Biography of Peter Falkenberg Brown
Visit Peter's LinkedIn Profile at
For a faintly humorous look at Peter's genealogy, see his Family History, which is outlined on the bottom half of this page.
Peter Falkenberg Brown is an author, columnist, publisher and public speaker whose niche speaking topic is "The Culture of Kindness". He is the co-founder and co-owner (with his beloved bride, Kimmy Sophia) of the World Community Press, located in Portland, Maine. WCP publishes the online magazine, "Significato: nectar for the soul" and a selection of books.
Peter is also a Perl, PHP and MySQL web database programmer.
Peter and his wife, Kimmy Sophia, both write columns which are published on their web site.
In 1994 he created, produced and edited The Richmond Republican, a tabloid newspaper distributed by the Richmond Republican Committee in Virginia. Peter was a member of the Richmond Republican Executive Committee for a number of years, until he and his family moved to Virginia Beach in 1995. Although short-lived, due to financial restrictions, the newspaper received wide-spread praise for its content and design. Peter also designed and hosted the original web site for the Republican Party of Virginia Beach until his family moved to Indian Neck, Virginia. In 2007, he and his family moved back to his home state of Maine.
While in Richmond, Peter helped launch Citizens for Safe Streets (as its Executive Director), a Richmond-based political action committee dedicated to reducing violent crime in Richmond by 50%. The PAC had a significant impact on the Richmond City Council, which adopted a number of the organization's proposals in 1994.
He and his wife, Kimmy Sophia (a fellow New Englander), were betrothed in 1979 and married in 1982. They are the proud parents of four lovely children: Tymon, Grace, Ranin and Tadin; and one lovely puppy dog.
Peter was born in Miami, and raised in Portland, Maine. He is the son of Carl Falkenberg Brown and Polly Kapteyn Brown. He has a sister, who is a Yoga instructor in Vermont, and a brother, who was a magician, and now works as a New Media Web Designer. They are fabulous individuals, and Peter's favorite brother and sister.
Peter is endlessly fascinated by history, and thus became very interested in his own family tree. Every ancestor has a story, and considering the idea that everyone lives on in the spiritual world, those stories will one day be shared with their descendants.
Peter's childhood was a curious combination of being Poor, but Connected – the kind of Connections that Mr. Collins of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice would find positively scintillating, so marvelous as to cause the pompous cleric to wax eloquent at the dinner table, boring his listeners to death. However, since the word "Poor" was not Mr. Collin's favorite word, Peter feels that his bio might have escaped Mr. Collin's attention after all, which is a great relief. One doesn't at all want to be like poor Mr. Collins.
Peter's father, Carl Falkenberg Brown, may he rest in peace, found it extremely difficult to make ends meet, and frequently had to bring his wife and children back to his mother's family home in the West End of Portland, where Peter's grandmother Helen sipped tea with Peter and regaled him with her favorite story of dancing with Prince Edward the VIII, in her coming-out party, on the Queen Mary cruise liner, while it was moored on the St. Lawrence River outside of Quebec.
His "Granny", of whom he was very fond, was Baroness Helen Dean Falkenberg Brown, of the Falkenbergs of Trystorp, Sweden. The line includes Peter's 7th Great-Grandfather, Baron Conradt von Falkenberg (b. 1591), as well as Peter's 25th Great-Grandfather, Harold II (Godwinson), the King of England.
Harold was the last Anglo-Saxon King of England, and died in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, fighting against the forces of William the Conqueror, the husband of Peter's first cousin, 27 times removed, Matilda, the Countess of Flanders and the soon-to-be Queen of England.
Having been raised as an ardent reader of every edition of Robin Hood that he could get his hands on, Peter had gained a distinct bias toward the Anglo-Saxons (ignoring the fact that they were invaders too). Thus, he had to admit that he wasn't particularly fond of William the Conqueror, who supposedly "stank like a tannery".
Peter had no hard feelings at all toward Queen Matilda, even though she was Very Short (four feet and two inches). Matilda initially opposed William, reportedly stating that she was far too high-born (being descended from Peter's 30th Great-Grandfather, Alfred the Great, King of England (b. 849), to consider marrying a bastard. William didn't like that, and according to legend, found Matilda on her way to church and dragged her off her horse by her braids and threw her down in the street. Peter is glad he's not directly descended from William, although he had to admit that William the Conqueror is his 1st Cousin 28 times removed.
However, Peter found it very interesting that King Alfred the Great, who was the first effective King of England, over 1,136 years ago, was the 32nd Great Grandfather of the current Queen of England, Elizabeth II. Peter thinks that means that Her Majesty is his 31st Cousin, twice removed.
As Peter browsed the Falkenberg family tree, he discovered that his 30th Great-Grandfather, Ebalus Manzer, Count of Poitou and Duke of Aquitaine (c. 870 – 935) was known as "The Bastard". Duke Ebalus was the illegitimate son of Peter's 31st Great-Grandfather, Ranulf II of Poiters, possibly by a Jewish woman. Manzer may be a corruption of the Hebrew word, "mamzer", meaning "bastard". Peter could only exclaim, "Oy vey! What would Matilda say?" Peter has often wondered if he has Jewish ancestors, and considers Daniel Deronda one of his favorite movies. (It's a movie based on George Elliot's novel about an English gentleman who discovers that he's Jewish.) Of course, one wants one's Jewish ancestors to be gained under "respectable" circumstances, but one must also assume that Duke Ebalus's mother was a Good Woman.
