Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Unplaced: Jeremiah John Brower (1815-1887)

Jeremiah John Brower is one of a number of descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I. who is currently unplaced.

Jeremiah John Brower was born 27 August 1815 in New York. In lived in Cass County, Indiana (1850 census) where he was married to Sarah Jane Woods on 4 Feb 1849. About 1853 he moved his family to Jackson Twp., Lucas County, Indiana and died there on 2 April 1887. Sarah Jane Woods, who was born in Lawrence County, Ohio on 23 October 1828, died in Lucas County, Iowa on 21 January 1891. She was a daughter of John Woods and Susannah Buffington. Both Jeremiah John and Sarah Jane are buried in Goshen Cemetery, Union Twp., Lucas County, Iowa.

It is known from the Y-DNA test results of a descendant of Jeremiah John Brower, that he is a descendant of Adam Brouwer. The results of the Y-DNA test can be found on the DNA Analysis page for Adam Brouwer descendants at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. The participant who is a descendant of Jeremiah John Brower is kit #107708, and he shares the same allele values on, between 33 and 36 out of a possible 37 markers, with many of the other descendants in this group. A table of this data can also be seen at the Brewer DNA Project website.
Although the Y-DNA test results cannot tell us the participant's direct lineage all the way back to Adam Brouwer, it does give us some valuable information which can help narrow down the search for Jeremiah John Brower's ancestors. First, it does confirm that the participant is a direct ancestor of Adam Brouwer. Knowing that much eliminates the need to be concerned with looking for ancestors among the descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands or of Willem Brouwer of Beverwijck, or of any other Brower family found in the U. S. in the 1700s.
In this case, we also can see that the participant has the allele value of 14 at allele 439 (marker no. 9). This is compared to the majority of those in the group who have the value of 13 at this marker. The exceptions, those that have the value of 14, are all descended from Adam Brouwer's son, Nicholas Brouwer. Therefore, the second hint we can take from the test results is that we should focus on the descendants of Adam's youngest son, Nicholas Brouwer.
That is not all. There is one more observation to take from the Y-DNA test results. At allele 385b (marker no. 6) the participant has the value of 18. All of the other members of this group, including those in the sub-group descended from Nicholas Brouwer, have the value of 19 at this marker. So here we have a mutation that is unique to the descendant of Jeremiah John Brower. Somewhere between Nicholas Brouwer and the present day, living, descendant, a mutation occurred at marker no. 6, that is unique to this line. Perhaps in the future some new participant in the Brewer DNA Project will be shown to have this same mutation. If so, we can then compare that future participant's known pedigree to that of the other group members, and then perhaps we will be able to narrow down our search even further.

Traditional genealogical research provides a few possible clues in this case as well. Found on the 1840 U. S. census in Cass County, Indiana, is a man named John Brower, with a household that includes a male aged 20-30, a male aged 70-80, and a female aged 20-30. Assuming, that the male aged 70-80 is the head of household, i.e. John Brower, that would leave the male aged 20-30 as a probable son, born between 1810 and 1820. Jeremiah John Brower, born in 1815, could fill this role. The location is right, and the age is right. John Brower may be the father of Jeremiah John Brower. No other person named Brower (or Brewer) are found in Cass County in 1840. No other Browers (or Brewers) are found in Cass County in 1850, with the exception of Jeremiah John Brower.
John Brower is aged 70-80 in 1840, therefore born between 1760 and 1770, and very possibly in New York, if he in fact is Jeremiah John's father (we know that Jeremiah John Brower was born in New York). A search of the census records in New York for 1800, 1810, 1820 and 1830, finds one man, a John Brower, at Petersburg, Rensselaer County, New York. In 1830, he is aged 60-70, thus also born between 1760 and 1770, just as John Brower of Cass Co. in 1840 is assumed to be born. The two mentioned John Browers could well be the same man (after 1830, no John Brower is found at Petersburg, N.Y.). If nothing else, this would at least provide a location to search for records that might help identify John Brower and (or) Jeremiah John Brower. Probate records, land records and even other court records for Petersburg in Rensselaer County, New York, and surrounding area, for the time frame of 1760 to 1840, need to be searched. The vicinity of Petersburg, New York, is also known as a location where others descended from Nicholas Brouwer lived during the period of 1760 to, at least, 1820.

