Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Incorrect Published Accounts: Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey

One of the more notoriously incorrect Brouwer lineages ever published is found in Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey, Volume 1, edited by Francis Bazley Lee (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910). Unfortunately this lineage, is not only nearly entirely incorrect, but has also been relied upon and repeated many times by 20th century Brouwer family researchers. Segments of the lineage can still be found on user submitted "Trees" at websites like and RootsWeb (which is owned by Many have been mislead by the unfortunate publication of this line.

On pages 1414 and 1415 we find the supposed ancestry of Charles Chauncey Brower, born in 1876, of Farmingdale, Monmouth Co., New Jersey. The pages were included in the William B. Bogardus Collection and a scanned PDF is now online.

The problems start with (I) Adam Brouwer Berckhoven. As will be explained below, Charles Chauncey Brower is not a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. Rather, he is a descendant of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island. The text correctly states that among Adam Brouwer's children was son Jacob Brouwer, who married "Anna" (Annetje Bogardus). The text incorrectly states that she was a daughter of "Domini Bogardus and Anneke Yans." She was instead a granddaughter of Dom. Everardus Bogardus and Anneke Jans, and a daughter of this couple's son Willem Bogardus. By now most of you who have spent time researching your Brouwer, Brower and Brewer ancestry are familiar with the story of Anneke Jans and are aware of the fact that many 19th and 20th century family researchers went out of their way to find a possible link to this ancestor so as to participate in one of the lawsuits involving claims upon her supposed estate. This may have well been a motive for the creation of this fictitious line published in the Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey in 1910.

The errors continue with (II) Adam, who is said to be a "son of Adam Brouwer Berckhoven," and removed from Long Island to Monmouth County, New Jersey. This is incorrect. The Adam Brouwer, later referred to as Adam Brewer, who died in 1768 or 1769 in Monmouth County, was a grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island, and has been stated to be a son of the above mentioned Jacob Brouwer and Annetje Bogardus (although in my view, this placement is not certain). The text continues, "Among his children was Sybrant, referred to below."

(III) Sybrant Brouwer, baptized 29 August 1683 at Breuckelen (Brooklyn), was a son of Jacob Brouwer and Annetje Bogardus. He was a grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, but was not a son of Adam Brouwer/Brewer of Monmouth County. Sybrant was either a brother of Adam of Monmouth Co. (conventional belief) or a first cousin. Sybrant lived in New York City. He did not live in Monmouth Co., New Jersey.

(IV) Jacob, "eldest child of Sybrant and Sarah (Webber) Brower was born in Monmouth county, May 7, 1707 and married, November 2, 1724, Lea Studhard. Children: Jonas, John..." Where to start here. This passage is nearly complete fiction. It is correct that Sybrant Brouwer married Sarah Webber. They were married on 12 May 1706 at the Reformed Dutch Church of New York. Their son Jacob was baptized on 2 March 1707 at the same church. He was not born in Monmouth County, and he was not born on "May 7, 1707," as he was baptized two months prior to that date. No further record of Jacob, the son of Sybrant Brouwer and Sarah Webber has, to date, been found. What became of him is not known. Whether or not he reached adulthood is not known. No record has ever been found of a Jacob Brouwer and a Leah Studhard, although many posted genealogies and family trees still make this claim. There is no marriage record, no record of any of the claimed children, no probate and no land records that can define or support the existence of a couple named Jacob Brower and Lea Studhard. This fictitious couple did not have children named Jonas and John.

(V) John, "son of Jacob and Lea (Studhard) Brower, was born in 1733 and married, December 25, 1757, Katharine Verway. Children: Elias, referred to below; Mary." Jan Brouwer, baptized 8 May 1737 at the Reformed Dutch Church at Schraalenburgh, Bergen Co., New Jersey, the son of Isaac Brouwer and Rachel Demarest, was the "John Brower" who married Trijntje Verwey ("Katharine Verway") on 25 December 1757 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. Jan Brouwer is a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, but he is not a descendant of Sybrant Brouwer, Adam Brewer of Monmouth Co., or Jacob Brouwer and Annetje Bogardus. Jan is a great-great-grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus by way of Adam's eldest son, Pieter Brouwer. Jan Brouwer and Trijntje (Catrina/Catharine) did not have a "only son" named Elias. They did have a daughter Marie, baptized in 1770 at New York. She married Andrew Blanck. Jan and Trijntje had ten children, six sons and four daughters, nine of who are verified through baptism records.

(VI) Elias, "only son of John and Katharine (Verway) Brower, was born in Monmouth county in 1760 and married Elizabeth Palmer." Elias is not a son of Jan Brouwer and Trijntje Verwey, and he was not born in 1760. Elias Brower/Brewer and Elizabeth Palmer were married in New Jersey with a license dated 27 January 1753, seven years before his stated birth! This Elias Brower or Brewer was probably born in the decade of 1725 to 1735. His ancestry is not known, but he is almost certainly a descendant, either a grandson or great-grandson, of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island. (See the post, "Unplaced: Elias Brower/Brewer and Elizabeth Palmer/Parmer").

(VII) "Isaac I., only son of Elias and Elizabeth (Palmer) Brower was born June 10, 1781." It may well be that Isaac Brower/Brewer is a son of Elias Brower and Elizabeth Palmer, however, satisfactory proof of this idea has not been discovered. Isaac was not born on "June 10, 1781," in fact he was probably born around 1760. No record of baptism has been identified for Isaac, but the birth (3 November 1794) and baptism (17 January 1795) of his eldest child, Elias, is recorded in the register of the Dutch Congregations at Freehold and Middletown, New Jersey. A man born in 1781 would not have a son born in late 1794, only thirteen years later. Issac did marry Styntje Van Brunt (called "Schicha" in the text), and the list of their children appears to be correct with the possible exception of a son named Henry, who is yet to be discovered through baptism or other records. A cofirmed descendant of Isaac Brower and Styntje Van Brunt has recently participated in the Brewer DNA Project. His Y-DNA test results match with certainty, other known descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands. Therefore, Isaac is a descendant of Jan Brouwer and is not a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus. (See Jan Brouwer Group DNA Test results and the above mentioned post regarding Elias Brower and Elizabeth Palmer).

Generations (VIII), (IX) and (X) are likely correct (although present day researchers of this line should take the time to verify them through other records). The way these late 19th and early 20th century "Memorial Histories" worked, is the lineages were submitted by living persons, usually the last person in the line who in this case was Charles Chauncey Brower. Certainly he knew his parents and grandparents, and either knew, or knew of, his great-grandparents, as most (but not all) of us do.

Details and source citations for generations (I) through (VII) can be found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. Generations (VIII) through (X) will be added to the BGD in a future update. For more on Anneke Jans please utilize the label "Anneke Jans" found on the side bar of this page, under "Labels."

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