October 20, 2014

Jan Corneliszen Damen in the New World, Part 1

Several years ago I wrote an article for publication in New Netherland Connections. it was about my ancestor and 9th great-grandfather Jan Damen who left Bunnik Netherland for the New World of New Netherland (present day New York state) in the mid 17th century. Jan settled in Long Island New York and married Sophia (Fytie) Martens.

Five Members of the Utrecht Brotherhood of Jerusalem Pilgrims by Jan van Scorel ca 1541
Far right: My 13th great grandfather Jan Damen 1515-1569,
2nd great grandfather of Jan Damen 1638-1707 
Five Members of the Utrecht Brotherhood of Jerusalem Pilgrims
painting by Jan van Scorel ca 1541
My article Jan Corneliszen Damen In The New World was published on pages 47-56 of Volume 4, number 2 (May 1999) as a companion piece to another article called The Nephews of Jan Jansz Damen by Dorothy Koenig and Pim Nieuwenhuis in Volume 4, Number 2 May 1999 pages 36-39. The two nephews discussed were Jan Cornelisz Buys (aka Damen) who had three wives, 1) Eybe Lubberts, 2) Phebe Sales, and 3) Willemptje Thyssen; and his first cousin (my ancestor), Jan Cornelisz Damen, who married Fytje Martens. 

I have decided to republish the first 3 pages of my article here on my Olive Tree Genealogy blog.  I hope that descendants of Jan and other genealogists enjoy this story of Jan's life in New York. 
Jan Corneliszen Damen In The New World

by Lorine McGinnis Schulze[1]

Jan Cornelise Damen's contract period with Jacob Stoffelszen was three years, ending sometime in 1654.  It seems he diligently saved his wages because in April 1655 he purchased Cornelis van Tienhoven's house and land in Breuckelen, Long Island.[2] The cost of his new home was 1300 Carolus guilders with equal payments to be spread over a three year period.[3] Since Jan earned a total of 320 guilders in his contract time, it seems he acquired more money elsewhere.

It is likely that Jan was 20 or older when he made this purchase, giving him an estimated year of birth of 1635. This agrees with the findings in Amsterdam that he was a minor at the time of his contract in 1651. Jan signed with his mark indicating he could not write his own name.

In February 1656 Jan is found in New Amsterdam where he was the baptismal sponsor for Lubberts, the son of his cousin, Jan Cornelise Buys aka Damen.[4]  From 1656 to 1661 we find no records of Jan although we know that somewhere in this time period he met, and married, Sophia Martens.[5]  While no marriage record has been found, Sophia is recorded as the mother of several of their children in their baptismal records,[6] and is named in their joint will written in 1680. 

Parts 2, 3 and 4 will be published in weekly installments.

[1] Lorine McGinnis Schulze, Ontario Canada
[2] Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the office of the Secretary of State, Albany NY Part I, Dutch Manuscripts, 1630-1664, ed. by E.B. O'Callaghan. 1865. (Hereafter called CDM) p. 58. 29 April 1654. Deed. Cornelis Van Tienhoven to Jan Cornelissen Damen, of Buninck, of a house and parcel of land in the village of Breuckelen, between Joris Dircksen and black Hans. The contract of sale is between Cornelis van Tienhoven and Jan Cornelissen Damen and is dated 29 April 1655
[3] New York Historical Manuscripts Dutch translated by Arnold JF Van Laer (Hereafter called MHD.Laer) Volume III. p.394. "..the purchaser agrees to pay the sum of thirteen hundred Carolus guilders at 20 stivers each, in the following installments: May 1656, 1/3 of the promised money; May 1657, 1/3 and May 1658, the remaining 1/3, each third part amounting to fl 433:6:8."
[4] Baptisms Reformed Dutch Church New Amsterdam (New York). New York Genealogical & Biographical Record. (Hereafter called RDCNY) 1874 V.5:4 p. 175: 2 Feb. 1656. Parents Jan Corn. Buys, Ybetje Lubberts Child Lubbert Sponsors Jan Damien, Pieterje de Ruyter. Although Totten footnotes the sponsor Jan Damen as being Jan Jansen Damen, the adoptive father of Jan Cornelise Buys, this is not correct. Jan Jansen Damen died 18 June 1651 as per his probated will. It is almost certain that this baptismal sponsor is Jan Cornelise Damen, who later married Sophia Martens.
[5] She is also found in the records as Fytie, which is the usual diminuitive for the name Sophia. Some transcribed records have erroneously assumed a "T" in place of "F", rendering her name incorrectly as Tytie.
[6] Baptismal records for several of their children have been found, with gaps, for the years 1661 to 1685.

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