Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Common Surname, Common Location

In the course of working on the descendants, and trying to discover the correct ancestry of John Brewer of Scioto County, Ohio, I have been reminded of the pitfall of assuming that all persons with the same surname, who are then found in the same general location, are not necessarily related. Original records for John Brewer are very few in number, yet compiled accounts of John Brewer's family, and ancestry, have been in circulation among interested descendants for over 100 years. Much of these accounts were based upon the work of early researchers, most of them motivated by either seeking membership in D.A.R. or trying to show a descent from the fabled Anneke Jans and her imaginary fortune. I have  reviewed these early compilations, and used them to get an initial start on John Brewer. It now has become apparent to me that in at least two cases, sons were assigned to John Brewer, based solely on the fact that they had the surname, BREWER, and because they were found in the same county as either John Brewer or some of his descendants.
The first case is that of Jacob Brewer, who was possibly born about 1782 (based upon the date he was married). A record for the marriage of Jacob Brewer and Mary Rinley (called INLEY in most accounts) is found in Scioto County, Ohio in 1807. No other record for Jacob Brewer has been located, and most importantly, he is not named in an 1818 deed by which some of the heirs of John Brewer sold their interest in his property in Scioto County. It is apparent that Jacob has been included as a son of John based solely on the fact that he was married in Scioto County.
In the second case, claimed son William Brewer, who lived for much of his adult life in Vermilion County, Illinois, was included as a son of John Brewer, yet no record has been found to link William to John. As with Jacob, William is not mentioned in the 1818 deed. Other descendants of John Brewer did live in Vermilion County during the same period in which William Brewer lived there (mid 1800s). However, so did a number of other Brewer families. Just looking at the 1850 census for Vermilion County, Illinois, I have counted at least three, possibly four BREWER household, who have no known family relationship with each other. In addition, a published biography of William Brewer's son, John W. Brewer, describes William as having come to Vermilion County from Indiana (not Scioto Co., Ohio) and that William's father (also named John Brewer) lived his last years in Miami Co., Ohio (not Scioto Co.).
Relying upon a common surname and being found in the same location, can at times, point to a family relationship between the two persons n question. However, in such situations either the surname is very rare or uncommon, and the location contains a very small population with many intermarriages. The surname, BREWER, and the location of both Scioto Co. circa 1807, and Vermilion Co. circa 1850, do not fit the conditions just mentioned. As soon as the Ohio Valley region opened up (after the Revolutionary War) many families from the east moved in and through. Included among them were numerous families named BREWER. These Brewers had their origins variously with Adam Brouwer, Jan Brouwer, Hubert Brower, Henry Brewer of Bedford Co., Pa., and some of the Brewer families originally found in Maryland and Colonial Virginia. The new comers crossed paths and lived in the same counties, even the same townships, as each other, all while possessing a common surname, but not a common ancestry.
I believe the earlier researchers of John Brewer of Scioto County, Ohio, made an error when including Jacob Brewer and William Brewer as sons. Until now I have propagated that error myself by including the two in accounts of John Brewer's descendants that I have placed online. The online accounts of John Brewer, the Family Group Sheet, Descendant Chart, and Descendant Report, have now been updated and all previous editions are superseded. Both Jacob and William Brewer are no longer included as sons of John Brewer. Links for the three can be found at the right under Notes, Research, Reports. Expect them to be updated again, once more descendants are included.

Update of September 15, 2011: Richard Brewer, has pointed out that Jacob Brewer is mentioned in the settlement of the estate of Meshack Plowman (file 4718, Scioto Co. Probate Court). Apparently, John Brewer's sons, Edward, Charles and Jacob, had previously sold their shares in John's property. Therefore, Jacob is a son of John Brewer. There remains no mention of a son named William. See Richard Brewer's account of John Brewer for more.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In Search if the Eponymous Brewer, Illinois

In Search of the Eponymous Brewer, Illinois, a story and photographs by Glen Brewer, highlights a little train depot near Danville, Illinois known as Brewer. Glen Brewer is a descendant of John Brewer of Scioto Co., Ohio. His participation in the Brewer DNA Project has helped us greatly in our efforts to track down the correct ancestry of John Brewer.
I've used Glen's webpage to add a new category to the links column at the right titled, Brower/Brewer Americana. If you have websites involving Browers or Brewers that you believe may interest others and might be appropriate for this category, please send along a link to me at

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Iconography of Manhattan Island

