Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

David R. Brewer (1847-1935)

David R. Brewer, born 13 February 1847 in Greene County, Ohio, was a son of John G. Brewer (1795-1886) who was featured in the post of July 10, 2014. Travis Waddle sent me a link to George F. Robinson's, History of Greene County, Ohio... (Chicago: S. J. Clark Pub., 1902), which is online at the Internet Archive website. A profile of David R. Brewer is found on pages 860 to 862.

Books on the histories of individual counties had their hay-day in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They often included large sections devoted to profiles of various "leading" citizens. Anyone who has spent some time researching their family histories, particularly in the mid-western states, has no doubt come across volumes similar to Robinson's History of Green County. They were often written at a time contemporaneous to the subjects found in the profiles, and the information given on the subjects immediate family is usually a very reliable. Often though, the profiles offer a "family history" of the subject stretching back some generations that is entirely inaccurate. From that standpoint, these "Histories" need to be used with critical eye, and cannot be taken as a source or proof of an ancestry. All ancestral claims beyond the parents of the subject, made in these various "Histories," need to be confirmed with actual records. In themselves, they are not acceptable as proof.

In the case of David R. Brewer, the History of Greene County only names his parents John G. Brewer and Sarah Miller. Since the information for this profile likely came from David R. Brewer himself, it most certainly a credible account of his parents. The profile also provides some basic information on David R. Brewer's siblings, which again because of the source, is certainly accurate.

On the subject of David R. Brewer's father's ancestry, the profile is vague. It only mentions that David's grandfather was a native of New Jersey who died at the age of ninety-eight. Although it's a bit of a let down that more information or clues to David's ancestry was not given, it is at least refreshing to see that in this case the author did not reach for or concoct some ancestry for David that would be misleading or completely incorrect. The location, New Jersey, of David's family origins is consistent with David's death record found in Ohio.

A descendant of David R. Brewer's brother, Charles Brewer (1836-1897) has participated in the Brewer DNA Project, and we know from his Y-DNA test results that he, and therefore his direct male ancestors, and all of their direct descendants, are descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I. That same descendant has taken Family Tree DNA's Big-Y test and is one of those whose results have enabled us to more precisely define Adam Brouwer's haplogroup and place him (and his descendants) on the larger YTree. However, we still have not made any new headway on identifying the father of John G. Brewer. While the theory, or lead if you will, presented in the July 10, 2014 post is still valid, it has not been proved. We are open to hearing from anyone who may have evidence of the identity of the parents, and the ancestry, of John G. Brewer.

Thank you to Travis Waddle for the link.

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