Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Bruere Links

As the new year begins we're conducting some house cleaning here. As I go through files that have been accumulated over the past 16 years or so of research I will be placing and making available online any documents, records, reports, etc., that I can. Here are some links to files regarding the Bruere family of Upper Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey.

The "Bruere Family" are descendants of  the immigrant Peter Bruere who came to the New York City area in the 1690s as a youth with his widowed mother and apparently two sisters. He settled in Upper Freehold (specifically Allentown which is now a separate borough) where he became a rather large land holder. His descendants are found there as well as in Burlington and Mercer Counties, New Jersey. Although the surname is most usually recorded as BRUERE, we do at times see it recorded as BRUER or BREWER. The family resided in Monmouth County, New Jersey at the same time as descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, and Jan Brouwer of Flatlands did. The descendants of Adam Brouwer and Jan Brouwer often are found with their surname recorded as either BREWER or BROWER, but also as BRUER in New Jersey records.

For a published account of the Bruere family see  Jacque Bruyere, A French Huguenot and Descendants, by Mary Emma Burt and Robert Eugene Burt (Gateway Press, 1997). FamilySearch.org does have a digital version available online, however it is only accessible through computers at subscribing institutions and local Family History Library Centers.

I have a very rough register format report on the family online which largely follows the published work of the Burts. This PDF includes sources and my suggestion is that users use it as a guide for further research. The same info can be found online at the Brouwer Genealogy Database, and through a search of this website using the term Bruere in the search engine to the right.

Online posted to RootsWeb Free Pages:

Descendants of Jacques Bruyere

John Bruere will 1875 Monmouth Co., Vol. O, p. 41

John Bruere will 1875 Monmouth Co., Vol. O, p. 42

John H. Bruere will 1862 Monmouth Co., Vol. H, p. 204

John H. Bruere will 1862 Monmouth Co., Vol H, p. 205

Also see the following Brouwer Genealogy Blog (BGB) posts regarding the Bruere family, online as a PDF:

BGB 410 Brewere Deed

BGB 414 James Bruere Estate

BGB 473 Brouwer, Brower, Brewer, Bruere in Monmouth County Wills

There are more posts on this website regarding Bruere family that have not (yet) been converted into PDF format. Hopefully they will be converted but one never knows, so no promises. Until then please use the Search feature available on this website.

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Monday, December 19, 2016

New Y-DNA Matches for Henry Brewer (Henrich Brauer) of Bedford County, Pennsylvania

The current edition of the Brouwer Genealogy Database (created April 6, 2016) includes a Y-DNA Analysis page for Henry Brewer, a.k.a. Henrich Brauer, of Bedford County, Pennsylvania. The information presented on this page was formulated based upon the Y-DNA test results of one confirmed direct male descendant of Henry Brewer whose test was completed in 2011. At that time we were unable to match the descendant with any other Y-DNA tetsed members of the Brewer DNA Project. Over the past year that has changed. We now have Y-DNA test results from a second confirmed direct male descendant of Henry Brewer and have identified genetic matches between the two descendants and three participants whose ancestry is traced to the Brower families of Randolph County, North Carolina, and to a direct male descendant of Abraham Brower (1758-1828) of Berks County, Pennsylvania who is a son of John Brower/Johannes Brauer, and has long been believed to be a grandson of Hubert Brower, the immigrant to Pennsylvania in 1726. This last belief is now questioned.

The Brewer DNA Project has organized and grouped the six matching members under the subgroup "Under Consideration A," which can be seen on the Project's Y-DNA Results page. The subgroup is color coded green and the name is temporary until we can identify a common ancestor for the matching members. Of the six members in the group two (#197800 and #524302) are direct male descendants of Henry Brewer//Henrich Brauer of Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Three others (#67624, #67877 and #82980) are descendants of the Randolph County, North Carolina Browers. The sixth member (#554763) is a descendant of John Brower/Johannes Brauer who is found in the records of the Trinity Reformed Church in York County, Pennsylvania and who emigrated to Randolph County, North Carolina with at least five of his sons. One son, Abraham Brower (1758-1828) remained in Berks County, Pennsylvania and is mentioned in the will of Abraham Wenger/Wanger. Our tested descendant (#554763) is a descendant of this Abraham Brower and his test therefore links Abraham Brower (1758-1828) and his father John not only with the Randolph County Browers, but also with the descendants of Henry Brewer/Henrich Brauer of Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

A summery with tentative conclusions regarding the relationships between those mentioned above can be found online: Brewer DNA Project, Subgroup Under Consideration A. Based upon what is known as of this writing, my current suspicion is that Henry Brewer/Henrich Brauer and John Brower/Johannes Brauer are brothers and that the three Randolph County Browers are descendants of Jacob Brower who was a son of John Brower/Johannes Brauer. Please see the summery for details.

