Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Arent Brouwer of Stone Arabia, NY -Will dated July 10, 1793

Digital images of the last will and testament of Arent Brouwer of Stone Arabia, Montgomery County, New York, can be found online.

Arent Brouwer was baptized 29 March 1718 at the First Dutch Reformed Church at Schenectady, New York, the son of Willem Brouwer and Rebecca Vedder. His paternal grandparents were Willem Brouwer and Lysbeth Drickvelt. His maternal grandparents were Arent Vedder and Sarah Groot. Arent Brouwer, who has also been recorded as Aaron Brower, never married and had no children of his own. His lengthy will mentions his siblings and his nephew and nieces, the children of his siblings. It is an important instrument for reconstructing the family of Willem Brouwer and Rebecca Vedder, and the families of their children. Arent's will serves as an important example of why researching all members of a family, even the unmarried ones without descendants, is a step in conducting genealogical research that should not be ignored.

For a genealogical summery  see Descendants of Willem Brouwer for two generations.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Update on the Jonathan Brewers of New England

In the September 20, 2011 post I brought up the discovery that Col. Jonathan Brewer (1725/26-1784) did not marry as his second wife, Dorothy Fowle. She, instead, was married to another man named Jonathan Brewer, who had not yet been placed among the New England Brewer families. I now believe that the Jonathan Brewer, who married Dorothy Fowle, was a son of Moses Brewer (1728-1760), and a nephew of the above mentioned Col. Jonathan Brewer.
Jonathan Brewer died before 23 August 1793, when proceedings on estate began in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Images of the documents from his estate file (no. 2557) can be found online. The papers mention only two children, both minors, and both daughters, Polly and Betsey. Birth records for the two have not been found in the Massachusetts vital records. His wife is not mentioned by name, however, the "widow Brewer," is mentioned in one document. The piece of evidence that would connect Jonathan Brewer to Moses Brewer is a line in the inventory of the estate refering to "money paid Ebenezer Colburn by William Baldwin, executor of the estate of Moses Brewer, deceased." There is also an entry for money paid by John Fowle to Ebenezer Colburn for Jonathan Brewer's house in Watertown. See image no. 6.
Previous editions of the Brewer Families of New England Database, had shown Moses Brewer with a son, Jonathan Brewer, who resided in Tinmouth, Vermont, and died there in 1817. Placing the Jonathan Brewer, who married Dorothy Fowle and who died in 1793, as a new found son of Moses Brewer, now forces us to find a new family for the Jonathan Brewer of Tinmouth, Vermont. An educated guess might be that he is a son of Col. David Brewer (b. 24 Dec 1731), but further research is required.
The Brewer Families of New England database has been updated.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Research links for the State of New Jersey

The Dutch were the first to settle in what is now New Jersey, at a location they called Pavonia, later to become Bergen, New Jersey. After the English takeover of New Netherland in 1664, New Jersey consisted of two provinces, East Jersey and West Jersey. The two were united into one province in 1702 and counties began to be formed. On December 18, 1787, New Jersey officially became a state, being the third state to ratify the U. S. Constitution. Present day New Jersey is divided into 20 counties. For an overview of county formation in New Jersey see, Counties of New Jersey.

Below are links for websites that would be beneficial to anyone conducting genealogical or historical research in New Jersey. In the future I will feature blog posts specific to certain individual New Jersey Counties.

New Jersey GenWeb Project

New Jersey State Archives

New Jersey Historical Society Archives

New Jersey Department of Health (obtaining vital records)

New Jersey Colonial Marriages (a search tool)

New Jersey Church Records at Olive Tree Genealogy

Calendar of New Jersey Wills at Internet Archive

Index of Wills, inventories, etc. in the Office of the Secretary of State Prior to 1901, Vol. 1

Index of Wills, inventories, etc. in the Office of the Secretary of State Prior to 1901, Vol. 2

Index of Wills, inventories, etc. in the Office of the Secretary of State Prior to 1901, Vol. 3

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Willis Brewer of North Carolina and Ohio

Willis Brewer first came to my attention while examining the correspondence of William B. Bogardus regarding Brouwer, Brower and Brewer families. A number of his correspondents were of the belief that Willis Brewer, who was said to have been born in North Carolina, was a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. Specifically, the claim was that Willis Brewer was a son of Jacob Brouwer (bpt. 1707) a son of Sybrant Brouwer of New York City, a great-grandson of Adam Brouwer, and a great-great grandson of the fabled Anneke Jans. This notion is undoubtedly incorrect. It was likely spawned sometime during the late 1800s or early 1900s during one of the great drives to recruit all manner of persons named Brewer or Brower with the hope of cashing in on the imaginary fortune due the heirs (and supposed heirs) of Anneke Jans. These efforts created numerous false lines of ancestry. The claim that Willis Brewer of North Carolina was a son of Jacob Brouwer of New York City, is only one of the more fantastic assertions.

