Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Seeking Descendants of Hubert Brower, Immigrant to Pennsylvania in 1726

The Brewer DNA Project is seeking direct male descendants of Hubert Brower who would be interested in participating in the Brewer DNA Project by taking a Y-DNA test. The Project currently has 268 members, and although we suspect that as many as five of those members may be descendants of Hubert Brower, none of them can yet prove this ancestry through traditional genealogical research. This is an example of how genetic genealogy has the potential to fill in or at least augment the gaps left open by the lack of documents, records and surviving family history. It is hoped that in this case, Y-DNA test results from male descendants of Hubert Brower who can prove their lineage, will tell those who cannot, whether or not they in fact are descendants of Hubert Brower.

All that is known about Hubert Brower is that he came to America by virtue of a "pass" dated May 1, 1726. In this document his name is rendered as "Hubert Brauer." Information on "The Pass" can be found online at the website of the Church of the Brethren on their Historical Library and Archives page. Although there is a small photo of the "Pass," there is no complete transcription and a high quality downloadable image of the document is not provided. I have not seen the "pass" myself and am not aware of what exactly is stated in it regarding Hubert and his family. The explanation on the page pretty much follows what has been known, or more accurately, what is believed to be known, regarding Hubert Brower's family. What if any of this information can be found specifically on the "pass" is not known (I have not seen the original myself). As stated on the web page, Hubert Brower had three sons, John, Christian and Henry, who initially settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania. However, although records can be found of all three either in Chester County or the immediate surrounding area from the mid to late 1700s, to my knowledge, there is no surviving record that actually names Hubert Brower as the father of any one of them. In fact, there is no record of Hubert Brower himself in America. And it is a bit unusual that despite the fact that all three (believed to be) brothers had children, none of the three gave the name Hubert to any of their sons.* Does the pass specifically record his three sons by name?

We do not know when Hubert Brower was born. Since it never has been reported, I take it that his age is not given on "The Pass." We also do not know when Hubert died, or where he was buried. Did he actually make it to America? Or did he die during the voyage? The general belief is that Hubert died shortly after his arrival and that his widow, Ann, son remarried a man named Johannes Roth who himself died in 1740. A Find-A-Grave page for "Anna Brauer Roth," mentions "recent research reveals..." but does not point to specifics and does not provide a photo of Anna's grave marker. The bottom line however, is that none of what has been stated regarding Hubert and his sons has been proved through the use of modern accepted genealogical research methods. Perhaps Y-DNA testing can provide supporting evidence.

What is known about the three sons, John, Christian and Henry, is that they left numerous descendants. The current edition of the Brouwer Genealogy Database has information on some who can be accessed individually through this chart. Be forewarned that this chart and the descendant included on the database website is very much incomplete, and contains errors. I have in the past few months created a "tree" on Ancestry.com titled "Hubert Brower, Immigrant to Pennsylvania, 1726," which currently includes 5544 reviewed records for 2976 individuals with another 9785 record hints still to be reviewed. If you have an active subscription to Ancestry.com you can view this database. If you are a direct male descendant of Hubert Brower who joins the Brewer DNA Project and takes a Y-DNA test (or a female who can recruit a close male Brower relation to do so) I will send you an "invitation" to this database which will allow you access it without a subscription. There is much more information, and far more records on the Ancestry.com database than are found on the current Brouwer Genealogy Database website, and I do not plan to update the BGD website anytime soon.

As mentioned above, the Brewer DNA Project currently has (possibly) five participants who may be descended from Hubert Brower, or are somehow closely related to the three claimed sons, John, Christian and Henry. The five can be found on the Brewer DNA Project's DNA Results page under the sub-group titled "Under Consideration A" (color coded green).** Three of the participants are descendants of men named BROWER who were initially found in Randolph County, North Carolina during the early 1800s. The earliest known ancestors of the three are Jacob Brower (1812-1881), Leander Brower (b. 1808, died in Henderson Co., TN) and Leander Brower (b. mid 1850s, died in Henderson Co., TN). It is strongly suspected that the older Leander and Jacob are brothers and the younger Leander is a son of the older of the same name. What is also known, is that sons of John Brower (the believed son of Hubert) migrated to Randolph County, NC in the late 1700s. And although many of John Brower's descendants in Randolph County can be traced, the three mentioned above have not been. We would like to find direct male descendants of John Brower who would be interested in joining the Brewer DNA Project by taking a Y-DNA test. We would like to see whether provable descendants of John Brower genetically match the three who have already tested (and who match each other).

The other two participants in this sub-group are both known and provable descendants of Henry Brewer (a.k.a. Henrich Brauer) of Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Some (now partially outdated) background on Henry Brewer can be found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database site. Hank Graham, the administrator of the Project, gets credit for pointing out the closeness of the match between the descendants of Henry Brewer and those descended from the North Carolina Browers. There is no doubt that the Browers of Randolph County and the Brewers originally of Bedford County, PA are closely related, having a common ancestor within the past few hundred years. Whether or not that ancestor is Hubert Brower is not certain. Henry Brewer of Bedford County was born circa 1735, and he is not the Henry Brower who has long believed to have been Hubert's son and is mentioned on the Church of the Brethren webpage. Is Henry Brewer of Bedford County then a grandson of Hubert Brower? Or is he a nephew of Hubert Brower (a first cousin of the trio of John, Christian and Henry)? Or, is the current picture of the Hubert Brower family incorrect? We would like to find descendants of both Christian Brower and Henry Brower (the claimed sons of Hubert) who would like to join the Brewer DNA Project by taking a Y-DNA test. Ideally we would like to have two descendants of each (John, Christian and Henry) from different sons of each (so six different grandsons of Hubert). The comparison of Y-DNA tests from such a group would help confirm (or refute) the current ideas of how Hubert Brower's family is constructed and help us place the five current closely related participants who are in the Project's sub-group "Under Consideration A."

Interested participants can contact us through the Brewer DNA Project e-mail links found on the Project's main page. The project is hosted by Family Tree DNA, and more information on genetic testing can be found on the Family Tree DNA website. Information on Y-DNA tests is found here. Please note that Family Finder (autosomal testing) and mtDNA (maternal ancestry testing) is of no help to our efforts. We need direct male descendants of John, Christian and Henry Brower.

I also hope to follow up with future posts on each of the three believed brothers, John, Christian and Henry.

*John did have sons named John and Christian. Christian had sons named John, Christian and Henry. Henry had a son named John, but none named Christian or Henry. John and Henry both had sons named Daniel and Abraham, but Christian did not give either of those names to any of his sons.

**Presently only results for four of the participants are view-able online to non-members of the Project. Members of the Project who are logged in can view all five test results.

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