The Iconography of Manhattan, by Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, was published in six volumes between 1915 and 1928. It records the important events of Manhattan Island from the sixteenth to early twentieth centuries. Volume 1 starts with the period of discovery, follows with the Dutch and English Periods, then the Revolutionary Period, and covers events up to 1811. Volume 2 contains the Manatus Maps, the Castello Plan, as well as Dutch Grants. Volume 3 focuses on the period of industrial development and the Civil War. Volume 4 takes us back to the Period of Discovery, The Dutch Period, The English Period, and the Revolutionary Period. Volume 5 continues the Revolutionary Period and follows with the War of 1812, the Period of Invention, the Period of Industrialization, and the Civil War. Finally, Volume 6 contains addenda, original grants and farms, bibliography and index.
Many larger libraries have copies in their stacks or in their rare book collections. Amazon sells the entire six volume set for $750. Digital versions of all six volumes are available online from Columbia University Digital Collections. Links to each of the six volumes can be found in the column to the right.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Jan Brouwer and John Brewer of Scioto Co., OH Updates

The Descendant Journal Report for Jan Brouwer has been updated.  It has been expanded to cover five generations. A link can be found at the right, under Notes, Research, Reports. Please make note that the placement of some individuals within this report are tentative and have not been proved. One such descendant is John Brewer (no.119 in the report). John's placement here is based upon the comparison of Y-DNA tests submitted by descendants of John Brewer and by descendants of Jan Brouwer. Y-DNA analysis for use in genealogical research has been a evolving field. New tests and methods of interpretation of results has been changing rapidly, and may continue to change in the future. The results we have, at the Brewer DNA Project, represent a relatively small sample of descendants. More participants are needed, and we ask any direct male descendant of Jan Brouwer, or any male who believes he may be a descendant to join the Brewer DNA Project. The Y-DNA test results of confirmed descendants can be of great value to those still looking for their correct connection. Can you help?
The Five Generation Descendant Report for John Brewer of Scioto Co., Ohio has also been updated. In addition, I have added a Descendant Chart of six generations of descendants of John Brewer. As with the Jan Brouwer report, these two documents are not complete. Bob Scott, a descendant of John Brewer through his son Edward Brewer, has been very helpful in filling in details regarding Edward's children. His taking the time to contact us and willingness to share information is greatly appreciated. Input from other descendants is also welcome. If you can add or make corrections to the reports, we'd be appreciative to hear from you. If you are a direct male descendant of John Brewer, please consider joining the Brewer DNA Project.
Like John Brewer, another descendant of Jan Brouwer whose placement is tentative is John Rose (no. 299 in the Jan Brouwer report) who for now, I have penciled in as a son of Dirck Brouwer (no. 116). Past additions of this report (and info found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website) has conjectured that John Rose might be a son of one Elizabeth Rose of Hunterdon Co, New Jersey, who was brought before the Court of Common Pleas in Hunterdon County in 1772, charged with fornication. It was previously thought that the man who fathered Elizabeth's child (sex of child not known) may have been a Brouwer. Recent research in Hunterdon County by Marg Bond, a descendant of John Rose, has found that the father of Elizabeth's child was Jacob Quick, and was not a Brouwer man at all. The theory that John Rose could be a son of Elizabeth has now been dropped. We still have John Rose penciled in here because we do know, through Y-DNA testing of numerous descendants, that John Rose is somehow a descendant of Jan Brouwer. How, or why the surname, ROSE, was acquired is still a mystery that has not been solved. Any input from other descendants would be welcome. A Family Group sheet for John Rose can be found online. DNA results with links to charts can be found on the DNA Analysis page of the Brouwer Genealogy Database website under Jan Brouwer Group DNA results. Please note that the BGD website is in need of updating and that should occur sometime within the next few weeks.

Monday, August 8, 2011

John Brewer of Scioto County, Ohio

John Brewer of Scioto County, Ohio died by May 1808. Very little is known regarding his life, and only a few official records exist that can be attributed to him with any degree of confidence. More is known regarding his descendants and I have placed a tentative descendant report for John Brewer online. A link can also be found at the right under, Notes, Research, Reports.
It is known that John Brewer is a genetic descendant of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island. This was discovered through Y-DNA testing of confirmed descendants of John Brewer who were compared with known descendants of Jan Brouwer. Details on this were reported in the October 2007 issue of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, in "DNA Analysis: Adam Brouwer Berckhoven, Elias Brouwer of New Jersey and John Brewer of Ohio," by Richard Brewer, Scott Kraus and William B. Bogardus. Testing was done through the Brewer DNA Project. What is still not known is John Brewer's correct, direct ancestry, back to Jan Brouwer.
We continue to search for evidence that will link John Brewer and his descendants to the larger family of descendants of Jan Brouwer, and would be very interested to hear from any who may be able to supply additional information.
Descendants of John Brewer of Scioto Co., OH covers what is presently known regarding the descendants of John Brewer. It is likely incomplete and may include errors. Please use it a a guide to further research and not as a completed genealogy.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS) and American

