Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Family of Adam Brouwer and Marretje Hendrickse

Adam, son of Adam Brouwer and Magdaleentie Jacobs, was baptized on May 18, 1662 at the Old First Dutch Reformed Church at Breuckelen (Brooklyn). The sole sponsor/witness was Neeltje Jans, a daughter of Jan Pieterszen and the wife of Gerrit Dircksz Kroesen, a close neighbor of the Adam Brouwer family (Neeltje later married Volkert Hendricksz Bries, another immediate neighbor of the Brouwers).

Adam Brouwer is covered by William J. Hoffman in "Brouwer Beginnings," where is is no. 9, found at TAG 24 (1948): 29-30. Hoffman's account is rather brief.

Adam was married to Marretje Hendrickse. The banns, found in the Flatbush Reformed Dutch Church records, read, "Adam Adamse (B)erkoven, j.m., met Marretie Hendricks, j.d., beijde woonachtigh tot Bruekelen." The banns tells us that both Adam and Marretje had not been previously married and that both were living at Brooklyn. Adam is recorded with his patronymic (Adamse) and the surname, "Berkvoven." This would the earliest recording of that surname with respect to the family of Adam Brouwer, who himself used it for the first (and only) time in his will of January, 1692. (For more on thoughts regarding the use and meaning of this surname, see "New Insight into the Origins of Adam Brouwer," 2008).

Marretje Hendrickse's parents are not known with certainty. Hendrickse, of course, is a patronymic, and therefore we do know that her father was named Hendrick. It is most likely, and William J. Hoffman suggested this in his articles on the Bras(s), Brasser, Bresser, Bries, and Brazier Families, published in The American Genealogist volumes 20 (1943) and 21 (1944) at 21:148, that Marretje was a daughter of Hendrick Bries and Geertien Claes. This would make sense. Hendrick Bries was an immediate neighbor of Adam Brouwer at Gowanus, and therefore the two families would have known each other very well. Hendrick Bries had six known children, among them a daughter named Hillegont. This relatively uncommon name also was given to a daughter by Adam Brouwer and Marretje Hendrickse (baptized December 27, 1696 at Brooklyn) and the sponsors were Arien Claessen (brother to the above mentioned Geertien Claes) and Rachel Brouwer (Adam's sister). No further records have been found for Hillegond Hendrickse Bries, and it may be that she died just prior to December 27, 1696, and Marretje named her new born daughter to honor her deceased sister. Although this is a plausible scenario, it cannot be proved, and until additional evidence surfaces, all we can say now is that Marretje is possibly (maybe even probably) a daughter of Hendrick Bries.

Adam Brouwer makes six appearances as a sponsor at baptisms for children of his siblings between 1679 (Hendrick, son of Matthys Brouwer) and 1696 (Helena Nazareth, daughter of Helena Brouwer). Adam took the oath of allegiance at Brooklyn as "Adam Brouwer, Junior, native," in September 1687. He is found in the 1698 census at Brooklyn with a household of 1 male, 1 female and 4 children. He is named in his father's will of January 22, 1691/92. On March 18, 1694, Volkert Hendricksen Bries (son of Hendrick Bries mentioned above) sold to Adam Brouwer of Brooklyn, a lot situated in Brooklyn towards Gowanus and between the lands of Jacob Brouwer and Volkert Bries. The price was fifty pounds. On October 23, 1701, the same Volkert Bries, and his wife, Elizabeth, of Gowanus, sold to Col. Gerardus Beeckman of Kings County, land in Gowanus bounded by land formerly owned by Adam Brouwer, Jr. As the 1698 census record is the last recording of Adam Brouwer, Jr. found, it may have been that he was deceased by this date (October 23, 1701). It is most certian that Adam was deceased by December 20, 1706, when "Marya Brower," was assessed at Brooklyn with 26 acres of land. Hoffman, in "Brouwer Beginnings," states that Adam was deceased by June 12, 1712 (deed), which is certainly true, but too conservative of a guess. From the assessment list it is apparent that Adam was deceased six years earlier, and from Volkert Bries' 1701 deed, possibly eleven years or more earlier than Hoffman's estimate. He may be that Adam Brouwer, Jr. died between 1699 and 1701. No record of the settlement of his estate has been found.

Adam Brouwer and Marretje Hendrickse had four known children, with their baptisms all found in the records of the Old First Dutch Reformed Church of Breukelen (Brooklyn). Madaleentje (named for Adam's mother, Magdalena Verdon) was baptized in 1692, with sposnors Volckert Hendrickse (Bries) and Hillegont Hendrickse (Bries), which further supports the notion that Marretje Hendrickse was a Bries family member herself. Madaleentje, also called Helena (marriage record) and Lena (husband's second marriage) was married to Thomas Barber at the New York Reformed Dutch Church in 1714. Children have not yet been identified, but she was deceased by October 31, 1730, when her husband remarried.

