Sunset at Gowanus Bay

Sunset at Gowanus Bay
Sunset at Gowanus Bay, Henry Gritten, 1851

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Links to Brewer DNA Project Haplogroups on the YFull YTree

Links to individual pages on YFull's Y-Tree, leading to the haplogroup branches represented by participants in the Brewer DNA Project have been added in the column of links on the right of this page under the heading Brewer Y-DNA Project.

As of this date there are eight haplogroup branches on the Y-Tree that have been determined by members of the Project who have taken Family Tree DNA's Big-Y test and followed with analysis of the test results by YFull (a company not commercially affiliated with FTDNA).

To date the following subgroups of the Brewer DNA Project are represented:

Adam Brouwer, Gowanus, L. I. (three members)
Ambrose Brewer (two members)
Arthur Brewer (two members)
Brewer of Essex, England (one member)
Brewer of Gloucestershire, England (one member)
Brewer-Lanier (a.k.a. Lanier-Brewer, nine members)
Jan Brouwer/Hermans (four members)
John Brewer of Sudbury, Massachusetts (one member)

All subgroups of the Brewer DNA Project can be found on the Project's Y-DNA Results page. This page includes STR testing data for tests ranging from 12 markers to 111 markers. The subgroup headings are determined by the earliest known (or suspected to be earliest known) ancestor common to members of the group. "Brewer-Lanier" or "Lanier-Brewer" refers to those believed to be descendants of George Brewer of Brunswick Co., Virginia (whose first wife was Sarah Lanier). The sole members of the subgroups labeled "Brewer of Essex, England," and "Brewer of Gloucestershire, England" are currently found within the subgroup labeled "Ungouped" on the Y-DNA Results Page.

The links found on the right lead to the current haplogroup designations as determined by YFull. They may be changed and updated as more data is analyzed and as YFull updates their YTree. The version of the YTree as of this writing in v4.09. The "Brewer-Lanier" haplogroup branch is identified by I-Y15031, and includes two sub-branches identified by I-Y21524 and I-Y23708.

Members of the Brewer DNA Project interested in identifying their own branch on the YTree can do so by ordering the Big-Y test through their account at Family Tree DNA. The Big-Y test (a SNP test) is only available to those who have previously taken one of FTDNA's STR marker tests. Those new to Y-Chromosome testing will first have to take one of the available Y-DNA tests prior to ordering a Big-Y test. Questions should be addressed to the administrators of the Brewer DNA Project through e-mail links found on the Project's main page.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Update for George Brewer Descendants on YTree v4.08

YFull has updated their YTree. Current version is now v4.08. This new update brings changes to the branch of the YTree represented by descendants of George Brewer of Brunswick County, Virginia. The branch is identified by SNP I-Y15031, and there are now two sub-branches identified by SNP I-Y21524 and SNP I-Y23708. View the current branch here.

Earliest known ancestors for this new configuration is as follows:

    id:YF03764 - George Brewer through his son William Brewer
    id:YF03577 - George Brewer through his son Henry Brewer
    id:YF03395 - George Brewer through his son William Brewer
    id:YF03277 - Wilson Brewer (1801 Chatham Co. NC - 1883 Rome Co.TN)

    id:YF05626 - William Brewer (ca.1780 NC - 1853 Fayette Co. AL)
    id:YF04443 - Briant Brewer (1799 VA, probable son of Thomas Brewer)

    id:YF06846 - Jacob White (ca.1772 NC - ca.1861 GA)
    id:YF06678 - Nimrod Brewer (1793-1875, suspected son of Howell Brewer)
    id:YF05926 - Samuel Brewer (b.1770)

Names of the earliest known ancestors (EKAs) provided by the tested descendants. Although not all can complete their paternal ancestry back to George Brewer using traditional research methods, genetic testing demonstrates that all are most likely descended from George Brewer.

Y-DNA testing is through Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) using their Big-Y test, with advanced analysis by YFull. Also see The Brewer DNA Project main page.

There have no changes made to any of our other Brewer sub-groups on the new YTree.