I have placed online, Some Descendants of Willis Brewer of North Carolina and Ohio. The document comes with the caveat that the first generation descended from Willis Brewer, his children, is speculative. No documentation has been found that supports this group as a family other than the claims of some descendants and the fact that they are located in close proximity to each other in Ohio during the early part of the 1800s. The genealogy from the children's generation on down, however, appears to be reliable. I would certainly be interested in hearing from anyone who has verifiable evidence of Willis Brewer's ancestry and an account of his family, as well as the name of his wife. His wife, by the way, is not mentioned by any of the descendants who corresponded with Bill Bogardus.

Spending time on the descendants of Willis Brewer was necessary in that the families lived in Ohio at some of the same locations as other Brewer and Brower families. Some of these other families are descended from Adam Brouwer, others form Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, and others still from other unrelated Brewer families. A result of this effort yielded two more corrections to the descendants of John Brewer of Scioto County, Ohio. Both involve John Brewer's son Charles Brewer (wife Elizabeth Keating). It had originally been stated that Charles was found on the 1830 census at Jackson, Pike Co., Ohio. He was not. This record belongs to another man, a Charles Anderson Brewer, who appears to have had sons Charles and William D. Brewer, both found in Pike County up until 1870. This family may have had it's origins in Virginia. If they are related to any of the other above mentioned Brewer families, that relationship is as yet unknown. The second correction involves the claimed son of Charles Brewer and Elizabeth Keating named James Brewer. Early compiled (and unreliable) accounts of the John Brewer of Scioto Co., Ohio family gave Charles a son named James who in turn married a woman named Margareth (her surname not stated). There are records for a couple named James Brewer and Margaret Clark who were married in 1837 in Pike Co., Ohio. This couple was undoubtedly confused for the couple called "James Brewer and Margareth." The James Brewer who married Margaret Clark, and for whom records do exist, is apparently a son of Enoch Brewer of Jackson, Ross and Pike Counties, Ohio, a believed son of Willis Brewer.

The above mentioned corrections, and info regarding the Willis Brewer descendants will be added to the Brouwer Genealogy Database website with the next update.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brewer, Brower, etc. In New Jersey Probate Records

The State of New Jersey, Index of Wills, Inventories, Etc. in the Office of the Secretary of State, prior to 1901, is a three volume set. From the William B. Bogardus Collection we have those pages which contain persons with the names Brewer, Brower, etc. The indexes are arranged by counties. PDF files are available online at the following links:

Volume 1: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland,  and Essex counties

Volume 2: Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Monmouth counties

Volume 3: Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset and Union counties

There are no Brewers, Browers, etc. found in Salem, Sussex or Warren counties, or in the index to unrecorded or Prerogative Wills, or in the addenda.

In addition I have extracted all of the Brewer, Brower, etc. entries found in the New Jersey Calendar of Wills, 1670-1817, into one document which has been placed online.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Amasa Brower and Andrew Brower of Atlantic County, New Jersey

