Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Will of Jeremiah Brower (Jeury Brouwer, 1728-1776)

Digital images of the will of Jeremiah Brower, better known as Jeury Brouwer, can be accessed online at this location.
Jeury Brouwer was born in 1728, the son of Jeury Brouwer and Elizabeth Hilton, and the grandson of Abraham Brouwer and Cornelia Caljer, and of William Hilton and Anna Brouwer. His paternal grandfather, Abraham Brouwer, and his maternal grandmother, Anna Brouwer, were siblings, both children of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon.
Jeury was first married to Jane Elsworth (15 Feb 1750, NY Reformed Dutch Church), the daughter of Theophilus Elsworth and Joanna Hardenbroek. They had three children, Jeremiah, Theophilus and Jane. His second marriage was to Elizabeth Van de Water (Banns 24 Sep 1757, NY RDC) daughter of Hendrick Van de Water and Annatje Skillman. They had ten children, five of whom lived into adulthood, William, Hendrick (Henry), Johannes (John), Elizabeth and Abraham. All of the above mentioned children are named in the will, as is his wife Elizabeth.
Jeury Brouwer, or Jeremiah Brower as he is styled in the will, was a merchant of New York City. At the time he wrote his will (8 April 1776) he was living at New Barbadoes in Bergen County, (then) East Jersey. He was relatively wealthy for his time and mentions a silver tankard, plate, and furniture in his will. Apparently, he had an interest or was involved in shipping. His eldest son, Jeremiah Brower, died in Charleston, South Carolina, having married Susannah Miller of that place. No doubt he was introduced to Charleston as a result of his father's shipping and trading interests.
Additional info regarding Jeury Brouwer/Jeremiah Brower can be found at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Atlas of Historical County Boundaries

The changing of political boundary lines, especially those involving Counties in the United States, is something that needs to be considered whenever a researcher begins to look for records that pertain to some specific ancestor. For example, in 1900 Nassau County, New York was created out of Queens County. Therefore, if your ancestor lived in the Town of Hempstead at the turn of the 20th century (from the 19th), he/she would have began life living in Queens County, while ending it in Nassau County, all without ever having moved his or herself. Searching for records of the ancestor's birth or marriage would require looking at the records held by courts in Queens County. Then, when it comes time to look for death or probate records, the search would move to Nassau County. A deed for property purchased in 1899 should be found in Queens County, while a sale for the same property in 1901, might be recorded in Nassau County. Not knowing that Nassau County was created out of Queens County in 1900 could hinder your search strategy.
Political jurisdictions and boundaries have changed continuously throughout the history of the United States. This was especially true, and frequent, during the first half of the 1800s. Knowing where to look for records, depending on the time period in question, is the first step in a successful record search. Thankfully, there is a website, Atlas of Historical Boundaries (Newberry Library), that is easy, even fun to use, and indispensable for tracking down county formation and changes. Start by simply selecting a state from the map on the home page. The one I use most often is New York. At this individual state page you will find a number of different tools to use, some of which can be downloaded and used offline. My favorite is the Interactive Map. With New York you are taken to a map of the State with the current counties outlined in white and an overlay (outlined in black) of the counties as they existed on July 4, 1776. The tools to the right allow you to manipulate the map in any many different ways. The "Select Map Date" allows you to view the county boundaries of the state at any particular point in time. For exact dates regarding changes and county formations, the County Index page is indispensable. Just select a county and you'll find its entire history of changes that effected its boundaries. The Consolidated Chronology provides a time line for boundary changes statewide beginning, in the case of New York, in 1606 when charters were granted by King James I.
The Atlas of Historical Boundaries website is easy to use and is an extremely useful tool that all genealogy researchers should be aware of.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hill Manuscript

