5 Replies Latest reply on May 30, 2020 12:53 PM by Jay Van Brunt

    Seeking information on Military Deserter


      Hello, I’m wondering if there might be information available from US military archives regarding my ancestor “William Vanbrunt” also known as “William Van Brunt” (no middle initial unfortunately).My research to date has been limited to Ancestry.com and other online Canadian registries.  I’ve hit a dead end. My confirmed ancestor shows up in the 1851 Canadian census in Hamilton, Ontario.  It says William Vanbrunt was born in the United States in 1821/22. His occupation is baker, religion is Protestant.


      I have found an US military enlistment record for William Vanbrunt that includes the following:

      • Enlisted at Fort Niagara February 5, 1844
      • 21 years old, born in Newburgh, New York
      • Occupation:  baker
      • Infantry A (there might be a 2 before Inf)
      • Shown as deserted on April 14, 1844 (no data in Apprehended column).


      I’m quite sure this is the same William Vanbrunt who shows up in the 1851 census in Hamilton, Ontario because the age matches and both records show his occupation as “baker”.  I know there were many desertions from Fort Niagara to Canada given the short distance across the river.  Hamilton is not far from Fort Niagara. In the 1861 Canadian census, his wife in Hamilton shows as a widow.  I’ve been unable to find any death records for William Vanbrunt in Canada or the US that would match.  Also can’t find a corresponding US birth record.


      My questions include

      • Might there be other information available on this enlistee?
      • Whether he was apprehended or killed?  Not sure how long deserters were pursued?
      • Might he have given a false name when he enlisted, especially if he had already planned to desert?
      • Because I can’t find a death record, wondering if it is possible that he returned to the US…


      Thanks in advance for your ideas!