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Colonial Families of Martha's Vineyard is Clearfield's adaptation of Charles Bank's three-volume history of that historic Massachusetts island settlement. In the compiler's estimation the work consists of the "complete genealogies of every family resident of Martha's Vineyard (Duke's County) from 1641 through the beginning of the 19th century, transient and permanent residents inclusive." In the compilation of these genealogies, Banks relied heavily upon the official records of births, marriages, and deaths on deposit at the three Martha's Vineyard towns founded before 1700--Chillmark, Tisbury, and Edgartown; church records for their references to baptisms, marriages, and deaths; probate records; and so forth. The author credits 19th-century compiler Richard L. Pease's collection of genealogical manuscripts as his richest and most valuable source. Banks also traveled to England from 1922 to 1924 in order to compile additional information on the ancestral homes of Vineyard patriarchs.
The volume commences with a learned Introduction that discusses the author's methodology, the venerable families of the Vineyard and migration patterns to the mainland, and it concludes with an every-name index exceeding 12,000 persons. What follows is a list of the most frequently cited surnames in that index: Adams, Allen, Arey, Athearn, Baker, Bartlett, Bassett, Baxter, Beetle, Benson, Bourne, Bradford, Bradley, Brown, Burgess, Butler, Case, Cathcart, Chase, Claghorn, Clark, Cleveland, Clifford, Coffin, Coleman, Cooke, Cottle, Covell, Crosby, Crowell, Daggett, Davis, Dean, Dexter, Dunham, Eddy, Fisher, Flanders, Folger, Foster, Gardiner, Gifford, Gould, Gray, Hammett, Hancock, Harding, Harper, Hatch, Hathaway, Hillman, Holley, Huxford, Jenkins, Jernegan, Johnson, Jones, Kelley, King, Lambert, Lewis, Long, Look, Luce, Manchester, Manter, Marchant, Mayhew, Merry, Morse, Nash, Nickerson, Norton, Nye, Osborn, Parker, Pease, Pope, Pratt, Presbury, Reynolds, Ripley, Robinson, Rogers, Rotch, Russell, Sears, Sherman, Skiff, Smith, Snow, Sprague, Starbuck, Stewart, Strong, Swain, Swasey, Tabor, Taylor, Thaxter, Tilton, Tobey, Torrey, Trapp, Vincent, Vinson, Waldron, Wass, Webster, Weeks, West, Wheldon, White, Williams, Wing, Winslow, Worth, and Young.