PDF version of this post

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Seeking Descendants of Hubert Brower, Immigrant to Pennsylvania in 1726

The Brewer DNA Project is seeking direct male descendants of Hubert Brower who would be interested in participating in the Brewer DNA Project by taking a Y-DNA test. The Project currently has 268 members, and although we suspect that as many as five of those members may be descendants of Hubert Brower, none of them can yet prove this ancestry through traditional genealogical research. This is an example of how genetic genealogy has the potential to fill in or at least augment the gaps left open by the lack of documents, records and surviving family history. It is hoped that in this case, Y-DNA test results from male descendants of Hubert Brower who can prove their lineage, will tell those who cannot, whether or not they in fact are descendants of Hubert Brower.

All that is known about Hubert Brower is that he came to America by virtue of a "pass" dated May 1, 1726. In this document his name is rendered as "Hubert Brauer." Information on "The Pass" can be found online at the website of the Church of the Brethren on their Historical Library and Archives page. Although there is a small photo of the "Pass," there is no complete transcription and a high quality downloadable image of the document is not provided. I have not seen the "pass" myself and am not aware of what exactly is stated in it regarding Hubert and his family. The explanation on the page pretty much follows what has been known, or more accurately, what is believed to be known, regarding Hubert Brower's family. What if any of this information can be found specifically on the "pass" is not known (I have not seen the original myself). As stated on the web page, Hubert Brower had three sons, John, Christian and Henry, who initially settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania. However, although records can be found of all three either in Chester County or the immediate surrounding area from the mid to late 1700s, to my knowledge, there is no surviving record that actually names Hubert Brower as the father of any one of them. In fact, there is no record of Hubert Brower himself in America. And it is a bit unusual that despite the fact that all three (believed to be) brothers had children, none of the three gave the name Hubert to any of their sons.* Does the pass specifically record his three sons by name?

We do not know when Hubert Brower was born. Since it never has been reported, I take it that his age is not given on "The Pass." We also do not know when Hubert died, or where he was buried. Did he actually make it to America? Or did he die during the voyage? The general belief is that Hubert died shortly after his arrival and that his widow, Ann, son remarried a man named Johannes Roth who himself died in 1740. A Find-A-Grave page for "Anna Brauer Roth," mentions "recent research reveals..." but does not point to specifics and does not provide a photo of Anna's grave marker. The bottom line however, is that none of what has been stated regarding Hubert and his sons has been proved through the use of modern accepted genealogical research methods. Perhaps Y-DNA testing can provide supporting evidence.

What is known about the three sons, John, Christian and Henry, is that they left numerous descendants. The current edition of the Brouwer Genealogy Database has information on some who can be accessed individually through this chart. Be forewarned that this chart and the descendant included on the database website is very much incomplete, and contains errors. I have in the past few months created a "tree" on titled "Hubert Brower, Immigrant to Pennsylvania, 1726," which currently includes 5544 reviewed records for 2976 individuals with another 9785 record hints still to be reviewed. If you have an active subscription to you can view this database. If you are a direct male descendant of Hubert Brower who joins the Brewer DNA Project and takes a Y-DNA test (or a female who can recruit a close male Brower relation to do so) I will send you an "invitation" to this database which will allow you access it without a subscription. There is much more information, and far more records on the database than are found on the current Brouwer Genealogy Database website, and I do not plan to update the BGD website anytime soon.

As mentioned above, the Brewer DNA Project currently has (possibly) five participants who may be descended from Hubert Brower, or are somehow closely related to the three claimed sons, John, Christian and Henry. The five can be found on the Brewer DNA Project's DNA Results page under the sub-group titled "Under Consideration A" (color coded green).** Three of the participants are descendants of men named BROWER who were initially found in Randolph County, North Carolina during the early 1800s. The earliest known ancestors of the three are Jacob Brower (1812-1881), Leander Brower (b. 1808, died in Henderson Co., TN) and Leander Brower (b. mid 1850s, died in Henderson Co., TN). It is strongly suspected that the older Leander and Jacob are brothers and the younger Leander is a son of the older of the same name. What is also known, is that sons of John Brower (the believed son of Hubert) migrated to Randolph County, NC in the late 1700s. And although many of John Brower's descendants in Randolph County can be traced, the three mentioned above have not been. We would like to find direct male descendants of John Brower who would be interested in joining the Brewer DNA Project by taking a Y-DNA test. We would like to see whether provable descendants of John Brower genetically match the three who have already tested (and who match each other).