Amasa Brower (1809-1880) and Andrew Brower (1804-1877) are both found at Galloway in Atlantic County, New Jersey throughout the mid-1800s. Both are sons of a man, or men, named John Brower, although their ancestries beyond their father(s) is not known. It is suspected that they are brothers, but presently that suggestion is not supported by any direct evidence. Andrew did name a son, Amasa, and as this is a very unusual name among families named BROWER, it could be a suggestion that Andrew named a son for his brother.
Death records for both men are available at Trenton, New Jersey. Copies have been provided for me by Ellen H. In the death records for both Amasa and Andrew, the father is recorded as John Brower, however, in the case of Amasa, his mother is called, Lovinia, while in Andrew's case, his mother is called, Mary. It may be that Amasa and Andrew were half brothers, or it may be that there was an error made in the recording of the mother's name for one of the men. Death certificates and records are not error free.
A clue to the possible ancestry of the two men may line with the names of two of Amasa's children. He names a son, Vincent, and a daughter, Hester. The name, Vincent, is another one of those names that is rare among BROWERs and BROUWERs. However, the one family in which it is found, and in which the name, Hester, is also found, is with the family of Cornelis Brouwer (1713-1768) and his wife, Hester Bodine (b.1715), a daughter of Vincent Bodine and Heyltje Smith. This Cornelis Brouwer is a descendant of Adam Brouwer through his son, Jacob Brouwer and his wife, Annatje Bogardus. This couple did name a son, Vincent Brouwer (b.1739) who has not been traced any further. The possible continuity of the unusual name of Vincent may suggest that Vincent Brouwer (or possibly one of his brothers) is the direct ancestor of Amasa Brower and Andrew Brower (if so, Vincent would likely be a grandfather).
Any insight or information that would be helpful in determining the ancestry of Amasa and/or Andrew Brower would be appreciated.
In the meantime, I do have brief descendant charts available online for both Amasa Brower and Andrew Brower. If a direct male ancestor, with the surname BROWER, can be found for either Amasa or Andrew, I would recommend their joining the Brewer DNA Project. A Y-DNA test will be able to determine whether or not the participant is a descendant of Adam Brouwer.
Amasa Brower's house in Galloway, New Jersey still stands. A photo was provided to me by Ellen H. and I have placed it online. The house had been moved at some point during the past century and is now preserved as an historic house.
The photos and images of the death records mentioned above can be seen online in the Amasa Brower photo album.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

More Websites for Brewer-Lanier Researchers

The Brewer Family History website, focused on Brewer-Lanier research was highlighted in my blog posting of August 1, 2011. As I mentioned then, the largest number of Brewer descendants who have participated in the Brewer DNA Project are members of the Brewer-Lanier group, descendants, or probable descendants, of George Brewer and Sarah Lanier who lived in Virginia. Many early descendants are found in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and I suspect, later on in many other states, north, south, east and west. Here, I would just like to add a few more links that may be useful for anyone who has come to this website while searching for their Brewer ancestors.

Brewer Researcher , Brewer Genealogy in Wayne and Lawrence County, Tennessee, the website of James H. Brewer.

Brewer Researcher blogspot, A forum for the achievement for more accurate genealogical records.

The "White" Family of DeKalb and Fulton Counties, Georgia, Terry White. Descendants of Jacob "Jake" White of Chatham Co., North Carolina and Franklin Co., Georgia, have been shown to be genetic descendants of George Brewer.

Research Notes  of the White-Brewer Genealogy, also by Terry White

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nazareth Brouwer (1756-1817)

Nazareth Brouwer was born 26 October 1756 in Dutchess County, New York, the son of Cornelius Brouwer and Mary Archer, and a great-great grandson of Adam Brouwer. He lived at Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County, New York and was married three times. His will dated 5 Aug 1817, mentions his wife Deborah, his grandson Nazareth Taylor, and his under age children all by his third wife. Digital images of the will are available online. The images are, unfortunately, a bit blurry, especially when enlarged. There are two pages to the will and there are three copies of the second page (hopefully one is better than the others).
Nazareth's first wife was Ginney Brouwer (they were first cousins) and they had seven children. His second wife was Catharine Halley, a widow. No children by the second marriage. Nazareth married third, Deborah Wiltsie, a daughter of John Wiltsie and Jane Luckey. Nazareth and Deborah had eight children, giving Nazareth a total of fifteen known children. A family group sheet for Nazareth Brouwer and his three wives is available online.
Among the children of Nazareth Brouwer is Col. Henry Brewer (1804-1880). Henry was married to Rebecca DuBois and lived at Enfield in Tompkins County, New York. A chart of his descendants is online. Among this couple's three children is William Henry Brewer (1828-1910) a graduate of Yale College and an accomplished scientist and naturalist of the late nineteenth century. He was a professor of natural science at Washington College in Pennsylvania in 1858, and after the death of his first wife and their only child, he agreed to work on the first geological survey of the State of California. A preview of the journal of William H. Brewer, Up and Down California in 1860-1864 (University of California Press, 2003) can be found at Google books. Mount Brewer, a 13,576 foot peak in California's Sierra Nevada was named for William Henry Brewer.

Mt. Brewer
 A larger image of Mt. Brewer has been saved online and can be viewed here.
Barbara (Johnson) Smith, a descendant of Col. Henry Brewer and Nazareth Brouwer, has aided me in compiling the descendants of Col. Henry Brewer.

William H. Brewer at California Native Plant Society

 November 7, 2011 Update: A PDF copy of the will of Nazareth Brouwer (Brewer) can now be found online among the William B. Bogardus Collection.