The records I have from my great-grandmother lists the Dutch side of the family on her father’s side. She also recalls in writing much of her mother’s side of the family tree. Studying the early history of New Netherland and the British takeover in 1664, it’s easy to determine how English surnames became mingled with the Dutch surnames going forward into the 1700s and 1800s.
Intermarriage with the English side of the ancestors took place when my great-grandmother’s parents married. I don’t know the date of their union; their firstborn child was born in 1847. My great-grandmother was the baby of the family, born in 1866. She wrote some interesting comments about her mother’s family tree (All English names), but I’m not on a quest to tackle that lineage at this time.
No–I’m diving into the Dutch names of my maternal great-great-great grandparents. William Van Schaick, Sr. married Eunice Van Buren. I’ve read a lot of information on both of those surnames. Great-grandmother teases me with just a hint of information and scant dates that send me forward into my genealogy fact-finding.
What I do know is that Garrett and Hannah Van Schaick lived in Troy, New York in 1852. The last will and testament of his older brother, William Van Schaick, Jr. gives a list of his surviving siblings and their residences at the time of his passing. The brothers and sisters match the list my great-grandmother wrote on her family tree.
Troy, New York and the surrounding areas where Garrett and his family were born reside in Albany and Rensselaer Counties in upper New York State. I may not be able to prove the claim that our Dutch ancestors emigrated from Holland and settled at Fort Orange in 1614 (doubtful). There is an extensive list of settlers who arrived in New Netherland in the mid-1600s and several have the names of Van Schaick and Van Buren.
The adventure is to connect those names far back in history to the actual DNA lineage of me! My mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother–are all recent relations. I knew them, I remember their faces and how they sounded and the lives they had on this earth. What I don’t know are the generations that came before. When I research the mid-1800s, I encounter two Dutch people, from Dutch stock, who married in the Albany area and raised a family in nearby Rensselaer County.
If you are keeping up with my “New York” blog, I wrote about the Dutch patroon system of land ownership. Kiliaen van Rensselaer was able to claim a vast territory of land in the upper Hudson River area in 1630. The northern border of the land holdings documents Rensselaerwyck extending to “upriver to Haver Island at the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers”.
I’m excited to read that because I was on that very island–it’s Van Schaick Island today! So Rensselaerwyck included the island with my family name as part of its patroon land patent. The land was purchased from local Indian tribal chieftains. The descendants of Kiliaen van Rensselaer arrived from Holland to establish their place as owners of the land and its unique feudal system of farmer-tenants. There is no indication that the original patroon ever sailed from Holland to New Netherland to visit his land holdings.
After the English took over New Netherland in 1664, the region was renamed New York and Beverwyck became Albany. Surrounding Albany was Rensselaerwyck, renamed the Manor of Rensselaerwyck under England’s colonial rule. The patroonship, while under Dutch rule in the mid-1600s, enacted an “oath of fidelity” to the patroon. A listing of men who took that oath November 28, 1651 in Rensselaerwyck is documented.
One of the men listed is–Goosen Gerritsz van Schaick. My understanding is that this Van Schaick is the ancestor of Anthony Van Schaick who built the Mansion in 1735 on Van Schaick Island near Cohoes, New York. I cannot prove that I am connected to this branch of the family. But I can trace a Van Schaick name back to 1651.
By 1674, the sons of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer had settled within the Colony of Rensselaerwyck. Jeremiah (aka: Jeremias) Van Rensselaer died in October of 1674. A list of those invited to the internment of said deceased included: Lieutenant Goosen Gerritse Van Schaick, Sybrant Gosen Van Schaick, as well as: Maas Cornelisse Van Buren, Marten Cornelisse Van Buren, and Hendrick Massen Van Buren.
Since my great-grandmother lists a “Hendrick Van Buren” as a relation, could this Hendrick Massen Van Buren be connected to my family tree?
The Colony of Rensselaerwyck was broken up and the land sold in 1840. After the death of Stephan Van Rensselaer III in 1839, the will stated back rents of the farmer-tenants should be collected to pay off his debts. Interesting news of the times–the tenants revolted and refused to pay the back rents. Evictions and violence and legal action brought about the final dissolution of the once vast land holdings of the original Dutch family.
Garrett Van Schaick would have been alive in those turbulent times and who knows what part he and his family may have played in the circumstances. His parents, William and Eunice Van Schaick moved several times as they had a large brood of babies. It seems that each child was born in a different area of what is known today as Albany and Rensselaer Counties in New York.
List of my great-grandmother’s father and aunts and uncles and where they were born:
Jacob – born Easttown, Washington Co., N.Y. I cannot find either a town called “Easttown” on my atlas map or with an online search. There is a current town in Washington Co., called “Easton”. Perhaps this is what she meant.
Henry – also born in Easttown, Washigton Co., N.Y.
Washington County is located a fair distance away from the Albany area. The next seven children were born in Rensselaer County, New York.
Cornelius – born in Greenbush William, Jr. – born in Clyde, Seneca Co., Western N.Y. (and odd exception-why did the family move?) Garrett – born in Greenbush (my great-great-grandfather) Steven – born on Hillhouse Island between Troy and Albany. Jeremiah – born in West Troy Mary – born in Watervliet Elizabeth – also born in Watervliet
The last three siblings were born in Western New York state. This indicates the family relocated from the Albany area. However, in 1852, most of the siblings were back in Rensselaer County as adults.
Henrietta – born in Batavia, Genesee Co., N.Y. Jane – born in Lynden, Cattaraugus, Co., N.Y. Steven Henry – also born in Lynden, Cattaraugus Co.
Now that I’ve established the Dutch settlement around the Albany area and the growth in the area of Rensselaerwyck in the 1600s through the 1800s, it’s given me a knowledgable background into the history and times of my ancestors. It’s not enough to know the names and dates, but that is my ultimate quest. I would like answers to the questions I have in regards to the times in which they grew up and married and had their families.
It’s obvious that Garrett Van Schaick’s parents moved quite often and his mother had one or more babies in eight different towns in New York state. I’m shaking my head over that fact–it’s puzzling. Why did they move so much? What kind of work did William Van Schaick, Sr. do?
That’s my next step. It’s time to lay out the names and dates and places of my Dutch ancestors. Hopefully, I can make a connection between the first settler to New Netherland and the place in Holland that he left to move to America.
Genealogy — shaping the branches of my family tree.