Jeremiah John Brower and Sarah Jane Woods had seven children, John Wesley, Mary, Susan J., Albert W., Eliza J., James Allen, and Martha C., and what is known of their descendants has been assembled into a summery that has been placed online, Descendants of Jeremiah John Brower. This is largely the work of Lois Brower, a descendant of Jeremiah John Brower. She would be interested in hearing from others, either descended from Jeremiah John Brower, or who are researching his possible ancestry, especially if they may have any bit of information that might open the door to finding the ancestral line back to Adam Brouwer. Lois can be reached by e-mail.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Update: Brouwer Genealogy Database

The Brouwer Genealogy Database website has been updated. This update marks a milestone in that all persons, who I presently know of, or have information on, with the surname Brouwer, Brower, Brewer, or any other variation thereof, and who are descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, or of Willem Brouwer of Beverwijck, can now be found online at the BGD website.
That is not to say that the descendants of either Jan Brouwer or Willem Brouwer are complete. They are far from it. It is just to say that all info I currently have on the Brouwer descendants of these two progenitors, is now publicly available. There certainly are more descendants to be found, and many unplaced Brouwers whose parents have to be determined. In addition, I would point out that the female lines descended from both Jan Brouwer and Willem Brouwer are also, not complete. That will come with time.
The objective for the next update of the BGD website will be to do the same for the Brouwer descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I.

The Unplaced page has also been altered. "Contacts," persons who are currently researching or are descendants of the Unplaced Brouwers, have been added to a number of those profiled. The "Contacts" would like to hear from others who are descended from or are actively researching the Unplaced Brouwer who their name follows. An e-mail address is provided so that anyone coming to the website can reach the "Contact" directly without the need to go through me. Hopefully there are persons out there, who have not yet been heard from, that may have information or records that can help place the Unplaced. In the coming weeks I will take space on this blog to highlight each of those who are currently found on the Unplaced page. If you would like your own name added as a "Contact" to any of the Unplaced, please see the blog post of January 7, 2012, and please contact me here.

As usual, I would welcome any corrections, or additions, especially to earlier generations. Please be willing to provide documentation for your corrections or additions.

As I have done many times before, I would once again like to encourage and ask for your participation in the Brewer DNA Project. We could especially use the participation of any male descendants who are certain of their ancestry back to one of the original Brouwer Progenitors (as well as the Brewer progenitors of New England). A combination of the data from your Y-DNA test with a verifiable pedigree, can help us develop better genetic profiles of the progenitors and help us identify genetic mutations specific to different lines of descendants. This may help the Unplaced find their place. Your participation may well help out a cousin whom you've yet to meet. Wouldn't that be nice?!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Updates: Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L.I. and John Brewer of Scioto Co., Ohio

This post is simply to make note that the descendant charts and descendant journal reports for both Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L. I. and John Brewer of Scioto Co., Ohio have been updated and placed online. The four current documents super-cede any previous versions that were online in the past. The links in the sidebar to the right will take you to the new, current documents. I'll also add links at the bottom of this post.

There are no new significant changes that need to be highlighted, with the exception that I "cut" the link between John Brewer of Scioto Co., and his proposed father, Jacob Brouwer, so that now John Brewer and his descendants are no longer included in the documents regarding Jan Brouwer of Flatlands. Although I still believe that the "best" location for John Brewer is as a son of Jacob Brouwer, there simply and honestly is no single piece of information or record known of at this time that would provide evidence for this link. For now, I just feel it is prudent to "cut" that link and not have it published online so as to avoid any confusion. As a reminder, we do know that John Brewer is a genetic descendant of Jan Brouwer. This because of Y-DNA testing of descendants. However, we still do not know the correct ancestral lineage from John Brewer back to Jan Brouwer.

The primary reason for updating these documents was simply to ensure that they will be in "sync" with the Brouwer Genealogy Database website when that is updated, which will be sometime within the next week.

Descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L. I., Descendant Journal Report

Jan Brouwer Descendants Chart

Descendants of John Brewer of Scioto Co., Ohio, Descendant Journal Report

John Brewer Descendants Chart

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wills of Daniel Brower (1719-1791) and Abraham Brewer (c.1745-1828)

Daniel Brouwer, baptized 5 July, 1719 at the Dutch Reformed Church at Hackensack, New Jersey, was a son of Abraham Brouwer (b. ca. 1675), and his wife Lea Demarest. Daniel was married to Marietje Koning and the family first lived in Bergen County, New Jersey, were at the Conewago colony in York Co. (now Adams Co.), Pennsylvania about 1774, and later settled at Harrodsburg in Mercer County, Kentucky. Records of Daniel find his surname spelled a variety of ways: Brouwer, Brouer, Brower and Brewer. One son, Abraham, who is most often found as Abraham Brewer, was also at Conewago and later at Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Both men left wills that have been recorded in the Will Books at Mercer County, Kentucky.
A transcript of both wills was found in the collection of Brouwer related material collected by William B. Bogardus. I have placed the wills of Daniel Brower and Abraham Brewer online in one PDF document. The transcriptions were made at the Mercer County Courthouse by the Maryland State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), and are found in Volume 30 (1957-58), pages 180-182. Abstracts of a handful of deeds involving Abraham Brewer follow the wills.

