Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Brewer DNA Project

The Brewer DNA Project, hosted by Family Tree DNA, was initiated in 2006 by Grant Johnston, a descendant of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands. Today it is administered by Richard Brewer (also a descendant of Jan Brouwer) and co-administered by Chris Chester (author of this blog, whose wife is a descendant of Adam Brouwer).  The project is open to ALL persons surnamed BREWER, BROWER, BROUWER, BRUER and any other variation that may exist. Participation in the Y-DNA aspect of the project requires a male participant with one of the above mentioned surnames. Any female BREWERS (etc.) who are interested in testing their BREWER genetic ancestry would need to recruit a close male relation, preferably their father, or a brother, but if that is not possible, an uncle or first cousin would work.
Although those of us who are involved in the administrative aspect of the Brewer DNA Project are primarily concerned with descendants of the early New Netherland BROUWER families, a large number of participants are BREWERS or BROWERS who are descended from many other ancestors who are not at all related to the New Netherland BROUWERS. Currently the largest "group" of participants belong to the group we refer to as "BREWER-LANIER." This group has it colonial origins in Virginia and gets its name from the progenitor couple, George Brewer and Sarah Lanier. A website dedicated to research on this group as been established and can be found here.
Richard Brewer has established a website focused on the descendants of Jan Brouwer titled, "Brewer Descendants of Johannes (Jan) Brouwer," which was featured in an earlier blog posting. In addition, Richard has created the website, "Genetic Descendants of Adam Brouwer Berckhoven," for those descended from Adam Brouwer. I have created the "Brouwer Genealogy Database" website, and the "Brewer Families of New England" website, which are databases of info, facts, sources and opinions that I have accumulated on thousands of persons descended from the early New Netherland and New England colonial families as well as many others who are not related to these groups.

The Brewer DNA Project has been successful in helping place a number of participants who prior to joining were unsure of their Brewer (etc.) ancestry. It has also helped to disprove a number of incorrect lineages that were assumed by many descendants as correct in the past. The article, "DNA Analysis: Adam Brouwer Berckhoven, Elias Brouwer of New Jersey, and John Brewer of Ohio," published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 138 (Oct. 2007) and authored by Richard Brewer, Scott Kraus and William B. Bogardus, was made possible by participants in the Brewer DNA Project.

We continue to seek out and encourage all those interested and active in researching their BREWER, BROWER, BROUWER, etc. ancestry to join the project. Those who can document their ancestry back to one of the original colonial progenitors are especially valuable in that their results can serve as a comparison to help others who are still unsure of their complete ancestral line. In addition, I would especially like to see confirmed descendants of Hubert Brower (immigrant to Philadelphia, Pa. in the early 1700s) and confirmed descendants of the New England families founded by Daniel Brewer of Roxbury, Mass.; John Brewer of Cambridge and Sudbury, Mass.; and Thomas Brewer of Glastonbury, Conn., join the project so that DNA signatures for these important progenitors can be established. If you would like to join, please see the "Join Request" page, or contact either myself or Richard Brewer through the e-mail addresses provided on the main page of the Brewer DNA Project.

Friday, July 22, 2011

William B. Bogardus, Research Aid Bibliography

The old Brouwer Genealogy website included a page titled, "William B. Bogardus Collection." This collection consisted of select documents found in the Brouwer related material collected by William B. Bogardus, of the Anneke Jans and Everardus Bogardus Descendants Association, over the past thirty-five or more years. In June 2012, when the above mentioned Brouwer Genealogy website no longer becomes available, the William B. Bogardus Collection page will disappear from the realm of the internet. I am still working out how exactly to handle all of these documents (and others not yet posted online).  In the meantime I will make available a handful, starting with William Bogardus's "Research Aid Bibliography," a link to which can be found both here and in the column to the right under Brouwer, Brower, Brewer Links. The link will take you to a Google Docs page from which you can download the document.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Will of John Drake of Goshen, New York, 1779

Images of John Drake's will are online at a new URL and can be found here. John Drake was a grandson of Adam Brouwer, his parents being Adam Brouwer's daughter Aeltje Brouwer and her husband Josias Janszen Drats, whose descendants adopted the surname, DRAKE. John Drake's will mentions his wife, Martha, children and some grandchildren, and gives a reference to property he believes he inherited from his "grandfather Adam Brewer." This document has been used to foster the argument that John Drake's wife was not Magdalena Brouwer, a daughter of Jacob Brouwer and Annatje Bogardus, a belief that had been claimed by many descendants of John Drake dating back to the early 1800s and continuing through the 20th century. That claim, that John Drake was married to Magdalena Brouwer, is no longer accepted.
A transcript of John Drake's will is also online.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Elias Brewer's Will, 1809

