Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Estate of Ezekiel Huls (Magdalene Huls Administratrix)

File No. 53 from Abstracts of Early Monmouth County Court Papers, Part III, is an application filed by Magdalene Huls, Administratrix for the Estate of Ezekiel Huls of Monmouth County.

No. 53 Estate of Ezekiel Huls

File No. 53 is found in Monmouth County, Orphans Court Book C, pages 3-4. It is from the April 1801 term which was held at Freehold. Here is my transcription:

Magdalene Huls, Admx. of Ezekiel Huls, decd.:

 An application for the sale of real estate; the Administratrix having explained to this Court upon oath a just and true account of the personal estate of the said Ezekiel Huls deceased and of the debts as far as the can discover the same by which it appears that there is not sufficient to pay the said debts. Therefore an application of the said Administratrix setting forth that the said Ezekiel Huls died seized of Real Estate in the County of Monmouth, and praying that aid of the court in the Premises. It is ordered that all persons interested in such real estate do appear before the Judges of the Orphans Court to be held at Freehold in and for the County aforesaid on the fourth Tuesday of July next at two o'clock in the afternoon of said day to show cause, if any they have why so much of the real Estate of the said deceased should not be sold as will be sufficient to pay said debts.

According to Florence Johnson Asman, Brouwer/Brower Ancestry with Allied Families (Illuminage, 1994), p.3, Ezekiel Huls was the husband of Magdalena Brewer, the daughter and youngest child of Adam Brewer (1696-1768). A digital version of the book can be found online through the Family Search website - Brouwer/Brower Ancestry with Allied Families.

Unfortunately this book contains errors, including a fictitious ancestry for Adam Brouwer, and it does not provide a source for the claim that Magdalena Brewer married Ezekiel Huls (or Hulse). Asman states that Magdalena was born on 12 June 1735, however, in her father's will of 22 August 1768, it is clearly stated that she is not yet age 21. There is no record of Adam Brewer having a child born on this date. Asman states that Magdalena's mother is Adam Brewer's first wife, Deborah Allen, which is not possible. She also incorrectly identifies Adam's second wife as Mary Curtis. We now know that Adam's second wife was Catherine Mitchell and she was most certainly the mother of his daughter, Magdalena, who was most likely born in 1743. Adam Brewer's third wife was Mary Davis, the widow of John Curtis.

The placement of Magdalena Brewer as the wife of Ezekiel Huls/Hulse may be correct, but acceptable evidence for the claim has not been found. The petition presented to the Monmouth County Orphans Court is made by "Magdalene Huls, Administratrix of Ezekiel Huls," however, the family relationship between the two is not stated anywhere in the document. Magdalena may well be Ezekiel's widow, and widows often administered their deceased husband's estates, but again, that is not specifically stated. Magdalene Huls could also be a sister of Ezekiel. Additional documents need to be located before it can be stated with certainty that Magdalena Brewer, daughter of Adam Brewer, was the wife of Ezekiel Huls/Hulse.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Brouwer Genealogy Database Update

As of this morning the Brouwer Genealogy Database website has been updated. The site now contains data on over 45,000 individuals.

In addition the Brewer Families of New England website has also been updated. The later includes a new Search feature that I had hoped to also include with the update to the Brouwer Genealogy Database but was unable to do so. On the Brewer of New England site the Search feature can be found on the menu bar just below the title bar. Give it a try, it's a pretty nice feature. Try a search for, say, "John Brewer." The new Search feature is very efficient at helping to identify the exact John Brewer who you might be looking for. I was able to include the Search with the New England Brewers site because the entire site is relatively small. However, when I attempted the same with the Brouwer Genealogy Database site, the file that is created (by Second Site) to conduct the search, is over 5mb in size. It's this size only because of the large amount of data that is included on the Brouwer Genealogy Database. I use RootsWeb's Free Pages to host the Brouwer Genealogy Database website and their limit on the size of any one individual file is 1mb. Therefore, the file that is needed to run the Search feature cannot be uploaded. It's too large and that's too bad. I can use it home on the edition I have on my own computer, and it really is useful for finding a specific person, especially when that person has a common name, like John Brewer. So, with the Brouwer Genealogy Database, the best method for locating an individual will still have to involve using either the Master Index or Surname Index pages.

