Brouwer Genealogy Database [closed]

+11 votes

There's some good news regarding Chris Chester's Brouwer Genealogy Database, which is cited as a source in well over a thousand WikiTree profiles, mostly for New Netherland people and their descendants. After the long period when took the material offline, the Brouwer Genealogy Database is finally back online at . According to Chris Chester's post at the content has not changed since 2015 and will not be changed in the future.

Unfortunately, this is a different URL than before, and all of the old (existing) citations pointing to are now useless links to the homepage. I hoped that Aleš Trtnik could have EditBot do a global search-and-replace edit to change all occurrences of (the URL used in almost all WikiTree citations that point to this website) to . (I did not ask for a global change to the root URL because it appears that some page-specific links did not remap directly to a corresponding URL at the new website location -- and anyway I'm not sure that URLs for specific records in this database are stable. Those specific links would still need to be updated manually.) However, Aleš thinks we should create a citation template for the Brouwer Genealogy Database to generate this particular URL, just in case the website gets reorganized again in the future.

In response to Aleš' comments, I've explored options for setting up a template. I'm hoping that those of you who have used this database extensively (I have not) can help determine what a template should look like and where it should be applied -- or identify issues that I haven't thought of.

OPTION 1. I suppose that the easiest option would be to define template {{Brouwer Genealogy Database}} to generate the URL , and ask EditBot to replace all occurrences of with the template. Then in the future, anyone citing the Brouwer Genealogy Database would have to type the string {{Brouwer Genealogy Database}} into their reference citation instead of copying in the URL from the website.

OPTION 2. A more elegant solution would be to define the template to generate a full well-formatted citation to this website, to be used to replace the "boilerplate" portion of all existing citations to the Brouwer Genealogy Database and to be used in all future citations to this source. A major complication with this is that the text currently used in the "boilerplate" part of the citation is not consistent across WikiTree (and includes many different access dates), so the initial effort to replace the old citations with the template would require replacing many different versions of the citation. And when a template generates a large chunk of text, it can be confusing to contributors who don't understand what the template is doing, and may be frustrated in efforts to adjust the format of the citation to follow the style used in a particular profile.

If we were to use this more elegant solution, I propose that the new standard boilerplate should be:

Chester, Chris. ''The Brouwer Genealogy Database''.

which would generate:

Chester, Chris. The Brouwer Genealogy Database.

In existing citations to the database such as

Chester, Chris. "The Brouwer Genealogy Database." Accessed 28 Jan 2017. Jan Brouwer, b. circa 1628

(wherein "Jan Brouwer, b. circa 1628" is database entry for the person) I think the Option 2 template would have to replace everything before the name Jan Brouwer, so we would lose the access date. (Note: this is by far the most common format for Wikitree citations to this source.)

Similarly, for citations in the following format, the Option 2 template would have to replace everything before the "citing" statement, and we would lose the access date:

Chris Chester. "The Brouwer Genealogy Database." Accessed May 23, 2016. citing NYG&BR 67:222

Some existing citation formats I found that Option 2 could replace in total without complications include:

For citations in the following format, the best solution might be to replace the string "The Brouwer Genealogy Database" with the new Option 2 template. The page-specific URL would still be bad, but at least there would be a valid URL in the source citation.

[ Nensje Brouwer] at The Brouwer Genealogy Database.

So, if you have an interest in profiles that use this source, what approach(es) make sense to you?

CLOSING on 20 Dec 2023 because content is no longer relevant. See new post at

closed with the note: No longer current. Replaced by "Brouwer Genealogy Database - Accessing it in 2023"
in The Tree House by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
closed by Ellen Smith
Will try and find time to look at this issue this week more closely before I could answer

WOOHOO!! False Alarm!!

The old URLs are working today, so it looks like we won't need to change the citations here in WikiTree!!

Maybe somebody at Ancestry is reading this forum. cheeky

Well that is awesome news - sorry you wasted time with well thought out contingencies and all - but life got less complicated for once - so it is all good

2 Answers

+7 votes
Thought for a moment yeah! And then realizef it had to do with New Netherlands and not my Brouwers But is nice for you all!
by Sytze Brouwer G2G6 Mach 2 (20.8k points)
Sorry to disappoint! This website doesn't appear to take the various Brouwer families back to the Netherlands (or origins elsewhere in Europe).

But there might possibly be some distant cousins in there somewhere... At there's a list of people with this name who immigrated to colonial America from places in Europe.
Small chance, but there are plenty of sons I can't get much info on. Got lucky with my paternal side I guess.
Yes, small chance. Your family tree isn't visible, so I can only guess...
+4 votes

HI Ellen,  I must plead ignorance to the ins and outs of proper citation so I am very glad you think about these details as well as figuring out how to fix them. Here are  two references for Brouwer among my profiles: 

  1. Chester, Chris,"Unplaced" Brouwer Genealogy Database.
  2. Chester, Chris. "Review of our Unplaced Genetic Descendants of Adam Brouwer" May 4, 2017.
If I understand you correctly then  option 2 should be used and I vote for that:

For citations in the following format, the best solution might be to replace the string "The Brouwer Genealogy Database" with the new Option 2 template. The page-specific URL would still be bad, but at least there would be a valid URL in the source citation.

[ Nensje Brouwer] at The Brouwer Genealogy Database.

Looking forward to seeing other thoughts and comments from the rest of you on G2G.

by Connie Graves G2G6 Mach 5 (59.1k points)
Thanks for looking into the citations on your family's profiles, Connie.

That "Unplaced Brouwers" page is now at . I think that your citation to that page on might be the only one on WikiTree. Since there's only one citation and it's on a page that only you can edit (because the page has Public privacy), it doesn't make sense to do a global EditBot edit or create a template to deal with it. I suggest that you insert the new URL on that free-space page.

And your second example, the blog post, is hosted on (not Rootsweb), so it's unaffected by the changes at Rootsweb.
I wrote that before I discovered that the old URLs are working again. So, in the words of Emily Litella (played by the late great Gilda Radner), "Never mind."

Well now, thanks anyway! wink

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