Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Helena Brouwer and her Two Husbands, David Hendricksen and William Nazareth

Helena, daughter of Adam Brouwer and Magdaleen Jacobs, "by the mill," was baptized on October 31, 1660. The baptism is found in the records of the Brooklyn Reformed Dutch Church. It is one of the very few baptisms from the Brooklyn Church records that does not record sponsors or witnesses. Helena is named in her father's will dated January 22, 1691/92, and her second husband, William Nazareth, was appointed as one of the executors for the estate.

Helena is very briefly covered by William J. Hoffman in "Brouwer Beginnings" at TAG 24(1948):29.

Helena's first marriage was to David Hendricksen. The banns dated October 22, 1681 were recorded at both New York and Flatbush in the records of the Reformed Dutch Church. The marriage took place on November 6, 1681 at Brooklyn. The record reads, "David Hendricksen, j.m. Uyt Engelant, en Helena Brouwers, j.d. Van de Gauwanus, beijde woonachtig in N. Yorke, en getrouwd, den 6 Nov. op Breukelen." This tells us that David Hendricksen was born in England, that Helena was born at Gowanus, that both were living in New York City, neither had been previously married, and that they were married at Brooklyn on November 6th.

Very little is found regarding David Hendricksen. He did appear as a sponsor at the baptism of Henricus, a son of Jacob Pieterszen and Marretje Brouwer on January 23, 1684. "Hendricksen" is probably a patronymic which would imply that he was of Dutch or Scandinavian ancestry, despite the fact that his marriage record states that he was born in England (the English of course used surnames and did not use patronymics). No record of the settlement of any estate has been discovered for David Hendricksen.

Helena and David had at least one, and possibly two children. Christina, child of David Hendrickszen and Helena Brouwers was baptized at the New York Reformed Dutch Church on February 9, 1684. Sponsors were Theunis Janszen and Susanna Simons. Christina was married three times, first to John Ellesson, second to Henry Mercier, and third to John Dyer. She had children by all three husbands. Christina appears in records both with her patronymic, as Christina Davids, and with her father's patronymic, as Christina Hendricks/Hendricksen. A son Thomas may also have been born to David Hendrickszen and Helena Brouwer. No record of baptism has been located, but a Thomas Davids was a sponsor at the baptism of Rachel Knight, daughter of Thomas Knight and Sara Brouwer (Helena's sister) on April 27, 1703. David Hendrickszen was probably deceased before 1690 as Helena was married to her second husband by that year.

A marriage record for Helena and her second husband, William Nazareth, has not been found, but the baptism of their first child, Lysbeth (Elizabeth) is found in the New York Reformed Dutch Church with the date March 21, 1690. Sponsors were Pieter Legrand and Anneke Brouwers. Helena and William had seven children baptized at New York, namely Lysbeth, Anna, Maritje, Helena, Susanna, Willem, and Willem again, between 1690 and 1702. William Nazareth was named as an executor of his father-in-law, Adam Brouwer's will, in 1692. William is found on the New York City census, as "Wm. Naeros," in 1703, in the East Ward. He is recorded with a household of 1 male aged 16-60, 1 female, 1 male child and 4 female children. William was a mariner, and in 1704 was quartermaster on the Dutch ship, Del Rey. On May 6, 1715, administration on the estate of William Nazareth of New York, mariner, was granted to his widow, Helena. Marriages are known for four of William and Helena's children. As of this posting, children have been found only for daughter Maritje Nazareth who married Peter Beldow. Daughters Lysbeth (Elizabeth), Anna and Susanna, have been found recorded in the Dutch Church records on the Island of Curaçao in 1715 and 1720, and in 1732 when "Elizabeth Nazareth, widow of Thomas Playr, born in New York, was married to William Anderzon, bachelor, born in New York." Annatje Nazareth was one of the witnesses. The Dutch Church records at Curaçao need to be checked further for baptism records of children. The son, Willem Nazareth, baptized on September 19, 1702 at New York, was married to Magdalena Woll by January 1744. Magdalena, a daughter of Jörgen Woll and Aeltje Matthyse Brouwer, and Willem Nazareth were first cousins once removed. Children have not yet been found for this couple. Interestingly, the name "Nazareth," lived on as a given name among descendants of Nicholas Brouwer, Helena's youngest brother. While Adam Brouwer did not appoint any of his seven adult sons as executor of his estate, he did appoint his son-in-law William Nazareth as one. And considering the fact that Nicholas Brouwer chose to name a son (probably his first or second son), Nazareth, in honor of William (while he was still living) certainly implies that William Nazareth held a position of high regard among his in-laws.

Helena was living in 1715 when she was granted administration on the estate of her late husband. She is last found in February 1730, as Helena Nazarets, on a assessment list in the North Ward of New York City. She is assessed with a "house & - 10." Her date or place of death is not yet known.

Helena Brouwer and Her Two Husbands, David Hendricksen and William Nazareth

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