Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Friday, May 6, 2016

Y-DNA Testing on a Descendant of Benjamin Brewer of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

Benjamin Brewer is covered in the post of November 16, 2013, "Some Unplaced Brewers of Western Pennsylvania and Kentucky." Benjamin was born 24 April 1755, married Catharine Mellinger in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1781, and died in Washington County, Indiana on 6 May 1834. It was suggested in that post that if we could locate a direct male descendant of Benjamin Brewer who was willing to take a Y-DNA test, we would be able to confirm whether Benjamin was a descendant of Adam Brouwer, of Jan Brouwer, or of some else all together. That has now been accomplished.

Janet Brewer, a co-administrator of the Brewer DNA Project, contacted Bill Brewer, a confirmed descendant of Benjamin Brewer and Catharine Mellinger. The results of Bill's Y-DNA test (67 markers) leaves no doubt. Bill, and therefore his direct male ancestor, Benjamin Brewer, are descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island.

It is also apparent from both the Y-DNA test result data that Benjamin Brewer is more closely related to Peter Brewer of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and to Henry Brewer/Henrick Bruer also of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Descendants of all three of these Brewer ancestors share a value of 16 at STR marker DYS456. All other tested descendants of Adam Brouwer (with the exception of two others) show a value of 17 at this marker.* A fourth descendant of Adam Brouwer who also has the value of 16 at DYS456, is a descendant of William Brewer of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is very likely that Benjamin, Peter and Henry Brewer are either brothers, or if not, very close cousins. William Brewer of Philadelphia, who shares the value of 16 at DYS456 but differs at other markers from the descendants of Benjamin, Peter and Henry, may share a common ancestor with these three who is likely found among either the sons or grandsons of Adam Brouwer. As Benjamin Brewer was born in 1755, and Peter Brewer was born between 1750 and 1760, while Henry Brewer was born in 1763, it is likely that the three are great-great grandsons of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. My own hunch is that the three are descendants of either Adam's son Adam Brouwer (b. 1662) or of his son Willem Brouwer (b. 1651).

With this, the possibility that Benjamin Brewer might be a descendant of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands can be put aside. That notion is now impossible. There are some who have suggested that Benjamin was a son of Benjamin Brewer and Maria Lane (married in 1767 at Shrewsbury, New Jersey). That theory is also discredited by the Y-DNA test results as Benjamin Brewer of Shrewsbury was a great-grandson of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands.

Thanks goes out to Bill Brewer for joining the Project and taking the Y-DNA test. Although we are still unable to identify the father of Benjamin Brewer (and of Peter and Henry), we at least have the answer to an important component of the search to find just who that person might be. If there are any researchers of this group of Brewers from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania out there who have any information or evidence that would shed light on the ancestry of these Brewers, we would like very much to hear from you. As always, details on those mentioned above can be found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website.**

*Of the two exceptions one has a value of 18, and the other a value of 16.
**Note that a major disruption at RootsWeb from mid February through mid March required a complete re-upload of the BGD pages and so the current edition is dated April 6, 2016. Data on Benjamin Brewer's descendant is not included on the current DNA Analysis page.

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