Saturday, January 14, 2023

Now on My Shelf: The Broyles Family—
The First Four Generations


Normally, I save this Saturday spot for book reviews of those volumes which have sat on my bookshelf for far longer than they should have. It is my means-well intention to actually get around to reading those purchases which at one time seemed so tempting.

Today, though, I won't be featuring a selection which has been languishing in that nether-world of good intentions. Today's book is a recent purchase. In fact, it couldn't get to my front doorstep fast enough, once I discovered it had recently been published. That book in the series, The Germanna Record #22, researched and written by genealogist Cathi Clore Frost, is called The Broyles Family: The First Four Generations.

It just so happens that the ancestor I am researching for this month's Twelve Most Wanted is Adam Broyles, my fifth great-grandfather. Conveniently, this same Adam Broyles has claimed a spot in the third generation of the settlers to the second Germanna colony in Virginia, thus allowing for all his children to be included in the lengthy readout on the fourth generation.

Talk about just squeezing in, barely in the nick of time. I double checked on the information provided on the book at the Germanna Foundation's website, reading the reports issued as work on the book progressed. The Foundation had commissioned genealogist Cathi Clore Frost to "write an updated and documented account of the descendants of Germanna immigrants Johannes Broyles and his wife Ursula Ruop." The plan was to release the new edition at the Foundation's annual "Reunion" in July, 2021. To help ensure the plan would see reality, the Foundation launched a $25K fundraising project.

The genealogist selected for the project, Cathi Clore Frost, is not a direct descendant of the Broyles family, but as the project progressed, the Foundation shared some stories of how she became interested in the project and the connections she had discovered along the way.

As with many projects launched during the unpredictable times during the recent pandemic, research was hampered by closures of libraries and archives, but the book did get published just this past year, in 2022. As promised, it covered the first four generations of the Broyles family. Thankfully, for that fourth generation, a basic listing of all their known children was also provided. Thus, Adam Broyles' grandchildren, including those of my fourth great-grandfather Aaron Broyles, were also listed in this volume, connecting me to the more recent ancestors I've already documented.

The book itself, while a paperback, is huge. On standard size paper, eight and a half by eleven, the book contains 706 pages, including the index, plus the introduction and memorial tributes. It is thoroughly documented with a thirty one page bibliography. More important to me are the twelve-thousand-plus source notes, for which I'm afraid I'll need a stronger prescription for my reading glasses. There is a lot of vital information crammed into those seven hundred pages. This trailblazer noted every step of her way for us to follow.

The book promised to be an update to Arthur Leslie Keith's manuscript, the one we've been exploring this past week. Interestingly enough, the first three generations the author dispatched within the first eighty pages of the book. Beginning with page eighty one, Ms. Frost begins her chapter on "Generation No. 4: Great-grandchildren of John Broyles." That thorough handling of the many descendants in the fourth generation takes the reader up to page 441, after which can be found, first, the endnotes to the chapter, then at page 656, the bibliography, and finally, at page 687, the beginning of the index.

Considering the many other Germanna families who intermarried with the Broyles family—some of the surnames listed include Blankenbaker, Crisler, Carpenter, Wilhoit, and Fleshman—the book will be useful for many more researchers than just the Broyles descendants.

Because of the size of the book and considering that it is a paperback, I was concerned about the condition in which the delivered product would arrive. While the book can be ordered directly from the Germanna Foundation, since I have delivery arrangements with Amazon—fast and free of additional shipping charges—I opted to order there instead, and was pleased with the sturdy container used to ship this treasure. The volume arrived in perfect condition, a fact important to me as I envision I will be using the book quite often.

Of course, the book couldn't have gotten here soon enough. The moment I discovered its existence, I wanted it "yesterday." When it did arrive last Wednesday, I've been reading up on the first three generations, but my main goal is to examine that fourth generation, especially seeing what is documented for that generation's children. Remember, I've got some DNA matches among those distant Broyles cousins and I'd like to know exactly how we relate. I've got a lot of work ahead of me to follow this trailblazer, but I'm certainly glad for the guidance.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the review of the book! I was aware that it was being published but hadn't ordered a copy. When it comes to the BRILES side of the tree, there is a genealogy produced by a descendant of Alexander Briles. I think most of his research was based on letters to family members. It is available on FamilySearch -
    I haven't checked it against the Keith manuscripts for the early lines so I don't know how accurate it is. I do know that I used it to start my BRILES research in Kansas and have been able to locate records to support the lineage back to Alexander Briles.
    There is also a Facebook page that posts obituaries for Briles family members: Briles Information Network -


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