Monday, September 19, 2011

Aaron Brown, Part 2

In Aaron Brown, Part 1, I wrote about my research into my third great grandfather on my father's side, Aaron Brown.  In that post, I noted that two census records (1850 and 1860 Sumter County Georgia) say he was born in North Carolina, while one record (1870 Covington County Alabama) says South Carolina.  (I'm leaning toward North Carolina, but I could be wrong.)  I want to know where Aaron came from, who his parents were, and whether or not he had any siblings (or any relatives for that matter).  So far I haven't found the answer to my questions.  I also wonder if he has a connection to Nathaniel Cook, i.e., is Aaron's wife Elizabeth Nathaniel's daughter?  Is that why both families ended up in Monroe County by 1830?  Is that even "our" Aaron Brown in that census.

Having read somewhere (I forget where) that families tended to move together (or move to places where they had relatives), I browsed the 1820 Elbert County census on ancestry.com and made a list of all of the Browns.  I felt that maybe at least one of them is related to Aaron, and they may have come to Elbert County together from North Carolina, or maybe Aaron or his family knew someone already living there (could even have been someone who wasn't a Brown).  There are 13 heads of household with the last name of Brown (not counting Aaron).  However, Aaron is the only Brown in Captain Oliver's District in Elbert County.  He could be living in that district because that's where his wife Elizabeth Cook's family is living.  There are several Cooks on the same census page as Aaron.

I read somewhere that the Genealogy Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files was a good place to look for information on veterans of that war [1].  These abstracts list birth and death dates, parents, spouses, children, and sometimes other relatives of the pensioners as well as places where the pensioners lived.  I thought it was possible that Aaron's father may have served in the war and had later moved his family to Elbert County from North Carolina.  There are over 30 pension abstracts for soldiers with the last name of Brown spread over 36 pages (in small typeface that hurt my old eyes to read), so I concentrated only on the Browns who enlisted in North Carolina.  I actually found an Aaron Brown, but none of his children were named Aaron (recall from Part 1 that the 1840 Macon County census listed Aaron as "Jr.").  I found a Benjamin Brown who enlisted in Wilkes County, North Carolina, and had moved to Elbert County after the war, but I haven't been able to tie him into our Aaron.  I plan to go back to the library one of these days and look for Browns from South Carolina in the abstracts just in case.

The Georgia census records for 1790 (when the Federal census first began) to 1810 no longer exist [2].  On top of that, there are no 1790 records for Elbert County, because it wasn't formed from neighboring Wilkes County until after the census was taken that year [3].  I looked through the Reconstructed 1790 Census of Georgia on ancestry.com which does have a section for Elbert County; the people listed are actually those living in Wilkes County before Elbert was formed [4].  I jotted down all of the Browns for future reference.  I searched the Georgia Tax Index 1789-1799 on ancestry.com, but nothing for Elbert County came up [5].  I did make a note of any Browns in Wilkes County, though.  I didn't see any reconstructed census records or tax records for Georgia for 1800-1810 or anything else up to the 1820 Elbert County census.  It's also possible that Aaron and his parents lived in a different county, maybe a neighboring one, until he married in 1819 and moved to Elbert County. That might be unlikely; how else would he have met Elizabeth if they weren't close neighbors already?

One set of records that I haven't looked through are the Georgia land lotteries (except for finding Aaron in the 1827 lottery.  See Part 1.).  Aaron and his parents may have ended up in Georgia as a result of the first (1805) or second (1807) land lotteries (which were for land in other counties) and then eventually made their way to Elbert County.  Another land lottery wasn't held until 1820 (for information on Georgia land lotteries see http://www.sos.ga.gov/archives/what_do_we_have/land_lottery/default.htm).

I've looked at naming patterns.  Is Aaron and Elizabeth's first son William named after Aaron's father or a brother?  His second son has the middle name of Nathaniel, the name of Elizabeth's probable father Nathaniel Cook.  Their first daughter was named Elizabeth, maybe after Aaron's wife Elizabeth or Elizabeth's probable mother who is also named Elizabeth (wife of Nathaniel).  Aaron didn't name a son after himself until later (see the list of his children in Part 1).  Their son William could simply be named after someone who was famous back then.  For example, they named one of their sons Thomas Jefferson.  There are three William Browns in the 1820 Elbert County census:  in the Talom District, Terrill District, and Whites District. However, none of them are old enough to be Aaron's father...brother maybe (all are in the age range 16-26).  The William Brown in the Talom District is "William U. Brown."  I found him on a family tree on ancestry.com.  It says he was born in North Carolina in 1801.  No sibling named Aaron is listed on the tree, but that doesn't necessarily mean there wasn't one.  Sometimes people (myself included) just follow their direct line in their family tree; however, I've learned that it helps to add the siblings.

One more thing before I close.  One of my first cousins with whom I've worked quite a bit researching our mutual ancestors was told by another family researcher that Aaron's son William was 3/4 Cherokee.  Well, that started a whole other direction of research (or rather, a new obsession for me).  I emailed this person, but I have to say, the response I received was rather confusing to me and he/she didn't respond to my further questions for a reference as to where this information was found.  Maybe he/she got distracted and busy.  That happens to me, too.  I'll write about this research later.  Does this mean that Aaron was Cherokee or had Cherokee ancestry?  Or his wife Elizabeth?  So far I haven't found anything to substantiate this.  I've asked several family researchers of other branches of this Brown tree if they have ever heard this.  All except one have said yes, but no one had any record of it.  Rats!

Catherine

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[1]  Genealogy Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files. Vol. I.  Abstracted by Virgil D. White. (The National Historical Publishing Company, Waynesboro, Tennessee, 1990).
[2]  Marie de Lamar and Elizabeth Rothstein, compilers.  Reconstructed 1790 Census of Georgia: Substitutes for Georgia's Lost 1790 Census. (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore 1989).  Digital copy available on ancestry.com.
[3]  See footnote 2 above.
[4]  See footnote 2 above.
[5]  Ancestry.com.  Jeffery, Alice. Georgia Tax Index, 1789-1799 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 1998.

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