Category Archives: Brown Family

Anna Hamre, unmasked

Today another brickwall came down as a result of DNA analysis. Brickwalls are often left in place when documentation can’t get you back to your forebears. Today we finally know who Anna Hamre was back in Norway. Born in 1834, Anna Hamre came to America and married John (Johan) Dahle. Few records exist to place her though it was fair to assume she was from a place called Hamre. After a DNA match to a Christopher Hamre descendent of Southern Minnesota, the search was on. Eventually it was confirmed that Christopher had a sister Anna also born in  May of 1835 and they were from Hamre.  No other family matches would have provided the distance in the calculation and after a bit of digging at Digital Arkivet, the match was made.

Anna Hamre was born Anna Christophersdotter on the 21st of May, 1835 in Leikanger, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. They lived at Hamre and then at Veten just west of Leikanger. This is not to be confused with Hamre church close to Bergen, which is the former municipality of Hamre.

It’s a great feeling when a brickwall comes down!

A Brown By Any Other Name

Many would with reason, conclude that the Brown surname is in fact a German name. Braun after all is a long dated and historic family name from the Germanic states. However in this case, in so far as we have been able to research, the Brown name in this case is Norwegian.

Johan Johannessen Brown was born in Sogn og Fjordane in Norway in 1833.  The use of a family name in Norway was unique around this time. It would be another 50 years before this practice became common. Little is known about the family origins and it is reasonable to assume that they may have been immigrants around that time as well into Norway. What is known however is that Johan Brown did immigrate to the US in 1860 and served an enlistment in the US Civil War. He died quite young in 1871 at age 37.