About Us

Mike and Cathy Otterson 2022
Otterson family logo used for the Otterson.org website

Our logo

The Liver Bird (pronounced Lye-ver Bird) is the iconic symbol of our native city of Liverpool, England. It is encircled by the first letter of our surname. The date of 1948 is the year we were both born and 1968 was when our family began.  The laurel wreath represents aspiration, peace and service. The laurel leaves rising up from the two interlocked leaves at the foot represent the rising generations who will follow.

Sunset over the twin Liver birds on Liverpool's Liver Building. Courtesy Liverpool Echo
Sunset over the twin Liver birds on Liverpool's Liver Building. Courtesy Liverpool Echo

Our Approach

The Otterson and Berry families came together in Liverpool, England, in 1968. The Otterson history was mostly in County Durham, England, and their connections extend deep into the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The Berry roots are in Liverpool and Ireland, and their lines reach into the English Midlands and Cornwall.

This website explores the origins of dozens of families who are the Otterson and Berry ancestors, but makes no effort to reproduce extensive family trees, or document family relationships with lots of dates and places and charts. If you are looking for that, you can find it all on the free site at FamilySearch.org or on Ancestry.com.

What this site is about is capturing the stories and the essence of who our forebears were - the lives they touched, the paths they trod and the challenging times in which they lived.  Our ancestors' stories are very much like those of your ancestors, whether coal miners or sailors, whether born in poverty or comfort, whether they spoke with English, Irish or American accents. 

We hope you find something of interest here, and if you do, please let us know. We'd be glad to hear from you on the Comments page. Email addresses are never shared.

How it all began...

Mike's interest in family history has its origins in his teens. Otterson is not a very common name in England - certainly not in Liverpool where he grew up, or in Sunderland either, where both his parents were born and raised. And so he promised himself that one day he would trace his name to its roots.

That journey of discovery started in earnest in the early 1970s, but since the couple had moved to Australia, research of English records was slow and difficult.

Early in the 1990s the family - now considerably larger - moved to the United States, specifically to Salt Lake City, Utah, the home of the largest genealogical library in the world. A few years later the Internet exploded with its masses of new data and sources. Genealogical research boomed all over the world, and a passion to find and tell these stories was born.