Peter used to think that he was one quarter Swedish, one quarter Dutch and half English, with a bit of Scottish blood thrown in for good measure. When he examined the Falkenberg lineage, coming through his grandmother, the Baroness Helen Dean Falkenberg, going back to before the year 500 AD, he found that his great-grandparents and great-uncles included over 250 Kings and Queens, from all over Europe, including such notables as Gustav Vasa I, (1517-1560), the first King of Modern Sweden and Peter's 11th Great-Grandfather. King Gustav's son (and Peter's 10th Great-Grandfather) was Johan III (1537-1592), the King of Sweden. Peter's 34th Great-Grandfather is Charlemagne (b. 742), the Emperor of the West.
The Falkenberg lineage is displayed on the web page of Peter's second cousin, Baron Tim Falkenberg. Tim and Peter share the same great-grandfather, Baron Frederick Andreas Falkenberg. Baron Tim's web page states: "One line goes up to Charles the Great (Karolus Magnus or Charlemagne), coronated as Roman Emperor year 800.
Other lines include Saints, Holy Roman Emperors, Byzantine Emperors, Grand Princes, Kings and Dukes. The family tree increases exponentially once it has reached into these Royal Houses since meticulous records have been kept for the nobility in Europe since the early Middle Ages."
Peter recently wrote a fictional story about Charlemagne's grandson, Nithard, who is Peter's 1st cousin 34 times removed. The story is posted on this site and is called The Child in the Forest. He also mentioned his 3rd cousin, 27 times removed, David I "The Saint", King of Scotland, born in the year 1080, in his novella, The Postmortem Adventures of Edward Wild: The Girl in the Tavern.
250+ Kings and Queens: Peter's great-grandparents and great-uncles and aunts include Kings and Queens from the following countries (with the number of Kings or Queens in parentheses): Sweden (38 Kings or Queens), Norway (24), Denmark (18), the Kingdom of the Franks (12), Scotland (12), Kent (11), England (10), the Byzantine Empire (9), Pamplona (7), Leon (6), France (5), Hungary (5), Ireland (5), Kvenland (5), Vestfold (5), Wessex (5), Aragon (4), Asturias (4), Hedmark (4), The Holy Roman Empire (4), Italy (4), Uppsala (4), Austrasia (3), East Anglia (3), Poland (3), Portugal (3), Armenia (2), the Kingdom of Paris (2), the Picts (2), Reidgotalandi (2), Trondelagen (2), Viken (2), West Saxons (2), Alfheim (1), Aquitaine (1), Birkebeiner (1), Bohemia (1), Burgundy (1), Castille and Leon (1), the East Franks (1), The Empire of the West (1), Finland (1), Gardarige (1), Glaesivollum (1), Hadaflyke (Oplandene) (1), Holmgard (1), Hringarikir (1), Jutland and Vestfold (1), Oplandene (1), Orleans (1), Ringerike (1), South Jutland and Wends (1), Spain (1), Vestmar (1), West Armenia (1), the West Franks (1), Russia (1).
So, is Peter Swedish, Dutch, English, Irish (this will make his wife happy), or just one gigantic soup of European genes?
Peter used to joke with his lovely bride, Kimmy Sophia, (who is 1/2 Irish) that perhaps Kimmy Sophia's ancestors might be mad at him because perhaps one of Peter's ancestors fought with Cromwell's Roundheads and terrorized Ireland (which was a Bad Thing). Lo and behold, Peter's ancestral line from the Falkenbergs also includes a gentleman by the name of Charles Fleetwood (Peter's 7th Great Grand Uncle), who went into the Army and became Cromwell's Commander and Chief of all the Armies of England, Ireland, and Scotland. Fleetwood married Bridget, the daughter of Oliver Cromwell, and was horribly ruthless toward the Irish (shame! shame!).
Peter is relieved that he is not a direct descendant of Charles, but is instead the 7th Great Grandson of Charles' brother George Fleetwood, who did not support Cromwell, but instead went to Sweden and became a Lord. Who knew?
Peter's mother is the late artist, Polly Kapteyn Brown. His mother's lineage (the Kapteyns) is also quite colorful. It began in 1538 with Peter's 11th Great Grandfather, Pauwels Cappeteyn, possibly descended from two Huguenot Capitein brothers from the Burgundy region of France.
In an interesting twist of history, Peter's great-grandmother, Geertruida Agneta Muysken (b. 1855, d. 1920), (who married Peter's great-grandfather, Albertus Philippus Kapteyn), was a social activist in London and was good friends with George Bernard Shaw and Prince Pyotr Kropotkin, the "Anarchist Prince". In "De Profundis", Oscar Wilde described Kropotkin thus, "Two of the most perfect lives I have come across in my own experience are the lives of Verlaine and of Prince Kropotkin: both of them men who have passed years in prison: the first, the one Christian poet since Dante; the other, a man with a soul of that beautiful white Christ which seems coming out of Russia." Kropotkin was a descendant of Rurik, the founder of Russia, and thus, much to Peter's surprise, he was Peter's distant cousin.
