Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Published Brouwer Accounts: DNA Analysis

The first major article regarding Brouwer families since William Hoffman's "Brouwer Beginnings" in 1947-48, did not appear until October of 2007. "DNA Analysis: Adam Brouwer Berckhoven, Elias Brouwer of New Jersey, and John Brewer of Ohio," by Richard D. Brewer, PhD, Scott Kraus, and William B. Bogardus, was published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record vol. 138, no. 4, pp. 245-49. It was the first article featuring the relatively new field of DNA analysis as applied to genealogical research to be published in the NYGBR. The research covered by the article clearly demonstrates, once and for all, the fact that Adam Brouwer of Gowanus and Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, contemporaries living in Kings County, Long Island, were not in any remote way related. It also put the hammer down on two notoriously false lineages, one from Jacob Brouwer (son of Adam) and his wife Annatje Bogardus (a granddaughter of the "famous" Anneke Jans), and the other from Pieter Brouwer (son of Adam) and his wife, Petronella Uldrickse Kleyn (Clein).

The Y-DNA testing was conducted by Family Tree DNA, the host company for the Brewer DNA Project. The testing on the participants in this research (descendants of Adam Brouwer, Elias Brouwer and John Brewer) resulted in the recognition of distinct Y-DNA signatures for Adam Brouwer and Jan Brouwer. It also demonstrated that Elias Brouwer of New Jersey and John Brewer of Ohio were closely related and, with the aid of some "traditional" genealogical research, it was shown that both were descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands. Participants who have joined the Brewer DNA Project since publication of this article have re-enforced the results of 2007 and have added new data which is helping to distinguish between lines of descent from the various sons of Adam Brouwer and Jan Brouwer. The results are also a great help to those who are just beginning to research their Brouwer ancestry. A simple Y-DNA test of any present day male with the surname of Brower, Brewer or Brouwer who is uncertain of which early Brouwer progenitor he descends from, can now "narrow down the field" of possibilities by comparing his Y-DNA test results to others who had previously joined the project.

The DNA Analysis article was followed by a genealogical summery titled, "Jan Brouwer of Flatlands and Descendants." This work is not credited with an author. It was compiled by the Editor (at the time Patricia Law Hatcher) based upon the previously published account of John Reynolds Totten, with new input from the authors of the DNA Analysis article along with Harry Macy, Jr. (former editor of the NYGBR) and Henry B. Hoff (current editor of the New England Historic and Genealogical Register). This article is the most detailed published account of the children and grandchildren of Jan Brouwer to date. Many of the placements are based upon analysis and interpretation of indirect or coincidental evidence. It is an excellent example of the difficult job of trying to piece together an account of a Colonial New York family for whom few baptism, marriage, and especially, probate records exist.

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