Ian Watson’s Web Site

Ian Watson — Genealogy

Genealogy and family history has been a passion and sometimes an occupation for me since I was twelve years old. That year my father brought home a thickly packed box of old family papers and photographs from California after his uncle's funeral and asked my sister and I to sort through it. Almost four decades later, this material still keeps me busy piecing together family stories. Lately I have uploaded all my genealogical data, as well as several hundred family photos and documents, to the website familysearch.org and most of my genealogical activity is on that site now.

Below you can download several genealogical resources which I compiled during the mid-1980s. There is much more information on the Pasco family and the Catawba Indians in my manuscript collections at the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the South Caroliniana Library respectively. The material below is copyrighted by me but you are welcome to download and use it for non-commercial purposes as long as it is attributed properly.

Contents: Catawba Indians - Warren County N.Y. 1910 census - Pasco family - Mollie, Countess Russell - Shershev

Material on the Catawba Indians

Catawba Indian Genealogy by Ian Watson.
Geneseo, N.Y.: Geneseo Foundation, 1995.
State University of New York at Geneseo, Department of Anthropology, Papers in Anthropology, number 4. (Russell A. Judkins, series editor.)

This 125-page monograph contains compiled genealogies for about half the Catawba Indian tribe up to 1910, along with historical and bibilographical commentary and copies of key original documents. It was written in 1986 with the help of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Scholars Program. It was published in slightly revised form in 1995.
Download (PDF, 602K)

The original papers from Catawba Indian Genealogy, including materials on families not covered in the book, are held as the "Ian M. Watson collection" at the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C. OCLC #37375909.

Warren County, New York 1910 Census Transcription

This transcription includes the entire county except for Glens Falls city and part of Warrensburg. It lists name, relationship to head of household, age, and birthplace for more than 16,000 people. I made it in connection with my research on the Pasco family.

For further information on the transcription see the introduction, from where users wanting more robust access may download the entire thing in HTML or as an Excel spreadsheet.

Material on the Pasco family

"The Pasco family in early New England" by Ian Watson
Published in New England Historical and Genealogical Register 150 (1996): 131-140.
This article discusses Hugh Pasco of Salem, Mass., the progenitor of the largest American Pasco family, and his children, as well as other early Pascos in New England.
Download (PDF, 582K)

"Three Mary Peases of Salem, Massachusetts" by Ian Watson
Published in The American Genealogist 70 (1995): 205-208.
This article establishes the identity of Hugh Pasco's second wife.
Download (PDF, 256K)

Descendants of Hugh Pasco by Ian Watson
Unpublished compilation (94 single-spaced pages).
This starts where the New England Historical and Genealogical Register article left off and carries forth the descendants of Hugh Pasco starting with the second generation. At the end there is a brief discussion of the allied Abel Pasko line from which I descend, and of the question of Hugh Pasco's English origin. This manuscript reflects my best knowledge as of about 1985. There is much more material in my Pasco manuscripts (see below) which I was never able to integrate into it. Please understand that what you have here is an incomplete work in progress. Much information could be added. The citation and reference systems are not consistent. Nevertheless there is much useful genealogical information here. To protect the privacy of living people the version posted here runs only through the seventh generation.
Download (PDF, 398K)
An additions and corrections file contains recent contributions from other researchers which are not integrated into the manuscript.
Those interested in Abel Pasko may be interested in the Internet Archive's old snapshots of www.robforrest.com, a Web site created by an Abel Pasko descendant.

Seymour Pasko's diary
This is a Civil War diary of a sixth-generation descendant of Hugh Pasco that I transcribed in 1985. Seymour Pasko served in the 96th Regiment, New York State Infantry.
Download (PDF, 53K)

Leander Pasko-Cal Wood tragedy
This is a collection of newspaper articles about a famous New York State murder from 1890, which I typed up in 1983.
Download (PDF, 54K)

For more information: All my papers from my research on the genealogy of the Pasco family are held as the Ian Watson Papers (Mss 392), R. Stanton Avery Special Collections Department, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Mass. OCLC #47635210.

Mollie, Countess Russell

The maiden name of my great-grandfather James Watson's first wife was Mollie (actually Marion) Cooke. As her third husband, she married Frank Russell, 2nd Earl Russell and elder brother of Bertrand Russell. It was their marriage that precipitated Frank Russell's bigamy trial before the House of Lords in 1901.

I published a short biographical sketch of Mollie in the form of a query in Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies 23 (2003): 65-68.


Both my maternal grandparents were born in a village about 200 km east of Warsaw. The village is called Shershev in Yiddish, Szereszów in Polish, Shereshevo in Russian and Sharashova in Belarussian. My grandfather emigrated to Canada in 1905 and my grandmother to Chicago in 1913.

For the past forty years or so, my mother has worked on and off to preserve the history of the Jewish community in Shershev in which her parents were born. The Jewish community was mostly killed during World War II, and those who survived mostly scattered all over the world. Only a handful remained in Shershev and they are now gone. Shershev has been in Belarus since the end of World War II.

Quite a lot of information on Shershev is now available on the Internet and there is a small community of other interested folks. Information on Shershev can often be found on websites about Pruzhany, the larger town near Shershev. Here are two of the main websites:

Pruzh.org, the web site of the former Pruzhany Research Project. Started in 1999, this site has a very large, good-quality collection of material from the entire Pruzhany district, including Shershev, although the site design is outdated. Highlights include "revision lists" (a sort of census record) and a number of memoirs. Its original creators are now deceased and since May 2016 I have been making it available.

The CPSA web site. Maintained by Jay Lenefsky, who lives in Israel, it is freely accessible and has some basic genealogical and historical resources on Pruzhany and the surrounding area. Before the PRP web site was opened for public access, it was the best free site available.

Here are a few key sources about Shershev that you'll find on the pages above:

Jacob Auerbach's book The Undying Spark. Jacob Auerbach was born in Shershev in 1903 and wrote this memoir of growing up there and emigrating to the United States around 1920. The memoir is readable, well edited, and concise. The complete text is available on the PURO website. Chapters 16-18 are a short, early version of Moishe Kantorowicz's memoir (Auerbach and Kantorowicz were cousins).

Moishe Kantorowicz's autobiography. Moishe Kantorowicz was born in Shershev in 1923 and was the only member of his family to survive the Auschwitz concentration camp. After the war he emigrated to Canada where he lived in Montreal, Newfoundland, and Toronto, where he died in 2008. He wrote, in Yiddish, a long memoir of his life, which he then translated into English and had edited. It is available on the PURO web site. Moishe also drew a large map of 1920s/30s Shershev, showing each house and the names of the residents when he could remember them. My mother has been working for a number of years on making this map available on the Internet and hopefully it will be soon.

The Pinkes book. This is a book written by Holocaust survivors from the Pruzhany region and published in Buenos Aires in 1958. Similar Pinkes books were published for Jewish communities all over Eastern Europe. Many libraries hold this book. It is in Yiddish, but all the Shershev sections have been translated into English and are available on the CPSA and PURO web sites.
Citation: Mordechai Wolf Bernstein, Pinkes fun finf fartilikte kehiles, Pruzshene, Bereze, Maltsh, Shershev, Selts; zayer oyfkum, geshikhte un umkum, tsum fuftsntn yortsayt nokh zayer akhzoriesdiker likvidatsye. Buenos Aires: Landslayt-Farayn fun Pruzshene, Bereze, Maltsh, Shershev, un umgegent in Argentine, 1958.

The Yavneh school book. This is a 55-page history of a Jewish school in Shershev that was founded in 1925. Most of it was reprinted in the Pinkes book (see above), but not all (and especially not the pictures). A few years ago I scanned a copy of the book owned by Abraham Auerbach of Queens. I made paper copies which I donated to the YIVO and Stanford University libraries. The whole book is now posted on the PURO website and also (in higher resolution) at archive.org.
Citation for paper copies: Pinkes fun der algemeyner privater Hebreishe Folks-shule "Yavneh" bay "Tarbut" in Shereshev: gevidmet der 10-yeriker ekzistents fun der shule. Shereshev: Eltern-komitet bay der "Tarbut"-shule in Shereshev, 1935.

The Stones of Sharashova. A few years ago my cousin Celia Denov Bell of Toronto organized the fencing of the Jewish cemetery in Shershev. She created a 15-minute documentary film about the project, which can be downloaded from the PURO site, as well as writing an article for the JewishGen website.