Chasing the Elusive Brown Kids

Easier Now Than in 2010

Here’s where I’m at with the children of William and Elizabeth (Heriott) Brown:

1. Sarah Brown was born in 1811 in Sussex, England. She married William Mason in St Nicholas Church, Brighton on 19 Sep 1830.1 William was born about 1805 in Lewes, Sussex, England and worked as a coach maker. They, along with their two infant sons, immigrated to New York on the same ship with her parents and siblings and arrived on 11 Apr 1835.2 Sarah died about 1849 and was interred in Cypress Hills Cemetery on 14 Jan 1849.3 There will be more in the next post about Sarah’s family.

2. John Brown was born about 1814 in Sussex, England. He was christened 18 Sep 1814 in St. Anne, Lewes, Sussex, England.4 He did not immigrate at the same time as his family, however he did die here (at the age of 33) since he was buried in the family plot on 14 Jan 1849 and shares grave 17 with his sister Sarah and younger brother Robert. His age at death was 33, making his death date in 1847.5 I have found no death notice, obituary, or probate record. I do not know if he married.

3. Frances Brown was born about 1815 in Sussex, England. I haven’t yet found her christening record. I covered her and husband William Frith’s lives in the More Darn Friths post 30 Oct 2015.

4. William Brown was born about 1816 in Sussex, England. I have not yet found a birth/christening record for him. He arrived with his parents and siblings on 11 Apr 1835.6 The last definite record I have located for him is the previously discussed 1850 Federal Census. He is not buried in the family plot.

5. Edward Brown was born 6 Oct 1819 in Suffolk, England, and arrived in 1835 with his family. His birth date came from his obituary; I have not yet located a birth or christening record for him. He married Ann Burnette on 1 Jun 1839 (date from his obit) and they had at least 8 children. He died 6 Oct 1906 in Brooklyn and was buried in Cypress Hills Cemetery in the Brown-Frith family plot in grave 17 with his younger brother Marshall. His obituary was published on Thursday, 12 Apr 1906 in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle on page 3, col 1. I’ll be dedicating an entire post to Edward and his family. I will cover Edward and his family (along will all the sources in a later post – another fascinating family.

6. Marshall Brown was born about 1822 in Sussex, England. I have not yet found a birth or christening record for him. He arrived with his family in New York on 11 Apr 1835.7 I was unable to definitively locate him on the 1850 Federal Census. He was interred in the Brown-Frith family plot on 10 Apr 1851 in grave 17. His age at death was 29, matching the age from the passenger list.8 I have found no death notice or records yet.

7. Catherine Brown was born about 1824 in Sussex, England. I have not yet found a birth or christening record for her. She arrived with her family in New York on 11 Apr 1835. I have found no records after that date to help me locate her. At the time of the 1840 census, she would have been 16 years old. It is possible that she was married, but much more likely she had died prior to 1840. She is not located in the family plot.

8. Mary Anne Walder Brown was born about 1826 in Sussex, England. I have not found a birth or christening record for her yet. She uses the name Mary A.W. throughout life, and her will provided the name Walder. She arrived with her family in New York on 11 Apr 1835, and I can account for her (based on age) on the 1840 census. In about 1849, Mary Anne married Robert William Pringle (b.1830 Ireland) and resided in Brooklyn throughout her life. Mary Anne died 11 April 1904. She was interred in Green-Wood Cemetery with her husband in Lot 27263, Sec 135. More on Mary Anne, including the sources, in a later post.

9. James Brown was born about 1829 in Sussex, England. I have not yet found a birth or christening record for him. He arrived in New York with his family on 11 Apr 1835. I have accounted for him on the 1840 Federal Census. In 1865 he’s with his sister Mary A. Pringle and mother Elizabeth in Brooklyn.9 On that census he states he was married once and is now a widower. William Brown (b. 1857) is also in the home and is probably his son. William is back with his aunt Mary A.W. Brown Pringle in 1875. James was interred on 30 Oct 1870, in the Brown-Frith family plot in grave 13 with his parents. He was not found in the New York City death index so it’s probable he died outside of the city.10 I have not yet found a death notice or death record for him.

10. George Brown was born about 1831 in Sussex, England. I have not yet found a birth or christening record for him. He arrived in New York with his family on 11 Apr 1835. I believe that he is mis-enumerated as a female on the 1840 Federal Census. My reasoning is that he was 15 when he died, placing his death in about 1846. He would have been alive in 1840. He was interred with his siblings Sarah and John on 4 Jan 1849 in grave 17 of the Brown-Frith family plot.11 Based on his listed age at death of 15, he would have died in 1846. I have found no notice or record of his death.

