Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pieter Brouwer and Susanna Titsoort

Pieter Brouwer has been identified as a son of Derck Brouwer and Hannah Daws. The lack of a baptism record for Pieter, and of probate records for either Derck Brouwer or Hannah Daws prevents us from stating this relationship as absolutely certain. Pieter is placed in the family of Derck Brouwer and Hannah Daws based upon the fact that he (Pieter) named a son Dirck and a daughter Annatje (a name that was often used interchangeably with the name Hannah). Assuming that this placement is correct, it is probable that Pieter was born sometime during the period of 1700 to 1703 (inclusive), and in the vicinity of Flushing, Queens Co., Long Island.

Pieter Brouwer was married to Susanna Titsoort by 1732. A record of their marriage has not been found. Her identification is from the baptism records of the couple's children at Readington, New Jersey. Susanna was a daughter of Abraham Titsoort and Margriet Mark, and a granddaughter of Willem Titsoort and Neeltje Swart. (Details of these two families will be placed online with the next update of the Brouwer Genealogy Database website). Among Pieter and Susanna's children are a son named Abraham, and a daughter named Margrietje, both named for Susanna's parents. As with Pieter, a baptism record for Susanna has not been found. As her known children were baptized between the years 1732 and 1747, I would estimate that she was probably born during the first decade of the 1700s, and probably towards the middle of the decade.

Pieter and Susanna lived in New Jersey in the area of the Raritan and Readington Reformed Dutch Churches. In 1753, Pieter Brouwer is recorded as a Freeholder in Bridgewater Twp., in Somerset County. The couples first known child, Petrus, was baptized on August 6, 1732 at the Raritan Reformed Dutch Church (now in Sommerville, New Jersey). No sponsors were recorded. Son Abraham was baptized in 1734 at the North Branch (Readington) Reformed Church. The witness was Elizabeth Titsoort. Daughter Annatje was baptized in 1736, daughter Margrietje in 1738, daughter Maria in 1740, son Dirck in 1743, all at the North Branch (Readington) Reformed Dutch Church. No witnesses recorded for any of the baptisms. The youngest known child, daughter Marya, was baptized in 1747 at Raritan (Sommerville). No sponsors or witnesses recorded.

The last record thus far discovered for Pieter is the 1753 list of Freeholders at Bridgewater mentioned above. No record of probate or estate settlement has yet been discovered (at least not in New Jersey). Land records for the colonial period, in the counties of Somerset and Hunterdon, New Jersey, are thin. However, a thorough check of them should be conducted with the hope of finding more clues to whereabouts of Pieter and his children. As of this writing I have not identified spouses or families for any of Pieter and Susanna's children. As they were all born near the mid-1700s, the possibility exists that any number of them lived into the late 1700s or early 1800s. They may very well have left the area, perhaps migrating westward into Pennsylvania. It is also possible that Pieter and Susanna made such a move themselves. Based upon what little is known now, such a move cannot be ruled out. There are a number of descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands (as confirmed by DNA testing) that are still unplaced. That is, their direct lineage back to the progenitor, Jan Brouwer, cannot be determined by available genealogical records. The sons of Pieter Brouwer and Susanna Titsoort (Petrus, Abraham and Dirck) may be the missing links for some of these descendants. This is a family that is due the attention of some dedicated researcher who is willing to engage in some difficult research (the easy work has been done). I have no doubt that if more can be discovered regarding the family of Pieter Brouwer and Susanna Titsoort, some lingering questions regarding the unplaced descendants of Jan Brouwer will be answered. 

Family Group Sheet

Pieter Brouwer is no. 30 in Descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L. I. (most recently revised on October 19, 2012).

One last note. In the past it had been mentioned to me that the children of Pieter Brouwer may have adopted Pietersen (Petersen or Peterson) as their surname. This would be the result of the children having taken their patronymic (Pieterszen/Pieterse) as a surname. As Pieter's children were all born in the 1730s and 1740s, long after the use of patronymics fell into disfavor, I tend to doubt this possibility. Although I can't rule it out completely, I believe that anyone researching this family would be better served by focusing on the Brouwer (including Brower and Brewer) surname before considering the Pietersen/Petersen/Peterson surname possibility.

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