Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Family of Aeltje Brouwer and Josias Janszen Drats

Aeltje Brouwer, a daughter of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon, was probably born about 1664 at Gowanus, Long Island. No record of baptism has been found for Aeltje. She is named in her father's will of January 22, 1691/92, and is one of the three children who Adam cites for "their disobedience."

Aeltje is covered by William Hoffman in "Brouwer Beginnings" at TAG 24 (1948):30-32. Because of earlier, published, incorrect claims regarding the descendants of Aeltje, her family is given more attention than are the families of her sisters.

Aeltje was married to Josias Janszen Drats on April 30, 1682 at Brooklyn. The banns, dated April 16, 1682, are found in both the records of the New York Reformed Dutch Church and the Flatbush Reformed Dutch Church. They read, "Josias Janszen Drats, j.m. Van Amsterdam, en Aeltje Brouwer, j.d., Van de Gauwanes." The banns tell us that Josias was born at Amsterdam (in the Netherlands) and Aeltje was born at Gowanus and that neither Aeltje nor Josias were married prior to this marriage. The Flatbush record adds that at the time of publication of the banns, Josias was residing at New York, and Aeltje at Gowanus.

Aeltje and Josias had seven known children for whom baptism records are found. The eldest child, Josias, was baptized 28 May 1682 at Amersfoort (Flatlands), Long Island, recorded in the Flatbush records, sponsors Willem Brouwer and Elizabeth Brouwer. This baptism occurs about a month after Aeltje's and Josias' marriage and it is therefore obvious that he was conceived prior to their marriage. Perhaps this was the "disobedience" that Aeltje was cited for in her father's 1692 will.
Daughter Sarah was baptized 20 June 1684 at Brooklyn, sponsors were Michiel Hansen and Sara Strijker (Stryker).
Son John, baptized as Jan, son of Jesaijas Dreets and Aeltje Brouwer, was baptized at Brooklyn on 11 December 1687. Sponsors were Adam Brouwer de jonge (the younger) and Antje Brouwer.
Daughter Catharyn was baptized on 20 February 1691 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. Sponsors were William Nagel and Maryken Brouwer.
Cornelis, son of Josias Dreads and Aeltje Brouwer, was baptized at New York on 11 March 1696, with sponsors Barent Tilburg and Johanna van Swanen.
Betty, daughter of Jesayas Drets and Aeltie, was baptized at Brooklyn on 15 January 1699. Sponsors were Willem Hiltin (William Hilton, husband of Aeltje's sister Anna), and Johana Kaer.
The last child was Casparus, son of Jesaias Draake and Aeltje, baptized at Brooklyn on 30 March 1701. Sponsors were Niclaas Brouwer and Sara Neyt (Sara Knight, sister of Aeltje and wife of Thomas Knight).

The first mention of Josias in the New World is on 28 May 1679, when as "Josias Dret" he is recorded as a member of the New York Reformed Dutch Church. On 14 September 1679, when recorded as "Josias Strakken," he, along with Aeltje Brouwer his future wife, witnessed the baptism of Magdalena Brouwer, daughter of Willem Brouwer and Elizabeth Simpson, at Brooklyn. This entry, in which Josias is recorded with the surname, "Strakken," may be either an error, or it may be a clue to Josias' early days in New York. On 23 September 1683, Jesies Dregz, with 1 poll and 1 horse, was assessed at Brooklyn. In September 1687, Josias Dreths, "26 Jeare" (in the country for 26 years) took the oath of allegiance at Brooklyn. He is recorded next to Adam Brouwer. On 30 September 1691, Josias Dret, with Aeltie Brouwer and Barent van Tilburg, witnessed the baptism of Anna Nazareth, daughter of Willem Nazareth and Helena Brouwer. On 7 January 1694/95, Josias Drack bought a "peec of land lying at the end of his lot paying twenty-five shillings per acor or there abouts and to pay ye monys to Edward Stevenson & Richard Betts." This piece of land and lot was in Newtown, Long Island, a predominantly English neighborhood. On 1 June 1696, Josias Drates of Newtown in Queens County, conveyed to Richard Betts, Junr., of the same place, a lot lying in Newtown. On 7 October 1696, Josyas Draets of Newtown deeded to Jurian Nagell of Bushwick, land in Bushwick "scituate to the Normans Kill." Finally, on 30 Mar 1701, we have the baptism of Casparus, son of Jesaias Draake and Aeltje. This is the last known record pertaining to Josias Drats. As can be seen from the above records, the recording of Josias' surname was inconsistent. A summery and timeline is online. We do know that Josias' children and descendants are found with the surname "DRAKE." However, as Josias himself is not found recorded with that surname, we cannot assume that his original surname was DRAKE. It may have well been something else entirely, that simply sounded to the early 18th century ear at western Long Island, as "Drake."

