52 Weeks: #1 John Bruein

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

This is the initial post of a series of fifty-two encouraged by Amy Johnson Crow’s inspirational program of 52 ancestors in 52 weeks.

I know… I’m late to the party. Everyone else is working on week 46. Hey, better late than never. I’ve been focusing on my degree at the University of Strathclyde, but here goes.

John BRUEIN. About 1920

#1: John BRUEIN

Note: For the ease of search engines for this post I’ve decided to spell John’s last name consistently with an ‘e’ in the middle of it.  Early records record John and his descendants as BRUIN’s, but after about 1900 all descendants consistently spell the surname as BRUEIN.

John BRUEIN was my paternal grandmother Evelyn Mae BRUEIN’s paternal grandfather, making him my great-great-grandfather.

Allegedly an Irish immigrant to Canada as a young child, nothing is known of  John’s life before his marriage.  On 24 July 1854 in Greater Napanee, Lennox and Addington County, Ontario, John married Catherine Ann HAMILTON, daughter of Harlow HAMILTON, sometime carriage-maker in Bath and Napanee, Ontario.1

John’s birthdate was recorded as 8 July 1830 on the 1901 Canadian census.2 However, it is likely that John’s actual birth year was closer to 1836, as this is more consistent with earlier documentation of his age. I mention this discrepancy in an earlier post here.

The above-undated photograph of John appears to have been taken outside of the BRUEIN  family home in Lonsdale, Hastings County, Ontario. John died 23 August 1923 at home, and his appearance in the photo would suggest that this captured moment was nearer the last years of his life than not.3

John Bruin
John Bruin, patriarch of the Bruin family of Lonsdale, Tyendingaga Township.

One telling aspect of the image is what appear to be two sticks on the ground beside the chair. Likely after a lifetime of hard labour, John needed ambulatory assistance in his later years. His obit informs us that John spent the last year of his life bedridden and had suffered from a lingering illness, for longer than a period of a year.4

This second un-dated image of John, captured from a larger formal BRUEIN family portrait in my possession must be from an earlier time period. This photograph shows a younger patriarch of eight adult children. John has a fuller beard, but also what appears to be a slightly fuller head of hair.

One fact we know for sure regarding John is his haplogroup. Y-DNA is only transferred from a father to his sons. John had two known sons, Albert Harlow, the eldest, and John Melbourne, the youngest, my great-grandfather. Albert was the father of two daughters and therefore did not pass along John’s Y-DNA. Great-grandpa John was the father of three sons all of which inherited their grandfather’s Y-DNA. Of these three Bruein boys, only one had descendants. One son.

Thanks to one of only two great-great-grandsons of John we know that haplogroup was E-M35. This haplogroup has its ancient origins in the Mediterranean, but sometime around 1200 AD began to make an inward movement to Ireland. There is evidence connecting this haplogroup to the Romans in Britain.

Stay tuned. Testing is now in progress to look for the terminal SNP and more detail of subclade.

  1. Thomas B. Wilson, Ontario Marriage Notices, (Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1997), 333. Marriage of John Bruin to Catherine Hamilton, 24 July 1856 as appeared in the Christian Guardian, 13 August 1856. []
  2. 1901 census of Canada, Hastings East, Ontario, population schedule, sub-district E-3, p. 11, dwelling 96, family 104, John Bruin; image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestery.com : accessed 2 September 2017); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm T-6428 through T-20460. []
  3. John Bruein death registration no. 017302 (1923); Ontario Registrations of Deaths, 1923-; microfilm MS935, Roll 301, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; accessed through “Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas, 1869-1947,” database with images, Ancestry (accessed 03 September 2017). []
  4. “Called By Death – John Bruein,” Belleville (Ontario) Intelligencer, 24 August 1923, p. 03. []

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