Has anyone come across early New Enland records for surname Merriss or Merris?

I am looking for parentage of a William Merriss who lived in Rhode Island and was married there at the Second Congregational Church, Newport 1753.

Rhode Island Vital Records by Janes Newell Arnold only has the marriage, and baptisms for Williams wife and children. He was probably already a member of that church since there is no record of a baptism for him.

This William Merriss moved from Newport to Exeter RI around the time of the Revolutionary War. His occupation may have been a "cooper".

  • 2
    Welcome to the site, Rebeltern. The date header caught my eye. Perhaps you are seeking records earlier than 1753? (Rather than mid to late 1600s?)
    – GeneJ
    Oct 23 '12 at 19:14
  • I am more familiar with the actual town records in New England. There can be a unique character to each town's collection. Have you contacted the town clerks (Newport and Exeter) to inquire about notice of the surnames in the early town books?
    – GeneJ
    Oct 23 '12 at 19:20
  • This seems the William Merriss whose Find-a-Grave memorial is located here: findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8553439; contains various family and cemetery information but facts about his birth, etc. are otherwise unsourced.
    – GeneJ
    Oct 23 '12 at 21:49
  • Are there any deeds registered to William? Some chance that could provide a clue as to when he arrived.
    – GeneJ
    Oct 23 '12 at 22:06
  • Is this the same "William Merriss, born: 21 Jul 1720 and passed after 1789?" Mother (Mary) and Father (Joseph)"Merriss, both possible parents of William. Oct 23 '12 at 23:53

A William Merris is listed in the 1790 RI Washington County, Town of Exeter - 1 male and 3 females.

There is also a William Merris listed on the DAR database (free) that matches the information of the previous answer: born in Scotland 21` Jul 1720

Go to: http://services.dar.org/public/dar_research/search/?Tab_ID=1

enter Ancestor #A 078102 for more information.

  • I don't know if this is answering the "answers" or not, but here goes. For William in RI that is on the DAR website, some of his info there is not correct. I have a copy of a 1919 application where a lady applied to the DAR and said William was from Scotland; this is not verifiable information (10 or more researchers over 20 years). No one has been able to find out anything other than the marriage record in Newport RI and the baptisms of his children, per James N. Arnolds books. He has descendants which are trace
    – Rebeltem
    Nov 19 '12 at 2:29

Finally, go to the link for an extensive list of RI resources




  • 1
    Welcome to the site, drcadkgenes! Although you can post multiple answers, this new format allow us to edit our answers. I recommend you edit your first answer and append it with the additional links you are suggesting. Just in case, here's the link to your earlier answer: genealogy.stackexchange.com/a/1741/7
    – GeneJ
    Oct 24 '12 at 20:32

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