Monday, November 28, 2016

Surname Connections Between the Smith and Brainerd Families in Middlesex County, Connecticut

Sarah [Brainerd] Smith (1762-1828)

Lieutenant David Smith (d.1756, Haddam, CT) and his wife Dorothy [Brainerd] Smith (d.1754, Haddam, CT) are our 7th Great Grandparents, and the parents of Revolutionary War Veteran Captain James Smith (d.1831, Harpersfield, NY). Captain James Smith married Mary Hubbard (d.1832, Harpersfield, NY) in 1759 Haddam, Middlesex County, Connecticut, their eldest child being our 5th Great Grandfather and Revolutionary War Veteran Frederick Smith (d.1852, Harpersfield, NY). Our Fall 2016 Haddam-area cemetery and library visits focused on Brainerd and Smith family research. Findings confirm the interesting fact where 5th Great Grandfather Frederick Smith and his first wife our 5th Great Grandmother Sarah Brainerd (d.1828, Harpersfield, NY), share the same 2nd Great Grandparents.  These common ancestors are Brainerd Family colonial progenitors Deacon Daniel Brainerd (d.1715, Haddam, CT) and Hannah Lynn (Spencer) Brainerd (d.1691, Haddam, CT). Frederick and Sarah [Brainerd] Smith are thus 3rd cousins, their fourth child is Hannah [Smith] Odell (d.1840, Jefferson, Schoharie County, NY). Hannah (Smith) Odell is our generation's 4th Great Grandmother, and our last known surname direct-link to this Haddam, Connecticut colonial Smith Family.

Such inter-family and intra-family marriages in 17th century British Colonial ancestry are not typical, but actually not unusual.  In our Sheldon Family ancestry, 5th Great Grandmother Esther [Sheldon] Odell's maternal great grandfather and her paternal great great grandfather are the same man (Mr. John Sheldon [S0023], d.1705).  In our Stanton lineage, 7th Great Grandparents William Stanton (d.1718, Stonington, CT) and Anne Stanton (d.1724, Stonington, CT) are first cousins (respective fathers are the sons of Stonington founder Thomas Stanton [d.1677]).

Genealogy pursuit is fun, where the variety and breath of ancestral anomalies found are simply striking.  Several generations back on our paternal-side we find two convicted murderers, one of these somehow arranged an early release from a life-sentence in a Vermont prison, then removed to the mid-west where he became a significant landowner and local politician of some note.  A 7th Great Grandfather Thomas Sheldon (d.1758) was mortally-wounded-in-action serving as a militia soldier during the French and Indian War, Battle of Carillion, 8 Jul 1758 (a/k/a Battle of Ticonderoga). Our ancestry includes more than three dozen Revolutionary War Veterans (at least two died as POWs aboard British prison ships in New York Harbor), over a dozen American Civil War Union Veterans -- two of these infantry soldiers are 2nd great grandfathers, and one distant cousin who died as a POW in rebel hands in that Andersonville hell-hole.  Additionally, our lineage holds a few senior British colonial military colonels, several company commanders, and a couple early New England militia generals. No murderers are known on our maternal-side, but 75% of mom's ancestors are French, hailing from New France (now Quebec, Canada).  From what I know of "canucks" -- well, it seems unlikely these French ancestors were all pure as the driven Canadian snows. Finally, we also know mom's French ancestry likely holds some small percentage DNA sourced in First Millennium Viking sailors.



  1. DJ, who are the convicted murderers? And have you compiled a list of the veterans for each war? Thx for sharing this story - very interesting!
    Laurie Velett

    1. No list of Military Veterans... now believe the 3 dozen RW Veterans stated is understated... possibly grossly understated. My cemetery visits in Haddam-area Oct 2016 produced at least a dozen more... still working on this. I'll have to go back and find name of convicted murderers... did not refresh cite names by intended design... I'll put it on my 2-do-list and contact U by email.