The 1687 oath of allegiance tells us that Josias was in the New World for 26 years. This places his immigration to America at 1653. His marriage banns state that he was born at Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and he is recorded with the patronymic, "Janszen." From these two records we can conclude that Josias was born prior to 1653, in Amsterdam, and was a son of a man named Jan (or John). This is as about as detailed as we can presently get regarding the origins of Josias Janszen Drats. We also know that, assuming the age estimation for Aeltje Brouwer is about right (born ca. 1664), then Josias had to be more then ten or eleven years older then his wife. We also can see from the records of the baptisms of Josias and Aeltje's children, that while there were many sponsors from Aeltje's Brouwer family, NONE, of the sponsors can be readily identified as members of Josias' immediate family. It is probably safe to assume that Josias Janszen Drats was alone in the New World. He had no immediate family leaving in the vicinity of New York and western Long Island.

Among the baptism records of Josias' children, there is Sara, baptized on 20 June 1684 at Brooklyn. Here the sponsors are Michiel Hansen (Bergen) and Sara Strijker (Stryker). Mentioned above, is the 14 September 1679 baptism record of Magdalena, daughter of Willem Brouwer, in which Josias is recorded as a witness with the name, "Josias Strakken." Sara Stryker, witness for the baptism of Josias' daughter of the same given name, Sara, was a daughter of Jan Strycker, a prominent man of his time in Kings County. Jan Strycker came to New Netherland in 1652 (in the country for 35 years on the September 1687 oath of allegiance in Kings County). On the same oath, Josias is stated to have been in the country for 26 years, therefore he arrived in 1653. Although not an exact match, 1652 and 1653 are close, and perhaps either Jan Strycker or Josias was off by a year with regard to their recollection. Based upon his being identified as "Josias Strakken," and the appearance of Sara Stryker as a witness for his first born daughter, could it be that Josias was somehow associated with the family of Jan Strycker from an early age? Perhaps Josias came to New Netherland with the Stryker family, perhaps as a child. Or, perhaps as a young man, maybe from the time he was a child, Josias was in the care and/or employ of Jan Strycker.

It is also known, from his marriage banns, that Josias was born in Amsterdam, and was the son of a man named Jan, or John. Although it is not known with certainty whether Josias was of English or Dutch ancestry, his given name, Josias, would in itself point to English as the more likely of the two. The Amsterdam church records from the mid 1600s are very much available for inspection, and a check of them does yield one family of interest. On 13 August 1653, Josias, a son of John DREDGE, was baptized at the English Presbyterian Church at Amsterdam. In 1650, John Dredge had daughter, Sara, baptized there, and in 1652 a son, John, was also baptized (the mother is not recorded in any of the records, and the 1653 baptism of Josias is the last one found for John Dredge). Josias Drats named his first daughter, Sara. As mentioned above, his father was named Jan, or John. Could Josias Janszen Drats be Josias Dredge, baptized in 1653 at the English Presbyterian Church in Amsterdam? If so, and assuming that his claim on the 1687 oath of allegiance is about right, then Josias would have come to New Netherland as an infant.

Of the seven children born to Josias Janszen Drats and Aeltje Brouwer, two sons, John and Cornelis, are known to have had families and descendants. As mentioned above, descendants carried the name, DRAKE. Due to the fact that there were numerous families with the DRAKE surname found in colonial New York, New Jersey and New England, many of whom have no relation to the others, reconstructing the early families of the colonial period is difficult. The sons, John and Cornelis will be addressed in separate, future posts.

Son, Josias, baptized on 28 May 1682, had been suggested in published accounts of the DRIGGS family, to have been Joseph Driggs of Middletown and East Haddam, Connecticut. Y-DNA testing of descendants of both Josias Drats and Joseph Driggs prove that this claim is impossible. This was covered in an earlier post, Joseph Driggs is not Josias Drake, Jr. Whether or not Josias Drake, son of Josias Drats and Aeltje Brouwer had children and descendants is not apparent. At least no direct evidence of any has been found. On 23 February 1735, the administration of the estate of a Josiah Drake of Middlesex County, New Jersey, was granted to John Berrien, merchant of Somerset County. Normally administration would first be granted to a widow or eldest son. When such persons do not exist, administration is often granted to a creditor. This may have been John Berrien's relationship with Josiah Drake of Middlesex Co. John Berrien was born in Newtown, Queens Co., Long Island in 1711. His father, Peter Berrien, and grandfather Cornelis Jansen Berrien had been there since 1687. Cornelis Berrien was married to Jannetje Strycker, daughter of Jan Strycker and sister of Sara Strycker mentioned above. So, more possible connections to consider.

