My Male Ancestors – Birth, Death, and Age at Death

Brown/Montran Research
Roberts/Barnes Research

One of the reasons that I enjoy Randy Seaver’s blog, Genea-Musings is that he regularly makes me realize the missing branches I have in my tree leaves have lots more to do on my tree.  His recent “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun” asked folks to look at their tree and determine the age of death for their male ancestors. (He had done a similar thing for female ancestors the week before.)

Using Heredis, it is really simple to generate such a report. I clicked on myself, then clicked on Documents/Ancestor Report and the system generated the data. Then I went to Report Export, I selected Excel from several options.  After the information exported, the Excel spreadsheet opened automatically.

Because the ahnentafel numbers for the individuals are exported, it is easy to select just the male ancestors by deleting all of the odd numbers. I immediately saw that my 3rd great-grandfather, Enoch Mannin, lived the longest – 88 years. The ancestor who died the earliest was my great-grandfather Hugh Ellis Roberts, who died at an extremely young 24 years of age.

Next, I began seeing my gaps.  I have three people with a range of dates for their life.  For example, my great-grandfather John F. Montran was born sometime between 1860 and 1875 and died sometime before 1911. So, he could have died at 35 or died at 51 years or anywhere in between; I don’t know.

Then, I realized I have six ancestors for whom I have no death dates. More work.

Finally, I realized I have nine ancestors in the past five generations that I know nothing about.  No names, let alone birth or death dates. So, Randy’s challenge reminded me of how much more work I still have to do. But the good news is that I have 11 of my male ancestors identified as to their age at death. Even better, I have eight more this year than I would have had last year (all of my Roberts line.).  I even have one more than I would have had last week, So things are definitely looking up.

Chart of Male Ancestors, Dates of Birth and Death

Ahn. #
Birth Date
Death Date
Age at Death
Hugh Eugene  Roberts
° 9/1926
† 27/3/1997
Bert Allen  Roberts
° 7/9/1903
† 1/5/1949
Richard Earl  Brown
° 14/9/1903
† 19/1/1990
Hugh Ellis  Roberts
° 2/7/1884
† 30/8/1908
Joel Clinton Barnes
° 23/6/1857
† 30/6/1921
Arthur Durwood  Brown
° ~ 1864
† 27/8/1928
~ 64
John F  Montran
° <> 1860 & 1875
† < 1911
< 35
2nd Great-Grandfathers
Asa Ellis Roberts
° 28/2/1835
† 8/10/1887
Samuel Vaden Scott
° 1860
† 1931
Nelson Barnes
° 24/3/1816
† 21/2/1884
Nimrod Lister
° <> 1824 & 1827
† < 1909
< 82
William Henry Brown
° 1842
John William  Manning
° ~ 1845
† 25/4/1888
~ 43
Unknown (Montran)
Franklin E  Barber
° 10/1836
† 7/4/1917
Third Great-Grandfathers
John Calvin Roberts
° 3/3/1795
† 4/1873
Unknown Marshall
William H. Scott
Adrico J. Haley
Unknown (Barnes)
Unknown (Lister)
Barney Brown
° ~ 1814
† <> 1860 & 1870
<> 46 & 55
William M  Sanford
° ~ 1822
Enoch  Mannin
° 1819
† 7/4/1907
Unknown (Montran)
Unknown (Barber)
Stephen  Blackhurst
° ~ 1804
† 24/12/1869
~ 65
———-  DISCLAIMER  ———-


Surname Saturday – Brown

 Meaning – Brown Name Meaning

English, Scottish, and Irish: Generally a nickname referring to the color of the hair or complexion, Middle English br(o)un, from Old English brun or Old French brun. As an American family name, it has absorbed numerous surnames from other languages with the same meaning.[i] The name is from an old adjective meaning ‘brown dark red,’ Old English and OHG. [ii] Read More About This Surname


Although only ranked #202 in the world, the surname Brown is ranked #2 in Scotland and Canada, #3 in Australia, and #4 in England and the United States. In the United States, it is surpassed only by Smith, Johnson, and Williams in frequency.[iii]

In the 1840s, the Brown families in the United States were in every state but concentrated in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.[iv]

My Brown Ancestors

#96 – My earliest known Brown ancestor is my 4th great-grandfather, Odel Brown. I know virtually nothing about Odel other than he was probably born about 1773, he married a woman named Jane and had at least two children, David and my 3rd great-grandfather, Barney Brown.

