News&Clews (Clews is the old English spelling of Clues.)

By Everette Doyle Phillips (Phillips Family Group 9)

I hope you are not bedeviled by the genealogist gene: alas, you will spend endless hours and good money in search of missing ancestors. In frustration, you may throw a shoe at the computer but you will soon sneak back to follow the slightest clue that might lead you to the Eureka experience. DNA analysis should add such a genetic marker.
     Fortunately for me, my cousin Janie, beginning her family history work while in high school, has produced a well-documented history of our bloodline and so I've not had to re-invent the old wheel. The best break so far has been the result of DNA research. My most distant documented DNA ancestor was a John Phillips, born circa 1725 and died 1801 in Rowan County, North Carolina. Janie had his Last Will, listing all his children and a wife, a second or maybe third spouse, called Diannah. John lived much of his life in Loudoun County, Virginia.
     Thus I was driven for several years to focus solely on Virginia as his most likely origin. Logical, aint it? But then along came DNA. After I posted my DNA results—about 3 years after if I remember correctly—several other Phillips began popping up with the same bloodline (Group 9) and then Bucks County, PA came into the research picture.
     Namely, the match was one Gabriel Phillips, born circa 1735 and died documented in 1809 in Newberry County, South Carolina. Gabriel was married in 1758 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His wife was a Hannah Brower (of NY and NJ family). Gabe and Hannah moved a few years later to the same location as John in Loudoun County, Virginia. It is a pretty good assumption that these boys were brothers. It is possible that both were in Bucks County together before Loudoun County.
     But who was the ancestral pop of Gabe and John? On various internet websites there are many postings that propose diverse parentage—none documented sufficiently. From whence came this pair, Gabriel and John, remains the question of the ages. At this time I think the line may have been—anciently and originally—from Wales. Many of the yDNA 12 marker matches of Gabe and John have surnames identified with Wales and Bucks County, Pennsylvania was home to many early Welsh settlers. But the line may have gone from Wales to other countries before they arrived somewhere in America.
     Maybe the early Phillips kin were Quakers or similar religionists. The reason I think so, but can't prove it, is that I have yet to find any of the descendants owning slaves and the locales of Gabriel and John were significant Quaker settlements.
     Literacy was late in coming to the descendants of both Gabriel and John. Religious ministers or academics do not appear. Both boys signed their wills with the venerable X.
     Probably it is the genealogist's gene that compels me to never give up the search for the elusive ancestor. I am not alone: many of my Phillips cousins are on the same compulsive path and—o blesséd occurrence—we have on our side the diligent Nancy Kiser (administrator of the Phillips DNA registry). Without her advice we would have wasted uncounted days following false leads.

Phillips ancestors, arise and make yourselves known!

Doyle Phillips, the author of the above family article, is a recovering Texan now living in central Mexico. Although retired, he works full-time as a so-called artist (whenever his genealogist gene permits).

This article was first published on the Phillips DNA Project website

                                A Welsh Gabriel Phillips
Do you know anyone who could decipher this old English writing? It may also be partly  in Latin. I can send a better image to anyone who might translate it.

Knowing more about Hannah Brower could help trace Gabriel.

Hello Doyle!

I did find Browers in Bucks County. I spent a day at Tri County Heritage among the Bucks County records. As I suspected, the Bucks Browers are not my Swiss-German Mennonite Chester County Browers who came here in 1726.

Your Browers are the New Netherlands/New York Brouwers who migrated from the New Amsterdam area, to Brooklyn and Long Island, then through New Jersey, then across the Delaware River into Bucks County. The patriarch is Adam Berchoven Brouwer who came to New York in 1643. You can trace the family by each generation as they went from Manhattan, to Brooklyn, to New Jersey, to Bucks.

The Brouwers were a well-established family and wealthy. In Bucks County they were part of the Low Dutch community of the Neshaminy area of Bucks. They arrived there about 1695.

Adolphus Brouwer, grandson of Adam, witnessed several deeds in 1704 (spelled Bruer on the deed). One of them was apparantly his son-in-law's, Harmon VanSandt. Harmon was married to Elisabeth Brouwer. The VanSandts were wealthy merchants of New York and Philadelphia.

By the 1770s the name was spelled Brewer and Brougher (Brouwer), and they had moved out to more northern townships of Bucks such as Milford Township, where lived various Phillips.

Most of them were from the George Phillips (George was the patriarch, a Quaker family), and were in the vicinity of the Tohican Church. Some of the George Phillip's family did migrate to the Carolinas. There are Quaker meeting records about them, they didn't all stay in unity all the time.

Demographically, Bucks County is very clearly divided. The lower and earliest settled part was English and Quaker, William Penn's country estate Pennsbury is there. The Dutch Reformed New Yorkers settled there too.

As you get to the central and middle area, it is decidedly German, it was "overrun by Germans" (from the history of Bucks County). Some of the Tohican records had a John George Phillips, along with Jacob, and Valentine. These are definitely German names using the old German custom of prefixing John before the middle name. In every day usage, the middle name was used, thus George Phillips. This Phillips family was in Rock Hill. Both Milford and Rock Hill have proximity to Tohicon.

You also have to find Gabriel definitely in Bucks or even Northhampton County to verify that he could be from the "Irish Phillips", as I saw in your recent posting to Roots Web. Unless you find those Irish Phillips in Bucks (or Norhhampton, originally part of Bucks), before they went to the Carolinas, they might not be your's.

Another consideration are the New Amsterdam Philipse (Filipse) family. They were the merchants supreme of mid 17th century New Amsterdam/New York. They anglicized their name to Phillips. I did a cursory check of the Neshaminy Dutch Reformed records, didn't see any Phillips there. That could have simplified matters somewhat! These Phillips should throw a wrench into the DNA testings, with their Dutch-Frisian background instead of Welsh-English-Irish.

Well, I am pretty sure about the Brouwers/Bruers/Brewers/Broughers/Browers of Bucks, but there is a real smorgasboard of Phillips in Bucks.

                                                          --Susan Speros    Thursday, January 10, 2010


John Phillips, Quaker reference

This article is another possible indication that John was a Quaker. This Gabriel was a prisoner of war for a long time so in one respect this article is not correct, making me wary to believe absolutely. --DP

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