Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Rachel Brouwer and Pieter Hendricksen

Rachel Brouwer, probably the youngest daughter of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon, was likely born before 1672 at Gowanus, Long Island. No record of her baptism has been found, but she is named in her father's will dated January 22, 1691/92.

Rachel Brouwer is covered by William J. Hoffman in "Brouwer Beginnings" at TAG 24 (1948): 169. The account is the briefest of all of the children of Adam Brouwer (essentially one sentance), and the reason for this is simply that very little has been discovered regarding Rachel.

On 5 June 1698, Rachel married Pieter Hendrickszen at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. The banns dated 27 May 1698 read, "Pieter Hendrickszen, j.m. Uyt Vrieslandt, en Rachel Berckhoven, j.d. Van't lange Eylt., beyde wonende alhier." Translated, this tells us that Pieter Hendricksen was born in Friesland and Rachel was born on Long Island, neither had been previously married, and both were living in New York. Rachel is recorded with the Berckhoven surname.

On 22 January 1699, the couples only known child, Engeltje, was baptized at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. The record lists the parents as "Pieter Hendrix and Rachel Brouwer." Sponsors were "Niclaes Brouwer and Magdalena Brouwer, wed." They would be Rachel's brother and her mother, Magdalena Verdon. Thus far, no other children have been located for the couple.

In September 1676, a Pieter Hendricke was on the tax roll at New Amersfoort (Flatlands), Long Island, assessed with 1 poll and 1 horse. In 1683, Pieter Hendricksen, with 1 man, 3 cows, 1 horse, 1 of 2 years, was assessed at New Amersfoort. On 2 March 1684/85, Jan Theunison and Pieter Hendricksen, carpenters, were deposed at Flatlands to testify on the behalf of Hendricke Strockels, widow of "Mister Hainelle" (Michiel Hainelle), that they witnessed Mr. Hainelle, "sickly in his house and lying before the fire," declare his last will. This Pieter Hendricksen is, however, a different man of the same name. He was married to Catharina Jans, and they were both members, from New Amersfoort, of the Flatbush Reformed Church in September 1678.

Rachel had appeared as a sponsor at the baptisms of three of her sibling's children. All three appearances were prior to her marriage to Pieter Hendrickszen. On 14 May 1693, along with her brother Nicholas Brouwer, she was a sponsor for Willemtje, daughter of Matthys Brouwer and Marietje Pieters, at Brooklyn. On 29 March 1696, Rachel, and her brother Adam, were sponsors at the baptism of Helena, daughter of William Nazareth and Helena Brouwer. On 27 December 1696, Rachel, with Arien Claessen, witnessed the baptism of Hillegont, daughter of Adam Brouwer and Marretje Hendrickse. Rachel is referred to as Rachel BROUWER in all three records.

The 1699 baptism record of daughter, Engeltje, is the last certain record thus far discovered for both Rachel and Pieter. When searching for Engleltje in later records, it must be kept in mind that she could be recorded either with her patronymic, as Engeltje Pieters, or with her father's patronymic, as Engeltje Hendricks or Hendricksen. On 31 May 1718, an Engeltje Hendrickze, j.d., van New York, married Pieter van den Burg, j.m. van New Jersey, at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. A daughter, Rachel, was baptized for this couple at the New York Reformed Dutch Church on 11 February 1719. The sponsors were Ykabod Burned and Elizabeth Reed, two individuals who do not immediately shed any new light on possible relations. No other record for this couple is found in the New York Dutch Church. New York probate records provided no additional leads. It is likely that Pieter van den Burg's wife is Engeltje, the daughter of Rachel Brouwer and Pieter Hendricksen, but more evidence is required to declare that thought to be certain. Searches will have to be conducted further afield, in New Jersey and in Westchester and Dutchess Counties, New York. A remove to the West Indies may also be possible.

Another possible lead that must be followed up on, is the baptism of Rachel, the daughter of Pieter Hendriks and Machteltje Zabrisco (Zabriskie), at the New York Reformed Dutch Church on 15 February 1741. The sponsors for the baptism were John Dyer and Maria Dyer, j.d. (Maria was a young unmarried woman). John Dyer was the third husband of Christina Davids/Hendricksen, the daughter of Helena Brouwer and her first husband David Hendricksen. Maria Dyer was John and Christina's daughter, born in 1721. Rachel Brouwer was Christina's aunt. A daughter, Elizabeth, baptized in 1735 at New York, carried the name of Machteltje's mother, Elizabeth Romeyn. It is likely that the second daughter, in this case named Rachel, would be named for Pieter Hendrick's mother. Rachel Brouwer then has to be considered as a possible mother of this Pieter Hendricks. (Machteltie, daughter of Jan Zaboriscoo and Elizabeth Romeyn, was baptized at Hackensack, New Jersey on 9 November 1710. The family name is standardized as Zabriskie, and there is no additional insight into Machteltje's husband found in George Olin Zabriskie's extensive genealogy of the family published in 1963. No evidence of Rachel Brouwer and/or Pieter Hendricksen has been found in the Hackensack Church records).

Rachel Brouwer's and Pieter Hendricksen's sudden disappearance from all records, after the 1699 baptism of their daughter, is certainly frustrating. No mention of them is found in the New York probate records. It is possible that both died at early ages, but it is also possible that the couple moved to a location where records are scarce. Westchester County, in the first few decades of the 1700s, is a possible location that meets this later description. A move to the West Indies is also a possibility. Some of the children of Helena Brouwer and William Nazareth made such a move. Any possible leads found by readers are certainly welcome.

The Family of Rachel Brouwer and Pieter Hendricksen

Source citations and additional details referred to above will be updated with the next edition of the Brouwer Genealogy Database.

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