents and locales; a daunting task. He was also a product of the way in which American schools taught European history at the time, which was condescending at best, and completely uncomplimentary in general. Great-uncle Bob started with next to nothing and built an extremely strong family history.

I had a couple of advantages when I started my research; I had both the manuscript as a basis from which to start my work and I had the massive resources available on the internet (no, I did not use ancestry.com). With these resources I was able to research further back into the past for ancestors as well as flesh out ancestors already discovered. As a result, I have traced my family line unbroken back to 1404 and I have found mention of Websters in England back to 1273.

This work was meant to trace my direct family line, but now I hope to expand it to include all descendants of my grandfather, George Webster, and then, with luck, it will continue to grow as the family grows.

This is my gift to both my children and my grandchildren.

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