I am very hopeful that one of our subscribers can help solve this mystery. As you will see, several members of the Lost Colony Research Group (via the Berry and Lost Colony DNA Project) are working on this puzzle, but we currently need Berry family members ancestral to both Robison and Hyde Counties in North Carolina to DNA test.
There are two Berry families who claim descent from the Lost Colonists of Roanoke Island in 1587, Henry and Richard Berry, who are presumed to be related to each other.
The progenitor of the first line is Henry Berry or O’Berry who is first found owning land in the 1730s in what is today Robison County, NC. This is the Lumbee Berry line. Priscilla Berry Lowery, the unconfirmed 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 Berry comparison project. That report is lengthy and will be published in a future Lost Colony Research Group Newsletter as well as on www.nativeheritageproject.com. The newsletters are free and online for everyone at www.lostcolonyresearch.org although some are currently offline in the process of being reformatted, so check back if one you want to see is missing right now.
We do have two people who believe they descend from this Lumbee 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, Berry project ID #43, 61, 107, 112, 138, 140, 181. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~langolier/BerryDNA/family_dna_results.html
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, North Carolina, region. Researcher 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, also 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 to which the Lumbee Berrys are assigned. 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 genealogy:
“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. John Jr. is the son of John Berry Sr. and Rebecca Benson. John Berry Sr. 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 Berry 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 Hyde County line does not match that of the Henry Berry Lumbee line. The John Berry 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 Berry (1778) line is representing the Richard Berry “potential colonist” line.
Solving this mystery is quite within reach if we can just find and test the right people. Here’s hoping that the key lies with one of you!