Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Friday, March 29, 2013

Freehold - Middletown Records, and Marriages by John Holsart, J. P.

The records of the Reformed Dutch Congregations of Freehold and Middletown, New Jersey, continue in the Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey with volume 36 (1961). This volume contains marriages from 1782 to 1818, and then communicants from 1764 to 1815.

Reformed Dutch Congregations Freehold-Middletown, GMNJ v. 36 (1961)

What also may be of interest to some are the marriages performed by John Holsart, J. P., at Shrewsbury, New Jersey, 1820 to 1837. This record was published in the Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, volume 37 (1962).

Marriages Performed by John Holsart, J. P., Shrewsbury Township, 1820-37, GMNJ v. 37 (1962)

John Holsart/Holshart/Hulshart was born and baptized in 1759 at Freehold, New Jersey. He was a son of Pieter Hulsaart and Willaimpe Hanse. John was married to Mary Polhemus and had three daughters born between 1788 and 1792. He served during the Revolutionary War and lived in Monmouth County, New Jersey. (See the Family of Peter Hulsaart).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Harlingen Reformed Dutch Church Baptisms, 1737-1762

The early baptism records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Harlingen (Somerset County, New Jersey) were published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record in 1909. Later years were published in the Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey. Baptisms from 1737 until May 2, 1762 were published in volumes 17 and 18 of the GMNJ.

Baptisms RDC Harlingen, New Jersey, GMNJ vols. 17 & 18

Monday, March 25, 2013

Children of Peter Brewer and Hannah Sanborn: Jacob Brewer

Peter Brewer and Hannah Sanborn of Highgate, Vermont are believed to have had ten children. From the beginning it should be made clear that there are no records of birth or baptism found for any of them. To date, no "family record" or "Bible record" contemporary to Peter Brewer's time, has been located.

Jacob Brewer appears to have been the oldest child of Peter Brewer and Hannah Sanborn. He appears on the 1850 U. S. census at Highgate, Vermont, age given as 49, and born in Vermont. In 1860, at Milford, Jefferson Co., Wisconsin, Jacob's age is given as 59. It is likely that he was born in 1801 at Highgate, Vermont. A deed of 1827 in which Peter Brewer conveys land to Jacob Brewer, with the provision that the land be returned to Peter Brewer should Jacob die without heirs, seems to be proof enough that Jacob was a son of Peter Brewer.

Jacob Brewer was married to Jerusha Westover on 3 November 1823, and the marriage is recorded in the Highgate Town Records. According to the 1850 U. S. census at Highgate, Jerusha was aged 45, and born in Canada. Like her mother-in-law, Hannah Sanborn, Jerusha possesses a family name that is well known in New England, has been well researched over the past 150 years or so, yet Jerusha's place within the family has not been discovered.

The Westover family in New England traces its origins to Jonas Westover who died at Simsbury, Connecticut in 1709. His wife was Ann Griswold, daughter of Edward Griswold and Margaret. Jonas and Ann (Griswold) Westover appear to have had ten children. Moses Westover (1744-1826), a great-grandson of Jonas and Ann (Griswold) Westover, was born in Sheffield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, and made his way to Lower Canada not long after the Revolutionary War. He settled at Sutton, in the Eastern Townships, in 1796. His wife was Elizabeth Holmes and the couple had eleven children born at Sheffield, Massachusetts between the years of 1768 and 1792, prior to the move to Sutton. Jerusha's place would likely be among the grandchildren of Moses Westover, but exactly where, as thus far been elusive.

Just who Jerusha Westover is, is complicated by the strong belief, passed down from the generation of the children of Jacob and Jerusha, that the Brewer family of Highgate had a Native American ancestor. The possibility that Hannah Thomas (Jacob Brewer's grandmother) was that Native American was mentioned in Jeremiah Brower, Part IV (February 13, 2013). Jerusha has also been suspected to be the Native American, and that is certainly possible. The area in which the first settlers of European origin, Jeremiah Brower among them, came to in northern Vermont, was prior to their arrival, a center of Abenaki settlement. There is no doubt that native Abenakis and the new settlers from New York and New England interrelated and intermarried. Perhaps DNA testing of living descendant, especially one who is only four or five generations removed from Jerusha, through the GENO 2.0 project can provide supporting genetic evidence to the belief that descendants of Jacob Brewer and Jerusha Westover have Native American ancestry.

Jacob Brewer and Jerusha Westover's children were all born in Highgate, Vermont. In about 1854 the family left Vermont and headed west, as many Vermonters did, settling first in Wisconsin. Jacob and his family can be found on the 1860 U. S. census at Milford in Jefferson Co., Wisconsin. In 1868 the family relocated to Riverton in Floyd Co., Iowa, and are found there on the 1870 U. S. census. Neither Jacob nor Jersuha can be located on the 1880 census, and it is suspected that both died prior to 1880. Both would have been in their seventies. No record of death, or location of burial has been discovered for either Jacob or Jerusha.