1. Marriage Record, Sarah Brown to William Mason, 19 Sep 1830, Family Search. Cit. Date: 9 Jun 2014.
2. “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” online images(accessed 12 May 2014), manifest, Henry Thompson, 11 Apr 1835, William Mason and Family. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
3. Interment Records, William Brown Family Plot Lot 161, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery, Sarah Mason, age 38, interred 14 Jan 1849 at the same time as her brothers John and George.
4. “Family Search,” database(accessed 10 Nov 2015), John Brown, 18 Sep 1814, son of William and Elizabeth Brown; citing Lewes, Sussex, England, reference; FHL microfilm 1,468,906.
5. Interment Records, William Brown Family Plot Lot 161, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery, John Brown, age 33, interred 14 Jan 1849 at the same time as his sister Sarah and brother George.
6. “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” online images(accessed 12 May 2014), manifest, Henry Thompson, 11 Apr 1835, William Brown and Family. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
7. ibid.
8. 5. Interment Records, William Brown Family Plot Lot 161, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery, Marshall Brown, age 29, interred 10 Apr 1851.
9. 1865 NewYork State Census, Brooklyn Ward 2, Kings, New York, p. 59, family 422, line 33, James Brown 32, Brother, England, Laborer, married once, widower; digital images(accessed 13 Nov 2015).
10. Interment Records, William Brown Family Plot Lot 161, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery, James Brown, age 40, interred 30 Oct 1870. Not found in NY Death Index. Cit. Date: 12 May 2014.
11. Interment Records, William Brown Family Plot Lot 161, Sec 2, Cypress Hills Cemetery, George Brown, age 15, interred 14 Jan 1849 at the same time as his sister Sarah and brother John.

Special Thanks

Being in Tucson and researching in Pennsylvania comes with a few challenges. However, it also comes with its own set of rewards. You meet some of the nicest people when you are researching your family. While I tried to photograph most of the tombstones the last time I was in Pennsylvania, I of course missed a few I knew of, and then there were all the confirmed discoveries in the last year as I’ve worked the line. I have tried to add memorials on Find A Grave for the families as I found them.

Of note has been Ralph Satterfield, who has claimed almost every photo request that I put up on Find A Grave. Throughout January, Ralph has made repeated trips to Elderton and Plum Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery to photograph the tombstones of the Beatty, and Shaffer clan. His photographs have been incredibly helpful as he often provides a close-up of the dates. It is a combination of his photos and mine that you have been seeing on the tombstone posts about this family. No doubt, he will be photographing more stones as I move on to working the Olinger and Yount lines. Thank you, Ralph. I appreciate all your hard work.

For those of us who research seriously, it’s an incredible pleasure to bump into someone who sources the information they put online. Diana Roche’s extremely well sourced tree for the Isaac LeFever/LeFevre family appears on Rootsweb and was instrumental in clarifying the family of Eximnia “Minnie” (Shaffer) LeFevre (1849-1897). Her work also provided me with information on two new sources, which I can now explore in hopes of finding more information on members of the Shaffer line. Thank you, Diana. It’s always a pleasure to see quality work.

I have also enjoyed help from Beatty researcher Cynthia Joyner. She is one of the contacts on the Beatty 2000 project for our Line #84, the line of Andrew Beatty’s descendants. As with most genealogists, she was generous in sharing her research with me.

Thanks go out to all the folks on Find A Grave who were kind enough to respond to my requests to either transfer memorials or add dates, bios, and family links. I’m happy to add and update these memorials as we go along.

We don’t “own” our ancestors, but for those of us who do this, we have a responsibility to ensure the information we post is as correct as possible. We also have a responsibility to provide our sources to other researchers and not repeatedly copy unsourced and possibly incorrect information without noting that the material is “for research only” or at least documenting where it came from. Thank you all for helping me work toward making the information provided on our common line as correct as possible.

Last Thoughts on the Beatty Line.

Before I move on from the Beatty family, I would like to clear up a couple of things.

