Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Brewer Families of New England

The Brewer Families of New England database has been updated. Descendants of at least three 17th century New England Brewer family progenitors found their way to New York in the years just prior to or soon after the American Revolutionary War. Once in New York they settled in some of the same counties and areas as Brewer and Brower descendants of the original 17th century New Netherland progenitors. The Brewer Families of New England website is a result of working at identifying those New York Brewer families whose origins are in New England and not in New Netherland. I have witnessed cases in which persons today, researching their Brewer ancestors in New York, have begun with the assumption that since their ancestor was found in New York during the late 18th century, then certainly he or she must be a descendant of a New Netherland family. In many cases they then claim that their lineage stretches back to Adam Brouwer. Some of these lineages then appear in Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) applications and in lawsuit claims regarding the Anneke Jans "fortune." (Both of these topics will be covered in future posts). In many of these cases it is apparent that the researcher never even considered a New England ancestry.

In other instances, being unaware of the presence of New England Brewer families in New York, can simply make for confusing time when trying to complete research. A case in point here involves two men named Ira Brewer. The two Ira's were born about 18 months apart, both married women named Sally, and both are found in relatively close geographical proximity to each other through the mid 1800s. The first Ira Brewer was born 21 May 1809 in Tyringham, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, the son of Josiah and Polly Brewer, and is a descendant of John Brewer of Cambridge and Sudbury, Massachsuetts. Ira apparently made his way to Orange County, New York as a young man and there married Sally Armstrong on 29 June 1836. They had seven children and are found at Warwick in Orange County in 1850; at Greene, Chenango County in 1860; and finally at Binghamton, Broome County in 1870 and 1880. The second Ira Brewer was born on 30 Dec 1810 in Delaware County, New York, the son of Aaron Brewer and Sally Woodward, and a descendant of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island. This Ira was married to a woman named Sally (family name not yet identified) by 1832. This couple also had seven children and are found at Orwell, Bradford County, Pennsylvania in the years 1840 through 1880. Bradford County, in northeastern Pennsylvania, boarders New York State and is in close proximity to both Chenango and Broome Counties in New York.

The Ira Brewer of New England ancestry, along with his family, can be found in the updated Brewer Families of New England database. Both Ira Brewer's will be included in the next update of the Brouwer Genealogy Database, which will likely happen later this summer.

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