There were ten children in family of Jacob and Jerusha Brewer. The first two died at young ages. Alphonso Brewer died 20 May 1826, age 17 months, while George Brewer died 18 April 1841, age 12 years. Both were buried in the Brewer Cemetery off Rollo Road in Highgate. Mention of them can be found in the "McLellan Cemetery Records for Franklin County," at the Vermont Historical Society in Barre, Vermont.

Norman Brewer was born 12 June 1831 at Highgate, moved with the family to Wisconsin and then Iowa, and finally settled at Highmore, Hyde Co., South Dakota, where he died in 1888. His wife was Elizabeth Nelson and the couple had seven children, four of who are known to have married.

Laura Brewer was born about 1834 at Highgate, and is found with the family there on the 1850 census. She married William Mueller on 23 September 1858 at Milford, Wisconsin. It is probable that her husband is the William Mueller who served during the Civil War with the 20th Wisconsin Infantry. That William Mueller was from Watertown, Wisconsin, was mustered in on 8 Feb 1864, and drowned 28 July 1864 at San Martin Ranche, Texas. Neither Laura or William have been located on the 1860 census and nothing else is known of them at this time.

John, or Joseph, Wesley Brewer died in 1839, age 2, while Stephen B. Brewer, died 13 June 1841, age 4 1/2 years. Both are buried in the Brewer Cemetery in Highgate. (McLellan Cemetery Records).

Jackson M. Brewer was born about 1840 as per the 1850 (age 11), 1860 (age 20) and 1870 (age 30) U. S. census records. He was married twice and had nine children. His first wife, Isabelle McKnight, is identified by the death record of their son, William J. Brewer, who died 22 January 1936 in Rockford, Illinois. Jackson and Isabelle had seven children and are found on the 1870 census at Riverton, Floyd Co., Iowa. Jackson is a widower on the 1880 census at Riverton, and the census mortality schedule for that year places Isabelle's death as occuring in April 1880. Jackson married his second wife on 23 August 1881 in Floyd Co., Iowa. She was called, Mollie Sherman, on the marriage record, but Sherman was apparently the name of her first husband, with whom she had two children, Hattie and Sophia, born ca. 1875 and 1878 in De Moines, Iowa. The birth records of Jackson and Mollie's children, James Jacob Brewer (1884) and Edna Brewer (1886) call her Mattie Ann Gray and Mallie Ann Gray. The 1885 Iowa census at Emmetsburg, Palo Alto Co., Iowa (where the two families are combined) calls her Martha. Of Jackson's children, Albert and Mary Luella (in Beltrami Co., Minnesota), and Andrew O. and William J. (in Rockford, Illinois) can be traced. I have been unable to locate Jackson, his second wife, or their children, after the 1885 census at Emmetsburg, Iowa.

Jacob B. Brewer was born in May 1842 at Highgate, Vermont (1900 census, age 58 and single). He served during the Civil War, enlisting while living at Milford, Jefferson Co., Wisconsin, but has not been located post the 1900 U. S. census, when living at Vermillion, Clay Co., South Dakota.

Leland Brewer, age 2, is found in the household of Jacob and Jerusha on the 1850 U. S. census at Highgate, Vermont. No further records have yet been found. He is not mentioned in the McLellan Cemetery records, so perhaps he died at a young age after the family's move to Iowa.

The youngest child of Jacob and Jerusha Brewer, Seth Wales Brewer, was born 21 January 1851 at Highgate, Vermont. He died 6 July 1934 at Elliott, Sanborn Co., South Dakota. His descendants have probably been the most researched and are the most thoroughly documented of all of Jacob and Jerusha's descendants. A number of descendants have been very active researchers of the family and one descendant has participated in the Brewer DNA Project. Seth is found in his parent's household on the 1860 and 1870 census records at Milford, Jefferson Co., Wisconsin and Riverton, Floyd Co., Iowa respectively. On 1 January 1874 he married Louvica Adeline Shannon at Nashua, Iowa. She was born on 14 February 1856 at Riverton, Iowa, the daughter of William Shannon and Cordelia Bohne. Louvica died on 3 May 1925 at Woonsocket, South Dakota. Seth and Louvica are found on the 1880 census at Riverton, Iowa and moved to Sanborn Co., South Dakota by 1892. They had four children, Casper, Leo, Rudolph and Millie Blanche, the last two marrying Hutton siblings. Descendants are still found in Sanborn Co., South Dakota today. Thanks especially to Karen B. Sims for providing much research and photographs regarding the Seth Wales Brewer family.