The Adam Brouwer DNA Page has been updated to include the new haplogroup identifications as used by Family Tree DNA. I did not have the opportunity to do this with the Jan Brouwer DNA Page. That will have to be done with a future update.We do have one new addition to the Adam Brouwer Group. Kit #303393 (at the bottom of the table) belongs to an participant who matches the other known descendants of Adam Brouwer on 34 of 37 markers (in five cases) and 33 of 37 markers (in eleven cases). He also has three Y-STR values that are unique to him. The participant does not have the surname Brouwer (Brower, Brewer, Bruer, etc.), however and without going into detail, he is aware that he was adopted, and it is hopeful that this testing will eventually help lead him to his genetic paternal ancestry. (Note: we currently do not know his ancestry back to Adam Brouwer, and in fact we can not say with absolute certainty that he is a descendant of Adam Brouwer, based on what is known as of now).

Also, the Internet Archive "Way Back Machine" has picked up the Brouwer Genealogy Database. Actually they had done so back in 2009, I was just unaware of it until recently. Enter the url - in the Way Back Machine field and you will be taken to a page which will give you a calendar with the dates on which Internet Archive took a "snapshot" of the site. It was last saved on October 25, 2013, and had first been saved on May 24, 2009. In total there are nine views of past editions. Hopefully they will continue taking periodic snapshots, so that when the day comes that the RootsWeb Free Pages site disappears, there will still be an archived, last version available for future Brouwer researchers to use.

Francis Guy (1760-1820) Winter Scene in Brooklyn (ca. 1819-20) (From Google Art Project via Brooklyn Museum)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Holsart Deed, Monmouth County, N. J., July 10, 1733

File no. 52, found in Abstracts of Early Monmouth County Court Papers, Part III, is a deed from Hannah Holsart and John Holsart, executors of the last will and testament of Benjamin Holsart, to Thomas Werne of Amboy in Middlesex County, New Jersey.

No. 52, Holsart Deed

The deed is found in Monmouth County Deeds, Book H, pages 175-177. It begins at the bottom of the first page in the PDF. The deed is dated 10 July 1733 and was recorded in Monmouth County on 26 March 1737. The land that was transferred from the Holsarts to Thomas Werne was in Monmouth County.

I am not entirely certain as to why this document was included in a collection of documents regarding families and persons named Brower, Brewer, Bruere, etc., but it was in fact included so rather than simply discard it, I'll make it available for anyone who may have an interest in the Holsart family of Monmouth County.

The Holsart (Holsaert Hulsaart, Holzert, etc.) family has it's origins in Kings County, Long Island, and some members of the family were among the early settlers in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Descendants of both Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, and of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, would have been familiar with, and no doubt had dealings with some members of the Holsart family. The progenitor of the family was Johannes Holsaert who was probably born around 1640, immigrated to America from Flanders in 1684, witnessed a baptism at Flatbush in May 1687, but is not found on the oath of allegiance taken in Kings County in September of that same year (1687). About a year ago I had done some cursory research on this family and what I had been able to cobble together is online in the following documents:

Family of Johannes Holsaert, Immigrant to New York

Johannes Holsaert, Descendant Chart

Family of Pieter Hulsaart

Benjamin Holsaert (Holsart) was a son of Johannes Holsaert, and in all likelihood was born in Europe. He lived first at New Utrecht, Kings County, Long Island and relocated to Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey probably in 1716 or 1717. He wrote his will on 13 October 1732, and it was proved 26 May 1733. The executors were his wife, "Hanake," and his eldest son, John. They are the two (Hannah Holsart and John Holsart) mentioned in the deed who are conveying the land to Thomas Werne. "Hanake," or Hannah Holsart, was a daughter of Mathyas Pietersz Luyster and Cornelia Kip. She is also found with the name, Annatje Luyster, and Johanna Luyster. The three given names, Annatje (Anna), Hannah and Johanna, were sometimes used interchangeably during the colonial period. Benjamin and Hannah Holsaert had nine children and at least four but probably more, had descendants.

The research found above is not claimed to be complete, but it is offered here as a start to anyone who is researching this family. For example, I have not yet been able to find Pieter Hulsaart's place among Johannes Holsaert's descendants. Most, and probably all of those found in the above documents can also be found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website, where you will find sources.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Division of James Bruere's Estate

Part III of Abstracts of Early Monmouth County Court Papers covered files that, as of 2009, had not been identified as pertaining to either Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, or Jan Brouwer of Flatlands. Some background on this group of files was placed online on December 12, 2011, and I would refer you to that post for a bit more detail. Although I kept them grouped as they were when they first came to my attention in 2009, we can now identify where most, if not all, belong.

The first file in this group is file no. 51, which is a record from the Monmouth County Orphans Court regarding the division of the estate of James Bruere of Upper Freehold.

