Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Brower Family Circle

The Brower Family Circle was a serial publication written and published by Jay H. Brower of Tacoma, Washington. Issues are dated from 1976 through 1986*. Eleven volumes were published, each consisting of four issues. Volume 1, no. 1 was dated April 1976. The Family History Library has copies available on micro fiche. Back in 2008 I received a full set of the publication from William B. Bogardus. Karen Brewer Sims was kind enough to scan all of the issues to PDF format, and those scans are now available online through links on The Brower Family Circle page of this website. I will add issues to this page gradually, so check the page periodically.

Jay H. Brower was born in 1922 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and passed away in 2014. He was a son of Jay Houston Brower (1888-1955) and Kate Hale. He traced his paternal Brower ancestry to Hubert Brower who immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1726.

Jay H. Brower's paternal grandfather was Elijah Newman Brower (1851-1924) who lived in Miami County, Indiana until late in life when he relocated to Mountrail County, North Dakota. Elijah Newman Brower was the son of Joseph Brower (1814-1885) and Elizabeth Harmon (1817-1892).

Great-grandfather Joseph Brower had moved his family to Miami County, Indiana from Ohio. Joseph Brower was the son of Jacob Brower, born in 1791 in Virginia (supposedly Franklin County) and died in 1867 in Miami County, Indiana. Joseph Brower's mother was Elizabeth Teal (1800-1869).

Great-great-grandfather Jacob Brower was the son of John Brower who wrote his will 27 December 1811 in Montgomery County, Ohio, and was proved there 4 January 1813.

3-Great-grandfather John Brower is believed to have been born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, perhaps around 1740. John Brower's wife, the mother of Jacob Brower, was Mary Magdalena Titelow (1760-1845) who apparently was considerably younger than her husband. John Brower is named as the eldest son in the will of Christian Brower of Coventry, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

4-Great-grandfather Christian Brower's will was proved in November 1771 at Philadelphia. It was dated 3 June 1771. Christian Brower in turn is believed to be one of three sons of Hubert Brower, the other two being John (d. 1777) and Henry (1720-1784), who are found in Coventry Twp., Pennsylvania in the mid 1700s. Christian Brower's date of birth or age at death are not known, but he was likely born by 1715 (his eldest known child, Anna, was born in 1733). Christian Brower's wife is said to have been Eve Brenneman.

Volume 2, no. 1, April 1977 includes Jay H. Brower's account of some of the descendants of Hubert Brower. It is not complete, and there may be errors, but it is a very useful source for initiating a more comprehensive investigation into the earlier generations of this family. The Brewer DNA Project (associated with Family Tree DNA)is currently looking for direct male descendants of Hubert Brower who are interested in taking a Y-DNA test, so that a genetic signature for this family can be established. Hubert Brower left many descendants. Y-DNA testing will help confirm, or at least help us better understand some of the early research done on this family by Jay H. Brower and others.

The 42 issues of The Brower Family Circle are not solely devoted to the descendants of Hubert Brower. Other Brower/Brewer families are covered including families who trace their ancestry to Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. And with that, here comes the warning: much of the material found in The Brower Family Circle contributed by persons who submitted their ancestries to Jay H. Brower and which included links to Anneke Jans Bogardus, is incorrect. An example of such can be found in Volume 2, no. 2, July 1977, pages 2-3 in which a contributor claims in her ancestry that Matthew Brewer, b. 1757 (who was of Greene Co., Pennsylvania) was a son of one Isaac Brewer, who is a son of Jacob Brewer (b. 2 Mar 1707) who is a son of Sybrant Brouwer who is a son of Jacob Brouwer and Annatje Bogardus. This lineage is false. While Sybrant Brouwer did in fact have a son named Jacob who was baptized on 2 March 1707 in the New York Reformed Dutch Church, no further record of that Jacob has ever been identified and it is probable that he died at a young age. This Jacob Brouwer, who because no further record for him has been found, has become a very common "gate-way" ancestor for false lineages back to Anneke Jans. Lineages which include Jacob Brouwer, bapt. 2 March 1707, are false and in some cases were fraudulently concocted by persons hoping to prove an ancestry from Anneke Jans.

Overall Jay H. Brower's issues of The Brower Family Circle do not follow any kind of strict format. Individually, the issues are collections of records, data and lineages that came to him through correspondents and his own research. As mentioned above, some of the material found in the issues should be used with caution and should not be taken at face value. Much of it, in particular the submitted lineages, should be independently verified. With more and more records now being made available online at sites like Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, FindMyPast.com, and genealogical society sites like AmericanAncestors.org (NEHGS) and NewYorkFamilyHistory.org (NYG&BS) verification of what is found in The Brower Family Circle should be easier (in some cases) to do.

Since the material in each issue is so varied and haphazardly arranged, and since there is no known published index or such to the series, I will follow this post with future posts on each of the eleven volumes. The intention is to give a brief outline of the material found in each volume and issue.

Thanks again to William B. Bogardus and Karen Brewer Sims for their efforts in making issues of The Brower Family Circle available.

*We learn in Vol. 2, no. 2 (July 1977) that there is approximately a three year lapse, beginning with this issue, between the stated date of publication and the actual date is was published.

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