Sunday, April 10, 2011

Daughters of the American Revolution: Solomon Brewer

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Daughters of the American Revolution Library in Washington, D.C.  The building is beautiful and the staff is helpful and polite.  DAR is offering more and more information online; some for free, some for a price.

I focused on one of my Revolutionary War ancestors, Solomon Brewer (1746-1824).  Not many of his descendants seem to be researching him.  I lucked out with several generations of this line because they are all buried very close together at Sleepy Hollow, Westchester County, New York.  Solomon and his second wife, Rene Benton, are buried with several children in The Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground.  More children and their children and grandchildren are buried in the adjoining Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Gravestone of Solomon Brewer at Sleepy Hollow, New York.  The stone is becoming worn.

DAR offers its Genealogical Research System (GRS) online.

I plugged "Solomon Brewer" into the Descendants Database Search and came up with eight applications associated with him.

The "purchase" icon indicates that the original application, and possibly supporting documentation, have been electronically scanned into the system and you may purchase them for $10.  At the DAR Library, I was able to view the applications and supporting documentation without purchasing.  By doing this, I clarified what I was viewing in the above list.  The librarian told me to start with the highest number; in this case, 474812.  The higher number indicates a more recent application.  The older applications did not have to supply as much supporting documentation and the actual documentation may have been returned or lost.  The first name in each row, Sally, Martha, or Erastus, indicates a child of Solomon Brewer.  In my reading, Solomon had perhaps over thirty children by two wives, and the above list does not indicate which wife bore which child.  Clicking on the most recent application for Erastus clarifies which of Solomon's wives was his mother.

This application postulates Erastus Brewer as the son of Solomon Brewer and his first wife, Martha Smith.
My line comes from Solomon's second wife, Rene Benton, so this application does not help establish that line.  Onto the next application: the daughter Martha.

This application postulates Martha as the daughter of Solomon Brewer and Rene Benton.
This application is more useful to my line, as it establishes that Solomon Brewer had at least one other wife, Rene Benton.  Now if I were interested in joining DAR, I would need to start proving descent from Solomon Brewer and Rene Benton.  I descend from their son James.  Nobody else has sought membership through James Brewer, so I would have to show that Solomon Brewer and Rene Benton had a son named James; then gather his wife, children, and so forth.

I hope this clarifies what information you can glean when you locate someone in the DAR database.

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