Source details and and additional info can be found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website, but the better source for additional info on descendants can be found at Jacob Brewer at

See also: The Brewer Ancestry of U.S. President Calvin Coolidge

Friday, March 15, 2013

Update: Willem Adamsz Brouwer

Willem Brouwer, the son of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon, was first covered in a post of September 2, 2012. Then, I raised the possibility that Willem may have had a third (or fourth) wife, she being Neeltje Thomas, baptized at New York in 1691, a daughter of Urbanus Thomaszen and Maria Schouten. This was based upon the baptism record of her son Willem, which took place on 26 August 1713 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. The record reads: Willem, child of Willem BROUWER and Neeltje Thomas. It was then theorized that the younger Willem Brouwer married Lea Maas. The search for the parents of Lea Maas led to the conclusion that Neeltje Thomas did not marry Willem Admasz Brouwer. Rather she married a man named William Brown, whose name was miss-transcribed or miss-recorded as BROUWER in a couple of records. The majority of other records regarding this couple, including two important wills, record his name variously as BROWN, BROUN, BROUWN and even BRUYN.

Mike Morrissey gets the credit for bringing to my attention the will of Arnout Hendrickse of New York, dated 25 April 1743 and proved 11 April 1749 (New York Co. Wills Lib. 16, p. 414, abstracted in Abstracts of Wills on File in the Surrogate's Office, City of New York (Vol. IV, 1744-1753), page 212. In his will, Arnout Hendrickse names his daughter Leah, wife of William BROWN, and appoints her as his executor. After reviewing marriage and baptism records of the family of Arnout Hendrickse it became clear that Lea, who went by the name of Lea MAAS, was the daughter of Arnout/Arent Hendricks and Geertje Claes and was baptized on 12 August 1716 at New York. She is a younger member of the rather complicated family which incorporates the names URBANUS, THOMAS/THOMASEN (from which the surname MAAS is derived), SCHOUTEN and HENDRICKS. They are intermarried with the BENNET and VERDON families.

Thomas Thomasse (brother of Neeltje Thomas) in his will dated 11 January 1746 and proved 7 June 1750, found in New York Co. Wills Lib. 17, p. 174 and abstracted in Abstracts of Wills on File in the Surrogate's Office, City of New York (Vol. IV, 1744-1753), page 288, mentions his sister Neeltje Thomas, formerly wife of William Brown and late wife of Cornelius Conners, and names her children by both husbands. Her son, William Brown is among them, and he, along with his mother, and his cousin Barbery (daughter of Jan Schoute Thomasse, deceased) are made executors.

The search for records regarding the above families continues, but what has been found thus far is ample evidence to conclude that the idea that Willem Adamsz Brouwer married Neeltje Thomas as his third (or fourth) wife, was incorrect. The online summery of Willem's family has been revised. The Brouwer Genealogy Database will reflect these changes and provide more sources when it is next updated.

Thanks to Mike Morrissey for directing me to the pertinent records and to Liz Johnson for insight into the name, Maas, and other help.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Richard Brouwer and Mary Blann Update

Richard Brouwer and his wife Mary Blann were covered in a post back on November 12, 2012. To sumerize, we know from the Y-DNA test results of a descendant that Richard Brouwer (Brower or Brewer) is a descendant of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island. We are still searching for the elusive link that would fit Richard Brouwer into his correct place among the descendants of Jan Brouwer.

While there is nothing new to report with regards to Richard Brouwer's ancestry, I did create a Family Tree at which helped find a few more descendants through two of his known sons, George Washington Brouwer (b. 1779) and Richard Brewer (b. 1790) who was an early settler at Florence, Erie County, Ohio.

Richard Brouwer - Mary Blann Family Tree

The exercise of creating the family tree was useful in finding additional descendants, and the hope now is that the exposure on will eventually lead to evidence, or someone with the evidence that will solve the question of Richard Brouwer's ancestry.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

More Descendants of Jacob Brewer of Chatham, Quebec

After the initial post regarding Jacob Brewer of Chatham, Quebec, a genetic descendant of Adam Brouwer whose Brouwer ancestry has yet to be discovered by traditional genealogical research, I decided to try some more searching using Although I did not find any new clues to Jacob's ancestry, I was able to learn quite a bit more regarding his descendants.

Jacob Brewer of Chatham, Quebec, did not live a very long life. He was dead by 1825, and probably died while in this thirties (his wife, Lavinia Smith, was born about 1795). For someone who lived a relatively short life, he apparently left a terrific number of descendants. Jacob and Lavinia had four children, but those four children left forty-two grandchildren. Their son, John Alexander Brewer, who was married twice, had sixteen children himself.

