The Brown surname in early Albany


The Brown surname applies to a relatively large number of individuals who lived in the city of Albany before 1800. The name was spelled variously (including Braun, Bruyn, and Brower among others). It identified a several distinct kinship lines and a number of other seemingly (but maybe not) separate residents. We understand that the name appearing in the community-based record may be a more ethnic corruption of the Anglo surname and may have depended on the interpretive "ear" of the recorder. Sorting out and defining each resident's story holds the key to understanding connections (or not) among those known as "the Browns" of early Albany.

This entry page mostly relates to those who emigrated from the British isles and may identify a number of individuals who were not closely related to each other. That said, we constantly seek to establish family origins and connections. The others will be treated more individually. Even by that narrow definition, "Brown" was the family name of a number of prominent (and not so prominent) individuals who lived in pre-industrial Albany.

Most outstanding in the community based record is Anglican cleric Thomas Brown, who served at St. Peter's and its satellites during the 1760s.

In 1790, the first Federal census identified two Brown-headed households in the city of Albany and in seven more in surrounding Watervliet. A decade later, the city census enumerated eleven Brown-named households. These probably represented several kinship lines.

By that time, Yankee brothers Edward and Stanton Brown were establishing themselves in the China Trade.

Perhaps the recently encountered will (written in 1761) of Thomas Brown of Stonington, Connecticut is of some relevance. In mid-2016, we only have begun to recognize that many of Albany's business and trade oriented Browns probably had some kinship connection to Connecticut.

In 1813, the first city directory listed them among the fifteen addresses under the Brown surname.

This page seeks to identify members of the various Brown families living in the city during its formative years. We seek to delineate lines of descent and hope to be able to show paths to and through the city.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: Our work on the Brown family is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Our external search for resources begins with a basic Googling of "brown family history" [yielding a mere 123,000 addresses in May 2016] and then adding "albany" to it [just 12,100 addresses]. More fruitful is to search individuals (first names included) named Brown who lived in Albany.

    But seriously, Follow this link to more information on the Browns on this website. It also (but not perfectly) identifies a number of Brown-named daughters who married Albany residents.
        Browns in the biographical index.

posted 4/28/16; updated 6/28/16