Saturday, December 29, 2007

Verna Browning, World Traveler

I'm having a lot of fun with Verna. I found her just today, a descendant of the Mitchell family - her father was William L. Browning, and her grandmother was Susan Franklin Mitchell Browning, the Brownings Kathy and I had discussed in our emails.

I didn't have any children for Susan and her husband, W.W. Browning, so I looked until I found some. They are:
Charles L., born about 1865 (all born in Kentucky)
William L., born April 1866
Julia, born about 1868
Annie, born March 1870

William married Etta (I also found her as Ettie), a Missouri native, and they had one daughter, Verna, born 16 August 1905 in Beaumont, Texas. Sometimes it's easier to find a family by one of the children's names, so I searched for Verna at Ancestry to see what I could see.

A few fun links revealed that Verna had taken several trips by ship to other countries - first to Europe with her mother Ettie, boarding the S.S. Lapland at Antwerp, Belgium and arriving home in New York in 1927; then alone, once coming home from Queenstown, Ireland, on the S.S. Adriatic in 1930, and then on the S.S. Uruguay, coming home from Rio de Janeiro in 1939.

It's fun to imagine Verna and her mother taking these trips, what they must have seen, their clothing and hair styles, and how they spent their time on these ships, but what I'm dying to know now is, what was Verna doing with all this traveling? Was it part of her job to travel, or was she simply taking advantage of the family finances (her father William was a bank president)? If it was part of her job, what did she do for a living?

I found a Verna Browning in a University of California, Berkeley, 1927 yearbook here. I wish there was some way to magnify it - it looks like each student's hometown is printed with their name, and I think I see "Alvin," which is where she was from.

It appears that Verna never married. In the Social Security Death Index, I found her under her maiden name. She died in February 1983, probably in Texas.


  1. What a great family history story. I wonder if she ever wrote anything in any chronicals or something that you could find.

  2. That would be so great. Maybe more things will come out of the woodwork sometime soon.