If you are somewhat intriqued with searching for long dead relatives, who’ve been reduced to a name and a few dates, then this blog may be of some interest. Unless you enjoy genealogy as a family history project or spare time on your hands hobby–this story may be boring.
As I’ve mentioned, one of the purposes of my July, 2002 vacation road trip was to travel from Ohio to upper New York state. My great-grandmother at one point in her life sat down and wrote out on three pieces of stationery the family tree of her parents and grandparents–going back to earlier generations as she remembered. She also made brief comments regarding specific individuals that I believe she heard about growing up.
My quest and reason to drive to the Albany area and traipse around Rensselaer County was to verify the Dutch family information. Every family has an historian. It’s the grandmother or old uncle who keeps track of the family history through the years.
America is a vast land of space and time. Since its earliest settlements, people and families moved West. The questions we want to ask are lost in the mists of time: Where did our first ancestors come from? Where did they settle in America? What made them move from their homes? Who are we now?
Unless the family lineage is documented (and you know where the bodies are buried!), only fragments of a family tree may exist in the present time. My mother’s older brother, Harry Zollars, was keeper of the family names and dates and lists. However, his primary research was on the paternal side of the family. I’ve seen the book and research he kept on the origin and history of the German side of the family – Zollars. And that’s a different time for me to document.
He died in 1988 in California. I lived in Ohio. And I don’t know what happened to his family tree documents and research. I’ve asked my cousins and they couldn’t give me any answers. I spoke with my cousins in 2002 before I set off on my solitary woman’s adventure to New York. My uncle’s daughter, Gloria, didn’t realize I had any information on the Dutch side of the family. And I was surprised she didn’t know what I knew from reading great-grandmother’s genealogy letters.
I actually have one vague memory of Elsie Van Schaick Ellsworth, my great-grandmother. I was born in 1952. She died in 1956. I was about four years old then. I remember being at a family gathering with a lot of grownups, aunts and uncles and grandparents. One of the grownups, could have been my grandmother or mother, urged me to go into the house and say hello to Grandma Ellsworth.
I then remember being inside the house in the living room. I sat on the floor with several of my fellow cousins. We surrounded an old, frail woman with white hair who sat in a rocking chair. I don’t know if she spoke to us or not. I just recall being very young and sitting on the floor staring up at an old woman. At that age, I had no clue what a “great-grandmother” was.
My other cousin, Carol, had a more direct connection to Elsie Ellsworth. You see, in my grandmother’s family there was a wide gap between the four daughters. My grandmother, Vera Ellsworth Zollars, was second oldest of four daughters. Carol’s mother, also named Elsie, was the youngest girl in the family. Eighteen years separated the sisters. My great-grandmother, Elsie, lived with her youngest daughter, Elsie, and her family until her death. Carol was my mother’s first cousin, so she’s my second cousin.
I called her in 2002 and low and behold! Her mother, my great-aunt Elsie, was still alive! I so wanted to meet with her and glean her thoughts and memories about her mother and possibly any family stories about the Van Schaick grandparents. Unfortunately, the arrangements could not be made at that time and she passed away a few years later.
I’ll admit to a childhood curiousity about the family stories. My grandmother encouraged that interest. That’s why I received the handwritten genealogy papers from her when I was older. She knew I would respect and handle with care the treasure of family information. I wish now that I’d been more eager to ask questions. The important family members with memories that go back many generations are long gone–and I can’t ask.
Imagine active minds contained in our elderly grandparents. Them, being raised as children, giving their insight into earlier times and who your great-grandparents were. Those names and dates and places. Suppose your still alive and active grandparents remember THEIR grandparents. Now you could hear stories about ancestors going back five generations–or earlier! I regret I didn’t care more then, because it’s too late now.
I can only utilize online genealogy research at this point. A good starting point is searching the US Census Bureau. Beginning in 1790 through 1930, those surviving records of the American people are available to review. Every ten years, the US Census documents are released to the public that date back 72 years. In 2012, extensive data will released to the public for the 1940 US Census records.
Another good online search is the Social Security Death Data Index. If a relative died in the 1900s after being issued a Social Security card or received SS benefits, the names and information will (it should) be accessible.
The unchallenged leader in online genealogy research is www.ancestry.com
I was able to find a great deal of information regarding the Van Schaick family tree. They have US Census records, military records, church records, obituaries, newpsper articles, courthouse records, land deeds, the list is extensive. There is a fee to subscribe to their search access to the vast amount of records, however, a free 14 day trial is a good way to get started on surnames research.
So, I still haven’t positively, beyond a shadow of a doubt, been able to trace the Van Schaick ancestors in Renssealer County, New York.
But this is what I have, according to my great-grandmother.
(Starting with me) Diana Hindman b. 1952 Ohio
Parents: mother Mildred Zollars Hindman 1916-1992 Ohio father Blanchard Hindman 1901-1983 b. PA d. Ohio
Grandparents: grandmother Vera Ellsworth Zollars 1889-1983 Ohio grandfather Warren Zollars 1889-1980 Ohio
Great-grandparents: great-grandmother Elsie Van Schaick Ellsworth 1866-1956 Ohio * great-grandfather Frank Ellsworth 1866-1928 b. NY d. Ohio *(I came across information that Elsie Van Schaick was in fact born in Doylestown, Ohio–can’t verify yet)
Great-great-grandparents: gr-gr-grandfather Garrett Van Schaick b. 1820 d. 1905 Ohio (aged 82 when he died) — New information lists him living with Elsie Ellsworth and her family in Ohio in the 1900 Census. gr-gr-grandmother Hannah Watkins Van Schaick 1825-1885 NY ??