Of course, when Great-Grandmother Geertruida was sipping tea with Prince Kropotkin, she didn't know that her great-grandson would be related to the Prince through the marriage of Peter's grandmother (the Baroness Falkenberg) to Norman Brown, whose son Carl married Polly, Geertruida's granddaughter. Don't you just love genealogy?
Peter was initially quite nonplussed to realize that he was related to leading socialists and communists, since he had spent a great deal of time doing his best to critique Marxism-Leninism as an ideology that denied God. He took some comfort in the fact that Prince Kropotkin rejected the violence perpetrated by Lenin.
Peter's Grand Aunt was Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn, daughter of Geertruida, and the founder of the Eranos Foundation in Switzerland. She was a friend of Carl Gustav Jung.
His great-granduncle was Doctor Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn, a Dutch astronomer and founder of the Kapteyn Institute. Quoting from the Kapteyn Institute's web page, "Kapteyn's main interest was the Structure of the 'Sidereal System'. His first major contribution was the discovery of the two 'Star Streams', announced in 1904 at the St. Louis International Exposition."
Peter's paternal 2nd great-grandfather was William Wentworth Brown (b. 1821, d. 1911). Together with Lewis T. Brown, in 1868, he purchased controlling interest in the Berlin Mills Company, a paper mill in Berlin, New Hampshire. In the 1880s, William Wentworth purchased the remaining stock of the company. During World War I, he changed the name to the Brown Company due to the war with Germany.
The Brown family owned forest land from Florida to Canada, used for logging. In the 1940s the Brown Company went through bankruptcy, which led to the closing of the company, and from Peter's point of of view, the loss of at least part of an inherited fortune. That might have been a Good Thing, since being raised rich is sometimes a Bad Thing for one's character. One never knows.
William Wentworth Brown was born and raised in Clinton, Maine, and was the 10th son (out of 12 children) of Jonathan Brown (b. 1776) and Betsy Michaels.
Jonathan and Betsy were homesteaders and farmers, and held Bible studies in their home in Clinton for forty years. Jonathan was the son of Captain George Brown (b. 1747) from Massachusetts, who fought in the Revolutionary War, and Elizabeth French. George was the son of Lt. Samuel Brown (b. 1701) and Mary Davis French. Samuel was the son of Captain George Brown (b. 1668) and Sarah Kidder (b. 1667).
George was the son of William Brown, Peter's 7th great grandfather. "William of Boston" was The Brown who Came to America in the first half of the 1600s, shortly after the Mayflower. Peter would dearly love to find the record and date of William's passage, and the name of the ship that brought him from the clutches of Cromwell's armies. Peter saw a hint that William might have been against the Roundheads, which would certainly help offset the Evil done by 7th Great Grand Uncle Fleetwood.
William was born in 1629, in Dunfermline, Scotland (pronounced "Dun FAIRM lin"), the same town where Peter's 3rd cousin, 27 times removed, David I "The Saint", King of Scotland, founded the Benedictine Abbey of the Holy Trinity and St. Margaret, 501 years earlier, in 1128. Most of the Abbey was destroyed, and rebuilt as Dunfermline Abbey. However, the Nave from the reign of King David I still exists.
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William came to Boston sometime after the Mayflower in 1620, and married Elizabeth Ruggles in Boston, in 1655, and had two children. He passed away in 1685 in Boston.
William of Boston's lineage traces back through Dunfermline, Scotland, (he was the son of David Browne and Susanna Russell) to Aldborough, Yorkshire, England, where Richard Browne was born in 1518, and later married Elizabeth Dykanson. Richard Browne was Peter's 11th great grandfather.
Peter's 2nd Great Grandfather, William Wentworth Brown, donated the funds to build the Brown Memorial Library, in Clinton, Maine. Peter is very grateful for the kind assistance of the staff of the library and the Clinton Historical society for the tremendous amount of Brown family history that they gave to him.
Peter's aunt recently told him more about his grandfather, Norman Brown (the husband of Helen, and the grandson of William Wentworth Brown). Since Norman was raised in a wealthy family (although their wealth was lost during the Depression), Norman could have been a stuck-up prig, but wasn't. Instead, he was superbly egalitarian and believed that everyone was equal. This is what Peter believes to the bottom of his heart.
One day, he hopes to have vigorous and illuminating conversations with all of the above ancestors, to discuss the wonderful topic of the equality and value of all human beings. He is already planning a very large dinner party for his ancestors in the spirit world, at some distant time in the future. He wagers it will be very interesting indeed.
The question remains, however, as it did for Hendrik Willem Van Loon, when he hosted Erasmus and his many guests for dinner, as recounted in his lovely book, Van Loon's Lives, .... what on earth shall they have for dinner? So many cultures and eras of history! Perhaps it will be a one-hundred course meal.
“The Epiphany of Zebediah Clump”
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