The other two participants in this sub-group are both known and provable descendants of Henry Brewer (a.k.a. Henrich Brauer) of Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Some (now partially outdated) background on Henry Brewer can be found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database site. Hank Graham, the administrator of the Project, gets credit for pointing out the closeness of the match between the descendants of Henry Brewer and those descended from the North Carolina Browers. There is no doubt that the Browers of Randolph County and the Brewers originally of Bedford County, PA are closely related, having a common ancestor within the past few hundred years. Whether or not that ancestor is Hubert Brower is not certain. Henry Brewer of Bedford County was born circa 1735, and he is not the Henry Brower who has long believed to have been Hubert's son and is mentioned on the Church of the Brethren webpage. Is Henry Brewer of Bedford County then a grandson of Hubert Brower? Or is he a nephew of Hubert Brower (a first cousin of the trio of John, Christian and Henry)? Or, is the current picture of the Hubert Brower family incorrect? We would like to find descendants of both Christian Brower and Henry Brower (the claimed sons of Hubert) who would like to join the Brewer DNA Project by taking a Y-DNA test. Ideally we would like to have two descendants of each (John, Christian and Henry) from different sons of each (so six different grandsons of Hubert). The comparison of Y-DNA tests from such a group would help confirm (or refute) the current ideas of how Hubert Brower's family is constructed and help us place the five current closely related participants who are in the Project's sub-group "Under Consideration A."

Interested participants can contact us through the Brewer DNA Project e-mail links found on the Project's main page. The project is hosted by Family Tree DNA, and more information on genetic testing can be found on the Family Tree DNA website. Information on Y-DNA tests is found here. Please note that Family Finder (autosomal testing) and mtDNA (maternal ancestry testing) is of no help to our efforts. We need direct male descendants of John, Christian and Henry Brower.

I also hope to follow up with future posts on each of the three believed brothers, John, Christian and Henry.

*John did have sons named John and Christian. Christian had sons named John, Christian and Henry. Henry had a son named John, but none named Christian or Henry. John and Henry both had sons named Daniel and Abraham, but Christian did not give either of those names to any of his sons.

**Presently only results for four of the participants are view-able online to non-members of the Project. Members of the Project who are logged in can view all five test results.

PDF version of this post

Saturday, August 13, 2016

John Brewer, Died April 18, 1821

The image below is of the grave marker of John Brewer buried in Riverside Cemetery, Chemung, New York. It was taken from Find-A-Grave memorial #99523161, created on October 24, 2012 by RobMinteer27. The photo is credited to "whitepaper." This is an important photograph in that it clears up a long standing mystery regarding just who the John Brewer buried in Riverside Cemetery was.

John Brewer, d.1821, Riverside Cemetery, Chemung, NY
Download the image, expand it on your computer, and you will see that the inscription states that John Brewer died April 18, 1821, age 21 yrs. Also inscribed on the stone is the name of Elijah Brewer who died "in the State of Ohio," June 20, 1821, age 44 yrs. The inscription on this stone contradicts previously published transcriptions of this stone which had given John Brewer's death as April 18, 1821, age 91 yrs. These previously published accounts were "Revolutionary Soldiers B-G, Chemung County, N. Y.," Gemini, vol. 8 (Apr 1979), p. 31, and typed index cards found at the Chemung County Historical Society, Elmira, New York, "Chemung County, New York Cemetery Records." The current edition of the Brouwer Genealogy Database (online 6 April 2016), at the profile of John Brewer, cites these two sources and suggests a date of birth as "1730." It is also stated that John Brewer was a Revolutionary War soldier. Based upon this new information he clearly was not.

The original incorrect transcription has suggested to some researchers of Abraham Brewer of Chemung, New York, that John Brewer (assuming he was born in 1730) was Abraham's father. Abraham Brewer was born in 1744 and died in 1814 and is buried in the same cemetery. This image of John's grave marker makes the suggestion that John was Abraham's father impossible. In fact, it appears that it most likely that John Brewer (d.1821) was a grandson of Abraham Brewer (1744-1814). Elijah Brewer (ca.1777-1821) was a son of Abraham Brewer, and since he does appear on the same grave marker as John Brewer, it is probably safe to conclude that Elijah was John Brewer's father.

