The allied families referred to in our previous post consist of descendants from the seven sons (William, James, Joseph, Wilson, George, John and Elam) of John S. Britton and Mary Russell. John and Mary are the common ancestors that tie these families together. For decades family researchers have been “brick walled” when attempting to move
A brief sampling of “brick walled” family trees with Joseph Britton. Accessed via free search – Public Member Trees at Ancestry.com
beyond the John and Mary entry. Part of the problem was not knowing the names of John’s parents. Once the names became known, a challenge still existed. Indiana did not begin to officially record vital statistics information until 1882. As a result, a public record of Joseph’s death or place of burial has not been found. It is only from allied researchers sharing information from family records that we learned he was interred on the family farm in Indiana.
Progress beyond Joseph and Mary has been seen in some of the public member trees published at Ancestry.com in the last few years. A careful study of the sources used in these trees indicates most originate from a common source outside the realm of public records. Douglas Jones maintains a family website which includes a genealogy section (Jones Genealogy Site). He has scanned and posted some letters from the early 1800s that may apply to the allied Brittain/Britton families. Investigation is definitely warranted.
Enhanced excerpt from scanned letter. Joseph Britton to Margaret Farr. Used with permission.
The three letters were written by Joseph Britton. One letter, which is of particular interest to us and perhaps others, is addressed to Joseph’s daughter Margaret. In 1822 Joseph detailed the family lineage. In the “Catalogue of Names and Ages” written for Margaret Farr of Springfield, Ohio, dated October 20th 1822, he writes that his “grandfather was an Englishman and was born there”. Is Joseph’s grandfather the immigrant in our family line? The letter is detailed with the names, birth dates, marriage, and re-marriage accounts including the spouse names and locations.
As we have mentioned before there has, for many years, been rumor and speculation about ancestors in Tennessee. Joseph mentions the Britton families in Tennessee and the area where they were born and lived. Could this be the missing link so many have been looking for?
A portion of the letter from Joseph Britton to Margaret Farr shows the names, dates and location of births. Used with permission.
We decided to chart the information starting with John Britton from our family information to see how it would connect.
Chart 1 – Extended lineage from John S. Britton to Joseph W. Britton based on Joseph Britton’s letter to his daughter.
Chart 2 – Extended lineage to Nataniel Britton (Joseph’s grandfather) based on Josph Britton’s letter to his daughter.
We have confirmed the information for John and Joseph Britton in Chart 1. We verified Joseph’s presence in Indiana using the 1920 US Federal Census. Speculating that this is the Joseph Britton in the letter (Margaret’s older brother) we can complete the trace back to England as seen in Charts 1 and 2 above. We have compared our information to family trees online at Ancestry.com. While there are family trees completing the trace back to England, it is noted in some records that the information is unsourced or only obtained (copied without verification) from other trees. A few family trees have extensive documentation for their records. As one very thorough researcher associated with this family line has suggested in her profile comments, one should double check everything.
Current Status: Enough information is presented to warrant continued work. We are taking the advice previously mentioned and verifying the accuracy of what we have found. It is looking good. However, complete verification will take time.
Full charts can be accessed by visiting The Five Lines page on our blog menu. The Brittain Charts can be accessed directly using the links below.
Brittain Chart 1 Brittain Chart 2 Brittain Chart 3 Brittain Chart 4
Note: A very special thank you to Douglas Jones for scanning and posting the Joseph Britton letters and giving us permission to use them in this post.