Maritje, daughter of Adam Brouwer and Marritje, was baptized at Brooklyn in 1695, sponsors Willem Nasareth and Lena Nasareth (Adam's sister and her second husband). No further record of Marytje have been identified with certainty, but it should not be assumed that she died at a young age. As many Kings County families relocated to New Jersey, particularly along the Raritan River in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, the family identities for many young women become lost as records there tend to ignore the surnames and/or patronymics of women. Marritje, or Mary (Maria), of course is about the most common female name known. There are many "Marritjes" found in New Jersey in the 1700s whose families have not been identified. Marritje, the daughter of Adam Brouwer and Marretje Hendrickse, may just be one of them.

Hillegont (mentioned above) the daughter of Adam Brouwer and Marritje Brouwer, was baptized in 1696, sponsors being Arien Claessen and Rachel Brouwer (possible maternal great-uncle, and paternal aunt). As with her sister Marritje, no further record of Hillegont has been identified, but as with Marritje, I am hesitant to declare the book closed with those famous last words, "no further record," which are found too often in published genealogies. There are just too many unidentified women from the colonial period whose families still need to be found.

Hendrick, the only known son of Adam Brouwer and Marretje Hendrickse was baptized on January 15, 1699 at Brooklyn with sponsors Willem Brouwer and Angenietje, his wife. Willem Brouwer was a brother of Adam Brouwer, Jr., and "his wife Angenietje," though unidentifed, has been discounted as an error by Hoffman. (Although previously having accepted Hoffman's word on this matter, in retrospect I do not see any reason to claim this as an error. Although there are no known children for Willem Brouwer and Angenietje, it is still possible that they could have been husband and wife. I have since included Angenietje as a second, of possibly four wives, for Willem Brouwer, on the BGD website). Hendrick, as the only son of Adam Brouwer, Jr., is given mention by Hoffman in "Brouwer Beginnings," at TAG 24:30. Hoffman states, "It would seem that this Hendrick Brouwer is the one who settled at the Raritan (in New Jersey), rather than Hendrick, son of Matthys (Brouwer) as Bergen and "Our Home" (probably following the former) suggest. Hendrick of Raritan named his eldest son Adam and his eldest daughter Marietje, undoubtedly for his parents, the usual Dutch custom. He apparently had no son named Matthys." I would agree, it is near certain that this Hendrick Brouwer, son of Adam Brouwer, Jr., settled at the Raritan. Perhaps his sisters, Marytje and Hillegont, settled there as well. All we know of Hendrick's wife is that her name was Elizabeth. Her family has not been identified (which is not unusual for families found in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties in the 1700s). The couple had six known children, including five boys, the names being Adam, Hendrick, Marietje, Willem, Peter, and Hendrick (again). They were baptized between 1721 and 1733 at the Reformed Church of Raritan (Somerville), Somerset County, and the First Reformed Church of New Brunswick (Three-Mile Run) in Middlesex County. Of the six baptisms sponsors are recorded for only the first two. Adam, baptized March 5, 1721 at Raritan, had sponsors Thomas and Neeltje Bouman (Bowman). The first son named Hendrick, baptized January 3, 1722 at Raritan, had sponsors Thomas Mellot and wife Neeltje. What relationship, if any, either of the two couples had to either Hendrick or Elizabeth is not (presently) apparent. Other then Adam, we see that Hendrick's sons were given the names Hendrick, Willem and Peter (in that order). Perhaps one of them is a clue to the name of Elizabeth's father.

We have a handful of participants in the Brewer DNA Project, who through Y-DNA testing, are known to be certain descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus (the elder). Four in particular can trace their Brewer ancestry back to Pennsylvania or Virginia. The Earliest Known Ancestors (EKAs) for the four are Henry Brewer/Henrich Bruer of Westmoreland Co., Pa. (kit #32813), Henry Brewer of Berkeley Co., Va. and Adams Co., Ohio (kit #182867), Peter Brewer of Westmoreland Co., Pa. and Hardin Co., Ky. (kit #28193) and William Brewer of Philadelphia, Pa. (kit #46637). I strongly suspect that Hendrick Brouwer, son of Adam Brouwer, Jr. is the ancestor for some, if not all four of these unplaced EKAs. The earliest migrations of European settlers into the central and western parts of what would later be Pennsylvania, and northern and western Virginia (much of which was later West Virginia) originated with people found in New Jersey. No trace of Hendrick Brouwer, or of his five sons, has yet been found in New Jersey after the 1733 baptism record of the younger Hendrick. We of course can see a continuity in given names here as well. Unplaced are Henry, Peter and William, while Hendrick has sons named Hendrick, Peter and Willem. Hendrick Brouwer (b. 1699) and his father, Adam Brouwer, Jr. (b. 1662) are presently the best candidates for connecting the unplaced EKAs back to Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. (The just mentioned four EKAs will each be given individual attention in future posts. For now links can be found on the Unplaced Page, and on the Adam Brouwer Group DNA page).

The Family of Adam Brouwer, Jr. and Marretje Hendrickse

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