We have tried to send an email to Scott and Leslie Penn, who have done a lot of public research on their Braun family, but it appears that they have changed their email address, so we post here in case they still read these pages.
We have spent a couple of decades tracking down our line of Braun/Brown ancestors, and we believe that our line of Browns intersects with your family. I'm not sure, however, that we'll ever be able to figure out how and when that happened.
Our progenitor, George Brown Senior, is a bit of a mystery. Our documentation places him first in Virginia, from about 1782 until 1793, when his children were born. In 1803, he bought land in Greene County, Tennessee, where most of his children were married. Around 1812, his children and their families migrated out of Greene County TN to Harrison and Crawford Counties in Indiana. We have loads of information about the families, but very little about George Brown Senior. The families that married his kids (Trobaugh, Lingenfelter, Hohl/Hull) had come from York and Lancaster Counties in Pennsylvania to Tennessee, via Augusta and Rockingham Counties in Virginia. It would be tempting to simply place him in their company as they migrated, but that's not something we can prove. We could extrapolate his birth to anywhere from 1740 to 1760, but nothing yet allows us to pin that down. An old family narrative places his death in Harrison Co IN in about 1813, but it's purely anecdotal.
In addition to the old-fashioned hard work of slogging through old records, we prevailed upon a couple of Brown descendants to submit samples for Y-DNA analysis. The donors were men who had never met each other -- distant enough cousins that neither had ever heard of the other. Given the fact that we have been very confident in the paperwork that tied them together, we were happy with a 24/25 match. We are confident that the 24 matching markers represent a profile of our ancestral Brown line. The E1b1b1 haplogroup limits the pool of potential matches, and we were discouraged for many years. Finally, during the past couple of years, three different submitters have yielded a significant match, along with the Braun or Brown surname. In all three of these cases, their common ancestor seems to have been Daniel Braun (1 Jan 1785 - 18 Nov 1834). After combing the Internet, it appears that there is a consensus about the anecdotal history concerning the death of a Braun father en route to North America who left several children to fend for themselves. The information we have about our George Brown Senior could logically place him as one of those orphan boys. Such a scenario would explain why we have trouble finding our George Brown. If the kids were split up on arrival in Philadelphia (?), they might never have known each other as adults. One thing is clear, however -- our George Brown shares a common ancestor with your Daniel (and Mathias) Brown. Indeed, since the birth of George's and Mathias' children make them contemporaries, we surmise that it's possible that our George could have been a brother to Mathias.
We have pored over ship's lists for years, looking for clues. Several of those lists contained Brauns who might fit into our family lines. The ship "Beulah" (qualified 10 Sep 1753) carried a lot of Brauns with names that fit nicely into your line and our line. Although we assume that the Braun orphans were pretty young, and would not likely be listed on a ship's list, it's possible that they might have been enumerated if their father was dead. This would probably be an attempt on the part of the Captain to recoup investment by selling the kids as indentured servants or apprentices.
An alternative ship might be the "Edinburgh" (19 Sep 1752), for which no ship list has survived. However, our co-researcher, Phyllis Groutage is sharp-eyed, and found a list of those men who signed the oath of allegiance to the King upon arrival in Philadelphia. Boys under 16 or 18 would not likely sign the oath. However, a Georg Braun is listed as being "sick on board" the ship, so he wasn't able to come on land to sign the oath. There is some suggestion that this was a device used by ship Captains to avoid reporting deaths en route. This way, the passenger manifest would correspond to the arrival records. His owners would have a report that everyone who signed on in Germany (and subsequently in Cowes, England) would have arrived in North America. Later, they might report that the man died in North America, not under the captain's care, if it was reported at all. Perhaps everyone understood the custom of listing the dead as "sick on board", with a wink and a nod.
I have a couple of respectful questions. The family anecdote about the father who died en route to North America is said to be "Henry". Is there any document at all which names him, or has that been an assumption? Is there any sort of old document, diary, newspaper report, or anything at all which relates the story? If not, it's entirely possible that the Georg Braun noted above could be the deceased parent. In our line, we finally figured out a glitch in the stories about our George Brown Senior, whom the writer always referred to as "John Brown". It finally dawned on us that the old German family bible must have listed him as "Johannes Georg Braun". By typical pattern, he would have been called "George", and, as he assimilated, he would have dropped the primary saint's name. The much later writer, not knowing anything about the man, called him "John".
I hope I haven't bored you -- if you think we might be able to provide insights to each other, please write back to me.
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