The New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS), founded in 1845, is the oldest and most respected genealogical organization that exists. For much of its history the NEHGS was focused on genealogical research in New England. However, in recent years the NEHGS has greatly expanded its interests to beyond New England, especially to New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. This is reflected most obviously in the changing of the name of their website from to
Those researching their New Netherland ancestries should not ignore the NEHGS and the new website. Over the past few years the NEHGS has added to its database collection, back issues of New Netherland Connections (NNC), The American Genealogist (TAG), Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine (PGM), and most recently, the first five volumes of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (NYGBR or simply, the RECORD). Other new additions are Abstracts of New York County Wills, 1662-1801 and Haring, Clark, Denton, White, Griggs, Judd, genealogical notes of these early, related, New York families by Peter H. Judd, author of More Lasting than Brass.
Although there are a few Free Databases available, access to the majority of the website is limited to members. An annual, individual membership is $75, and as I have been a member for some years now, I will not hesitate to say that is the best value among genealogical memberships (whether to societies or online services such as that you will find. This is especially true now that they have expanded widely past the New England region.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Origins of Adam Brouwer

In 2008 I authored an article titled, "New Insight into the Origins of Adam Brouwer." It was published in New Netherland Connections, volume 13, number 4 (Oct-Nov-Dec 2008), and can be found online here, and through the link, "Origins of Adam Brouwer," found in the right hand column of this page. (May 15, 2018 - New Link for "Origins of Adam Brouwer", and a second link at Internet Archives).
If you search online, you will find numerous claims that Adam Brouwer was the son of either a man named Pieter Clementsz Brouwer, or a separate man named, Frans Sijmonsen Brouwer. Both claims have no basis in fact and have no documented or published records that even hint at such a possibility. They are simply wrong. The claim that Pieter Clementsz Brouwer is a father is most certainly an attempt by some "researchers" to link Adam Brouwer to some sort of "noble" or privileged family, something that Adam Brouwer was in no way a member of. "New Insight into the Origins of Adam Brouwer," takes on these assumptions by carefully considering the actual records that Adam Brouwer did leave behind. It also challenges the notion that his full name at birth was "Adam Brouwer Berckhoven," an idea that also has little basis in fact.

Certainly of equal interest, to the descendants of Adam Brouwer, is Adam's "Deep Ancestry," that being his origins prior to the period of readily available records. We know from the Y-DNA testing of numerous descendants that Adam Brouwer belongs in the Haplogroup known as E-V13, also referred to a E1b1b1a2. This Haplogroup is rare among European men today, and has it's largest concentration in the Balkans. An interesting theory into Adam's "Deep Ancestry," is presented by Richard Brewer, administrator of the Brewer DNA Project, and is found online at Adam Brouwer's Haplogroup, E-V13. A link can also be found at the right.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Brewer Family History Website

PLEASE NOTE: As of a check of August 28, 2018, the Brewer Family History Website appears to have been removed. Many of the links below no longer work. Links to the Brewer DNA Project, do work.

 As mentioned in the previous post (Brewer DNA Project), the largest number of individuals who have participated in the Brewer DNA Project have been found, genetically, to belong to the group which has come to be known as "Brewer-Lanier." A separate website has been established for individuals who are descendants of George Brewer and Sarah Lanier, or believe they may be descendants. The website is titled Brewer Family History Website and a link can also be found in the column to the right. The website is maintained by David Brewer.
One highlight of this site that I would like to point out is the FTDNA Project Page. Here, users can find links to pedigrees of those who have participated in the Brewer DNA Project. There is also information on the family of George Brewer and Sarah Lanier. Y-DNA data for those who have participated in the Brewer DNA Project can be found at the Brewer DNA Project's Y-DNA Results page. Scroll down to "Lanier-Brewer" (color code: light blue). The haplogroup for descendants is I1d.
Among the genetic descendants of George Brewer and Sarah Lanier are numerous persons with the surname WHITE. Terry J. White has researched this group and their connection to the Brewer descendants of George Brewer and Sarah Lanier, and has published some of his findings online at The White Family of DeKalb and Fulton Counties, Georgia. Also see, Research Notes of White-Brewer Genealogy, by Terry J. White.
All of those who descend from, or believe they may descend from George Brewer and Sarah Lanier are encouraged to join the Brewer DNA Project. Those who can prove their ancestry to the original couple through traditional genealogical research are especially asked to join. Your proved lines of ancestry, coupled with your Y-DNA data, can be help build up a database which in turn will help others discover their correct Brewer ancestry. See the Join Request page for information on how to join the project.

BGB 15