24 March 2012

Not Who We Thought We Were!

It appears that we may NOT be from the Brainard family.

It happens and you should expect that when you delve into your family's genealogy, the beliefs you hold will be challenged. My time for challenge is now. My assumptions have been called into question, by just a couple of sentences in a compiled family genealogy. These sentences, a mere postscript, if proved correct, will change the historical path of our family history.

William Henry Brainard or William Henry Shailer
The Genealogy of the Brainerd-Brainard Family in America 1649-1908 by Lucy Abigail Brainard reports "William Henry Brainerd of Mystic, Conn., had his name changed to Brainerd from Shailer. He m. Harriet E. Lamb, of Groton, Conn. He was son of Henry and Elizabeth (Cushman) Shailer, 2ch.[1]

We thought his name was William Henry Brainard. We thought our family traced back through William to Daniel Brainerd in the early seventeenth century in today's Haddam, Connecticut. What you think is very different from what you know in genealogy. William, my great, great grandfather was a man of mystery, his records having reported several different places of origin. His birth record has to date remained elusive. And now, this...a few sentences adding to the confusion of his parentage.

Luckily in genealogy, when you lose one, you gain one. We may lose our Brainard pedigree, but we will gain a whole new family. It's time to start hunting the Shailers (Shaylor, Shailor).

Has one of your core family stories been challenged? Have you lost one family and gained a new one? Tell us your story.

Scrappy Gen

Let's Remember!

  [1] Lucy Abigail Brainard, The Genealogy of the Brainerd-Brainard Family in America   
       1649-1908 (Hartford, Connecticut: Hartford Press, 1908), 150; digital images, Internet 
       Archive (http://archive.org/ : accessed 3 March 2012). 


  1. Wow that's amazing. Is there any chance you will find a court record of that?
    I think they call them "former ancestors"!! I once lost some ancestors while riding on the train home from Boston reading a book I had bought at the NEHGS. They are still not completely replaced but it's been fun!

    1. Hopefully I will find a court record of the name change. First I am looking in some new locations for his birth record and for a death record for Henry Shailer. "Former Ancestors"...sounds like a good blogging prompt! Thanks for commenting!

  2. This is very interesting, yet another twist to the Brainard family.....For 25 years Bill Brainard and Eldean Brainard have been trying to determine the parentage of our mutual ancestor Aaron David Brainard b:15 June 1810 Spencetown, Columbia, New York d: Highland, Wabasha, Minnesota m: 1835 Catherine Young b: 16 Nov 1815 d: 31 Dec 1855 Rockford, Winnebago, Illinois; 2nd marriage 1857 to Louisa Brandt/Bryant Clay b: 1834 Pennslyvania d: abt. 1870-1875 Highland, Wabasha, Minnesota.
    Anyone out there who has information email me marilyngr52@comcast.net

  3. Update, I did find the three page name change petition for William Henry Shailor to William Henry Brainard. It was buried in the Connecticut divorice records. Go figure!


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