OK, Time to Get Serious


Brown and Moore Genealogy

Both sides of my mother’s family, the Browns and the Moores, did extensive genealogical research on their respective lineages over the years; however, no one on either side was able to take the next step to organize and compile the information in a way that would make sense to future generations of the family. (Never mind making sense to future generations, much of it wouldn’t even be legible to them!)

In 2012, my mother, Katharine Gauffreau [Brown] decided to finish the task her family had started by organizing the information they had taken so much time and care to research into a book for the current members of our family, as well as future generations. Her additional contribution to the family history was to do the research necessary to place each generation into its historical context.

The Progenitors

The progenitor of the line of Browns from whom I am descended was John Brown. This particular John Brown was born around 1595 in London, England. He emigrated to New England in 1635. He and his wife Sarah Brown [Walker] (1618-1672) moved to Hampton, New Hampshire in 1639, where he died on February 27, 1686.

The progenitor of the line of Moores from whom I am descended was William James Moore, who was born in 1741 in Colraine, Ireland.  He emigrated to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1769 and subsequently bought a farm in Economy, where he died on June 14, 1820. He married Rebecca Nicholson (1753-1829) in 1772.

Sources for Brown and Moore Genealogy

My mother meticulously documented all of the sources she consulted when she wrote the history of her ancestors. When I began planning this blog, she asked me if I wanted her source documentation. Of course I said yes, merrily disregarding the fact that The Family Archives themselves were already taking up most of my small study.



I was surprised to discover just how extensive the documentation was, and I have begun to compile a bibliography. Each source will have its own post with Comments turned on so that others researching the Browns and the Moores will be able to comment on the usefulness of the source for their own research.

Great Expectations1

You can expect to see a new post every week with genealogy, family stories, or whatever ephemera from The Family Archives happens to strike my fancy.

As the materials in The Family Archives aren’t lending themselves easily to being organized in a logical chronological and relational way, I am categorizing each post I write. That way, if I find additional information on a person I’ve written about previously, I can add another post, and the category will allow for all of the posts about that person to be grouped together.

1On my part, that is.

Who Cares About The Begats?


My view of genealogy has always been that it’s pretty much an exercise in reading “The Begats.” Excruciatingly boring. As the names go on and on and on, who CARES who begat whom?

Family Tree Maker© to the Rescue–Or Not

In the 1990s, when having a computer was still a novelty for me, I tried my hand at building my family tree with Family Tree Maker©, but somewhere around the fourth generation back, there would start to be too many people hanging from too many branches, and the whole tree would just topple over. I finally gave up.

So Why Now?

So why start a family history blog now? I would have to say guilt, mostly. My mother recently moved into assisted living, and I became the keeper of The Family Archives–the families in question being the Browns of Lexington, Massachusetts and the Moores of Economy, Nova Scotia. (The Gustins and the Gauffreaus will enter the story by a different route.)

When I think of how this stuff came to be in my possession, it all seems so sad. The surviving remnants of people’s lives shoved into cardboard boxes after my grandfather died and carted to my aunt’s attic, to reemerge some thirty years later when she died, stored by two cousins for a time, hauled over to my mother’s so she could write her family history, and finally landing with me.

As a fiction writer, I am much more interested in family history–the narratives, the images, the lived and felt lives–than I am in the Brown and Moore versions of The Begats. My hope is that taking the time to get to know my family’s genealogy will lead me to who these people were and why they still matter.