There is a memorial at Riverside Cemetery that honors men buried there who served during the Revolutionary War. This image is also from the Find-A-Grave website and was attached to Abraham Brewer's page, memorial #65163747. Paul R. is credited with the photo.

Revolutionary War Memorial, Riverside Cemetery, Chemung, NY
The monument, which was erected in 1941, lists Pvt. Abraham Brewer and Pvt. John Brewer. It also includes Pvt. Elijah Griswold who was Abraham's father-in-law. The question now is whether this monument is accurate with regards to Pvt. John Brewer. We now know that the John Brewer who died in 1821, age 21, could not have served in the Revolutionary War. When this monument was created was it done so with the incorrect belief that John Brewer died in 1821 aged 91? Or, is there a second man named John Brewer, born early enough to have served during the Revolutionary War, buried there as well?

Thanks to Nancy Martin who first brought to my attention the fact that the earlier transcription of John Brewer's grave marker was incorrect.

I have recently created an Abraham Brewer, Chemung, New York "tree" at with the purpose of locating direct male descendants who would be interested in taking a Y-DNA test with the Brewer DNA Project. The tree is not complete, it is a work in progress, but it the information found here is more complete than that what is found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. We currently have two descendants of Abraham who have tested, but we would like one or two more descendants with verifiable lineages back to Abraham to test so that we may better verify the genetic signature for this group. Please note that a subscription to is needed to view the tree (sorry this is beyond my control). If you are a descendant of Abraham Brewer who would like to join the Brewer DNA Project, please contact us via the e-mail links on the Project's main page.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Finding Rebekah Maglaney Brower (1822-1852)

Susan Stessin-Cohn, New Paltz, New York Town Historian (see this article from a few years back), has contacted me with some previously unknown information and a link to a very interesting webpage. "Finding Rebekah" tells the story of Rebekah Maglaney Brower. This webpage is hosted by the Ulster County Government website and is nested under the "Poorhouse Project," which is headed by Susan. In her words, "Rebekah Brower is an incredibly important person to our County. Out of the more than 2000 burials at the Ulster County Poorhouse, Rebekah's is the only person that has a tombstone." The webpage describes the finding of the Poorhouse's lost cemetery and of Rebekah's tombstone with a transcription of the engraving which included a poem.

Susan and others are currently working at raising funds for the erection of a memorial to those who lived in the Poorhouse. Should that happen she would very much like to have a descendant of Rebekah Brower's family attend the unveiling. The effort was just highlighted on the local Time Warner Cable News site.

Rebekah is a great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I. Her parents were Cornelius C. Brower (b. 1792, d. by 1870) and Phebe Simpson (1797-1872). I first became aware of the family of Cornelius C. Brower and his wife Phebe Simpson, through copies of the work of Chester A. Brower (1922-2005) that I received from William B. Bogardus in 2008. The post of July 10, 2012, describes this and provides links to PDFs of the files I received from Bill. There are eighteen PDFs and the first (Part I) opens with digital images of a Bible record of Cornelius and Phebe Brower's family. Rebekah Maglangney Brower, born 26 of January 1822 is found in the right hand column. The image is difficult to read. It is a scanned copy of a photocopy of (I assume) the original Bible record page. Rebekah's middle name is difficult to discern. "Maglangney" is my best guess. Perhaps it was a family name from Rebecca's maternal side ancestry, of which little is known. Also, nothing is yet known of the ancestry of her paternal grandmother, whose name appears variously in records as Cathalyntje McManny, McManus, and Jemima and Ghemini McMannis, and Jacomyntje Meck. Perhaps the name relates to Rebekah's paternal grandmother's ancestry. Or, her middle name might be a phonetic rendering or variation of Magdalena, a name common among the descendants of Adam Brouwer. Although the pages recording deaths include large sections that are unreadable, Chester A. Brower, in his own notes on the Bible record, writes Rebekah's date of death as 3 May 1852, age 30 years 3 months 5 days (see page 9 of the same PDF). [Note that the webpage presently has her year of death incorrectly transcribed as 1862]. Rebekah's grave marker confirms the date while her middle name is engraved as "Maclanc" (or Maclang) perhaps lending a bit more evidence to the idea that her middle name was the family name of an ancestor.