I tried a new approach in the search for more on Jacob Brewer. I set up a "Family Tree" at, using Jacob Brewer as the "home person," and began filling it in with what I already knew (which wasn't much). Immediately the "hints" (which you are alerted to by the sudden appearance of a little leaf icon) began to appear. Every time one was checked and added to an individual's profile, more "hints" would pop up. It wasn't long before I was getting the full picture of Jacob Brewer's descendants.

Jacob Brewer - Lavinia Smith Tree at

One thing has to be emphasized, the "hints" are just that...hints. They may not always be facts (or events) that pertain to the same person for whom the "hint" was prompted. Many people, after all, have the same name, and one criteria for a prompting of a "hint" appears to be whether or not some other user had previously assigned the fact or event to the same person who you happen to be researching. Many times, others clearly were assigning a fact or event to the wrong person. The trick with the "hints" is to take your time. Review each one carefully before adding it to the profile of the person in your tree.

This new approach (for me) was clearly a terrific time saver. I was able to put together a tree of descendants of Jacob Brewer and Lavinia Smith descendants over the course of a week, working about an hour a day on it. A few years ago a project of this scale would have taken months, would have cost a great deal in dollars as well, and would never have been so complete (Jacob's descendants are spread out across the U. S. and Canada, and one was even married in co. Surrey, England). In this case there were also a large number of terrific photos of many of Jacob's descendants that had been uploaded by researchers who completed their trees on in the past. A great deal of thanks goes out to all who took the time to work on the descendants of Jacob Brewer, and who shared their work publicly (and especially for sharing the photos) on Without their earlier online contributions, filling in Jacob Brewer's descendants would have been near impossible.

The exercise did, however, raise a question regarding Lavinia Smith, that needs to be answered.

Lavinia Smith and Jacob Brewer were married on 14 March 1815 at Chatham, Lower Canada (now Quebec). Their four children were born between 1816 and 1823. In 1826, Clarissa, the daughter of Lavinia by her second husband, Samuel Dodge, was born. From this we assume that Lavinia married Samuel Dodge sometime in 1825, although no record of marriage has been found. Lavinia and Samuel Dodge also had a son, William Dodge, born on 26 May 1836. This is according to a source (member submitted, found at that cites William's record of baptism at St. Stephen's Anglican Church in Buckingham, Quebec. The baptism, however, did not occur (or perhaps was not recorded) until 14 August 1870. (I would note that there is a nine year gap between the births of Clarissa and William, which tells me that Lavinia and Samuel Dodge may have had other children that have not been discovered).
On 24 June 1845, Lavinia Dodge, is recorded as having received a grant of 100 acres of land at Buckingham. We assume here that Samuel is deceased and she is widow.
Descendants, however, make the claim that Lavinia was married to her third husband, John Shoswood Donaldson, and had children Margaret Lavinia Donaldson, born in June 1837, and George Robert John Donaldson, born 7 November 1839. With this information we have to note that there is only a thirteen month gap between the births of Samuel Dodge and Margaret Lavinia Donaldson. That is a rather unusually short period of time for a woman to have two children by two different husbands. Also, if married to John S. Donaldson by June 1837, why is Lavinia referred to as Lavinia Dodge in the record of her land grant of 1845?
Furthermore, the same member submitted source at cites another St. Stephen's Anglican Church record which states:
 "This third day of April one thousand eight hundred and sixty nine John Shoswood Donaldson, Bachelor and Farmer of Buckingham, and Lavinia Dodge, widow, (nee Smith) of the same place were married by me under authority of the Governor General's Licence.  S.S. Stong.  This marriage was solemnized between us as above - John S. Donaldson  Lavinia (her X mark) Dodge."
If this record is correct, then Lavinia did not marry John S. Donaldson until 1869 and therefore is not the mother of his children Margaret Lavinia and George Robert John Donaldson. The source posted at, however, does not include an image of the original record, which we really need to locate to confirm that this date is correct.
Another source to consider was the Canadian census records. In 1871, the household of John Donaldson, age 67; Elvina Donaldson, age 77; and George R. J. Donaldson, age 29, is found in Buckingham, Ottawa Centre, Quebec. In 1861, the household of John S. Donaldson, age 55;  Lavina Donaldson, age 64; George R. J. Donaldson, age 19; and Margaret Donaldson, age not included and name crossed through, is found at Buckingham, Ottawa County, Canada East (Quebec). I had hoped to find Lavinia's children named Dodge with the family in 1861, but that was not the case (William Dodge, age 24 and single is enumerated at a lumber camp, and Clarissa had married in 1848). Unfortunately the 1851 Canadian census for the town of Buckingham was destroyed some years ago and cannot be considered. This would have been the best chance for finding the Dodge children in a Donaldson household.
From all of this there are two possiblities:
1- The marriage record of John S. Donaldson and Lavinia Dodge, as relayed by the member source at is incorrect with regards to the date, and the couple were actually married in 1836 or 1837 and they are the parents of Margaret Lavina Donaldson and George R. J. Donaldson.
2- The date on the marriage record is correct, but the notation that John S. Donaldson was a bachelor is in error, and he was previously married to a woman, who by chance was also named Lavinia, and she is the actual mother of his two children, and is the Lavinia Donaldson found on the 1861 census.