No. 51, Division of Real Estate James Bruere Estate

James Bruere, as mentioned in an earlier post, is not a descendant of either Adam Brouwer or Jan Brouwer. He is a member of the third family whose surname is on occasion recorded as BREWER in the various records found in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The post of April 14, 2014 provides some background on the Bruere family.

This file contains the record from the October 1813 term, and is found in Monmouth County Orphans Court, Book D, pages 339-343. The original was on legal size pages and scanning to create a PDF has resulted in a ten page file. Peter Bruere, Price Bruere and James Bruere, executors of the estate of James Bruere, deceased, are providing the court with a report of their proceedings in the division of the real estate of James Bruere, late of Upper Freehold. The court record describes property that was devised by the the will of James Bruere to his two younger sons, Richard Bruere and Jonathan Bruere. Included in the report are excerpts from James Bruere's will.

James Bruere, the only son of the immigrant Peter Bruere, was born 9 February 1751 and died 2 July 1807. He lived his entire life in Upper Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey. His will was dated 19 May 1807 and was proved 29 July 1807. James was married to Sarah Horsefell, whose date of death has not yet been located. They had eight known children, six sons and two daughters. Details and sources are found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website.

[Please note: because of excessive spamming of the comments feature of this specific post, the title was changed on July 22, 2014] 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sylvanus Brower of Hempstead, Queens County, New York

Sylvanus Brower of Milburn in the Town of Hempstead in Queens County, New York*, died 5 September 1884, age 74 years, 1 month and 23 days. His age at death, which was recorded on his New York State Death Certificate, would calculate to a date of birth of 13 July 1810. The death certificate states that his father's name was George Brower, and that he was born at Rockaway in Queens County. The name of his mother is not stated. The name of the informant for this information is difficult to decipher, but it appears to be S. H. Hammond. Who this person is, or what realtionship he, or she, had with Sylvanus Brower has not been learned.

Reconstructing the family and descendants of Sylvanus Brower was not easy, and I did not do most of the work. Credit goes to Susan Brower and Nancy Walker, and others with whom they had corresponded with. They were able to locate and collect some original documents regarding the descendants and their work on the descendants has been compiled and can be found online at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. A convenient link for Sylvanus Brower can be found on the Unplaced page (scroll down).

Slyvanus Brower was married to Charlotte Ann Treadwell. A surviving record of their marriage has not been found, but their first known child, Samuel T. Brower was born 15 May 1834 as calculated from his date of death. He died 23 October 1897, aged 63 years, 5 months, 7 days (New York State Death Cert.).

Sylvanus, can be found on the U. S. Federal census in 1840, 1850 and 1860 at Hempstead, Queens County, New York. His wife, Charlotte Ann, is enumerated with him in 1850 and 1860. In 1870, Sylvanus is still at Hempstead, but now his "wife" is named Phebe. She again appears with Sylvanus on the 1880 census at Baldwin, in the Town of Hempstead. Her relationship to Sylvanus is stated as wife. Phebe has been identified as Phebe Remsen and she was first married to William Ackley on 12 August 1852 at Freeport, Long Island. William and Phebe had four children born between 1854 and 1862 and the family is found on the 1860 census at Hempstead. On 27 October 1864, Phebe Ackley, age 34, widow of William Ackley, a private in Co. A of the 139th Regiment, New York, applied for a widow's pension at Brooklyn, New York. William Ackley had been killed during service at "Chopin's Farm," in Virginia. He is buried at Fort Harrison National Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. In 1885, Phebe Ackley, age 49, a resident of Baldwins (sic), New York, filed a second application for a pension. In the affidavits she filed, she states that she and Sylvanus Brower lived together for some time, but had never married. Sylvanus and Phebe had two daughters, Marietta and Lily, born in 1869 and 1874 respectively.

Sylvanus Brower and Charlotte Ann Treadwell had five children born between 1834 and 1860. A descendant of the youngest son, William A. C. Brower (1860-1915) has participated in the Brewer DNA Project. The results of his Y-DNA test, however, were not what we had expected.

