2000 News Article

Albert M. Sterling (1874-1965) author of "The Sterling Genealogy"

17 Mar 2000 - Bloomington, IdahoAlbert M. Sterling (pictured) wrote "The Sterling Genealogy", a two volume genealogical masterpiece on the Stirling family in 1909. It was published by The Grafton Press in two volumes, and comprises over twelve hundred pages of priceless information on the Sterling family. I've received more questions about this book than any other at Clan Stirling Online. This is just one sample -

"Is the Sterling book by Albert Mack Sterling still available? I am a Sterling descendant and have an old family history sheet that was taken from this book. I would love to have the book for reference. Please let me know."

Albert collected the information by writing letters to Sterlings all over the world. He wrote over nine thousand letters (by hand!), collected over fifty coats of arms of the Stirling and Sterling families. Like anyone who publishes a work such as this there are a number of entries in Albert's work that time has proven to be incorrect, but the volume of information in these volumes is priceless. The two hundred original copies of this book have long been a sought after item for Stirling researchers. The book is now available from a number of republishers, and has enjoyed new life in the 1990's. The information Albert collected almost 100 years ago is extremely valuable, and appreciated.

But the question remains. Where are the nine thousand letters? Where are his notes? Where are the photos that DIDN'T get used in the books? Who wrote to him? Remember Albert tried to contact someone from ALL the Sterling and Stirling branches he was aware of. Some of the facts presented in the book were first hand accounts from people that were still alive at the time the book was printed. These letters and papers will likely have a great deal more information, perhaps other news and information dear to the many Stirling and Sterling lines Albert researched.

So last year a quiet search for Albert's papers began. First we found more information on Albert M. Sterling himself - He was born on 3 Nov 1874, the son of Eugene Spencer Sterling and Ellen Elizabeth Mack. Eugene's parents were Alphonse Sterling and Mary Horton. Ellen Elizabeth Mack was the daughter of Alfred Mack and Elizabeth Jewett. Albert married Lillian Woodburn Burbank on 22 Dec 1898, and lived most of his life in Albany, New York, working for the newspaper there. He died around 1965. He had no known children. He is a descendant of the William Sterling of Lyme Connecticut branch of the Stirling family.

We've looked at the library of Congress and poked around quite a few historical societies in the North East United States, but so far we've not made much progress. So far very little is known about the state of these papers. If you have a moment, please take a look around, and report back to Clan Stirling what you find, and what you DO NOT find. Knowing that the papers are NOT in a certain library or historical society is just as valuable as that they are, as we will then know where not to look again. So please if you ask and don't find anything, LET US KNOW.

PLACES TO LOOK -

  • Albany New York Libraries, Historical Societies.
  • State of New York Library System. 
  • Universities.
  • Historical Societies.
  • Family Members - Maybe your family knows!

The more eyes and ears we have looking for Albert's papers, the better chance we all have of finding them. If we find them, I'm sure there will be a great deal of interesting and perhaps valuable information on them. Because Albert had no children, the papers and other items may be difficult to find. If you have information on Albert M. Sterling, or his papers, please pass the information along to albert @ clanstirling dot org A special webpage will be setup to keep you appraised of new developments.

Perhaps some of you wonder what possessed a man almost 100 years ago to create such a large work on the Sterling family. We are fortunate because Albert took some space in his book to tell us -

"A genealogy is necessarily, in great part, a repetition of the dry records of births, marriages, and deaths, but if the student of his ancestry will consider what a vast amount of happiness, joy, pathos, and sorrow have been associated with every one of these many dates and how vital each event was that these dates chronicle, to one or more of the blood, and that around such commonplace episodes cluster our dearest affections, he will find that these simple records contain all the elements that appeal to our highest natures, and an earnest consideration of the simple, humble lives of our parents and their forbears cannot but serve to strengthen our own purposes in the paths of modesty, gentleness, and duty." (The Sterling Genealogy, Vol 1, pg. 10)

I hope all of us will help find the rest of the happiness contained in Albert's life work.

Michael L. Jex
mike @ clanstirling dot org