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Timothy Field Beard

Noted genealogist Timothy Field Beard of Roxbury, CT, died on February 13, 2015. He was 84 years old.


Mr. Beard was born in Great Barrington, MA, on December 19, 1930, to Mr. and Mrs. Stuart-Menteth Beard II (Natalie S. Turner). He grew up in Sheffield, MA, where his family at one time owned and operated the Sheffield Inn. He attended Indian Mountain School in Lakeville, CT, and Berkshire School in Sheffield.


Mr. Beard was named after his great-great-great-grandfather Timothy Field, a 1799 Yale graduate. In an anecdote from a 2010 story appearing in The Register Citizen of Torrington, CT, he said that Mr. Field was married to a Miss Wealthy Bishop before leaving Connecticut at the recommendation of his former theology teacher, Yale president Timothy Dwight, to head a new church in Canandaigua, NY— noting the genealogical humor in a Wealthy Bishop marrying a poor Congregational minister. Mr. Beard’s interest in history and genealogy seemingly ran in the family: he was the great-great-grandnephew of David Dudley Field, who compiled the first history of Berkshire County.


After graduating from Williams College in 1953 with a bachelor of arts degree in history, Mr. Beard returned home to help run the Sheffield Inn. After his mother’s death, he lived in England, where he also ran an inn, and New York City, where he earned a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University. He married Annette Knowles Huddleston of Clanton, AL, on September 12, 1963, at New York City’s Christ Church, United Methodist.


A Korean War veteran who served during his enlistment as a supply officer at the Bordeaux-Merignac Air Force Base, Mr. Beard was a longtime employee of the genealogical department of the New York Public Library, working there for 21 years after his graduation from Columbia. Later in life, he was the director of the Minor Memorial Library in Roxbury.


Best known for his critically acclaimed book, How to Find Your Family Roots, published in 1977 by McGraw Hill, Mr. Beard was elected in 1997 as one of 50 fellows of the American Society of Genealogists, an organization which honors the finest genealogical researchers in the country. A lifetime honor, the fellowship is granted to only 50 researchers at a time. “Since early childhood, he has been absorbed with the histories of both his extended families and those of others, tracing some of them to seemingly impossible lengths back to the days of Charlemagne, the monumental 8th-century Frankish king who founded the Holy Roman Empire,” Kathryn Boughton wrote in The Register Citizen profile of Mr. Beard.


Mr. Beard was involved with numerous genealogical organizations, as a member of the General Society of Colonial Wars, the Hereditary Order of Descendants of Colonial Governors, the Order of Descendants of Colonial Cavaliers, and the Society of the Cincinnati of Maryland. He served as president of the Order of Colonial Lords of Manors in America, registrar and past commander of the Order of the Indian Wars of the United States, past registrar general of the Sons of the Revolution, and past president of the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne.


He was predeceased by his wife in January of 1995.

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