Here's the blank spot in my pedigree chart for the ancestors of Hannah Brown (about 1725 to before 1774), married John Phillips (1722-????) in Southborough, Mass. in 1749:
I decided to try to find my binder containing the Brown surname in New England information that I found back in the 1990s. I recalled (vaguely!) that I had copied some reports from periodicals and books, had done some probate record work, and lots of vital record book work. My thought was "I probably duplicated some research with my post, but it got me back in the Brown research."
Yep. Eureka! Bonanza! Genea-gasm? Not yet... but I found the two-inch thick binder. What did it contain? Let me list the files in a general way, and then come up with a To-Do list for further work and some lessons learned:
1) First, the literature survey:
* Maxine Phelps Lines, A Record of Some of the Descendants of Thomas Brown of Concord, Mass. (Mesa, Ariz.: the author, 1962). Accessed on FHL Microfilm 1,321,094.
* "Descendants of Henry Brown of Salisbury," The Essex Antiquarian, Volume XII, No. 3 (July 1908), pages 97-107.
* "Descendants of Edward Brown of Ipswich," The Essex Antiquarian, Volume XII, No. 3 (July 1908), pages 125-129.
* "Descendants of John Brown of Ipswich," The Essex Antiquarian, Volume XII, No. 4 (October 1908), pages 156-166.
* Charles C. Whitney, Some Brown Genealogy : Being Some of the Descendants of John Brown, One of the Early Settlers of Reading, Mass. (Crete, Neb.: J-B Publishing, 1973).
* Carl Boyer, 3rd, New England Colonial Families, Volume I: Brown Families of Bristol Counties, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, From the Immigrants to the Early Nineteenth Century (Newhall, Calif.: the author, 1981).
* Henry Bond, M.D., Family Memorials: Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts (Boston, Mass. : Little, Brown & Co., 1855); Browne section, pages 118-141.
* Frederick Lewis Weis, Early Generations of the Brown Family of Sudbury, Massachusetts (Lancaster, Mass.: the author, 1931), typescript.
* Goodwin Brown, Genealogical Notes, Descendants of Thomas Browne of Concord, Mass. (New York : Martin B. Brown Company, 1901.
* "Stow, Mass. Family Records," typescript, "Thomas Brown Family, 1637-1938," accessed on FHL US/CAN Microfilm 0,815,621.
* A. Edward Brown, A Genealogy of One Line of Descendants of Thomas Brown of Lynn, Massachusetts (St. Joseph, Mich. : the author, 1976).
* Marcia Wiswall Lindberg, "Nicholas Browne of Lynn and Reading, Massachusetts," The Essex Genealogist, Volume 8, No. 3 (August 1988), pages 178-188.
* Harriet H. Robinson, "Nicholas Brown of Reading and some of His Descendants," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 44, No. 3 (July 1890), pages 281-283.
2) Vital Record Extractions - IGI, Town Vital Record Books, etc. These sources provided a list of Hannah Brown persons born in the 1710 to 1730 time frame, and recorded, who might be my Hannah Brown, including:
* Hannah Brown, born 3 July 1728 in Littleton to Jonathan and Sybil (Dudley) Brown
* Hannah Brown, born 9 June 1717 in Wakefield, to Josiah and Hannah Brown
* Hannah Brown, born 6 December 1716 in Concord, to Thomas and Hannah Brown
* Hannah Brown, born 3 November 1722 in Salisbury, to Abraham and Hannah Brown
* Hannah Brown, born 7 July 1725 in Salisbury, to George and Elizabeth Brown
* Hannah Brown, born 5 January 1723 in Danvers, to Eleazer and Sarah (Putnam) Brown
* Hannah Brown, born 2 August 1723 in Gloucester, to Elisha and Hannah Brown.
* Hannah Brown, born 25 March 1727 in Concord, to John and Elizabeth Brown
* Hannah Brown, born 14 February 1724 in Concord, to Ephraim and Hannah (Wilson) Brown
* Middlesex County Probate Index; Estates from Hannah Brown to William Brown were abstracted from microfilm of the probate packets. I don't know if I did from the Aaron Brown to Hannah Brown segment!
* Worcester County Probate Index; Probate Dockets. obtained several wills of selected persons who might be Hannah Brown's parents or siblings.
4) Land Records
* Worcester County Grantee and Grantor Indexes, listed some candidate deeds to obtain. Found three Brown persons who purchased land in Westborough in 1741, and James Brown granting land in 1750 in Southborough. I need to follow up on these!
5) To-Do List:
* Match Hannah Browns in the birth records with marriage records, if possible. See if there are unmatched Hannah Browns in both the birth and marriage records. Find death records for Hannah Browns in the vital record books to eliminate candidates.
* Review the probate record information I have (e.g., see if there is a daughter Hannah mentioned with Brown or a married surname) in order to identify the best possibilities.
* Obtain and review the Worcester County land records that I mentioned previously, and get into Middlesex County land records (on FamilySearch) for candidate families.
* Review the FHL Catalog, and FamilySearch Books, for Brown families to see what has been added since 1995.
* Review Martin Hollick's book New Englanders in the 1600s to see if there are recent articles or book s published about Brown families.
* The above To-Do list items may reveal an obvious, slam-dunk candidate for birth parents of my Hannah Brown.
* None of the above is helpful IF my Hannah Brown was not recorded in a birth record published in a town record and a town vital record book, or is not mentioned in a probate or land record.
* The major problem I think I have is: there may be no evidence of a relationship of my Hannah Brown with birth parents. Hannah's parents may continue to be blank spaces in my pedigree chart.
7) Lesson Learned:
* Review what I did in earlier years much more often! I had done many of the tasks I did yesterday, and did them better, using traditional book, periodical and manuscript records!
* Writing out the status of a research problem is really helpful - it provides the opportunity to come up with a To-Do list, think about hypotheses, and focus on candidate families.
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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver