When I started researching my family history, I diligently interviewed all the older family members, most all of whom are now deceased. One of my regular stops was my grandmother, the great granddaughter of William Perry. William's name had long since been forgotten in my family. In fact, my grandmother knew the first name of her mother's, mother, Cynthia, but had no idea of the name of her grandfather, James C. Perry. But names aside, my grandmother had all sorts of memories and stories which we spent many enjoyable hours talking about.
Family tradition is always one of those tricky areas for family tree researches. Stories tend to grow and change as generation after generation retells them. One of the stories my grandmother used to tell me was about the ancestor who used to compose music. She said it was someone on her mother's side of the family. Her mother, Mary Perry, was a granddaughter of William Perry. So this is the story of the composer in the family.
I included a screen shot of William Perry's baptismal record in the last post. William Perry's parents are married in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, Wales. I have attached the parish marriage record below:
This is the marriage entry for William Perry and Sophia Swaine performed on 25 Dec 1814 at Merthyr Tydfil. I am feeling really lucky that Sophia has the name she does! There are three other Swain(e) marriages which take place in Merthyr Tydfil, one for John Swain(e), one for Mary Swain(e), and one for Keziah Swain(e). All of them occur in close proximity to each other and I suspect all four of these individuals are children of John Swain b. 1749.
A quick internet search finds the couple of John Swain and Susannah Holliday, the parents of 12 children. This is where things get really interesting. John Swain's parents are listed as Thomas and Mary Swain. In addition to John Swain, a younger brother Joseph Swain is listed. Joseph was a renowned composer of hymns. He was born 22 May 1761 and died 16 Apr 1796.
The individuals who did the Swain research online didn't trace the children of John and Susannah other than their son John (who is also listed in an English Who's Who). A mention is made of Elizabeth marrying a man by the name of Brown and moving to the United States. Not much to go on, but my kind of challenge.
I find John and Elizabeth Brown in Baltimore, Maryland. Their oldest son, Joseph Henry Brown is born in Glamorgan, Wales in 1810. Their next child, Thomas Brown, is born in 1820 in Maryland. Fast forward, Joseph and his younger brother Richard Brown become very prosperous steel manufacturers in Youngstown, Ohio. In 1920 a biographical history of Youngstown is written and a sketch is provided for both Joseph and Henry Brown. Guess what - they go into great length to mention their hymn writing uncle, Joseph Swain!
What do you think? Could this fragmentary memory of my grandmother be about Joseph Swain? This memory would have been created in the 1790s.
I've also included pictures of three of the individuals I mentioned in this post: