The Project started in 2001 with data entry into The Master Genealogist software from the compiler's Ball line (from Daniel Ball and Lucy Newton of Shrewsbury and Boylston MA) and expanded in 2003 to include all of the known descendants of this branch through the sharing of data from distant cousins George Davidson and Barbara Hartsook. My apologies go to both George and Barbara because much of their data, as well as my own and that of a few others at that time, were entered into the Project without any source credit, although I do commit to rectifying that omission in the future.
That early computerization of my personal research (begun in the 1970s) led to a reconnection with a fellow researcher from that early time. The backbone for the Project presented on this website is the immense research work on North American Ball families done by the late Dr. Joseph L. Druse (1915 - 2004) of East Lansing and Lansing, Michigan. In January 2002 I took over the “Druse Files” that include:
- Over 60,000 3x5 cards each with an individual Ball linked to the cards of both parents and children, where known
- About 1,000 letters received from people working on their Ball family trees over a period of about 40 years
- About 300 books, pamphlets, photocopied extracts, and unpublished genealogical works relating to Ball families
- Half a dozen plastic storage boxes of notes, data extracts, clippings, and miscellaneous papers
It is estimated that at least one-quarter of the Druse Files directly relate to the Project. At the beginning of the Project none of Dr. Druse's research was in electronic form and only his tightly summarized work on Francis Ball of Springfield MA (his ancestor) had actually been published by him (in 1968 followed by a series of newsletter updates).
The biggest subsequent boost came from Michel Metford-Platt in May 2005. Michel is one of the owners and developers of the now dormant “BigEd” website devoted to the line of Edward Ball and Abigail Blatchely who moved from Connecticut in 1666 to be one of the founding families of Newark, New Jersey. Receiving a full copy of that GEDCOM added more than 11,000 people to the Project.
Many others have contributed valuable data and deserve recognition as well. To browse the current list of sources and contributors click on the "Sources" tab.
Unless during the on-going execution of the Project a volunteer successor is identified, it is intended that at the end of the Project all materials, files and results will be donated to the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston MA with some moderate funding to assist in making it available to future researchers. As well, the software that generates this website can be used to publish CDs of the entire website that can be made available to genealogy departments of libraries.