A Status Report on Research into the Origins of Johannes Brouwer

of Flatlands, New Amsterdam

Richard D. Brewer

May 17, 2010


Information on the Brouwer line before Johannes (also known as Jan) Brouwer immigrated to America is currently seriously lacking and his family origin is unknown.  Brouwer is such a common name in the Netherlands (there are over 26,000 Brouwer surnames as of 2007 and many adopted the name in 1811 when Napoleon’s Civil Code required all inhabitants to register with a surname) that most are not genetically related and locating records for Johannes and his family without first knowing his origin is difficult; and without records, locating his origin is equally difficult. A chicken and the egg problem. DNA might be a solution, locating living relations centered in a particular region of Europe may provide the clues necessary to break the impasse.  In this report I will summarize all the research into his origins that I am currently aware of; including false trails which, while interesting, are revealed to be barren.  It is possible that although Johannes may have left for America from Amsterdam, he might not have lived there but may instead have come from outlying regions of the Netherlands, possibly Friesland or the outer Island of Vlieland (a part of Friesland), or he may have come originally from Germany emigrating first to Amsterdam before subsequently immigrating to America with his wife Jannetje Jans and their daughter Jannetje Jansz.  These conjectures and the research results obtained are examined and, in addition, I discuss the DNA evidence that has been reviewed to date.  The DNA research goal is to locate contemporary genetic relatives living in Europe who match the ancestral haplogroup I2b1 and haplotype signature of Johannes. Such DNA evidence, if/when acquired, might provide a strong lead pointing to the location of Johannes’ origin.  As a story spoiler alert, be forewarned that in spite of some intriguing leads, nothing actionable has turned up. However, I believe the results presented are nonetheless useful in the context of recording research avenues that have been taken and also identifying dead ends to be avoided. 

Outline:  (To Navigate:  Click on the highlighted section you wish to visit)

        1.0  Summary of Facts and assumptions

        2.0  Amsterdam search

                2.1 Why assume Immigration from Amsterdam?

                2.2  Amsterdam Births and Marriages indices.

                2.3  Immigration date 1657

                2.4  Leaving Amsterdam and the Netherlands for America, 1657

                2.5  Examination of Ship passenger lists

       3.0  Vlieland, Netherlands. A surprising possibility examined

       4.0  Frisian Genealogical Search

       5.0  Genetic Genealogy, DNA assessment 

                5.1 Exploiting Jan Brouwer’s haplotype and Haplogroup I2b1

                5.2  The Netherlands DNA project

                5.3  Friesland and Frisian isles: the Y-DNA Frisian Waddenproject

                5.4  A Quick Look at German DNA