The document known as the "Hill Manuscript" was produced in 1923 or 1924 by Fred Hill of Ontario, Canada. You will occasionally find reference to it in published accounts of both the descendants of Adam Brouwer and in reference to Anneke Jans. The document appears to be an attempt at recounting what was then considered to be the facts surrounding the claims to property in Manhattan that was believed to have once belonged to Anneke Jans (1605-1663). She was the widow of Roeloff Jansen (d. ca. 1637) and Dom. Everardus Bogardus (1607-1647).
I am bringing attention to the manuscript here because among its contents are a number of genealogies, most of which are terribly incorrect especially with regards to the earlier generations. However, genealogies of later generations (1800s to 1923) are probably more correct as they were related to Fred Hill by persons who in many cases were describing their immediate families. For this reason it may be a valuable tool for some. It can also serve as an interesting look at the atmosphere that surrounded all the hype and excitement surrounding the quest by many to "recover" their perceived share of the inheritance due the descendants of Anneke Jans.
Much of the descendant information that has some value involves the Hill family, who were descended from the couple Thomas Benjamin Hill and Jane Brouwer. It had been believed that  this Jane Brouwer, born about 1734, was a descendant of Anneke Jans through her granddaughter Annetje Bogardus and her husband, Jacob Brouwer. Jane Brouwer is not a descendant of this last couple. She is instead, a daughter of Nazareth Brouwer and Anne Rozell, and is descended from Adam Brouwer through his son Nicholas Brouwer, a younger brother of the just mentioned Jacob Brouwer. I have used the accounts found in the Hill Manuscript to produce a genealogical chart of the descendants of Jane Brouwer and Thomas Benjamin Hill. It is available online, and it comes with the caveat that I have not researched the accuracy of the accounts presented in the Hill Manuscript. I make it available simply as tool for anyone who is interested in further research of this branch of descendants of Adam Brouwer. It is essentially a "genealogical summery" in chart format of the Hill section of the manuscript.
I also have online PDF documents of the Hill Manuscript itself. It is broken up into seven parts and was created by scanning images of the manuscript's pages, which were mimeographed copies (remember that purple ink). The manuscript was on legal size paper (8x14). My scanner, however, only accommodates pages that are 8x11. As a result you will find "short" pages within the PDF documents. These are online in a Google Docs account and those interested are probably best off downloading each PDF to your own computer for easier and better viewing. Part 1 is very light and can be difficult to read. Parts 2 through 7 are darker and you should have no trouble with them. The copy that was scanned was obtained from William B. Bogardus.

Hill Manuscript Part 1: Contents, Trinity Church Story, House of Orange, Anneke Jans and her Farm
Hill Manuscript Part 2:  The Lawsuits
Hill Manuscript Part 3: Genealogy Section - Showers Connection, Van Every Connection, Scott Genealogy, Bogardus Genealogy
Hill Manuscript Part 4: Brower Connections, Genealogy of James Maxwell, Mathewson Genealogy, Daniel Brower of Brockville, Ontario
Hill Manuscript Part 5: "Quackenbus" Line, Webber, Hill
Hill Manuscript Part 6: Webber Genealogy, Brouwer or Brower Genealogy, The Estate of Robert Edwards, Information regarding the Law Cases against Trinity Church
Hill Manuscript Part 7: Law cases continued, List of Correspondants

A reminder: Please use the genealogy sections with extreme caution. They are largely incorrect, and parts are best described as fictitious. For titles of the best current published accounts regarding Anneke Jans, the story of the Trinity Law suits, and her descendants, please see the Bibliography page.