First – I’ve been asked about how sure I am in my “conclusions” with this family. There are several places where we do not have a “smoking gun” document. I’ve tried to cover those items in the posts, but I’ll do a quick wrap-up here to tie this family together. Obviously, I can trace Nancy M.J. Beatty Shaffer to her mother and father through the named census records. I also have her death certificate and baptism record, both of which name her parents as James and Rebecca Beatty. As for James’s death, we have the newspaper report which matches our family story. Would I like to have a newspaper mention of his family or some government document – yes! And, I will keep looking, but I’m sure this is our guy. Sadly, I have little hope of ever getting farther back without lucking into a family bible, letter, or some other document from the era. As for the relationship of Rebecca to Andrew and Sarah “Sally” Beatty – we have Sarah in the home with Rebecca after the death of Andrew. We have Nancy Beatty’s will, which names her sister and her brother, as well as her obituary, stating she died in her sister Letitia’s home. Andrew resided beside Rebecca and her husband, and previous to that, beside his son Robert. This IS a family group.

Second – County Tyrone in Ireland. While everyone wants to jump on this – me included – I have no definitive proof that this is where they came from. I would have felt better if that had of appeared by name in the bible or the articles that we’ve found. Are all indications that this is where they are from? Yes. We have the Northern Ireland in the bible which narrows it down. We also have numerous notes, obituaries, and articles about other Beatty’s and people with shared names coming from County Tyrone. (Example: Robert names a son Samuel Bothel Beatty in 1841: There is a James Bothell in the Indiana County death records, farmer, b. Tyrone Co. Ireland, s/o David & Elizabeth Campbell Bothell, h/o Catharine, he was a casualty, buried Old Cemetery in Indiana, b. 18 Dec 1786, 2 May 1854, 68 y.) Bothell is just unusual enough to make me wonder if this was a relation – perhaps even an uncle or cousin. As I research, I will be looking for those connections. But until I have them – I will only be stating Ireland as a place of birth.

Third – when I move on from a family on this site, I’m not declaring them “done.” The Beatty family is anything but done. What I am doing is saying that this is where I am as of the date this post goes up. The research continues. I’m still working with other researchers and chasing documents that may shed light on this family line. And even though other people have already done some of the research – I still need to see the source for myself. Too often, we find things that others have missed. In this particular line, I have found transcripts of stones, documents, and wills, that are erroneous or have omissions. In the past, I have found clues that others simply ignored, not because I’m one bit smarter than anyone else, but we all look at things differently. It is always best to look at the original document for yourself if possible. That’s why I am trying to include them or at least source them, so others can go look at them for themselves.

Fourth – I will continue to update my BurgraffScott tree on Ancestry with my finds. As I work here on this blog to research each family and create a decent file in Legacy, I will make sure it is reflected on that tree. That includes the appropriate sourcing and differentiating between facts and my suppositions. Honestly, I don’t understand the purpose of an un-sourced tree. Don’t get me wrong – I am grateful they are there, but they are simply leads to be followed – NOT FACTS to be copied. I don’t want to piss anyone off here, but some of this stuff is just copied and copied and copied – and it was wrong to begin with. If you have something – tell us where it came from!

Lastly – Do not take what I provide as gospel. I am just as likely to make a mistake or come to a bad conclusion as the next person. Go look it up for yourself – read the will, find the newspaper article, and go look at the records. I could just as easily have blown it. All I’m trying to do is provide you with the information that I found and the basis for my conclusions.

Final Conclusions – Zachariah T. Scott

The case for Zachariah Anthony/Smail/Scott.

1. The only Zachariah of the correct age in the area on the 1850 and 1860 censuses is Zachariah Smail.
2. Zachariah Smail disappeared from records at the same time that Zachariah Scott appeared in records.
3. The baptismal record shows that Zacharia [sic] Anthony was born on 2 December 1842, only one day different from Zachariah Scott’s 3 December 1842 tombstone birth date.
4. The baptismal record states, “Declared father James Scott.”
5. Polly/Mary and George Smail had children baptized in the same church as Zachariah Anthony.
6. Zachariah was baptized in the same church Margaret Olinger’s family attended.
7. There are no wills in Armstrong County for James Scott.
8. Bastard bonds were not required by Armstrong or Indiana County, and no records concerning guardianship or contracts for child support were found for the time period from 1842 through 1864.
9. Neither Zachariah Smail nor Zachariah Scott appears in any court records from 1842 through 1864 in either Armstrong County or adjoining Indiana County.
10. No will has been located for George or Mary Smail in Armstrong or Indiana County.
11. No death record exists for Mary Smail that would indicate her parentage.

My basic research indicates that it was not an unusual practice for a father to be declared at the time of a child’s baptism. With no bond required for support of an infant, the church or family would attempt to solicit support from the declared father by publicly naming him. I have not yet found any extant records that indicate support was demanded or paid for Zachariah Anthony.