What we need to see here, first hand, are the records of St. Stephen's Anglican Church at Buckingham. The originals need to be consulted. The church, according to one source, was not organized until 1845, and it may be that the date reported for John and Lavinia's marriage (3 April 1869) was not their actual marriage, but simply a date at which the marriage was later recorded (alternatively they may well have lived together as an unmarried couple for many years, and only later in life were "officially" married). Unfortunately, the church records are not available online (as far as I have been able to discover) and the Family History Library has not filmed them. It might take a personal visit by someone to get a copy of the marriage record.

With this, we still have Jacob Brewer's ancestry as unknown, we have a new problem to solve regarding the later marriages of his wife, Lavinia Smith, but we also have discovered numerous descendants of Jacob Brewer and Lavinia Smith. Any direct male descendants of Jacob Brewer are encouraged to join the Brewer DNA Project.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Update: Elias Brewer and Rebecca Wickers

Back on February 9th we raised some questions regarding the identity of Elias Brewer and Rebecca Wickers who received a license to marry in New Jersey on 25 September 1786. We still do not know who either of the two were, but some copies of the marriage license courtesy of Richard Brewer, clears up a couple of issues.

 The license as published in Nelson, William. Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey. Volume XXII. Marriage Records, 1665-1800. Archives of the State of New Jersey. First Series. (Paterson, N.J.: Press Printing and Publishing Co., 1900), says, "Elias Brewer, Burlington, Rebecca Wickers." Meanwhile, Family Search in their searchable online database titled, "New Jersey, County Marriages, 1682-1956," has an entry for Elias Brewer, Rebekah Wickers, event place: Monmouth County, New Jersey. This entry is from FHL film #802936. In addition to this entry, Family Search as two others in their database titled, "New Jersey Marriages, 1678-1985." In one of the entries, no location is given other than New Jersey (Elias Brewer, Rebekah Wickers, FHL film #802936), while a second (Elias Brewer, Rebekah Wickers, FHL film #888701) states, "Elias Brewer, birthplace: of Burlington, New Jersey, Rebekah Wickers." So, we have four abstracts of the same record, none of which completely agree with any of the others. (Also note that two of the index entries by Family Search are taken from the same FHL film #802936).

I had also, in the February 9th post, raised the question regarding Rebecca's surname. Was it correctly recorded as "Wickers," or might this be an error for "Vickers." The answer here, as can be seen in a digital image of the original taken from FHL film #802936, by Richard Brewer, is that Rebecca's name was correctly transcribed. The original does record, "Wickers."

Elias Brewer - Rebeckah Wickers Marriage License
Note though, that this document does not name any location. The counties of Burlington and Monmouth were, however, mentioned in different renderings of the license and we did have the question as to which one was correct. The page following this document had the answer, and here it is:

Rebekah Wickers, Burlington (N.J.) Marriage License
So, we will scrap the idea that Rebecca (Rebekah) Wickers may have been a Vickers, and we should continue a search for this couple in Burlington County, New Jersey.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Problems with "Search This Blog"

There is a problem with the "Search This Blog" feature (Blogger calls them "gadgets") on this website (immediately to the right). The search does not work for the Brouwer Genealogy blog site itself, although it still does pick up searches from linked websites. Apparently this problem is occurring with other blogs created by Blogger as evident from this blog I found when searching on Google Web for answers to this problem (see the March 5, 2013 entry here).

Hopefully, someone with the power, will have realized this and it will be fixed. I, for one, used the Search This Blog feature a lot. If anyone has any insight into this issue, I (and I'm sure others) would be like to be informed. In the meantime, sorry for the inconvenience.

Peter Brewer and Hannah Sanborn of Highgate, Vermont

Peter Brewer was the eldest confirmed son of Jeremiah Brouwer and Hannah Thomas. He is a direct ancestor, the great-great-grandfather, of Ruth Catherine Brewer.