An incomplete database is found on Ancestry.com. Here is a link to the unidentified ancestor "?Brauer/BrowerBrewer," who was very likely born by 1710. Sorry, but a subscription to Ancestry.com will be needed to view this database.

The Brewer DNA Project, and especially the members of this subgroup of related Browers, still seek known direct male descendants of the Coventry, Chester County, Pennsylvania Brower families descended from Henry Brower (1720-1784), Christian Brower (d. 1771) and John Brower (d. 1777). The three are said to be sons of Hubert Brower, who immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1726, and we do suspect that those mentioned in this post are related to the Coventry, PA Browers. We do, however, need the participation of direct male descendants (Y-Chromosome DNA testing) to test this theory. Interested descendants should contact us via the e-mail links found on the Brewer DNA Project website.

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Update to Cemetery and Gravestone Inscriptions from the William B. Bogardus Collection (Part V)

The following additional information to the post of August 21, 2013, "Cemetery and Gravestone Inscriptions from the William B. Bogardus Collection (Part V)" was received from John Wright. The information pertains to the ninth paragraph, Quaker Cemetery on Amawalk Hills near Amawalk Railway Station, Westchester County, N. Y.

"Regarding your post of August 21, 2013, titled Cemetery and Gravestone Inscriptions from the William B. Bogardus Collection (Part V). Quaker cemetery on Amwalk Hills.

I may have some answers to the uncertainties you noted in your post. You mentioned a few unknown Browers in the Armwalk Cemetery, and I can identify them.  James H. Brower and Mary A. Brower were my great, great grandparents. They were both born in Wastchester County, N.Y. In 1827, they were married in Westchester in 1847. The Bedford 1850 census lists Jas H. Brower, 23, Mary Brower, 23, and a daughter, Louisa, 4 months. The 1860 Somers County (next to Bedford) Federal Census, which is a sloppy mess, lists the family as James H. Brown. 33, Mary, 33, “Laura” (Mary Louisa), 10, Sarah E, 9, Annie A, 9, and James H. Jr., 4.
After his father, John Brower, died in 1864, James H. and family moved to Rockland County. The 1865 Clarkstown NY census shows James H., 38, Mary A, 38 with children, Mary L., 15, Anna A, 11, James H, 4, William H., 4, and Harriet H, 2 3/12.

The 1875 Clarkstown NY Census includes the county of birth. It shows James H., Mary A, William and Harriet were born in Westchester County.

In the 1880’s, the family used a last name of Brewer. My grandfather, Earl J. Brower (b. 1888), told me that his Victorian, biddy aunts decided that Brewer sounded too much like brewery, and changed the name back to Brower.

James A and Mary A are buried in Germonds Cenetery in New City, Rockland County. 


The Katonah Cemetery in Westchester County was taken in the 1890’s to make way for the Croton Aquaduct and reservoir. The graves were moved to various nearby cemeteries. The Browers were moved to Amawalk Hills Cemetery. The following is a link to a document prepared in 1907. It is an alphabetical list of the graves moved: Cemeteries, Katonah, Westchester Co., N. Y. Brooklyn N. Y., unknown, 1907.  

If you look at line 30, you see Brower: Sarah E ——, April 13, 1863 aged 11, 4, 17 of James H and Mary, and See 12A: Tuttle 389


Line 389 shows: Tuttle: Louisa wife of J— A—

Sarah E Brewer (or Brower) daughter of James H (owner)

Line 390 shows John Brewer (or Brower) his stone is right next to Sarah’s.

Louisa Tuttle is James H’s daughter, born in 1850. She married James A Tuttle (b. 1841 d. 1919).
I have not been able to prove that John was the father of James H., but I think it's a strong possibility. The inscription on the stone gives the dod, February 4, 1864, 83 years."

Thanks John for the contribution. 

View Above the Croton Dam, Croton Histories & Mysteries

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Will of Abraham Wenger of Berks County, Pennsylvania, 1792

Abraham Wenger of Union Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania wrote his will on 2 September 1792. It was proved 7 May 1794 and can be found in Berks County Wills, Volume B, page 343. I have also placed a transcript online. The will is of importance to those researching the Brower families of Berks and Chester Counties, Pennsylvania, and Randolph County, North Carolina.