No baptism record has been found for Abraham Brewer. He is mentioned in his father's will. He was married first to Sarah Van Orden before 1770 (first known child, Daniel, baptized 24 Aug 1770 at Schraalenburgh, N.J., sponsors being Daniel Brouwer and his wife Maria). Sarah was living in September 1809 as evidenced by a deed in Mercer Co. of that date, but was deceased by June 1817, when Abraham married his second wife, Mary Wells. Family Group sheets for both Abraham Brewer and Daniel Brower have been placed online. Additional info can be found at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. The BGD website will be updated soon, and the profiles of both Daniel and Abraham will be modified.

It is very tempting to believe that the Abraham Brewer mentioned in the previous post of January 15, 2012, is the same man as the above Abraham Brewer, son of Daniel. He would be about the right age to be a father of Henry Brewer who was born in 1765 (and died in 1829 in Adams Co., Ohio). Abraham was known to have lived in Pennsylvania before relocating to Harrodsburg, Kentucky (three children baptized at Conewago in 1775, 78 and 81). His second wife was named Mary WELLS, while the mother of Henry Brewer has been claimed to be (without proof), Mary WILTS. Wells and Wilts are two names that might be easily confused by the 20th century researchers who are responsible for the "identification" of Henry Brewer's mother. If the two Abraham Brewers are the same man, then Henry Brewer's birth date of 1765 would be five years previous to the baptism date of Abraham's earliest known child (1770).
The main argument against the notion that the two Abrahams might be the same, is the fact that in his will of 1825, Abraham Brewer of Mercer County, Kentucky, does not mention any son named Henry. While it is true that not all children of a testator are named in every will, in this case Abraham Brewer does mention all of his other known living children, and as Henry Brewer was living in 1825, and would have likely been Abraham's eldest son, it is more likely then not that had Henry been a son of Abraham, he would have had some mention in his will.

Two descendants of Daniel Brower have participated in the Brewer DNA Project. A descendant of the above mentioned Henry Brewer has also participated. The Y-DNA test results clearly demonstrate that all three participants are descended from Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I. Daniel Brower is descended from Adam Brouwer through Adam's son Pieter. The Henry Brewer descendant matches a Daniel Brower descendant on 36 of 37 tested markers. The participant matches another descendant of Pieter Brouwer (one who is not descended from Daniel) on the same 36 of 37 markers. It may be that Henry Brewer's connection to Adam Brouwer is through Pieter Brouwer. If so, then Henry Brewer's missing connection may be found among the grandsons of Pieter Brouwer. Although lines from other sons of Adam Brouwer cannot be ruled out, based upon the Y-DNA results that we have as of now, searching through Pieter Brouwer is a "best guess" for a starting point. (DNA results with pedigree charts for most participants can also be found online at the Adam Brouwer Group DNA results page).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Discovery of an Abraham Brewer in Berkeley County, Virginia

I recently obtained a copy of The 1774 List of Tithables and Wheel Carriages in Berkeley County, Virginia, edited by William H. Rice (Parsons, WV: McClain Printing Company, 2006). The book is available on, and I do recommend it for anyone researching persons in Berkeley Co., Va. at the time of the Revolutionary War. On page 39 is found, "Abraham Brewer", with one tithable, on the list constructed by William Magaw. As the author explains in his introduction, "tithables" were adult males over the age of 21. They were persons who would be taxed. Unfortunately the lists provide no insight into size or composition of each "tithable's" family. All that can be taken from the list is that those recorded are either heads of families, or they are single men. The significance of this piece of information is in the fact that it is the earliest found mention of a man named BREWER (or Brower, Brouwer, Bruer, etc.) living in Berkeley County, Virginia.

