Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dutchess County, New York "Missing Probates 1793-1868"

Among the Dutchess County, New York Probate Records found in the New York Proabte Records collection at FamilySearch.org is a film titled "Missing Probates 1793-1868." There are 820 images in this film. Lets go through them and see what we might find.

Beginning with image 12 is a List of the Estates found in the Probate Packets (numbers 1 to 34877). The list provides the Probate File Number and the name of the individual whose estate is being probated. Number 1 is Abraham Westfall. At image 18, the list starts over from the first page. Images 18-21 are duplicates of images 12-16 (image 17 is a title page and a dupe of image 11). The list is in numerical order, and the order pretty much is a chronological ordering of the estate files. Number 1, Abraham Westfall's is dated from 27 August 1793. A document in the file gives his date of death as 29 July 1793. So many of the earlier files will be for persons who were born during the colonial period. They can be a valuable source of otherwise missing genealogical data, and simply browsing through the pages of this list may be an efficient way of locating a specific probate file of interest.

Dutchess Co., NY "Missing Probates 1793-1868" p. 1. Lists the names of some of the earliest probate files on record. Image from FamilySearch.org


At image 33 I find a Noah Brower, no. 678, who was not noticed when the general index to the probate records was examined. To date I have not heard of, nor am I aware of a man named Noah Brower. Turning to the probate file itself, which begins with image 17 of Probate Packets 677-806 1/2, we find that the file is titled "Noah Brower," however the papers in the file all refer to him as Noah Brown. There is no man named Noah Brower.

Another who was not picked up in the general index search is Clinton R. Brower, file no. 2802, found on image 83. His file begins at image 681 of Probate Packets 2778-2834. In this case the name is correct. John Simpson was granted administration on the estate of Clinton R. Brower on 1 August 1861. Included in the file is the petition of Margaret Lee, mother of Clinton R. Brower (also dated 1 August 1861) which gives Clinton's date of death as 21 July. Mary S. Brower is mentioned as a sister of Clinton. The petitioners are of the City of Poughkeepsie.

Further searching finds that Clinton Brower, his mother Margaret Lee and sister Mary Brower, can be found on the 1860 U.S. census records in Poughkeepsie. They are in the household of Simeon W. Lee, who is apparently Margaret's second husband. As of this writing Margaret's maiden name, and the identity of her first husband, the father of Clinton R. and Mary S., a BROWER, had not been discovered. However, the post of September 17th tells us of the probate file of Robert Brower (no. 1900). His file names his widow Margaret, and children Mary Brower, Hamilton Brower and Clinton Brower, minors, "and an infant..." John Sampson and Margaret Brower are granted administration on 19 June 1846. Perhaps Margaret, otherwise unidentified, is a sister of John Simpson who also administered the estate of her son Clinton. Margaret's grave marker (Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery) calls her Margaret Simpson. Margaret's previously unknown first husband can now be identified at Robert Brouwer/Brower/Brewer, son of Nazareth Brouwer/Brewer and his third wife, Deborah Wiltsie. Robert was born 30 June 1814, baptized at the New Hackensack Reformed Church on 21 July 1814, and mentioned in his father's will on 5 August 1817. He died 10 August 1846. Margaret and Simon Lee had children Townsend Lee (b. ca. 1851) and Emma S. Lee (b. ca. 1854). Hamilton Brower, mentioned in estate file of his father, is not listed with the family on the 1850 U.S. census. The last edition of the Brouwer Genealogy Database does show a spouse or children for Robert Brouwer, and it does not identify Margaret's maiden name or her husband. The two can now be linked, and a son Hamilton Brower added to the family.

Susan Brower, file no. 4296 is found on image 118. Although not found in the index, she is the same Susan Brower who is file no. 2141 (post of September 16th). She is Susannah Green, who was the wife of William Brower (1753-1841). Susan died 2 June 1850, age 74y 9m 26d, which calculates to a date of birth of 7 August 1775, making her 22 years younger than her husband. Perhaps William had a previous wife? Susan and William had six known children. Three of her grandchildren, children of her son William W. Brower (1800-1835), named Susan Louisa Brower, Cornelia (Caroline) Brower, and William Brower, are named in her will (Dutchess Co. Wills Q:383). Her probate file, as well as the file of her son Abraham Brower (post of September 16th), adds the son William W. Brower to her family. William W. Brower's parents are not identified on the current Brouwer Genealogy Database. His date of birth given on the BGD of 9 March 1804 was calculated from his age at death (died 25 June 1835, age 31y 3m 16d). However, a newly found baptism record for William, gives his birth date as 9 October 1800. He was baptized on 31 May 1801 at the Fishkill Dutch Reformed Church. Susan Brower's probate file no. 4296 adds a granddaughter, Althea Brewster, daughter of Susan Eliza Brower (deceased) and William Brewster.

Fishkill RDC Baptisms, Book 14A, p. 135. William Brower is the twelfth entry from the top. Image from Ancestry.com, "U.S., Dutch Reformed Church Records in Selected States, 1639-1989."


FamilySearch.org only provides images of probate files up and including file number 5889. The list page with this number is at image 156, so images 117-156 of this film contains the names of all those for whom images of probate files are presently available online. The list continues up to file number 34876, found at image 809. There are a total of 820 image pages, and some of the remaining pages are titled "Numbers Missing in Estates Filed."

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