The fact that Sylvanus Brower was born at Rockaway, on the south shore of Long Island in the Town of Hempstead, and the fact that he lived his entire life there, leads us to believe that he is a descendant of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island, through Jan's grandson, Jan Brouwer and his wife Aegje Sprong. Descendants of Jan and Aegje's sons, Jan/John and Dirk/Richard Brower largely remained in the area of Hempstead which is known today as the "Five Towns" (Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, Inwood, and the Hewletts). This area is in the immediate vicinity of Rockaway and Baldwin. Families named Brower have lived here through the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s, and it has been assumed that most, if not all of the Brower living there pre-1850 were descendants of Jan Brouwer and Aegje Sprong. As mentioned above, Sylvanus Brower's death certificate names his father as George Brower. Although the name of Sylvanus' mother is not included on the death certificate, it is surmised that Sylvanus was a son of George Brower and Ann Combs who were married at St. George's Church in Hempstead on 12 December 1796. George Brower, born 20 September 1767, died 26 January 1850, was a grandson of Jan Brouwer and Aegje Sprong. With all of this in mind, it was expected that the descendant of Sylvanus Brower who participated in the Brewer DNA Project (Kit #122861) would have Y-DNA test results that matched the other previously tested descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands. But this did not turn out as expected. The Y-DNA results can be seen on the Y-DNA Results Chart page at the Brewer DNA Project website. The results do not match with any of the descendants of Jan Brouwer, and in fact, do not match with any other male named Brower, Brewer, etc., who has tested with Family Tree DNA.

We are now left with the problem of trying to figure out why the results from the Y-DNA test did not confirm our initial expectations. There are a few possibilities. None of them are certain. We first start with the belief that the ancestry of the descendant who took the Y-DNA test, back to Sylvanus Brower, is correct. The research done here is very solid, and I have not seen any reason to doubt the lineage provided by the descendant. With that in mind, one possibility is that Sylvanus Brower is not a descendant of Jan Brouwer. While this is certainly possible, it would mean that Sylvanus, born in Rockaway in 1810, is the ancestor of a BROWER family that is completely unrelated to any other known BROWER families found in that area at that time. The second possibility would be that somewhere in Sylvanus' direct male ancestry back to Jan Brouwer, there was a non-paternal event (NPE). We do have one descendant of Jan Brouwer and Aegje Sprong who has taken a Y-DNA test (kit #187629, see the far right lineage on this chart) and that descendant does match other descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, therefore, if there was a NPE it would have had to of occurred in a generation between Jan Brouwer and Aegje Sprong and that of Sylvanus himself. In other words, either Sylvanus Brower's genetic father was not a BROWER, or his paternal grandfather was not a BROWER. To determine which of these two possibilities is correct we would have to see the Y-DNA test results of additional direct male descendants of Jan Brouwer and Aegje Sprong. We hope that with time more descendants will come forward and join the Brewer DNA Project.

A third possibility is that there was an undetected NPE somewhere in the lineage between the tested descendant and Sylvanus Brower. While this scenario is not considered likely, in order to become more certain that there in fact was no NPE, we would like to see other direct male descendants of Sylvanus Brower join the Brewer DNA Project and take a Y-DNA test.

Presently all we can conclude with regards to the BROWER ancestry of Sylvanus Brower, is that it is not certain and additional evidence has to be collected before anything certain can claimed. A first step would be to find more descendants of both Sylvanus Brower, and of Jan Brouwer and Aejge Sprong who would be willing and interested in taking a Y-DNA test. In addition, more genealogical research of the traditional sort can be undertaken. Probate and estate records, along with land records and deeds, pertaining to the Brower families of Five Towns area of the Town of Hempstead can be searched for. Unfortunately, Hempstead, along with Queens County and Nassau County, is one of the more frustrating places to conduct online genealogical research. For example, while FamilySearch has images online of land records for almost all the counties of New York State, the only counties for which no records have been made available are Queens and Nassau (as well as Franklin County). Regarding probate records, the one county not included in the browse-able images at FamilySearch, is Nassau County. A separate database of Queens County Probate Records, 1785-1950 has recently been added to the FamilySearch collection, and although there is no search feature, the images placed online may contain some new records that a dedicated researcher with enough time might be able to locate.

Any descendants of Sylvanus Brower, or of Jan Brouwer and Aegje Sprong who are interested in joining the Brewer DNA Project and in taking a Y-DNA test, are welcome to contact the administrators of the Brewer DNA Project.

*Milburn is no longer an extant location in the Town of Hempstead. It was originally known as Hicks Neck and was first settled in the 1640s. What was later known as the village of Milburn is now the hamlet of Baldwin and is within the political boundaries of the Town of Hempstead, which in 1884 was in Queens County. In 1899 Nassau County, having the Towns of Hempstead, North Hempstead and Oyster Bay, was formed out of Queens County. Milburn (now Baldwin) is on the south shore of Long Island.