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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published by Chapman Publishing Co., in 1895.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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GEORGE W. BROKAW is one of the enterprising farmers of the town of Lodi, who has made his farm yield him capital for other and allied business interests. He was born on the farm where he now resides, March 12, 1834, his parents being Abram C. and Eliza A. (Huff) Brokaw. The father was also born on this farm, as have been the three following generations. The mother was born in New Jersey. The grandfather, David Brokaw, who came from New Jersey to this county about 1800, settled in the town of Lodi, where our subject now resides. He purchased one hundred and fifty acres of land, then in a wild state, but later converted it into a valuable and highly cultivated farm, making it his home until the day of his death, when past eighty-three. His wife survived him, and died at about the same age. Traditions linger in the family about her determined character and stout courage. It is said that she once seized an axe, entered a pig-stye, and drove away a marauding bear to save the family pork from his savage clutches. The grandparents had a family of seven children, bearing the names of Jane, Christina, Magdelena, Isaac, Gertrude, Tunis and Abram C.

The father was reared a farmer, and remained on the home place until 1861, when he moved to another farm, where he died in 1878, at the age of seventy years. His wife died in 1852, leaving six children. Anna J. married Miner Wyckoff, and now resides in the village of Lodi; our subject was the second child; Ophelia married Jerome C. Richmond, and makes her home in Jackson, Mich.; Eliza E. became the wife of John J. Long, and has her home in Leslie, Mich.; Rachel Mary married Scott Swarthout, and is now in Lodi. Abram C. Brokaw was married a second time, Mrs. Mary Ann Bramble becoming his wife. She was the mother of one child, a daughter, Christiana, who is Mrs. Knight M. Chrysler, of North Hector.

Mr. Brokaw, our subject, was reared a farmer, and was educated in the district schools. March 21, 1861, he was married to Cornelia E.; a daughter of Joshua B. Covert, and a native of Monroe County. Since their marriage our subject and his wife have lived on the old homestead, where he was born. Here they have eighty-five acres of land, which, by careful tilling, have yielded a generous support. Since 1859 Mr. Brokaw has dealt in wagons, carriages and sleighs, and has also conducted a repair-shop, which has been a great convenience to the neighborhood. Our subject and his wife are the parents of three children. Miner C. married Virginia Dimmick; Mary E. is the wife of Thomas B. Freestone, of Lodi; and Abram C. is at home. Politically Mr. Brokaw was formerly independent in his thinking and voting, but of late years has affiliated with the Prohibitionist party, feeling that it is striking at the giant evil and crime of the ages, and hence deserves the assistance and cooperation of all good and true men. He is a member of the Reformed Church, and of the Royal Arcanum, and has long been a moral force in the community. His fellow-townsmen have more than once recognized his worth by electing him to important public positions.

The Brokaws are of French origin, Burgone Brokaw having been exiled from France. A man of broad views in political affairs, he came to this country among the French Huguenots, and became the ancestor of all the Brokaws in the United States. As the family history is traced down through the various generations, the name takes curious form and spelling, but it is always the same in meaning. It appears as Brocaw, Brocas, Brogaw, Broca, Burkaw, and in other forms, and affords an interesting illustration of the proneness of even distinguished family names to vary in form and spelling through successive generations.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published in 1895. 

View additional Seneca County, New York family biographies here: Seneca County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Seneca County, New York here: Seneca County, New York Map

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