Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Having Fun in the Summertime - is the name Brown?

It's a beautiful day in San Diego today - the outside temperature is 80  degrees F, the sun is shining, the light breeze is refreshing, and I'm inside in the 81 F Genealogy Cave having fun.  Three hours ago, I got the bright idea that I should start to attach records to the Facts for my ancestral families in an organized way.

So I've been going through this process:

1)  Find document images in the appropriate ancestral family Document folder, and make sure they are in my preferred file name convention - "FirstLast-Year-RecordType-Place-Info.Ext" (e.g., ThomasRichmond-1880-CensusUS-KillinglyCT.jpg)

2)  Find photograph images of people, gravestones, houses, etc. in the appropriate ancestral family Photographs folder and make sure they are in my preferred file name convention - "FirstLast-Year-RecordType-Place-Detail.Ext" (e.g., ThomasRichmond-1917-Gravestone-PutnamCT-GroveStreetCemetery.jpg).

3)  For records that I haven't "collected" yet, search on Ancestry.com, AmericanAncestors.org and FamilySearch.org for the records, especially vital records in the Massachusetts Town Vital Records collection (original town records!) and the Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 collection on AmericanAncestors.org.  When I find these and download them, I save them to the appropriate Document file folders.

4)  Having gotten the images into the right file folder and with a proper name, I uploaded them into RootsMagic 5 and then Tagged each of them to the appropriate Fact.

I have most of my Seaver side ancestors (note: just the ancestors, not the siblings) done back six generations.  In the process, I've collected a number of the town record entries from Ancestry.com, including this one which gave me an idea:

This page from the Southborough, Massachusetts town record has the entry for the marriage of John Phillips and Hannah Brown on 3 May 1749.  Here is a snippet of the record:

At some point, a transcriber got "John Phillips & Hannah Brown Married May ye 3d day 1749" out of that smudged line.  That transcribed information was put into the Southborough Vital Records book, which is where I originally found the record.  Of course, I dutifully noted the information, added it to my database, and sourced the published town vital record book.

Looking at the snippet above, I'm really not sure that the name is "Hannah Brown."  Here is a snippet of her name:

That may be "Hannah Brown" but I am really not sure.  Another entry in the index for this record says "Hannah Farr" is the name.  I don't see that, but it sure alerted me to look more carefully at the record!

I do think that the first name of John's wife is Hannah - the birth records of their first two children in Southborough is pretty clear:

Of course, I've never been able to find any other record of Hannah Brown's birth or parentage...so I searched the Town Record collection index for different names using wild cards (Han*, *nah, *nna," "*rah" and "Bro*," "Br*n."  Unfortunately, the indexing for this collection doesn't permit me to search for a specific town, like Southborough.  I will have to go page by page through these records in the future.

There is another marriage in Southborough around this time, a Susanna Brown married a Benjamin Garfield in Southborough on 3 December 1754.  The snippet of this marriage is:

I've always considered that if Hannah was a Brown, that this Susanna Brown may be her sister.  But then I've never been able to find a family with Hannah and Susanna Brown in or near Southborough.

'Tis a mystery ... but if her name wasn't Brown, I have some new avenues to search .... if I could figure out her last name from this record.

This, once again, highlights the necessity of finding the "original source" record if at all possible.  I think that these handwritten Southborough town records are the starting point for further research.

Can anyone else see something there that I cannot see?  

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/08/having-fun-in-summertime-is-name-brown.html

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Suzie Henderson said...

Brown looks pretty plausible...but give some consideration to Harriet rather than Hannah... Just a thought.

RHolmes said...

I tried to look at the image on Ancestry to see it better. I found the image of the vital record book in Massachusetts, Town Records, 1620-1988, but I can't determine where you found the original record. What am I missing?

Rosemary said...

Can you tell if she was a widow when she married?