Digital images of Elias Brewer's 1809 will can now be found at a new location. The images were taken from FHL film #0832859 Delaware County, N.Y. Wills v. A-C 1797-1825, and were originally published on the old Brouwer Genealogy website.
Elias was baptized on 25 Dec 1740 at Readington, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey, the son of Elias Brouwer and Helena Willemse, and a great-grandson of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands. He was married to Phebe Lucas, and lived his adult life at Cambridge, Washington Co., New York and later at Kortright in Delaware Co., New York. Elias Brewer served during the Revolutionary War and is buried at Riverside Cemetery, Oneonta, Otsego Co., New York.
Details and sources can be found at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Brewer Descendants of Johannes (Jan) Brouwer

The website, Brewer Descendants of Johannes (Jan) Brower, has a new url. The website was originally created in June 2007 by Richard Brewer, administrator of the Brewer DNA Project. It's purpose is to expand upon the results found at the Brewer DNA Project regarding Johannes (Jan) Brouwer, his descendants, and those who by their participation in the Brewer DNA Project have results that demonstrate that they must be a genetic descendant of Johannes (Jan) Brouwer.

The original website, was published online by Apple's Mobile Me service, and as with the original Brouwer Genealogy website, it will no longer be available after June 2012.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Brewer Ancestry of U. S. President Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933), 30th President of the United States (1923-1929) was, through his paternal grandmother Sarah Almeda Brewer (1823-1906), a descendant of John Brewer of Cambridge, Massachusetts (1641) and Sudbury, Massachusetts.

President Coolidge's Brewer ancestors moved from Worcester, Massachusetts to Ludlow, Windsor County, Vermont in the early 1800s. His great-grandfather, Israel Chase Brewer, and some other relations later moved on to Wisconsin. During his time in office, President Coolidge made several trips to Wisconsin and looked up his relations who had established themselves there. Among those Brewers who he encountered were descendants of Jeremiah Brower/Brewer of Highgate, Vermont. As the story was related to me by present day descendants of Jeremiah Brower/Brewer (all of whom use the BREWER surname) their Brewer ancestors and President Coolidge believed that they were cousins based simply on the fact that both families had the surname, BREWER, and both had origins in Vermont. At the time, the Wisconsin Brewers descended from Jeremiah Brower/Brewer were clearly unaware of their own correct ancestry. Their correct ancestry has, since the time of President Coolidge, been discovered using both traditional genealogical research methods and DNA testing and comparison of descendants.

In here is the lesson that having a common surname, and a common place of origin (especially one as general as a State), does not ensure a relationship between two parties who share that common name and place in their ancestries.

An ahnentafel of President Calvin Coolidge's Brewer ancestry has been made available online. Additional details and sources for his ancestors can be found at the Brewer Families of New England website. Details regarding Jeremiah Brower (1738-1822) and his descendants can be found at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website.

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.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Challenges for Future Genealogists

Today, genealogists and family historians looking back two, three and four hundred years, are confronted with the problem of an incomplete trail of records. Official documents such as birth and baptism, marriage, and death and burial records are often missing, have been destroyed or simply never existed to begin with. Some family relationships simply cannot be proved to the level of "modern genealogical standards" that are strived for by some.
A New York Times article published earlier this month, "Who's on the Family Tree, Now It's Complicated," explores an entirely different set of concerns in store for future genealogists of the 22nd century and beyond. The question of just what is it that defines a family relationship is discussed. With surrogate parents, sperm donors, same sex couples, single parents, etc., the concept of what is a "family" today is far different than what it was just a few generations ago. What is truly more important, the chain of DNA that links one generation to the next, or the emotional, personal and dependency ties that do the same?
Many of the comments posted for the article are also insightful.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dutchess County Wills in Albany

Prior to 1800 a number of wills of residents of Dutchess County, New York were recorded and probated at Albany, New York. I have taken digital images of the list of such wills found on FHL film #0913658. It is recommended that you download each image and magnify them using your computer’s tools. The microfilm was dark and many edges cannot be read. The images, originally available online at the old Brouwer Genealogy website, can now be found here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunset at Gowanus Bay

At the top of this blog page is an image of the painting, "Sunset at Gowanus Bay" by Henry Gritten (1851). Born in London in 1818, Henry Gritten was living in Brooklyn, New York by 1850. He also painted in New Hampshire and in 1853 went to Australia. A biography can be found at the White Mountain Art and Artists website.
Sometime during the 1650s Adam Brouwer built, what is believed to be, the first grist mill in New York at Gowanus (on land owned by Jan Evertsz Bout, and likely financed by his partner, Isaac de Foreest). In about 1700 Nicholas Vechte, who owned property adjoining the mill property, built a house of stone that is referred to as the Old Stone House, which was destroyed in 1897 and rebuilt in the 1930s.
In 1664, Adam Brouwer and others, petitioned Petrus Stuyvesant, Director-General of New Netherland, for permission to build a canal at Gowanus. During the centuries since, the canal has been enlarged, deepened and expanded into a commercial waterway connected to the Upper New York Bay. It also became the site of tremendous industrial growth and was home to a wide variety of businesses from mills and tanneries to cement and chemical plants. During Adam Brouwer's time the Gowanus Bay area was known for it fertile oyster beds, described as "the best in the country," by Jasper Danckaerts in his 1679/80 journal of his travels in New Netherland. By the mid twentieth century the Gowanus canal was an environmental nightmare and in 2010 was placed on the Superfund National Priorities list by the EPA.
Also see "On the Water Front," New York Times, October 21, 2009

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Nicholas Brouwer's Will, 1778

Nicholas Brouwer (1714-1778) was a great grandson of Adam Brouwer. He lived the majority of his life at Wappinger's Falls in Dutchess County, New York. He also had large land holdings in other parts of New York State, including land at which is now Ballston Spa, New York, land at Chenango Point (now Binghamton, New York) and held a patent on over 70,000 acres in what is now New York State's Adirondack Park (this was lost as a result of the Revolutionary War).
Nicholas Brouwer was married twice. By his first wife, Mary Dutcher (b.1726, d.1761-65), he had six children: Jannteje (Jane), Adolphus, Nicholas, David, Elizabeth and Maria (Mary). By his second wife, Sarah Drake (1746-1795/96), a cousin and a younger woman than his oldest daughter, he had seven children: William, Jeremiah, Sara, Helena (Lena), Jacob, Cornelia and Rachel. Contention over the will and the settlement of Nicholas Brouwer's estate would pit descendants against one another for decades to come.
Available online are digital images of the will, as well as a transcript. Links for both can also be found at the right of this page under "Notes, Research, Reports."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Adam Brouwer's Will, 1692

Adam Brouwer wrote his will in 1692. It can be found in Albany, New York in Wills, vols. AA-AB, and on microfilm from the Family History Library, FHL film #0481436. I have placed both digital images and a transcription of the will online. Links can be found in the right margin of this page under Notes, Research, Reports.

In his will, Adam's surname is referred to as "Brower Berckhoven," "Brouwer" and "Brewer." Adam names all of his fourteen children, instructs them not to trouble or move their mother, Magdalena Verdon, disinherits sons Pieter and Jacob, and daughter, Aletje, for their disobedience, and appoints sons-in-laws Barent van Tilburg and William Nazareth as executors (by-passing all of his seven sons). A number of grandchildren are also named.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Genetic Descendants of Adam Brouwer Berckhoven

Authored and created by Richard Brewer, administrator of the Brewer DNA Project, the website, "Genetic Descendants of Adam Brouwer Berckhoven" is a valuable resource for descendants of Adam Brouwer and for those still unsure of which early New Netherland Brouwer family they may descend from. The page, "Adam's Haplogroup" should be of great interest to Adam Brouwer descendants in particular.
The website was first published in 2009 and the link provided in the right hand margin of this page will take you to the new location for the website.

Link: Genetic Descendants of Adam Brouwer Berckhoven

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why the Brouwer Genealogy Blog

In July of 2008 I created the Brouwer Genealogy website. The site was created using a Mac Book and Apple's i-Web application, while Apple's Mobile Me service provided the web hosting for the site. Just within the past few weeks Apple notified all of it's Mobile Me account users that they would be discontinuing the service and although some features of Mobile Me will be transferable to Apple's new i-Cloud service, some features, such as i-Web publishing and Blogs would not be transferred. The Mobile Me service will be terminated in June 2012, and therefore at that time the Brouwer Genealogy website will no longer exist. This cancellation of the Mobile Me service will have no impact on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website which is hosted by RootsWeb's free pages.

One feature of the Brouwer Genealogy website was the Updates page. This page, which was in Blog format, was used to alert any and all interested of updates to the Brouwer Genealogy Database website and to additions and corrections made to the Brouwer Genealogy website. This Blog, that you are currently reading, will from here on out, take over that function. As of now I will no longer be posting updates to the Brouwer Genealogy website Updates page. All future updates, additions and corrections will be announced here. At the time that the Brouwer Genealogy website is terminated, all info found on that site's Updates page will be lost. It will not be transferred to or saved on any other website.

Information and links found on the other pages of the Brouwer Genealogy website will be relocated either at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website or on this Blog page. As info is moved and links are created I will post notification here on this Blog page.