Peter was baptized on 29 December 1781. The records of the Gilead Evangelical Lutheran Church at Center Brunswick, New York, record him as Petrus, the son of Jeremias Brower and his wife Hanna. The same record records his date of birth as 27 May 1779. Peter was baptized at the age of two and a half years, which was a bit out of the norm for the that time. Most children were baptized within a few weeks, at most a few months, after their birth in pre-1800 America. Another unusual aspect of Peter's baptism is that his parents were also recorded as the sponsors. Whether or not that baptism actually took place at the physical location of the church, or whether the minister traveled to the location where the Browers lived, is not known from the record. The fact that Jeremiah and Hannah were themselves the sponsors for their own child's baptism leads me to believe that the Browers may have been living in some relatively remote location of Albany County, and there was just no one else available to stand as sponsors. The same scenario occurred with the baptism of Peter's brother, Jacob, only six months later in June 1782. The sponsors were the child's parents. Few other baptism records from the Gilead Evangelical Lutheran Church from this time, follow this pattern.

Jeremiah Brower is believed to have taken his family to the Missisquoi Bay area in 1786. Peter would have been aged seven at this time. He would remain in Highgate, Vermont for his entire life, dying there are on 2 December 1844.

Peter first appears in the Highgate Town Records in 1800, when he is listed on the Grand List (an assessment or tax roll) in succession with his father, Jeremiah Brower. He is recorded as Peter BROWER. Peter, however, is not found as a head of household on the 1800 U. S. census at Highgate. I would assume form this, that he was likely living, as an adult son, probably with his wife, in the household of his father. On 12 February 1800, Peter BREWER, had his mark for cattle, sheep and swine, recorded in the Highgate records, "a cross off the right ear." In April of 1800, Peter BROWER, together with Matthew Saxe, witnessed the will of Lawrence Croy at Highgate. Peter BREWER appears on the Grand List at Highgate in 1801, and on the U. S. census records there in the years 1810, 1820, 1830 and 1840. He served in the Vermont Militia as a private during the War of 1812.

Peter Brewer is found in a number of deeds recorded in the Town Records of Highgate. In 1809, for $315, he purchased of John Wilson, a parcel of land in that part of Highgate that was formerly in Alburgh. The property was bounded by William Hefflon and James Wilson. In 1813, Peter Brewer, for $100 received from George Brewer of Westford, Chittenden Co., Vermont, "conveyed and forever quitclaim unto him, the said George, his heirs and assigns all my right in the interest estate property...parcell of land lying and being in the town of Highgate in that part formerly called Alburgh." Peter Brewer signed the deed. In 1813, Peter Brewer also bought land of John Barr, while in 1814 he bought land of Edward Raskin and sold land to Sarah Ann Wilson. In 1826, Peter Brewer bought land in Highgate from Alfred Keith of Sheldon, Vermont. In 1827, Peter made the first sale of land to one of his sons. In a deed of 12 March 1827, Peter Brewer, sold to Jacob Brewer, both of Highgate, 100 acres in Highgate, with the stipulation that should Jacob Brewer die without heirs, the land would be returned to Peter Brewer, or his heirs, with an allowance for the support of Jacob's widow. While no family relationship is actually stated clearly in the deed, it is hard to imagine a purchaser accepting such a contingency unless the seller was an immediate family member. In 1834, Peter bought land at Highgate from Abel Drury, and in April 1843 sold this property to his youngest son, Rensselaer Brewer.  A month later, Peter sold the property bought in 1826 to his son Schuyler Brewer. A year and a half later Peter Brewer died. There is no estate or probate record known for Peter Brewer, and it appears that he distributed his estate to his two youngest sons while anticipating that the end of his life was near.

I have online abstracts of the deeds involving the members of Peter Brewer's family:
Peter Brewer to Jacob Brewer, 1827
Peter Brewer to Rensselaer Brewer, 1843
Peter Brewer to Schuyler Brewer, 1843
Rensselaer Brewer to Jacob Brewer, 1847
Rensselaer Brewer to Schuyler Brewer, 1844
Schuyler Brewer to Rensselaer Brewer, 1844

Peter Brewer's wife was Hannah Sanborn. They were probably married in 1799 or 1800. No record of their marriage is found, and as there is no record of the births of any of their children, she is only identified as Hannah Sanborn (Sandborne) by the certificate of death of her son Rensselaer Brewer which occurred in 1897 in Richland County, Wisconsin. Hannah is found on the 1850 census at Highgate, Vermont, age given as 71 (thus born ca. 1778 or 1779), birth place stated as Vermont. She is enumerated in the household of her son Schuyler Brewer (family relationships were not specifically recorded in 1850). She is said to have died 25 February 1852. There is no record of her death and this date (as with Peter's date of death) were apparently taken from readings of their gravestones some decades ago, with the dates being perpetuated over the years by descendants. They were buried on the family property, the location today is off of Rollo Rd. in Highgate, on the property often referred to as Fortin Farm. The gravestones have since been obliterated and I have a photo taken in the early 2000s by Ross Shoemaker (a descendant) and passed to me by Karen B. Sims (another descendant).