#48 – Barney/Daney Brown was born in New Hampshire about 1814. He married a woman named Mary probably about 1840.[v] Barney and Mary had at least four children, William Henry, Myron O., Alice C., and David V. Brown. Barney/Daney Brown seems to have vanished from the records after 1860 and before 1870, so I believe he died before 1 June 1870.

#24 William Henry Brown (he apparently went by Henry) was born in 1842 in Michigan. I speculate that he married Marion Sanford in 1866.[vi] They had 11 children that I know of.

  1. Arthur Durwood Brown
  2. Nettie May Brown
  3. Charles Dean Brown
  4. Mary Brown
  5. Almond Brown
  6. Gerome Clifford Brown
  7. William Henry Brown
  8. Clyde Hewett Brown
  9. Frederick Brown
  10. Ada Brown
  11. Edward Warberton Brown

William Henry Brown appears to have died between 1885 and 1900.

Arthur Durwood Brown

#12 Arthur Durwood Brown was born about 1864 in Michigan. He married Mary Elizabeth Manning in 1891. Arthur and Mary had twelve children:

  1. Clarence Arthur Brown
  2. Clyde Leroy Brown
  3. Victoria Cecelia Brown
  4. Martin Brown
  5. Cora Elsie Brown
  6. Richard Earl Brown (Aka Clifford Durand Brown)
  7. Dorothy Brown
  8. Edward Lewis Brown
  9. Arthur Eugene Brown
  10. Charles William Brown
  11. Delores Sarah Brown
  12. Nettie Mae Viola Brown

Arthur Durwood Brown died on 27 Aug 1928 in Walker, Minnesota.

Richard Earl Brown

#06 Richard Earl Brown was born 14 September 1903 as Clifford Durwood Brown. He had a daughter, my mother, with Madonna (Donna) Montran. He always wanted to marry Donna, but she said, “No.”

He changed his name to Richard Earl Durand and married Dorothy Amanda Wilhelm. Dick, as he was known, and Dorothy had two children. Living Durand and Mary Lou Durand. He married Cecelia Ann Squires in 1975.

Richard Earl Brown died 19 January 1990.

My Direct Brown Ancestors

  • #96 – Odel Brown (c. 1796-?)
  • #48 – Barney/Daney Brown (c.1814-c.1860)
  • #24 – William Henry Brown (1842-c.1895)
  • #12 – Arthur Durwood Brown (1864-1928)
  • #6 – Richard Earl Brown (aka Clifford Durwood Brown, aka Richard Earl Durand) (1903-1990)
  • #3 – My mother – (Living)
  • #1 – Me – Generation

My known Brown relatives.

My records have 248 direct-line descendants of Barney/Daney Brown identified over nine generations, which is about 5% of my known Brown/Montran family tree. Looking at the Browns another way, I have 144 individuals with the surname of Brown in my Brown/Montran family tree, the most of any surname.


[i]; Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press via

[ii] Web: Forebears –

[iii] Web: Wikipedia – List of most common surnames in North America

[iv]; From the 1840 US Federal Census Date –

[v] William Henry Brown was born in 1842 and is believed to be the first child of Barney and Mary Brown. Assuming they did marry, that would estimate they married about 1840.

[vi]   Marian’s first child was born in 1867 when she was 20. I guesstimate she and Henry were married about a year earlier when she was 19.

———- DISCLAIMER ———-

Do you have a Brown ancestor?  Do you think that ancestor is one of mine?  If so, let’s prove it.  If you have tested with Ancestry, Family Tree, or 23 & Me, please contact me through the comments field below.  If you haven’t tested, I recommend you do so. Either FamilyTreeDNA or Ancestry.Com tests will easily show the genetic connection.



One resource you probably aren’t using enough.

My Tappen, ND Connection

By Don Taylor
There is one resource I know that I don’t use enough, WorldCat. Every time I do use it I am amazed at the wonderful information I can find out about my ancestors.

WorldCat is the world’s largest network of library content and services. It itemizes the collections of 72,000 libraries that participate in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) global cooperative.