Initial research on the line of John A. Anthony suggests he remained in the area, but I have not yet located any records that show his death or parentage. The census records for 1840 in the area have many Anthony families with children that would match the ages for John and Polly/Mary and their exact relationship is still unclear.

My next post will detail the search for James Scott.

Finding Zachariah T. Scott

I was in the process of doing a random search on Margaret’s father, Daniel Olinger, when my spelling accident occurred. I typed in “’Daniel Ohlinger’ Armstrong Co. PA” and hit enter for my Google search. As soon as I did it, I realized that I had misspelled Olinger and was ready to start over when a single item came up in the results. The word “GASTOWN” in the description caught my eye. Gastown is less than three miles from Elderton and many of the Olingers are buried in the small cemetery there. The entry was a transcription of records for the Reformed and Lutheran Churches in Gastown with baptismal entries from 24 September 1840 through 26 January 1889. I was pretty excited about the record as it might document the birth or baptism of Margaret who was born in 1842, so I began to skim the pages looking for Olinger/Ohlinger. The pages had been translated from the original German, so I expected some spelling variations and possibly even different names based on the German version. I did not find a record for Margaret, but what I did find on page 3 of the transcript was a baptism record that stunned me:

Zacharia b. 2 Dec. 1842, Bapt. 16 Sept. 1844,
Parents: Polly Anthony,
Declared Father: James Scott,
Sponsor: John Anthony

Could it be as simple as an illegitimate child? The birth date was only a day off from his tombstone and the date listed on his death record. But how many children named Zachariah could have been born in the opening days of December 1842 in the Elderton/Gastown area? More importantly, how many Zachariahs could there be with a declared father named Scott?

According to the index, this was the only Scott listed in the record, but I still went through every page and looked at every name. I marked all the Anthonys and found that John A. Anthony and his wife Phebia had two children baptized in the church in 1848 and 1849 respectively. Based on their ages, it is probable that John was a brother or a cousin to Polly. These were the only baptismal records with the surname of Anthony.

On Ancestry, I did an advanced search for Zachariah, born 1842, Armstrong, Pennsylvania, with a mother named Polly. I was rewarded with Zachariah and Polly Smail on the 1850 census in Plumcreek Township. This was the same family I had looked at previously, but now the possibility that my Zachariah Scott and this Zachariah Smail could be one and the same, had “legs.” The household consisted of:

George Smail, age 25, a farmer born in PA
Polly, age 28, PA
Zachariah, age 10, PA, attending school
Elisa Jane, age 2
Canann, age 6 mo. Female

The 1860 census placed the family in Cowanshannock Township, which abuts the northern end of Plumcreek Township. The family now consisted of:

George Smail, age 40
Mary, 26
Zacharias, 17
Eliza J., 15
Catharine A., 9
Margaret, 8
James, 5
Mary, 4
Sarah, 3

Back in the church records I looked for Smails and quickly found them under the German spelling of Schmehl. There was a baptismal record on page 5 for Elisa Jane, born 27 July 1848, baptized 16 October 1848, parents George Schmehl and wife Polly. This entry is a mere dozen entries below the entry of John A. and Phebia Anthony’s first child, Elisabeth Anna. Catharine’s 11 December 1849 birth and 4 May 1851 baptism are recorded on page 7 with the parents listed as George Schmehl and wife Maria. Since Polly is a pet name for Mary, I had no trouble accepting that this was the same woman using the more mature name of Mary in the census records and being referred to as Maria in the German church record.

I spent the next couple of weeks trying every search method that I could think of to locate records for Zachariah Smail after 1860, but it seems that Zachariah Smail disappeared at the same time Zachariah Scott appeared. I have not found Zachariah Smail on any census record, burial, or cemetery record, nor did he enlist in the military or die in the Civil War. There are no tax or draft records for him in the appropriate places or times. I conducted the same searches for Zachariah Anthony – he does not exist beyond the church record of his baptism.

1. Gastown Reformed and Lutheran Churches (Gastown, Pennsylvania, Armstrong County), Combined Church Records, “Church Book of the Reformed and Lutheran Churches of Plumcreek,” Baptism Zachariah Scott p3; digital images, Candy McCain, U S. GenWeb ( : accessed 10 Jul 2008).
2. 1850 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp, p. 354, dwelling 291, family 291, Zachariah Smail; digital images, Ancestry (; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 749.
3. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Cowanshannock, p. 124, dwelling 1325, family 1325, Zachariah Smail; digital images, Ancestry (; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 1069.