Friday, December 16, 2011

William Brewer/Brower (Willem Brouwer) of Middletown, Monmouth Co., New Jersey

This posting describes changes to the families of Pieter Jansz Brouwer and his wife, Annetje Jans, and to the family of Willem Jacobsz Brouwer (William Brewer) and his wife, Maritje van Oort (Van Nort/Van Note).
The records of the Dutch Congregations of Freehold and Middletown record the baptism, on 5 May 1723, of "A daughter" of Willem Brower. The name of the child, as well as the name of the mother, are not recorded. No sponsors or witnesses are recorded (GMNJ 23:11). Previously, this Willem Brower was placed in the family of Pieter Jansz Brouwer (a son of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands) and Annetje Jans. This was done simply as a best guess, and in hindsight it is very clear that there is no evidence Pieter Jansz Brouwer and Annetje Jans ever had a son named Willem, nor is there any reason to suspect that they might have had one. This previous incorrect placement can now be corrected.
The deed records that were recently abstracted (see the post of December 12, 2011) helped fill in the missing details as to who this Willem Brower, who had a daughter baptized at Freehold-Middletown, more likely is. In 1725, William Brewer of Middletown sold land to William Leeds, and signed with his mark. In 1726, William Brewer of Middletown, and Mary, his wife, sold land to Samuel Hoffmire, Benjamin Hoffmire and William Hoffmire, and signed by the same mark as in 1725. In 1746, William Brower sold land to Jacob Brower of "Mansquan" in Shrewsbury Township, property along the river (setting aside fishing rights), and signed by the same mark as found in the 1725 and 1726 deeds. In 1720, the earmark of William Brewer was recorded at Middletown (Stillwell's Miscellany vol. 2, p. 209), and in 1721, the property of William Brewer was described in a deed from Charles Mott to the same Hoffmire brothers mentioned above (abstracts posted on December 12, mentioned above). It follows that the William Brewer/Brower of Middletown in 1720, 1721, 1725, 1726 and 1746, was the same William Brower whose daughter was baptized in 1723 at the Freehold-Middletown Congregation.
Willem Brouwer, the son of Jacob Brouwer and Annetje Bogardus, was baptized at the Old First Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn on 8 May 1687. On 19 May 1709, at the Reformed Dutch Church of New York, he married Marritje van Oort, daughter of Goosen van Oort and Maria Peeck, and widow of Pieter Hennion (the record calls her Maria Hennion). They had three daughters, Annetje, Lucretia and Catharina, baptized at New York between 1710 and 1714. In addition, they stood as witnesses for six baptisms (between them, once together) at the New York Dutch Church during this same period. After 1714, neither William nor Mary are found in the New York Dutch Church records. It's likely they went to Monmouth County, New Jersey at this time. The 1726 deed mentioned above involves both William Brewer and his wife, Mary. No other known William Brouwer from this period was married to a woman named Mary. William's younger brother, Adam Brewer, also settled in Monmouth County (at Shrewsbury) at this time. The William Brower who had a daughter baptized at Freehold-Middletown in 1723, was mistakenly placed in the family of Pieter Jansz Brouwer. It is now clear that this William Brower is the same as the Willem Brouwer who married Marritje van Oort. The Family Group Sheet for Pieter Jansz Brouwer has been corrected, as has the Descendant Chart for Jan Brouwer of Flatlands.

The question now is, who is the Jacob Brower who purchased land from William Brower in 1746? In the post of December 9, 2011, the abstracts placed online include a 1808 deed of Jacob Croxson who sells land in Shrewsbury that he in part, inherited from his grandfather, Jacob Brewer. Adam Brewer (mentioned above, brother of William) is not known to have had a son named Jacob. Although there is no direct evidence to support it at this time, it is my belief that the Jacob Brower of Shrewsbury mentioned in the 1746 deed, and the Jacob Brewer mentioned in Jacob Croxson's deed of 1808, are the same man, and he is most likely a son of William Brower and Marritje van Oort, probably born in Monmouth County, New Jersey between 1715 and 1725. Jacob in turn probably had a daughter (not yet discovered) who married a Croxson (given name not yet known) and had a son Jacob Croxson. It must be emphasized that records confirming the just mentioned hypothesis have not been located, and for now it can only be regarded as a possible scenario.
Thanks to William B. Bogardus for sharing the documents he collected and for his thoughts on this matter. The present edition of the Brouwer Genealogy Database does not yet reflect this new information. It will not appear online at the BGD until that site is once again updated (which may not happen for a couple of months).

Still unaccounted for are: the William Brewer of Amwell, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey, whose estate was administered on 31 January 1730 (granted to James Chambers), AND, the William Brewer of Readington, Hunterdon Co, New Jersey, who appeared as a debtor before the Monmouth County Court of Common Pleas in 1735 (see Abstracts part 3 Nos.58-61).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Miscellaneous Records Pertaining to Brewers and Browers in Monmouth Co., N.J., Part 3

