Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Some Pages From The Probate File of John Brewer of Scioto Co., Ohio

Sharon McClelland has provided images of a few pages of importance from the probate file of John Brewer of Scioto County, Ohio. She would like to make them available to others who are also researching John Brewer, his descendants, and his possible ancestry.

To review, John Brewer died by May 1808, probably in Scioto County, Ohio where his estate was administered. A brief introduction to John Brewer was posted here on August 8, 2011. Included in that post is a link to a document on the descendants of John Brewer that was originally created back in 2011, and then updated and republished online this past February.

I'll make an attempt at a concise summery of John Brewer here. As stated John died by May 1808 when administration on his estate began. The date of his birth is not known. A reasonable guess would be that he was born between 1745 and 1755. John Brewer was married twice. His first wife was Elsie Lewis, daughter of an Edward Lewis and brother of Barnet Lewis of Bernards Twp., Somerset Co., New Jersey. Barent Lewis' will of 12 February 1807 (Somerset Co., NJ) ties them together. John Brewer's second wife was named Sarah and has been stated by earlier researchers to be Sarah Howell whose ancestry is not known. It should be mentioned here that much of what is known about John Brewer was passed on by earlier researchers and much of what was claimed was not documented. Subsequently some documentation has been found and what you'll find online in the document mentioned above is a current best effort account of John Brewer. The location of John Brewer's birth is not known but the fact that Elsie Lewis was from Somerset County, New Jersey would lead us to believe that John was born in that area as well. John and Elsie had two children (Sarah and Edward) while John and Sarah likely had nine children (Charles, Alice, Jacob, Nancy, Richard, John, James, Sarah and William). 

John Brewer's ancestry is not known. What is known is that he is somehow a direct male descendant of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island. See Brewer, Richard D., Scott Kraus and William B. Bogardus. "DNA Analysis: Adam Brouwer Berckhoven, Elias Brouwer of New Jersey, and John Brewer of Ohio," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record Vol.138, page 245 (2007).

The pages that Sharon provides are found in Scioto County Probate file #4704, dated 11 February 1809. She acquired them by directly contacting the Scioto County Genealogy Society. Here are links to the images (PDFs) now online:

The Matter of Guardianship of John Brewer and James Brewer and the Guardianship of Polly Brewer.

Receipt of James Black for his wife Mary Black for her share of the estate of John Brewer; receipt for John and James Brewer's share of the estate of John Brewer; receipt for the shares of Sarah and William Brewer of the estate of John Brewer. Note that these receipts dated in April and May of 1813, mention the estate of Samuel Lucas. It appears that Samuel Lucas was the initial administrator of John Brewer's estate, and he (Samuel Lucas) then died himself. What, if any, family relationship exists between Samuel Lucas and John Brewer's family has not been determined.

Receipt of Jacob Brewer (paid to Samuel Lucas) for his portion of the estate of John Brewer (1809); Receipt signed by Jacob Brewer and Charles Brewer for the shares of Sarah and William Brewer (1811).

Thanks again to Sharon McClelland for acquiring and making available the above documents to others interested in the family of John Brewer of Scioto County, Ohio.

PDF version of this post

Saturday, June 10, 2017

New York State Death Index at Internet Archive

Digital images of the New York State Death Index can now be found online at Internet Archive. The images are be made available by a group called "Reclaim the Records." Needless to say, the addition of these indexes online will make the task of searching out New York State death records much easier.

The images are arranged by year. To locate them simply access the Internet Archives' main page, and type "New York State Death Index" into the search box. The search will bring up a page with the individual years now available for viewing.

Here, as an example, is a link to the images for the year 1882.

Prior to the age of the internet, the process of looking up a death record in New York State was tedious and probably beyond the reach of many family researchers, especially those who lived far from New York State. The index was made public on microfiche and was available at just a few large libraries within New York State. Finding a record required a trip to one of the libraries, and involved the time consuming procedure of examining each fiche under a microfiche reader. I've done this, and it was not a fun way to spend the day. Ten or more years ago I started a project of extracting all entries regarding those named BREWER, BROWER, BROUWER, from the microfiche copies. You can see for yourself just how far I got with this. With the death records I was only up to 1897.

The New York State Death Indexes do not cover all localities within New York State. Records of deaths in New York City is noticeably absent. The requirement of recording a death with New York State did not begin until 1880, and in the earlier years compliance with the law was limited. For more background and info on New York State's Vital Records please consult this New York State Archives page. The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library also has published some useful information on searching out vital records in New York State.

Obtaining the actual record of death from New York State involves submitting a form to the State's Department of Health in Albany, and paying a fee. For more information on this also see this page at the New York State Department of Health website, and follow the links of interest to you. Here is an online copy of a mail-in form from 2004. And the same form available directly from the NYS DOH.

Thanks to Reclaim the Records, the first steps in searching out a death record in New York State is now a whole lot easier.