A Prologue – “In the beginning . . . “

Genesis, Chapter 1, Verse 1 – “In the beginning…”

I’ve taken this phrase from the family bible that belonged to Adam3 (Henry2, John1) Brink Merville (1843-1895), the grandson of John H. Merville. Unfortunately, after years of neglect the family bible looked like this :

LR: spine, front & back covers Adam B. Merville's family bible pre-restoration

left to right: the spine & front & back covers of Adam B. Merville’s family bible before restoration.

Not wishing the bible to languish in this condition we decided a much needed restoration was necessary. The restoration was entrusted to Edward Stansell of Craft Bookbinding Company, Clifton, Tennessee. The results of his excellent craftsmanship can be seen here:

LR: spine, front & back covers of Adam B. Merville's family bible post-restoration

left to right: the spine & front & back covers of Adam B. Merville’s family bible after restoration.

(All of the above photographs are the property of Craft Bookbinding Company and used with permission.)

The bible is now in the possession of Adam’s great great granddaughter, my wife, Rebecca and occupies a place of honor in our family home.

John H. Merville and his wife, Phoebe (Ward), are the “beginning” of the Merville family of Herkimer County, New York, because, at this moment in time, I know nothing of his origins or ancestry other than a vague reference in a 1918 biography of a great grandson, Ernest4 (Euphrates3, Abel2, John1) that “The Mervilles were of French-English descent.” However, it appears that no one else knows either.

The “beginning” of my interest in genealogy was piqued by my wife’s aunt, Barbara Lee (Flinn) Plate, (now deceased) who constructed my father-in-law’s maternal family history (Treadwell) enabling Daughters of the American Revolution membership for herself and my wife. And, my wife’s second cousin, Jack Eugene Steineger (also deceased) who documented Adam’s descendants.

A year after Jack’s passing in 2008, Jack’s research papers were retrieved from his relatives as a foundation for the “beginning” of my version of Merville family history.

The inauguration of this website is another “beginning”. It is my attempt to share what I have discovered about John and Phoebe Merville’s family and their descendants. And, to share what I anticipate finding in the future.

In 2009 when I undertook the research of the Merville family I was gifted, by the generosity of Tom Lathrop, with a copy of an unpublished manuscript, Ward Family, authored by Jennie Ward Hoffman. This is the subject of my next post.


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