Last Fall I was researching my maternal grandfather’s youth. His father, Arthur Durwood Brown, located with his parents and siblings from Saline Michigan to North Dakota in the early 1880s.  From there Arthur and his siblings disburses through the area.  Arthur settled near Robinson, ND. His brother, Clifford Gerome Brown, settled near Tappen, ND, about 25 miles away. My grandfather, Dick, was originally born Clifford, apparently named after his uncle Clifford.  I also had been in contact with a third cousin, whose great grandfather was Clifford.


Delilah Brown c. 1924
Zona Brown c. 1924
Ellwyn Brown c. 1924
Photos cropped from: Tappen, 1878-1966: eighty-eight years of progress.
Pages 388, 390, and 389 respectively
North Dakota became a state in 1889, so folks that settled there before 1889 are often thought of as pioneers. With that in mind, I wondered if there were any books regarding Tappen, ND.
A Google search of: Tappen AND “North Dakota” AND History yield over 365,000 returns. Way too much to even think about. I searched just Google Books and received over 3000 returns. Still, too many things to look at. Then I thought of WorldCat. A quick search on WorldCat for the keywords, “North Dakota” and “Tappen” in the title –Twenty-seven results.  Much more manageable. Several of the results were clearly not of interest to me, however, several other books clearly were potentially interesting.
One of the many nice things about using WorldCat is that it shows if the book you are looking for might be available locally.  That is really good.  Also, if not, it provides all of the information you will need to request the book through an interlibrary loan. Finally, WorldCat also provides citation information in 5 different formats.  (I use Chicago but many people I know use APA or Harvard.)
Clifford Gerome and Louella Lillian (Bean) Brown
Source: Tappen, 1878-1966: eighty-eight years of progress.
1966. [Place of publication not identified]: [publisher not
identified]. Page 237
I decided to order Tappen, 1878-1966: eighty-eight years of progress through interlibrary load.  Sure enough, a few weeks later it arrived.  With the Christmas season my focus directed elsewhere, I pursued the book, saw quite a few things that were of interest.  I didn’t have time to deal with it then, so I just jotted down the page number of pages that were of interest, then I photographed those pages with my iPad for further investigation.
The files languished for nearly six months, but I finally got back to them.  Very interesting filler information for Clifford Gerome Brown and his family. A photo of Clifford and his wife, Louella.  Photos of various classes during the 1924 school year showing most of Clifford and Louella’s children. All images that I never had before; there were photos of the schools and churches they attended.An amazing amount of background information.
The process I recommend is:

1. Search using advanced Search

Under Keywords enter state and history, such as:  “North Dakota” History

Under Title enter the city/town/county of interest.

2. Select a book that is of interest.
3. Check/search Google Books and/or Google for the book.
4a. If available for free through Google books, review the book there.
4b. If available from a local library, review the book there.
4c. If not available electronically or locally, order through Interlibrary loan via you library.  Use the information from WorldCat to request the book.

Certainly is a resource I don’t use often enough and it is one I should use more. I’ll bet you’re like me and should use it more, too.

———- DISCLAIMER ———-


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: 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.
[ii] 1885 Census – Dakota Territory, NDSU Archives, Page 44-018. Brown, W. H., et al.
 ———— Disclaimer ————-

Is it enough? (To not use the names of living individuals)

Is it enough?

(To not use the names of living individuals)

The stepson of a grand uncle of mine recently contacted me. I had written about his mother and stepfather a few years ago and he found my blog posting to be fascinating. His mother married my grand-uncle when he was about two and a half. In my posting, I mentioned that his mother had a child when he was four-years-old. The child, a boy, was a half-sibling; he and the baby had a common mother but different fathers. What he found so fascinating was that neither he nor his other half-siblings had any knowledge of the child who was born and died about seven weeks later.
My wife commented about the encounter, “What if the mother didn’t want anyone to know?” Was I right in telling the story? It is a tough moral question. I rested my hat upon the following facts:

Both mother and father had passed.
The child had passed (as an infant).
I didn’t name any living individuals in my story.
Last, but not least, I had the sources that told the factual story.

Nevertheless, my wife’s comments made me think. What should be the criteria about when not to tell a story? I try to be careful about never telling the names of living people, is that enough?

Please leave any thoughts or comments below.
————-  DISCLAIMER  ————-