I have not spent a lot of time on the Downer side of my tree, mostly because I identify so strongly with the Crabtree side, but, I wanted to begin to post what I have.
On most branches, it only goes back so far and then I hit brick walls, pointing toward Germany, or perhaps farther East, and probably to Northern Italy.

I have to say that as for the “Downer” surname, the current thinking is that this family originated in Germany as the Danner or Tanner family and they were Tanners, BUT I DISAGREE.

My mom always strongly maintained this family was Scots/Irish and I know there are Downers from the Isle of Wight, EN, from the North of Scotland where the surname was originally Downie, and that Downer/Downie has been known to be a “Traveller” name, denoting possibly Romani or Scottish/Irish “Travellers” who were nomadic even up until the 1970’s in the UK.
So I have a lot of research to do, genetic and paper wise, to see where that family really comes from.

I want to post a basic tree, working upward from my grandparents, John Albert Downer, Sr. and Evelyn Kathryn Lorenzen, which I will work on, and post a link to, but for now, I want to post some photos.

The Lorenzen side

Evelyn K. Lorenzen married John Albert Downer in 1920.  He had gone into the military in WWI (1917-1919) and fought and was wounded in France. He received a Purple Heart and Silver Star medals.

Evelyn was one of 12 siblings born to Jacob Lorenzen and his wife Annie Barmier.  Annie had three siblings,  Henry, Emma and Katherine and they were all very close. Jacob was one of seven children (two also named Henry and Emma which makes it confusing). Jacob was a blacksmith and said to have a bad drinking problem.


The Lorenzen Family Women. Emma, Annie and Katherine Barmier were sisters. “Aunt Kate” had one daughter, “Aunt Emma” had no children, so she sort of adopted Evelyn Lorenzen at age 10, and they were very close. Annie had 12 children total-several of whom died young.


Annie Lorenzen and daughters

Annie Lorenzen and daughters, taken in St. Louis, MO

Downer Wedding

From Right to Left: John Albert Downer, Evelyn Kathryn Downer, her sister Mildred Lorenzen and Mildred’s beau, Harry, last name unknown.

From right to left: Evelyn K. Downer, her husband John A. Downer and their daughter, Marjorie (Margie) Downer.

Gma Evelyn & GGma Louisa

Evelyn K. Downer and her mother in law, Louisa Schrepel Downer Nevels.





Downers camping

The extended Downer family, camping, approx. 1940 L-R: John Albert Downer Sr., Mary Livingston (Evelyn’s niece who she raised) Katherine Deiser (Evelyn’s 1st cousin), Mildred Lorenzen (Evelyn’s sister), far right is Evelyn Downer laying on the cot and sitting at her feet is her son, John A. Downer Jr.

The Downer family loved to go on extended camping trips, along the river (guessing it was the Mississippi) or down in the “country” to visit the Aunts and Uncles and camp out. They had fun together as a family fishing, swimming and hunting squirrels for dinner! And the ubiquitous card games!  This is one of the things that makes me think they have “Scottish Travellers” in the family.


Evelyn K. Downer, with her daughter Marjorie and son John Albert Jr. This would be about 1926-27


Evelyn K. Lorenzen-likely this was her engagement photo, approx 1920











John and Evelyn Downer's daughter Marjorie (Marge) and her husband John W. Crabtree

John and Evelyn Downer’s daughter Marjorie (Marge) and her husband John W. Crabtree

Evelyn Downer with one of her grandchildren









70's Crabtree Family Christmas

Marge Downer Crabtree, husband John and their two children, about 1970