Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Going Dutch

I’ve written about some of my Colonial American Dutch ancestry (Ditmars and Voorhees) and it took me back to the early 1600s in New Amsterdam.  It seems probable, at a certain point, that my New Amsterdam history involves exclusively Dutch ancestry.  It wasn’t until the 1800s that the first of my original New Amsterdam lines married outside the Dutch community.  So, no matter how many more surnames I uncovered, they probably weren’t going to lead me much further than the Netherlands.

I found tracing the Dutch names to be a bit overwhelming—the Dutch names were often transcribed with inconsistent English spelling (plus, even the first names didn’t roll off my tongue), naming patterns meant there were people of the same name floating around at the same time, and, worst of all, a lot of really bad research had found it’s way into the viral internet genealogy world.  Fortunately, there are a lot of dedicated researchers working on my lines.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to match their efforts and, frankly, I just can’t motivate myself to do the work to uncover every Dutch surname.  In fact, the various families intermarried so much, I suspected many lines would actually merge.  I’m indebted to earlier researchers who provided much of the information on the various Ditmarsen-connected spouses.  
So, starting with a 4x great-grandmother Jannetje (Jane) Vandeveer, who married Isaac Voorhees, I found no documented sources about her parents, but several places indicated her parents were Jan Vanderveer and Seytje Vanderveer (see intermarriage comment above) and led back to Cornelius Janse VanDerVeer, the emigrant from Holland.  But no proof going back even one generation from Jane.

And then there’s Aeltje Suydam, a 5x great-grandmother who married Douwes Ditmar.  Her line probably leads back to, well, hmm…I dunno yet.  Not comfortable even speculating here, though names are out there in family trees.

Jannetje Remsen, a 6x great-grandmother won’t fare any better.  Hard to believe, but I turned up more than one Jannetje Remsen, but not one married to the right Johannes Van Ditmarsen (yes, more than one of him, too).

I had more success with my 7x great-grandmother, Catryntje Lott.  She was the daughter of Peter Lott and Gertrude Lambert.  She married Douwe Jansz Van Ditmarsen in 1688.  Peter emigrated in 1652 from Holland and became a landowner in Flatbush, NY and was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church there. 

That leads me to Catryntje’s mother, Gertrude Lambert, my 8x great-grandmother.  I’ve seen her first name written as Gerritje, leading me to believe she is of Dutch heritage, but I found nothing about her parents.  I found trees with her birth in 1632 in Flatbush, but no sources.  Recently I found this, which made me wonder:

The next of the Ditmarsen wives, another 8x great-grandmother, Ariantje Lollensz, or something like that.  Her surname has been found in only one New Amstredam record, where her name was written Adryaenyen Lollenckx.  She had immigrated to America with her first husband (who died shortly after arrival) and son in 1664 and married Jan Jansz Van Ditmarsen junior in 1665.  It is possible she was not Dutch, but that her name was later changed to the Dutch version.

The genealgocal trail for Aeltje Douwesz, married to Jan Jansz Van Ditmarsen senior, has some clues, including a 1635 Amsterdam marriage intention for Jan Janss and Aeltje Douwens, but there is nothing that definitively links this couple to my ancestors.  It is known that she arrived in America in 1639, possibly via Bermuda.

The final Dutch ancestor, a 9x great-grandmother, included in this post was not connected to the Ditmarsen line.  Mary Deurcant married Lion Gardiner, an officer in the British army, when he was in Holland.  She was born in 1601 in Woerden, Hoolland to Derike Derocant and Hachin Bastians.  She and her husband arrived in America in 1635.

And so here I find myself at the end of my first pass at uncovering my first immigrant ancestors in America.  I found out my family arrived much earlier than I ever anticipated and that they participated in some famous and infamous historic events.  I solved a few mysteries, including one I didn't even know existed, and discovered some new ones.

Now I’m going go back to the beginning to fill in the gaps as best I can.  I’ll be doing more research and less posting because of the nature of the work that will be required.  I’ll definitely need to spend some time at the Library of Congress.  I will probably need to hire a researcher for at least one line where I think the answers will be found in local records I can’t access online.

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