Abraham Wenger, whose name also appears as Wanger, Wagner, Wenghert and other variations, died 3 May 1794 and is buried in the East Coventry Mennonite Cemetery in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Abraham's age at death was 64 years, 1 month and 4 days, which gives him a calculated date of birth as 29 March 1730. He was married twice. His first wife was named Anna, who is said to have been Anna Brower, a daughter of Christian Brower (d. 1771) of Coventry, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Anna died 11 March 1792, age 59 years. Proof that she was in fact a daughter of Christian Brower is sought. Abraham Wenger's second wife was Barbara Brower, nee High (Hoch), the widow of Henry Brower (1720-1784) who is said to be a brother of the mentioned Christian Brower. Barbara (High) (Brower) Wenger died 17 January 1797, age 69 years, 9 months and 16 days, so born 1 April 1727 (her Find-A-Grave page then being in error). Barbara had written her own will 24 January 1791 (Berks Co. Wills, Vol. B, pp. 472-473). It was proved 2 February 1797. At the time he wrote is will, Abraham Wenger was a widower and had not yet married Barbara. A codicil to his will dated 3 May 1794 addresses his marriage to "Barbara Brower, the widow of Henry Brower."

Abraham Wenger does not mention any children or grandchildren of his own in his will and it is therefore assumed that he either never fathered children, or if he did, they died prior to 1792 and left no heirs of their own. As no burial records for children have been located, it may be that he never had children of his own.

Abraham Wenger leaves his house in Union Township and his plantation and tenements to Abraham Brower, who is described as "my beloved Friend," and as the son of "John Brower in Carolina." Abraham Brower is required to pay five hundred pounds to various named legacies, and so the transaction was not so much a bequeathment from Abraham Wenger to Abraham Brower as much as it was a sale. Five hundred pounds was a fair sum of money in 1792. However, Abraham Brower also received Wenger's riding horse, working sleigh, hogsheads, vessels, half of his smith tools, anvil and more.

The second legatee mentioned in the will is "John Brower Junr a son of John Brower Senr which Livith in Carolina." John Brower, Jr. received fifty pounds in silver or gold and Wenger's silver watch.

Also receiving legacies is Annah Brower, a daughter of the above named Abraham Brower, and Benjamin Bennit of Coventry Township, Chester County, who received the other half of Wenger's smith tools. And finally, Abraham Brower's young son Abraham, is to receive "my new hat."

It is important to note that all of the mentioned legatees of Abraham Wenger are not referred to by the testator with any familial qualifier. In other words, with the exception of the widow Barbara Brower, there is no stated relationship, either by blood or marriage, between Abraham Wenger and Abraham Brower, John Brower Jr., John Brower Sr., Annah Brower, Abraham Brower's son Abraham or Benjamin Bennit.

After leaving property to the above individuals, Abraham Wenger then goes on to list family members who are to receive money, including shares of the five hundred pounds that Abraham Brower is to pay for Wenger's real estate. He names brothers and sisters, and nieces and nephews, and in that regard this will is a very valuable document for reconstructing the extended Wenger family. I would refer you to the online transcript for the complete list.

The Abraham Brower mentioned in this will was a son of John Brower and Hannah Echelbaur. According to the record of his baptism at the Trinity Reformed Church in York County, Pennsylvania, Abraham was born 10 June 1758 and was baptized 24 June 1762 as Abraham, son of Johannes Brauer and Hannah (nee Echelbauer)*. His brother's Christian (b. 17 May 1756) and David (b. 18 Oct 1760) were baptized the same day. Abraham Brower remained in Berks County, Pennsylvania, married Mary Bunn and had eight children whose descendants are well documented. Just recently a direct male descendant has taken a Y-DNA test with the Brewer DNA Project (Family Tree DNA).+ To date it has generally been believed that Abraham was a son of John Brower and his wife Susanna, who some refer to as Susanna Wanger/Wenger (we seek proof of this identification), and was a grandson of Hubert Brower who immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1726. The descendants Y-DNA matches and the above mentioned baptism record, requires us to reconsider this generally believed account of Abraham Brower's parents and ancestry. This will be examined further in future posts.

*Henry James Young, Register of the First Reformed Church, York, Pennsylvania and of Trinity Reformed Church, Vol. 1. Typescript, 1935. Online at Ancestry.com, "Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985" database), page 19.

+The Brewer DNA Project is presently seeking direct male descendants of Christian Brower (d. 1771) and of Henry Brower (1720-1784) both of Coventry Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Interested participants should contact the administrators of the Brewer DNA Project for additional info.

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