|Some readers may remember hearing from or about
an E. E. (Elijah Ellsworth) Brownell between the 1930's and the
1960's. He was working on a genealogy of the Brownell family
and tried to make contact with as many Brownells as possible.
In his efforts to trace all the descendants of Thomas Brownell, E. E. spared no expense. He hired a number of professional genealogists to help him find and compile information on the family. His intent was to publish a comprehensive record of all Brownell descendants. He died, however, before the material could be published. Fortunately the Mormon Genealogical Society was able to microfilm all of his records after his death in 1963. They are now available on microfilm from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. One unanswered question is what happened to the original records after they were microfilmed.
The Brownell Collection, as it is called, is made up of fifty-three rolls of microfilm. It is organized in the following sub-groups: Brownell, female; Brownell, male; generations 1-12; unknown; miscellaneous families; and England and Canada. Within each sub-group, the names are arranged alphabetically. If you are searching for an individual and you don't know what generation they were in, you can try the male/female films or the unknown films. If you know the generation, you can go directly to that generation and choose the film that has the name you are searching for (alphabetically).
I have made extensive use of these films as have many other Brownell researchers. I have found them, on the whole, to be pretty accurate. I have found that the Canadian information is faulty, as he has all the Brownells in Canada as descendants of Jeremiah(4) and Ruth (Irish) Brownell. The second and other generations beyond that one, seem to be accurate although I haven't taken more than a cursory look at them. His files on the English Brownells unfortunately do not have any information more than what was then known or believed. In fact, E. E. came to the conclusion that Thomas Brownell was the son of Rowland Brownell.
E. E. is one of the few among those researching the Brownell family to determine the correct order of birth of Thomas and Anne's children. It doesn't appear that he used the will of Thomas Brownell to do so. Instead, he worked out their birth years by determining their age at death, taking information from tombstones and other contemporary accounts such as newspaper articles, probate records, etc.
One surprising note about this collection is that E. E. doesn't seem to have made use of the genealogy written by George Grant Brownell, published in 1910. In entering information from both sources onto the computer, I have found that some mentioned in one are not found in the other. Putting the two together gives a more complete history of the family. When similar persons are found in both sources, the information is almost always identical. When comparing the work of both men to other sources, again the information is very similar.
The Brownell Collection is now considered to be a primary source for vital records about the family, as is G. G. Brownell's work although neither provides sources for their information. Genealogical societies such as the DAR will accept The Brownell Collection as an acceptable source when proving lineage to a Revolutionary War veteran.
E. E. Brownell was also very interested in making genealogical connections with the Brownell family to famous American families. He is the source for my information about our relationship to Susan Brownell Anthony. He has made the connection between our family and those of U. S. Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, William Taft and Abraham Lincoln. These were published as a kind of one page bulletin, but I haven't yet found where they were published and why they were published in that format. These and some additional information can be found on other microfilms listed in the index. One of these films includes papers by E. E. that are at the Iowa State Historical Society in Des Moines.
The Collection is remarkably easy to use. Many of you have already made use of this source and I would encourage those of you who haven't to visit the nearest Family History Center. An index to the Collection can be found on microfiche and from that you can order the microfilms that you need for your own research. (See index below.)
E. E. Brownell didn't confine his work to the Brownell family. He also did extensive work on his mother's family, the Dawleys. He compiled numerous other works, primarily relating to New York genealogical records.
He is best known by all genealogists as the editor of the Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England, 1620 - 1650, originally researched and written by Charles Edwards Banks. This is a work that is consulted by almost every genealogist tracing ancestors in New England. It gives the name of the emigrant, the ship he/she sailed on, the date of the voyage, and the county and parish in England from which they came. This is the source from which we know of Thomas and Anne Brownell's voyage to America and the parish where they lived in London before embarking on the ship Whale in 1638 for Boston.
Among other sources you will find in the Family History Library are Lincoln Brownell's Notes on the Brownell Family in Vermont, a well researched and well written account of the descendants of Ichabod, Aaron and Edward Brownell, three brothers who settled in Vermont in the 1790's and early 1800's. Also there is James Brownell's book, A Genealogical Sketch of Joseph Brownell of Moulinette. This book includes all the descendants of Joseph(5) and Ruth (Butts) Brownell. These two are available only in book form.
A major source of information about the descendants of Jeremiah(5) and Anna (Copp) Brownell of Nova Scotia is the Brownell Genealogy by J. Archer Brownell. It is not at the Salt Lake City Library but is in the library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston.
A book that many readers have looked for in vain is G. G. Brownell's Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Thomas Brownell. Several, including myself, have made photocopies of the book. It is in both book form and on microfilm at the Family History Center in Salt Lake City. A history of the Vermont branch of the family written by Albert S. Brownell in 1916 can be found there on microfilm as well as Notes on Little Compton, edited by Carlton C. Brownell. Unfortunately, Little Compton Families is not there.
|These films also contain non-Brownell surnames. The alphabetizing is done, however, by the first or given name of each individual and then by the surname within that field. For example: Robert Adams, Robert Brownell, Robert Cornell, Robert Hazard, Robert Wilbur. (Please note: the film numbers in the above list are not showing up correctly when the aol browser is used--they show as double-spaced. Please make allowances for this until I can correct the problem. They do show up correctly using Netscape Communicator.)|