Selma's father's family is largely German. Oral tradition tells us that the Browns were originally Brauns from Germany, and her father's other three grandparents were German. This page is dediated to untangling the confusions caused both by the multigeneration interactions of these families and the difficulties in tracing such a common name as "Brown".
The Brown family tree looks something like this:
The first puzzle regarding the Risser family has to do with David's name in the census. At least one index to the 1860 census appears to have listed him as "Javier" Risser, rather than David. This page
examines the handwring of the census taker.
About the only task more hopeless than trying to chase down someone named "John Brown" would be "John Smith", at least among English speakers. Selma's great grandfather, John Theodore Brown, has been one of our toughest nuts to crack. Here
's where we are at the moment.