Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Incorrect Published Accounts: Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the publication of large volumes covering genealogies and family histories for numerous families became popular. Today, all of use who have some experience in researching pre-1850 families understand that many of these volumes contain errors and incorrect accounts, and we use them with caution. As none of these volumes provide evidence or source citations for their claims, each genealogy or family history presented as to be re-researched by present day genealogists and family historians to validate the accuracy, or to find the errors, in these earlier works. The Brouwer, Brower and Brewer families with pre-1850 ancestries in America are among those found with incorrect accounts that were published in the late 19th and early 20th century works. Unfortunately, many of these lines were then repeated by later family researchers and some are still repeated today. It is important to point some of them out.

One such incorrect account can be found in Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley, Volume II, compiled under the editorial supervision of Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishig Co., 1914). A digital copy can now be found at Google Books. On pages 951 to 953, this work covers "BROWER," and the error here involves the ancestry of John Brouwer, or Brower, who married Catherine Duryea on 23 March 1769 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. (A PDF of the pages in question, courtesy of the William B. Bogardus Collection, has been placed online).

In the large volume compiled under the supervision of Cuyler Reynolds (he most certainly did not do the research) the BROWER segment begins with Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island and correctly identifies his son Jacob Brouwer (married Annatje Bogardus), grandson Jacob Brouwer (married Pieternelle De La Montagne) and great-grandson Johannes Brouwer (married Susanna Drujlet). The work correctly states that this last couple had a son Johannes born (but actually baptized) on 2 December 1747 (New York Reformed Dutch Church). The segment then incorrectly states that this Johannes Brouwer married Catherine Duryea. Johannes Brouwer, the son of the last correct couple mentioned, Johannes Brouwer and Susanna Drujlet (Droilhet), did not marry Catherine Duryea. Instead, he was married to Perkins Lambert (who's ancestry has not been identified) on 12 March 1769 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. This couple (Johannes Brouwer and Perkins Lambert) then had five known children baptized at the New York Reformed Dutch Church between 1769 and 1776.

John (Johannes) Brouwer/Brower, the husband of Catherine Duryea, was the son of Jacob Brouwer (bapt. 1 May 1709, NY RDC) and Jannetje Hartje (bapt. 16 January 1711, Tappan RDC). He is a descendant of Adam Brouwer through Adam's oldest son, Pieter Brouwer, and not through Adam's son Jacob Brouwer as claimed in Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley. 

A published correction of the early incorrect ancestry of John (Johannes) Brouwer, can be found in William J. Hoffman, "Brouwer Notes No. II," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, volume 72 (1941), pages 332-337. There is no surviving record of John Brouwer's baptism, and here Hoffman uses baptismal sponsorships and the will of John I. Brower to correct the parentage of John (Johannes) Brouwer who was misidentified in the 1914 account compiled under the supervision of Cuyler Reynolds. Hoffman makes it clear at he end of his article that he is certain of his identification of the parents of John Brouwer, the husband of Catherine Duryea. I have found no reason to dispute Hoffman's conclusion.

John Brouwer (also recorded as John Brower, called John I. Brower in his will, and sometimes referred to as Johannes Brouwer) was an upholsterer and lived in New York City. He died on 12 April 1823, "aged 73 years," according to the New York Evening Post. His will dated 14 May 1822, was proved 14 April 1823.

Family Group Sheets for Adam Brouwer, Jacob Brouwer and Pieter Brouwer have previously been placed online. We'll now add to them the Family Group sheets for Jacob Brouwer & Petronella de La Montagne; Jacob Brouwer & Jannetje Hartje; Johannes Brouwer & Susanna Droilhet; Johannes Brouwer & Perkins Lambert; and John Brouwer & Catherine Duryea.

Additional details and source citations can be found with the individual entries for each of the above at the Brouwer Genealogy Database.

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