Birth Brief

In the Middle Ages members of noble families often had birth briefs prepared, showing that a person was noble in all branches, and therefore acceptable for a noble marriage. The most famous form of birth brief was the Seize Quartiers, showing that all of the person’s 16 great great grandparents were noble. Today, the idea of a birth brief can be used to present a snapshot of a person’s ancestry. Mine shows, not nobility in 16 branches, but a diversity typical of the American Experience:

1. Charles Hamilton Howery (1847-1918), a farmer at Fremont, Dodge County, Nebraska. His ancestors were 18th century German and German-Swiss immigrants to Pennsylvania. His paternal ancestor Jakob Hauri (c1711-c1780) came to Pennsylvania about 1737. Another ancestor, Jacob Howry (c1735-1809) founded Howrytown, Virginia.

2. Embrozina Wallace (1851-1924). She came from a Loyalist family that fled to Canada at the time of the American Revolution. She was German and English on her father’s side, and English on her mother’s side. Her paternal ancestor Anton Walliser (1729-1800) served in the 60th Royal American Regiment and later settled in New York. Most of her ancestors were 17th century immigrants to New England and 18th century immigrants to New York.

3. Benton Dudley Alloway (1852-1918), a farmer at Madison, Madison County, Nebraska. Most of his ancestors were 17th century immigrants to Virginia, with one line of Quakers who moved down to Virginia from New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the early 19th century. He was a descendant of Edward I of England.

4. Mary Augusta Dutton (1854-1908). Her ancestry was primarily English, with a bit of Dutch, all from 17th and 18th century immigrants to New York and New England.

5. William Steven Horne (abt 1832-1896), a blacksmith and farmer at Rock Port, Atchison County, Missouri. He belonged to a distinguished family, but was kicked in the head by a mule during the Civil War. He and his wife led a nomadic life, and were extremely poor. His ancestry was English, with perhaps a bit of German, in North and South Carolina. His immigrant ancestor Dr. John Horne studied at the University of Edinburgh and came to America about 1760.

6. Rachel Jane Roberson (1857-1943). She was Pawnee, adopted by a Cherokee family settled in Missouri after the Trail of Tears.

7. James Robert Quillen (1853-1940), a carpenter at Homer, Dakota County, Nebraska. He and his wife divorced. She re-married, he never did. His ancestry was primarily English (settled in Maryland and Delaware), but his paternal ancestor Teague Quillen (c1615-?) came from Ireland.

8. Clara Etta Weight (1869-1940). Her ancestors were mostly Germans settled in Pennsylvania in the 18th century, but she also had Irish and Dutch ancestry through the Linns and Van Sycocs.

9. Carl Johan Svanström (1823-after 1895), a soldier in the Royal Kalmar Regiment (Sweden). He lived at Sundet in Ukna Parish, Kalmar. In retirement he built Strömsborg (”River Castle”). He lived and died in Sweden.

10. Anna Sofia Jaensdotter (1826-after 1895). She lived and died in Sweden.

11. Anders Johan Reinhold Andersson (1831-1887), a farmer at Löckerum.

12. Johanna Carolina Fyrstén (1846-1917). She lived and died in Sweden.

13. Wilford Woodruff Luce (1838-1906), a farmer in South Cottonwood Canyon, outside Salt Lake City, Utah. He was born in Maine just after his family converted to Mormonism, and was named for the missionary who converted them. As a child he became a pioneer of both Nauvoo, Illinois and Salt Lake City, Utah. In his youth he and his brothers were members of the Bill Hickman Gang. In 1862 they were prosecuted for an assault on the governor of Utah. His ancestry was English with a touch of Scottish, all from 17th century immigrants to New England. He was a descendant of Gov. Thomas Mayhew (1592-1682), of Martha’s Vineyard, and of Peter Grant (c1634-1709) and John Sinclair (1634-1700), Scots deported to America during Cromwell’s conquest of Scotland. Through those lines he was descended from the Grants of Auchterblair and the Earls of Caithness, as well as from James IV of Scotland. He was also a descendant of Edmund Cranmer, younger brother of the famous Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury in the time of Henry VIII. His paternal ancestor Henry Luce (c1640-before 1689) came from Wales to Martha’s Vineyard.

14. Anna Quarmby (1842-1904). Her parents converted to Mormonism in England, came to America, and died leaving her an orphan. She was raised by Joseph Bates Noble, the man who performed the first polygamous marriage.

15. John C. Wilson (1832-1883), a farmer and blacksmith in Tuscola, Douglas County, Illinois. His ancestry was mixed English and Scotch-Irish from 17th and 18th century immigrants to Virginia and Maryland. His most distinguished ancestor was Gov. Thomas Greene (about 1610-1652), of Maryland, the first Catholic governor in America.

16. Elizabeth Ann Mallory (1846-1909). Her ancestry was English, mostly from 17th century immigrants to Virginia but with one line that came to Virginia in the 18th century from New York. She belonged to the numerous Mallory family of Virginia, descended from Capt. Roger Mallory (about 1630-after 1695), himself a descendant of Sir William Mallory (c1525-1603), of Studley Conyers, Yorkshire.

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