Great-great-great-grandparents [Paternal side]: gr-gr-gr-grandfather William Van Schaick, Sr. 1785-1870 NY ?? gr-gr-gr-grandmother Eunice Van Buren Van Schaick 1795-1854 NY ??
This is where the paternal lineage splits into two Dutch surnames. This subject is about tracing the Van Schaick line. I’ll cover the Van Buren lineage later.
Great-great-great-great grandfather (William’s father): Jacob Van Schaick 1740-1795 Great-great-great-great grandmother (William’s mother): Marije Van Buren 1743-1814
(5 Greats)-grandfather (Jacob’s father): Johannes Van Schaick b. ?? d. ?? (5 Greats)-grandmother (Jacob’s mother): Alida Jacobse Bogart b. ?? d. ??
(6 Greats)-grandfather (Johannes’ father): Gerrit S. Van Schaick 1685-1750 (6 Greats)-grandmother (Johannes’ mother): Sara Goeway 1683-1711
(7 Greats)-grandfather (Gerrit’s father): Sybrant G. Van Schaick 1653-1685 (7 Greats)-grandmother (Gerrit’s mother): Elizabeth Vanderpoel 1656-1750
New information was found at a family tree site on ancestry.com. I bit the bullet and registered for the 2 weeks “free trial”. I have to dig as deep as I can as fast as I can to glean as much documentation as I can. Turns out, I’m not the only living relative in my family that’s doing genealogy research. Reconnecting with distant cousins since we are on the same path. I have to give credit to Holly Kelso for the additional lineage records. I’m relying on her information until I either prove/disprove her facts.
So, with the additional lineage of my Dutch generations going back to the 1600s, now I CAN link our lineage to Goosen Gerrit Van Schaick. This is the ancestor who emigrated from Holland and begat the progeny scattered throughout America to this day.
(8 Greats)-grandfather (Sybrant’s father): Goosen Gerrit Van Schaick 1633-1676 (8 Greats)-grandmother (Sybrant’s mother): Geertje Van Niewkerke 1624-1656
They were both born in Westerbroeck, Utrecht, Holland. He came to New Netherland about 1637. A marriage date is given about 1645. Either he returned to marry Gerrtje and they both sailed to the Albany area to settle or she came over and then they married.
I will save the Van Buren lineage for another blog, but I have additional names and dates to list here. (4 Greats)-grandfather (Eunice’s father): Hendrick Van Buren 1750-1814 (4 Greats)-grandmother (Eunice’s mother): Maria Van Den Burg
(5 Greats)-grandfather (Hendrick’s father): Willem Van Buren b. ?? d. ?? (5 Greats)-grandmother (Hendrick’s mother): T. Vandenburgh b. ?? d. ??
(6 Greats)-grandfather (Willem’s father): Cornelis Van Buren b. 1678 — ?? (6 Greats)-grandmother (Willem’s mother): Hendrickje Van Nes
(7 Greats)-grandfather (Cornelis’ father): Hendrick C. Van Buren b. ?? – d. ?? (7 Greats)-grandmother (Cornelis’ mother): Elizabeth Van Slyck b. ?? – d. ??
(8 Greats)-grandfather (Hendrick’s father): Cornelissen Maessen Van Buren b. 1616 (8 Greats)-grandmother (Hendrick’s mother): Catalyntje Martense
This the earliest ancestor on the Van Buren side of my Dutch lineage that can be traced from Holland. Cornelissen Maessen Van Buren came to New Netherland in 1631 from Burrmalsen, near Buren, Holland. This is the connection to Martin Van Buren, another descendant. So we ARE related to the 8th President of the United States! Another quest when I research back to the Netherlands origins of the Van Burens is the connection between the Van Buren family lineage and its relation to the Dutch royal line.
It’s a “treasure hunt” to discover who the spouses and children were and how far back the lineage goes before my ancestors emigrated from Holland.
I’m assuming the family settled in the Albany, New York area for many generations.
Other tidbits of information may assist in my research, such as: William Van Schaick, Sr. was a soldier in the War of 1812. If I can connect with a military database that might have his enlistment documents, I’ll have more verification of his life and residence.
Those are the recollections of my great-grandmother, Elsie. I printed other documents from the genealogy websites that may prove a connection further back. Also listed on her family tree page is a notation, “Great-Great-Great-Grandfather who died before the Revolutionary War”. No name or dates, but it shows that either Van Schaick and/or Van Buren ancestors both settled in America before 1776.
I have a document that lists William Van Schaick marriage to Eunice Teuntje Van Buren. It states her birthdate as 10/22/1793 in Saratoga Springs, New York. My family list says she was born in 1795–close enough to be them?
Anyway, I’ve got a lot more work to do to verify names, dates, marriages, children, birth and death dates and where they lived and may be buried.
Not much can be done online unless you want to spring for the two weeks trial membership to ancestry.com. They dominate the web. I’m still trying to connect to the Van Schaicks of the Mansion family tree. I believe having Goosen Gerritsen Van Schaick as an ancestor makes that a documented fact. Just working on definite verification before I whoop! for joy. So far, I’m learning plenty about the area, but not hitting that golden vein yet with my pickaxe.
Continued –family hardships from the 1800s.
Credit sources: www.ancestry.com
Google Search: Other Dutch genealogy websites refer back to ancestry.com for info.