It is not known when, or where, either Josias Janszen Drats or Aeltje Brouwer died. The 1701 baptism record of son Casparus, is the last confirm-able record for either of them. Lillian Drake Avery, in Drake Genealogy in the Line of Samuel Drake of Lower Smithfield Township, Northampton (now Monroe) County, Pennsylvania (Pontiac, Mich.: the author, 1926), states that Josias died in 1701, but offers no proof and does not elaborate in any way. In 1717, Rutger Waldron and his wife Cornelia, of New York City, sold property to Josiah Drake of Oyster Bay, Queens County. The property described in the deed was a house and garden spot in Flatlands, Kings County. By a deed of 1716, the same grantors, sold to John Drake, of Jamaica, Queens, the same property in Flatlands. On 12 April 1719, Josias Drake of Flatlands conveyed the property to John Drake of Jamaica. Whether the Josiah Drake mentioned in the deeds is Josias Janszen Drats, the elder, or Josias Drake, Jr., is not apparent, although it is certain that Josiah Drake of the deeds, is one or the other.

Three published accounts need to be mentioned. The three are wrought with errors and must be pointed out as a warning to those new to researching Aeltje Brouwer and Josias Janszen Drats. The three begin with the above mentioned account by Lillian Drake Avery. While the account of her own direct ancestry, and the families closely related to her line is in all likelihood accurate, her accounts of the colonial period generations is riddled with numerous errors. Many of them pertain to son John Drake (of Jamaica, L. I. and Goshen, Orange Co., N.Y.) and will be addressed in a later post.
The second published work is Driggs Family History, by Howard R. Driggs (Salt Lake City: Publisher's Press, 1959). Besides introducing the idea that Joseph Driggs was Josias Drake, Jr., this genealogy also proposes the incorrect theory that Josias Janszen Drats was somehow a member of a family named, de RAET, that is portrayed as a family of some importance in 17th century Netherlands. In 1663, Johannes, son of Roelof Harmenszen de Raedt was baptized at the New York Reformed Dutch Church (sponsor Metje Elberts). On 26 August 1640, Jan, son of Jan de Raet and Annetje Barens, was baptized at the Nieuw Kerk (Reformed) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In the early 1660s, a Capt. Hendrick de Raet made an appearance in New Netherland as captain of the Waeg. But he did not settle in New Netherland, and the only real record of him pertains to his responsibility for lighthouse dues and some bad words he had for the Dutch West India Company. The short of it all, is that there is no evidence, and really no reason to suspect, that Josias Janszen Drats has any relationship to any of those just mentioned, or to any family named, de RAET found in Europe.
Saving the best (worst) for last, the third published account, Jesayas Jansze Drake of New Netherlands, 1648-after 1720?: With an Explanation of Tieup Between Bogardus, Webber, Brouwer and Drake Families, by Louis S. Drake (Edwardsville, Ill.: the author, 1967), should be completely avoided. The author, Louis Schneider Drake, is a descendant of William Drake (1758-1828) and Eunice Helme of Dutchess and Greene Cos., New York. Descendants are later found at Elba, Genesee Co., New York and in Michigan. Louis S. Drake makes the claim that his ancestor, William, is a son of Joseph Drake of Goshen, New York (a grandson of Josias Drats and Aeltje Brouwer). Here, Louis S. Drake makes the mistake of blindly following Lillian Drake Avery, in stating first, that Joseph Drake had a son named William, and then second, assuming that this William is his ancestor (Lillian Drake does not make this second claim). In fact, there is no evidence, whatsoever, that Joseph Drake of Goshen ever had a son named William Drake (Joseph's will of 1807 mentions four daughters, and no sons). Additionally, Louis S. Drake, follows other errors of Lillian Avery Drake, and the de Raet errors of the Driggs Family History. And although he spends a considerable amount of print discussing the possible origins of "Jesayas Jansze Drake," is own final conclusion is so preposterous that I will not mention it any further. Consult this last work only if you are curious in seeing an example of truly incompetent research.

Any verifiable input (please supply sources) on the possible origins of Josias Janszen Drats is welcome.

The Family of Aeltje Adamse Brouwer and Josias Janszen Drats

Also see the Brouwer Genealogy Database for source citations and additional info.

The Drake Genealogy Database was created to congregate the numerous notes and details collected regarding the various unrelated Drake families found in colonial New York, New Jersey and New England.

For a pre-colonial de Raet family, see The Nobilities of Europe, pages 453-455. (Although Josias Janszen Drats has no relation to this family, the surname was brought up above, and those obsessed with locating a heraldic ancestry no doubt will be interested).

The "Drake" Group DNA Project, has posted some pedigrees online at Drake DNA Surname Project. "Dutch Drakes," in other words, descendants of Josias Janszen Drats, are found on page two. They belong to the Haplogroup R1b1, which is most commonly found in western Continental Europe and the British Isles.

1 comment:


  1. Josias was my 7th great grandfather. I appreciate your research. It gives me new insight into my family's past.
    Thank you,
    Cherie Reid

    ReplyDelete

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