W. Henry Brown (1843-c.1895)

BM-24 – W. Henry Brown (1843-c.1895)

Name and birthdate correction,

I don’t typically use other people trees for facts or relationships. Rather, I like to use other trees as a sort of reality check. If I see that other researchers have the same determination of facts that I have, I figure I’m on track. If I see other researchers have reached different conclusions, then I know that I need to review and double-check my facts and decisions regarding the individual. My second great grandfather Henry Brown required such a review and double-check. Pretty much everyone is in agreement regarding his wife, Marian Sanford. However, an Ancestry search for Arthur Durwood Brown (my great grandfather) brings up sixteen trees that include his parents. Ten of those Trees indicate Arthur’s father as Henry Mack Brown, one indicates William Henry Brown, one indicates Henry William Brown, and four indicate just Henry Brown.
All ten of the Henry Mack Brown selections indicate a birthdate in 1845 and all of the other Henry Browns indicate a birth year of 1842 or 1843. Learning of these differences cause me to reanalyze my finding and make sure I’m on the right path.
None of the other researchers appear to have a birth record for Henry Brown. The birth date and location appears to be deriving their birthdates from census records, a Michigan death record Index, and other family trees. I dismiss other family trees as fundamentally unreliable. It is too easy to accept other people work without taking time to consider the implications of that selection. Next are the census records. The closer the census record is to the original date, the better the answer typically is. I was able to find Henry in the 1850 census where he was seven[i] and in the 1860 census, where he was 17. In both cases he was living in Vernon, Shiawassee County, Michigan a 50 miles north of Washtenaw county where Marion Sanford grew up. In the 1850 Census, Henry Mack Brown appears to have been in Genesee County and appears to stayed in Genesee County and married Jane Gregory in 1886. Meanwhile, my Henry Brown married Marion Sanford about 1866 and lived in Saline, Washtenaw County. The key differentiator between my Henry Brown and others is about 1885 my Henry moved to North Dakota with the entire family. [ii] The North Dakota Census Index shows the entire family in North Dakota (See: http://library.ndsu.edu/db/census/family?ed=44-018-10) and shows Henry as W. H. Brown; but all the children are there at the right ages. I have been unable to find either a death record or a 1900 Census record for either Henry or his wife Marion. I suspect that both of them died between 1885 and 1900 (he would have been 58 in 1900). Therefore, I need to trace all of the children and see if they show up with either Henry or Marion with them in 1900.
I am certain that Arthur Durwood Brown’s father was not Henry Mack Brown. I am also certain that Henry William Brown is a different person for other reasons.
Two William H Browns Enlisted in Company E
William H. Born 30 Jul 1842-29 Jul 1843 is likely right.
William Henry born 20 Jul 1844-19 Jul 1845 not likely.
William Henry Brown is still a likely possibility for Henry Brown’s full name. I am sure that my Henry was enumerated as W. H. Brown in the 1885 Dakota Territory census. The one person that William Henry Brown appears to have based the name upon a William H Brown who enlisted in the Civil War, Company E, 4th Cavalry, Michigan Volunteers. I definitely need to research that name much more. As a Civil War Veteran, there may be much more information regarding his service.
So why the confusion? Certainly, Henry Brown is a common name. In addition, his age changes during the 1870 census.
Henry Brown’s age during various census records:
Census Year
Suggested Birth
2 Jun 1842 – 1 Jun 1843
2 Jun 1842 – 1 Jun 1843
2 Jun 1844 – 1 Jun 1845
2 Jun 1842 – 1 Jun 1843
2 Apr 1843 – 1 Apr 1844
Derived birthdate
2 Apr 1843 – 1 Jun 1843
Red=Outlayer – Green = Derived
So, what do I do with this information? I add a note in the individuals record to remind me of the things I’ve determined. In Henry’s case, I’ve added the following:
·      DO NOT CONFUSE with Henry T and Marion Brown of St. Clair Michigan.
·      DO NOT CONFUSE with Henry Mack Brown – 10/21/1845 – 03/09/1906
·      DO NOT CONFUSE with Henry W. Brown (b. 1843) of Saline, Washtenaw, whose father was Daney (born in NY) and mother was Mary E (born in New Jersey). Both of W. Henry Brown’s parents were born in New York.

Under my future tasks I added

·      Investigate William H Brown who enlisted in Company E, Michigan 4th Cavalry Regiment on 28 Aug 1862 and mustered out on 08 Jul 1865 at Detroit, MI.
·      Follow all of W Henry & Marion Brown’s children from 1885 to 1910 and see if Henry or Marion show up anywhere.




[i] United States Census, 1850, Family Search, Benjamin Brown. https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MF8G-92R.
[ii] 1885 Census – Dakota Territory, NDSU Archives, Page 44-018. Brown, W. H., et al. http://library.ndsu.edu/db/census/family?ed=44-018-10.
 ———— Disclaimer ————-

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