We currently have two unplaced men named BREWER who can trace their earliest documented record to Berkeley Co., Va., or it's parent county, Frederick Co., Va. The one who has a possible relationship with this Abraham Brewer, is Henry Brewer who died 20 February 1829 in Adams Co., Ohio. A descendant of Henry Brewer has participated in the Brewer DNA Project, and from his Y-DNA test results we know with certainty that Henry Brewer was a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L.I. Just how Henry descends from Adam Brouwer, is not yet known. There are numerous accounts, many of which can be found online in "Family Trees" uploaded to various websites, that Henry Brewer was a son of an Abraham Brouwer and a Mary Wilts. The origins of this claim seem to lie with a late 19th century/early 20th century ancestor pedigree constructed by a descendant who was interested in participating in a lawsuit involving claims to the supposed inheritance of Anneke Jans. To date I have set this claim, and this couple aside, as I was unable to locate any record of a man named Abraham Brouwer (Brewer or Brower) in Berkeley Co., Va. This can now be reconsidered. However, finding Abraham Brewer on a list of tithables in Berkeley Co. in 1774, does not in itself constitute a proof of a relationship between Henry Brewer and this Abraham Brewer.

Focusing on Henry Brewer for a moment, the one verifiable record that we have from him regarding his early life, is his application for a pension for service during the Revolutionary War. In his application (filed in 1818) he states that he served at Martinsburg, Virginia, first in 1779 and again in 1782, and that he was born in March 1765 (but does not say where, nor does he give his parent's names). In 1774, Henry was too young to be recorded on the list of tithables. For the purpose of collecting the names of those who are found on the 1774 list, Berkeley County was divided into districts. Each district was described and had a single individual who was given the responsibility of constructing the list of taxable persons within each district. The district in which Abraham Brewer is found was the responsibility of a William Magaw, and was described as "from the mouth of Opeckon up Potomack to Watkins' Ferry thence up Watkins' Ferry Road to Beeson's Mill thence down Tuscarora to Opeckon and thence to the beginning." William H. Rice provides a map of the districts and I've placed a scanned copy online here. The district described is approximately in the middle of the map, and you can find the names of Tuscarora Creek, Watkins' Ferry Road and Beesen's Mill, that form the boundary. You will also see that Martinsburg, the location mentioned by Henry Brewer in his pension application, is within this district. Given that, and the fact that there are no other men named Brewer on the 1774 list in this district (there is a Michael Brewer listed elsewhere which will be addressed later) it would be very reasonable to believe that Henry Brewer was probably a son of this Abraham Brewer. This Abraham Brewer's ancestry, however, is still to be discovered.

It is also claimed that Henry's mother was named Mary Wilts. Looking into her possible identity, I find that the name WILTS is not found at all on the 1774 list. A similar name, WILLIS, is found. In fact, the district that was recorded by Robert Carter WILLIS, is directly northeast of William Magaw's district. Fortunately, this WILLIS family is rather well known. There are published accounts of the WILLIS families in Virginia beginning with Byrd Charles Willis, A Sketch of the Willis Family of Virginia... (1898) and continuing up to Elizabeth Willis DeHuff, Descendants of John Willis of Will in Richmond Co., Virginia (1962). From these, and others, it is apparent that the WILLIS family of Berkeley County in 1774, was intermarried and had other relationships with some of the more "notable" families of Virginia (Reade, Warner, Lewis, Carter, etc.). No mentions of persons named BREWER are found in these accounts and so it seems unlikely that Mary WILTS was an error for Mary WILLIS. I find no leads to her identity among the 1774 list. It is certainly possible, perhaps even likely, that Abraham Brewer married his wife (whether it be Mary Wilts or someone else) prior to coming to Berkeley County, and so a search for her identity may have to be undertaken elsewhere in place and earlier in time.

Berkeley County was created in February 1772 from the northern third of then Frederick County. William H. Rice states that this 1774 tax list is the earliest list of persons from Berkeley County and it was only first found by him and published in 2006. It had been unknown prior to William H. Rice's discovery of it in the archives room of the Handley Regional Library in Winchester, Virginia. Checking Larry G. Shuck, Berkeley County, (West) Virginia Deeds and Wills Abstracts; Deed Books 1-5 (1772-1781), Will Books 1-3 (1772-1805) (Apollo, Pa.: Closson Press, 1935), I find no mention at all of any person named BREWER (or any variation). It is possible that Abraham Brewer did not own land in Berkeley County during his time there (although Deed Books from later dates need to be searched). What is found (by looking through the indexes to both Rice and Shuck), is a large number of names that would be familiar to anyone who has done much research on the families found in colonial New Jersey and New York, both of Dutch and English origins. That a descendant of Adam Brouwer, should be found as "far west" as Berkeley County, Virginia, prior to the Revolutionary War, is something that is certainly within the realm of the possible.