Abstracts of Early Monmouth County Court Papers, Part 3, can now be accessed online. The abstracts here cover one document regarding the BRUERE family, three documents regarding Holsart, Huls and Hulse (which may or may not pertain to Brewer relations, but I had access to them so they were included), and eight documents regarding men named William Brewer or Brower. Again, copies of the original documents had been received from William B. Bogardus in 2009.
The documents regarding William Brewer/Brower deserve expanding upon. The documents pertain to TWO different men named William Brewer or William Brower. The first three (Nos. 55, 56 and 57) pertain to a William Brewer who resided at Middletown in Monmouth County. He signs two of the deeds in which he is the grantor, by his mark (which is fairly unique and distinguishable). The next five entries (Nos. 58, 59, 60, 61 and 62) pertain to a different man named William Brewer, who resided at Readington in Hunterdon County, but apparently had business dealings with men in Monmouth County. The cases involve his debts to Jacob Janeway, John Broughton and Casparus Vanostrandt. One hearing includes a document which this William Brewer signed with his name (and not a mark), evidence that the two William Brewers of these records are two different men.
More on both of these men will follow in subsequent postings.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Miscellaneous Records Pertaining to Brewers and Browers in Monmouth Co., N.J., Part 2

Abstracts of Early Monmouth County, New Jersey Court Papers, Part 2, can now be found online. The documents, nos. 26 thru 50, probably pertain to descendants of Adam Brouwer. One exception to this is No. 49, which pertains to members of the Bruere family of Upper Freehold in Monmouth County. The Bruere family is unrelated to the families named Brewer, Brower or Brouwer found in New Jersey during the same time period. In this particular document their surname was rendered as "Brewere." As mentioned in the previous posting, these documents were received from William Bogardus a couple of years ago. They cover persons named Brewer or Brower who are found in the Court and Land records of Monmouth County, New Jersey from the mid 1700s to the mid 1800s. Of particular interest to me are Nos. 45 and 46, which indicate that a Jacob Brewer purchased land in Shrewsbury in 1755, and had grandchildren named Coxson. I have not yet identified this Jacob Brewer, but I will be looking into the East New Jersey and Monmouth County Deed Books that are mentioned in the coming months.
Most, if not all, of the references and records mentioned in the abstracts have been filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, and can be locate using their online Library Catalog, and can be rented for viewing at one of their numerous Family History Centers located throughout the country. A determined researcher should have no problem locating and viewing filmed copies of the complete original documents.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Miscellaneous Records Pertaining to Brewers and Browers in Monmouth Co., N.J.

A few years ago I received a number of documents from William B. Bogardus. They are largely photocopies of original court records and in some instances transcriptions were made. The collection can best be described as a set of court records and deeds pertaining to various persons named Brewer or Brower, found in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The period of time is largely from the late 1700s through the early 1800s, although there is one deed, a conveyance from John Johnston to Elias Brewer, dated 1725. Bill had arranged the documents into groups based upon is best assumption as to whether the principal person involved was descended from Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L.I., or from Adam Brouwer (there are also a few smaller groupings). After a couple of years I have finally gotten around to reviewing the documents and have begun writing abstracts of varying lengths for each of them. The first group, "Part 1" are those documents that most likely pertain to descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L.I. A number of his grandchildren were among those Kings County, Long Island families who made a move to Monmouth County, New Jersey during the early years of the 1700s. The PDF is available online:
Abstracts of Early Monmouth County, N.J. Court Papers, Part 1, papers likely pertaining to descendants of Jan Brouwer.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Brouwer Genealogy Database - Updated

The Brouwer Genealogy Database website has been updated. Of particular note are changes to the descendant charts found on the Charts page. Gone are the old, cumbersome, box charts which sprawled out across the screen requiring continuous scrolling both up and down and left and right. They have been replaced with indented descendant charts which have been compressed and can be expanded or collapsed at any point along the chart by each user as per their own liking or interests. Please Note: Unfortunately the expand/collapse feature does not work with all operating systems. For example, it does work on my computer using a 32 bit version of Microsoft XP and the Fire Fox browser. However, it does not work on my computer using the new 64 bit version of Microsoft 7 (with the Fire Fox browser) or on my MacBook using the new Lion OSX (with either Fire Fox or Safari). The charts can still be viewed on all of the operating systems mentioned, and links to individual profiles are operational.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Monmouth County, New Jersey Estate Proceedings Index

Now available online with this link are digital images of pages concerning those named BREWER or BROWER taken from the index to estate proceedings in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Images are from FHL film #801963, Estate Index A-C, 1800-1969.
To find FHL filmed records of the various Will, Letters of Administration, Inventories, etc. Books, start on this page at the Family History Library Catalog website.