What is left of the gravemarker of Peter Brewer (photo Ross Shoemaker)
The identity of Hannah's parents and her ancestry, has not been determined. Assuming that the identification of her surname as Sanborn is correct (remember the death certificate of Rensselaer was recorded in 1897, forty-five years after Hannah's death, and possibly reported by someone who never knew her personally) it is probable that she is a member of the large Sanborn family whose progenitors were among the first settlers in New Hampshire. The family of Josiah (1769-1831) and Sarah (Shepard) Sanborn were among the first settlers in the area of Sutton and St. Armond, Canada, towns directly over the border from Highgate, Vermont. While Hannah, cannot be a child of Josiah and Sarah, she could possibly be a yet unknown sister. Josiah Sanborn, who found his way to the Eastern Townships, was a son of Josiah Sanborn (1747-1817) and Lucy Swain of Sanbornton, New Hampshire. This Josiah Sanborn is a descendant of William Samborne who was at Hampton, New Hampshire in 1639, and his wife, Mary Moulton. I would note, however, that the very comprehensive Genealogy of the Samborne or Sanborn Family in England and America, by V. C. Sanborn (1899) makes no mention of our Hannah Sanborn, and it's account of the family of Josiah Sanborn and Lucy Swain, assuming it is correct, leaves little room (if any) for an additional child named Hannah born in 1778 or 1779. William Samborne came to New England (in or by 1639) with his two brothers John and Stephen, and their widowed mother, Anne (Bachiler) Samborne. William and John both left large families and by the late 1700s there were dozens of Sanborn families in existence in northern New England. Perhaps Hannah's place is somewhere else among the large Sanborn family. Or perhaps, the claim that her surname was Sanborn was incorrect, and has distracted descendants from discovering her true identity for many years.

Peter Brewer and Hannah Sanborn had ten children born between 1801 and 1820. They will be covered in a separate post.

Added  March 25, 2013: Jacob Brewer, son of Peter Brewer & Hannah Sanborn

Added April 10, 2013: Schuyler Brewer, son of Peter Brewer & Hannah Sanborn 

Added April 20, 2013: Sylvester Brewer, son of Peter Brewer & Hannah Sanborn 

Added May 15, 2013: Peter Earl Brewer, son of Peter Brewer & Hannah Sanborn 

Added May 20, 2013: Thomas Brewer, son of Peter Brewer & Hannah Sanborn 

Added June 8, 2013: Daughters Samantha Brewer, Martha Brewer and Rozilla V. Brewer

Added July 5, 2013: George G. Brewer, son of Peter Brewer & Hannah Sanborn 

Added July 12, 2013: Rensselaer Brewer, son of Peter Brewer & Hannah Sanborn

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Brower Gravestone Photos

The photos below of Brower gravestones were sent to me a few years ago by Mary Kay McDowell. They were taken at the Mennonite Cemetery at Parker Ford, Chester County, Pennsylvania. I do not know when they were taken. The community of Parker Ford is in East Coventry Township, Pennsylvania, and so I suspect that the gravestones belong to members a family, or families, descended from Hubert Brower. I am not, however, certain of this. As I do not see myself spending any time trying to track down just who these persons are, I figured I would simply make them available online to anyone who may be interested. If any one who does come across them believes they know just who these individuals are, please feel free to leave that information using the Comments section for this entry (below). And feel free to download the images for your own use.

Abraham Brower

Hannah Brower

Isaac Brower

Magdalena Brower

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Passenger and Immigration Lists Index

Passenger and Immigration Lists Index: A Guide to Published Arrival Records of About 500,000 Passengers Who Came to the United States and Canada in the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, First Edition, edited by P. William Filby with Mary K. Meyer (Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1981), is an incredibly large collection of names, places, dates and sources of persons who are found in North America prior to the 20th century. William B. Bogardus, in his collection of Brouwer material, included the pages containing the surnames Brewer, Brouwer and Brower, as well as the all important opening pages which provide the list of sources and which are represented by numbers in the lists of "passengers" and "immigrants." Supplements to the original were published in subsequent years, and the pages covering Brewer, Brouwer and Brower, for supplements to the year 1990, along with the initial 1981 pages, have been scanned into one PDF.