According to admission records researched by Susan, Rebekah was admitted to the Poorhouse in 1849. And she can be found enumerated there on the 1850 U. S. census at New Paltz, but under the name of Rebecca M. Brown. Those who have spent some time researching Browers in the census records are familiar with the fact that the name Brower, is sometimes mistakenly written in the original census as Brown. And in some cases, while Brower was written as such in the original, a later day indexer or transcriber saw, and then wrote the name as Brown. Whenever I have trouble finding a Brower when conducting an index search of a census record, I try again using the name Brown. More often than not I will then find who I am looking for. A search of the 1850 U.S. census (conducted on using "Rebecca M. Brown" finds our Rebeckah, in the Poorhouse at New Paltz. Her age is given as 25. She is found on the second page of those enumerated in the Poorhouse.

1850 U.S. census, New Paltz, NY (NARA, via
Rebekah is on line 26. The previous census page gives us the name of the "Keeper of the Poorhouse" in 1850, Hiram Dakin, age 48, followed by the members of his family, and then those living at the Poorhouse, all described under occupation as "paupers."

1850 U.S. census, New Paltz, NY (NARA, via
A search of the 1860 census found the poorhouse under the keeper, Moses Constable, age 58. As was expected, Rebekah is not found among those living there, thus confirming her earlier date of death.

Rebekah M. Brower's grave marker can be seen on the site of the former Ulster County Poorhouse cemetery grounds. The site is adjacent to the Ulster County Pool and Fairgrounds. Thanks to Susan Stessin-Cohn for all her work in this cause and for bringing it to my attention. Hopefully the effort to raise funds for the memorial will be successful.

Some links: A post by Susan from 2012 at "The Diaries of Julia Lawrence Hasbrouck". The Poorhouse Project's main page with links. Ulster County Poorhouse page at The Poorhouse Story main page.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

David R. Brewer (1847-1935)

David R. Brewer, born 13 February 1847 in Greene County, Ohio, was a son of John G. Brewer (1795-1886) who was featured in the post of July 10, 2014. Travis Waddle sent me a link to George F. Robinson's, History of Greene County, Ohio... (Chicago: S. J. Clark Pub., 1902), which is online at the Internet Archive website. A profile of David R. Brewer is found on pages 860 to 862.

Books on the histories of individual counties had their hay-day in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They often included large sections devoted to profiles of various "leading" citizens. Anyone who has spent some time researching their family histories, particularly in the mid-western states, has no doubt come across volumes similar to Robinson's History of Green County. They were often written at a time contemporaneous to the subjects found in the profiles, and the information given on the subjects immediate family is usually a very reliable. Often though, the profiles offer a "family history" of the subject stretching back some generations that is entirely inaccurate. From that standpoint, these "Histories" need to be used with critical eye, and cannot be taken as a source or proof of an ancestry. All ancestral claims beyond the parents of the subject, made in these various "Histories," need to be confirmed with actual records. In themselves, they are not acceptable as proof.

In the case of David R. Brewer, the History of Greene County only names his parents John G. Brewer and Sarah Miller. Since the information for this profile likely came from David R. Brewer himself, it most certainly a credible account of his parents. The profile also provides some basic information on David R. Brewer's siblings, which again because of the source, is certainly accurate.

On the subject of David R. Brewer's father's ancestry, the profile is vague. It only mentions that David's grandfather was a native of New Jersey who died at the age of ninety-eight. Although it's a bit of a let down that more information or clues to David's ancestry was not given, it is at least refreshing to see that in this case the author did not reach for or concoct some ancestry for David that would be misleading or completely incorrect. The location, New Jersey, of David's family origins is consistent with David's death record found in Ohio.

A descendant of David R. Brewer's brother, Charles Brewer (1836-1897) has participated in the Brewer DNA Project, and we know from his Y-DNA test results that he, and therefore his direct male ancestors, and all of their direct descendants, are descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I. That same descendant has taken Family Tree DNA's Big-Y test and is one of those whose results have enabled us to more precisely define Adam Brouwer's haplogroup and place him (and his descendants) on the larger YTree. However, we still have not made any new headway on identifying the father of John G. Brewer. While the theory, or lead if you will, presented in the July 10, 2014 post is still valid, it has not been proved. We are open to hearing from anyone who may have evidence of the identity of the parents, and the ancestry, of John G. Brewer.

Thank you to Travis Waddle for the link.