All that can be taken from this new information, for now, is that Abraham Brewer was an adult, over the age of 21 in 1774, living in Berkeley Co., Virginia, in the district that included Martinsburg, and therefore is, so far, the only viable candidate to be the father of Henry Brewer, who enlisted at Martinsburg in 1779. It's a start. We can assume that Abraham was born prior to 1753, and prior to say 1747 if he is in fact Henry Brewer's father. From here we can look for possible matches within the universe of known descendants of Adam Brouwer who are named Abraham.

I mentioned a Michael Brewer above. Rice, who states that the original lists he transcribed were in very poor condition, has a "William Boyd? and Michael Brewer, 2 tithables" in Robert Carter Willis' district (page 34). Rice explains that some names were duplicated, and in the same district is a "George Bruner and Michael Bruner, 2" (page 32). Checking Shuck, there are a couple of deeds involving Michael Bruner, one in August 1775 (page 23) and a second in November 1777 (page 38). No other mention of a Michael Brewer is found, and it is possible that Michael BREWER was an error for Michael Bruner.

The other BREWER who can be documented at an early time in the area of Berkeley and Frederick Counties, (as mentioned in the second paragraph above) is John Brewer, born 25 March 1761 or 1762, who states in his pension application that he served while living at Winchester, Frederick Co., Va., as a replacement for his father, Richard Brewer. John Brewer died in Fayette Co., Pennsylvania in 1848, and this line most likely descends from Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L.I.

The profiles of the above mentioned Abraham Brewer (Brouwer) and Henry Brewer will be updated when the Brouwer Genealogy Database is next updated.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Adam Brewer - Jacob Croxson Bond

On August 23, 1815, Adam Brewer of Howell, Monmouth Co., New Jersey signed a bond to Jacob Croxson of Shrewsbury, Monmouth Co., New Jersey, for the amount of "fifteen hundred forty five Dollars and fifty eight cents money of the United States of America." A digital image of the agreement can be found online here. This record was found and accessed at the Monmouth County Open Public Records Search System website. Use the drop down menu to select Common Pleas 1810-1817, and search using the surname Brewer. In doing so you will find nine case files to explore. This document was part of a case in which Jacob Croxson was suing Adam Brewer for payment on the bond he had signed.

The Adam Brewer here was most likely the Adam Brewer born ca. 1752, son of William Brewer and Sarah Allen. Jacob Croxson was a grandson of Jacob Brewer (b. probably between 1715 and 1720) who had purchased land in Shrewsbury in 1755. Jacob Croxson inherited that property and sold it in 1808 to Joel Lippincott. The two, Adam Brewer and Jacob Croxson, were distant cousins. More on both will be made available online with the next update of the Brouwer Genealogy Database.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Unplaced Brouwers (Brower, Brewer, etc.)

The Brouwer Genealogy Database website contains a page devoted to Unplaced ancestors with the surname Brouwer, Brower, Brewer and other variations such as Bruer, etc. Currently the Unplaced webpage is limited to persons who have had descendants participate in the Brewer DNA Project. A new ancestor, Elias E. Brower (b. ca, 1783) of Freehold and Marlboro, Monmouth Co., New Jersey, will be added to this list with the next update of the Brouwer Genealogy Database. A descendant of Elias E. Brower has taken a Y-DNA test and the results clearly demonstrate that he, and therefore his earliest known ancestor Elias E. Brower, is a descendant of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L. I., however, the line from Elias E. Brower back to Jan Brouwer, has yet to be discovered.

In the coming months, probably over the course of the next year, I will take space on this blog to highlight and focus on each one of these unplaced ancestors. The purpose in doing so is create some online attention with the hope that other descendants, or persons who have researched these families, will (in the spirit of freely sharing genealogical research) contact us with new leads, records, insight, or whatever, that may place or lead to placing those unplaced Brouwers/Browers/Brewers.
In addition, I will also highlight some of the many other Brouwers (etc.) that I have come across who are unplaced and lived during the 1700s, but who do not have known descendants that participated in the DNA testing.

At this time, I would like to make an offer to anyone descended from any of the ancestors found on the Unplaced page. If you are a descendant of one of the unplaced, or if you have a particular interest in anyone on the list, I would be happy to add your name, with an e-mail link, as someone who would like to be directly contacted by anyone else who is researching the same ancestor. In this way, you can have direct contact with other researchers, bypassing me. I have done this with another website I maintain (Descendants of Alice Freeman Thompson Parke) and you can get an idea of what I'm offering at the Correspondents page of that website. (Please note though, that I will not be creating direct lineage charts, instead there will be a brief description of the unplaced ancestor as seen currently). If you would like to have your name and e-mail link added, please contact me here. I will likely be updating the Brouwer Genealogy Database website in about two weeks.