Passenger and Immigration Lists Index

While there is no doubt that this index is very useful, the title and premiss of the volume is somewhat misleading. It might be natural for someone picking up this volume for the first time to assume that the dates listed next to each individual's name was the date of immigration to North America, and might assume that all those listed were in fact immigrants. But this is not the case. The "sample entry" (which you can find on the second page of the PDF) explicitly states that the place and date provided in each entry, refers to the "place of arrival" and "year of arrival." In some cases, this may be correct, but in many cases it is not. In many of the entries, the place and date simply refer to a record of some type (marriage, court record, etc.), which would of course imply that the person named in the entry was at the location listed on the date recorded, but does not necessarily mean that he immigrated, or arrived there, on that date. In many cases the "immigrant" was there earlier than the date given.

For example, on page 231 (page 8 in the PDF) we find five entries for "Brouwer, Adam" either in New Netherland or New York. The five entries give the years 1642; 1620-1664; 1647; 1687; and 1687 again. These entries all refer to the same Adam Brouwer, the only one of two, the second being his son of the same name, known to be in New Netherland/New York in the 17th century. While the 1642 date may or may not be accurate as a date of arrival, the other dates certainly are not dates on which Adam Brouwer "arrived" at New York, as might be surmised from the book's title and "sample entry."The last entry, 1687, would refer to the year he took the oath of allegiance at Gowanus.The second entry of 1687, pertains to Adam Brouwer's son, also named Adam Brouwer, who was not an immigrant.

This misleading title also applies to the database found at titled, "Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s." This database is based upon Gale Research's, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, the same book from which the Brower pages have been extracted, and the same warning applies. Contrary to the title, his database is not an actual database of immigrants and the dates of their arrival.

An example from the is that of Cornelia Roos. If you have a subscription to, look her up and you might come away believing that Cornelia immigrated to New Netherland in 1659 at the age of 4. The specific source given is, SCOTT, KENNETH. "Early New Yorkers and Their Ages." In National Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. 57:4 (Dec. 1969), pp. 274-297. The important thing to do here is to look up this original source that is citing. This source is not a list of immigrants at all, and it never pretends to be. What it is, is simply a list of New Yorkers and their ages, as found in various records from the early years of New York City (New Amsterdam). The unaware, however, because of the title that gave to this database, would come away with the belief that Cornelia Roos immigrated to New York in 1659. In actuality, not only did Cornelia not immigrate to New York in 1659, she was not an immigrant at all. She was born in and baptized at New Amsterdam on 1 January 1665, and she was a second generation American. Her father, Gerrit Roos, was one of the earliest persons born in New Netherland (probably born about 1626), his mother, Maria Vigne, was the actual immigrant ancestor of this family. Cornelia Roos does not belong in a database titled, "Passenger and Immigration Lists." No doubt there are other cases similar to Cornelia's.

While these published indexes and databases are certainly valuable, it's important to understand just what exactly they represent (despite what their titles might imply) and it is equally important to follow through and look up the original source that is being cited by the index or database.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A New Transcription of Adam Brouwer's Will

I've placed online a new transcription of Adam Brouwer's will (dated 22 Jan 1691/92). This transcription was done by Steven Matthew Hahn.

Transcription of the will of Adam Brower Berkhoven, 22 Jan 1691/2 (by Steven Matthew Hahn)

This can be compared with my own transcription which was placed online a few years back. Although the substance is no different, the new transcription by Steve does a better job of transcribing details of the original, such as capitalization, punctuation and spelling. The names in the will have been published in bold print and are therefore easier to find.

Thanks to Steve Hahn for the contribution.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Better Images of Adam Brouwer's Will

Some time ago I had made digital images of Adam Brouwer's will available online. These images were taken with a hand held digital camera off a microfilm reader. That technique is admittedly amateurish, but at the time was the only option. Fortunately, since then, the Family History Library, as a part of their efforts to digitize, index, and make available all of their microfilmed collection, has placed images of New York Probate records online. I have downloaded the images for Adam Brouwer's file which is found at the Albany, New York Clerk's Office, as file AB 3.

Adam Brouwer Will (image 189)

Adam Brouwer Will (image 190)

Adam Brouwer Will (image 191)

Adam Brouwer Will (image 192)

Adam Brouwer Will (image 193)
The above images can be found at the Family Search website under New York Probate Records, 1629-1971, Albany, then scroll down to Wills 1629-1802, AA-AB. There is no search capability for the images in this database and it can be tedious and time consuming to locate any particular will. Adam Brouwer's will begins with image no. 189 and ends with image no. 193. For those interested, the will of Hendrick Brouwer of Schenectady, is also available in this file beginning with image no. 200.