Joseph Brown 1820 -1885. The gamekeeper

For clarity, because we have a number of Joseph Brown’s, we call this Joseph “The gamekeeper”.

For us, this person is key individual and yet was the most difficult to resolve.
He forms the connection between what we had orally heard – from William Charles Brown and other family members –  and into the unknown past.

The double problem of the common surname, Brown, and Christian name, Joseph, caused us great difficulty with this Joseph because we found not one Joseph which would fit but two.

So great was our difficulty we employed the services of a Gloucestershire Genealogist, who is local to the records office, to confirm, or otherwise, what we believed. She improved our confidence in our choice of Josephs, though not entirely. Further research was needed to prove our choice to be the right one.

We could then proceed backwards from him with more confidence.Nevertheless, the complications of these two found Josephs is worthy of mention: if only to explain our problem.

The duplicate family.
The extensive problems we had with the duplicate family are catalogued on this page and are worth a look: if only to discover the traps and pitfalls existing for the family historian.

From the records, we can see Joseph was  baptised 20th August 1820. His father was George Brown and his mother was Edith (Mathews we believe). Their residence is shown as Michaelwood. We have no other record of the actual birth. We have therefore assumed, maybe incorrectly, the birth to be early 1820.

On the 1841 census, we discover Joseph living with his recently widowed father, George, his elder brother George and his sister Mary in Michaelwood. He is shown as being an Agricultural Labourer, an Ag Lab.

Note about the 1841 census
It is worthy of note that there is one other family of Browns on this same census sheet. John Brown 65, with his wife Miranda 50 and a son or grandson Esau aged 15. No connection has been found as yet between our Brown’s and this family.

Another point worthy of note is the number of Brownings on this same census sheet all living in or around St Michaels Wood with the Browns.

Browning and Brown are both Anglo Saxon names originating from the same root i.e. Brun. There maybe a possibility therefore the Browns and the Brownings in and around this area were at one time the same family. It is a possibility but it would have been several centuries before this date. By this time the 2 families were independent of one another.

We do have a Brown marrying a Browning. Eliza Brown, born 1813 married a James Browning, born 1801 on the 17th October 1830 at St Mary’s Berkeley. Both were from the Stone/Alkington area.

In July 1846 Joseph marries Elizabeth Owen in North Nibley. The previously mentioned arrival of a birth certificate for Edith and additional certificate for the first born Mary (B1846) also resolves the questions we had over why such a long delay between the banns being read in December 1844 and the marriage in early July 1846, a gap of 18 months or so. Clearly, Elizabeth became pregnant with Mary in the period that ensued after the Banns were read. Mary was Born 14th May 1846 at North Nibley. Joseph and Elizabeth were married in the July of that same year.
George Brown was shown as the father of Joseph on the marriage certificate.

In 1851, we find Joseph and his family on the census of that year. They are living in Upper Wick, Alkington, Gloucestershire. Joseph is shown as being 30, as is his wife Elizabeth. He is an agricultural labourer. Their 2 daughters Mary, aged 5 and Ann aged 2 are living with them.

In 1861 we find him on the  census of that year living in Huntingford with his wife Elizabeth and his children Ann, Ellen (Eliza) , Joseph, Edith and Frederick. All the children except Frederick were born in Lower Wick.  Frederick was born in Huntingford.

Joseph is shown as being a Farm Labourer. Mary is not shown on this census, She would have been 15 and would probably have been in service elsewhere. So far we have been unable to trace her.

In 1871 we find him in the census of that year living at Swanley with his two sons Joseph (the bricklayer) and Frederick. They have a housekeeper, Sarah Watts.

In the 1881 census, we find Joseph aged 60. He is shown as an AgLab. Sarah Watts remains living in as a housekeeper.

Note on this census.
Either side of Joseph in this census are two more Browns. All living in the small village of Damery. George, aged 65 he is an AgLab and William, aged 55. He is a plate-layer (Railway worker). We haven’t discovered the connection, if any, between these Browns and ours.
There is also a Browning. Joseph aged 75. He is a coal dealer. Joseph the Gamekeepers sister Eliza married a Browning, with disasterous consequences.

Joseph died  on the 18th January 1885 at White Hall. He was 64. His daughter Edith (now Edith Pimm and from Gloucester) was in attendance and reported his death. He was buried on the 24th January 1885 at Tortworth, Gloucestershire.

Known children of Joseph Brown and Elizabeth Owen:




This is a work in progress. If you have additional information on the person detailed on this page, or, for that matter, corrections to what is written then please make contact here.

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