I have several Dutch lines in my family tree. All are remote and distant ancestors that came to what was then known as New Amsterdam (New York) in the British American Colonies. My Dutch ancestors are at times like a maze of connections or a web which is at times intricate. I am choosing in this blog entry to center in on this one Dutch Gardenier ancestor and closely related lines.
I will begin with a bit of fun trivia. Ten things that the Dutch introduced into American culture:
- Santa Claus. 🎅 He is called Sinterklaas by the Dutch. The Dutch also called him “de Kerstman” or the Christmas Man. It was thought that Sinterklaas was a mashup of the highly revered Saint Nicholas and a more mythical Father Christmas-like figure. He was so important to the Dutch that he was considered the unofficial patron Saint of New Amsterdam. It’s the very reason why there’s a St. Nicholas Avenue in Upper Manhattan.
The Dutch families who remained in New York after the English take over were continually observed by their stupefied new landlords as engaging in odd festivities around the beginning of December. On the eve of December 5th, the children of New Amsterdam would leave their shoes or stockings under their beds for St. Nick to fill with goodies.
The first written mention of the big man in the red coat (actually the Dutch said it was green) comes in 1773 in Rivington’s New York Gazetteer. It wasn’t until Washington Irving’s satire of New York’s Dutch heritage, The History of New York, that audiences see the Americanized designation of “Santa Claus” first appear. (5)
- Bowling. 🎳 Bowling is as old as the ancient Egyptians but it was such a staple of seventeenth century Dutch culture that Henry Hudson’s crew brought a form of lawn bowling with them. When the city of New Amsterdam took hold, the Dutch frequently bowled on their all-purpose cattle market/park/parade ground at the foot of their widest thoroughfare. (5)
- Ice Skating. ⛸️ Some would argue that the Scottish brought ice skating to America, but if you look closer at the timelines it’s hard to dispute the Dutch not taking to North American ice first. The Dutch were even credited with inventing the precursor to the modern ice skate by crafting the first steel blades back in the 13th Century. To the Dutch, ice skating was a form of sport considered proper for all classes. It was fabled that during freezing cold winters, New Amsterdam residents would skate over to their neighbors in the village of Breukelen (now Brooklyn). (5)
- The bar scene. 🍻 Unlike those killjoy Puritans to the north, the Dutch knew how to pound a few back. They loved their beer so much that New Amsterdam’s first town hall, the Stadt Huys, was a tavern. Actually, a quarter of the structures in New Amsterdam were bars. Sounds a little like modern day Bushwick whose original Dutch name Boswijck comes from its 1638 deed title meaning “heavy woods.” When New Amsterdam’s last Director General, Peter Stuyvesant, was sent to the newly minted city to clean up its act the first thing he did was ban the sale of alcohol before 2 pm on Sundays to prevent the rampant drunkenness that plagued the city at the time. A version of this law is still in effect today in the five boroughs. (5)
- Cookies! 🍪 The very name comes from the Dutch word “koekje” meaning “little cake.” The Dutch initially created these sweet treats to test the temperature of their ovens. Dutch children would line up in the kitchen to get their hands on them before the cooks would bake more complex breads and pastries. And how do you think these little delights made it to America? Through the bakeries of New Amsterdam. (5)
- 🍩 Doughnuts, 🥞 pancakes, 🧇 waffles, and 🥨 pretzels. The Dutch in New Amsterdam loved their baked goods. Back in 1989, a food historian and Dutch immigrant, Peter G. Rose, translated a 17th century Dutch cookbook called The Sensible Cook. In it she discovered the primer for what would become the standard American cheat day. As the New York Times reported right before the cookbook’s publication: “Ms. Rose believes that several of the mainstays of the American diet were brought to the New World by the Dutch, including pancakes, waffles, doughnuts… and pretzels. Ship inventories show that many Dutch settlers brought waffle irons with them to this country.” (5)
- Cole Slaw. Widely regarded as a German culinary creation, the term “cole slaw” is an Americanized version of the Dutch term “koolesalade” which translates to “cabbage salad.” In The Sensible Cook, the recipe for a salad made with cabbage, melted butter, vinegar and oil is included and attributed to the original author’s old Dutch landlady. Remember mayonnaise wasn’t invented until early 1800’s so the version we often find today scooped down next to our sandwiches came later. (5)
- Words like “Boss” and “Stoop”. You would be hard-pressed to find a New Yorker who doesn’t know what a stoop is and our understanding of the noun form of the word comes from the Dutch “stoep” meaning step. The Dutch were known to build elevated buildings with high entrances due to flooding in the low-lying areas common in the Netherlands. These structures required a set of “stoeps” to bring people to their front doors. This practice was brought to New Amsterdam and the New York stoop was born.
If the mere mention of your boss gives you anxiety, you can thank the Dutch for that word triggering your heart palpitations. Boss finds its humble beginnings in the Dutch word “baas” meaning “master” and it came from the very intricate master/apprentice system deeply entrenched in the Dutch economy. The system was alive and well in New Amsterdam where the word “baas” was Americanized to its current pronunciation and spelling. (5)
- Democracy. Historians like Russell Shorto posit that American democracy was introduced through a unique system of governance born in New Amsterdam. When Peter Stuyvesant assumed control of New Amsterdam, he was technically an employee of the West India Company. That meant New Amsterdam was under company rule and not the Dutch government. The multicultural landowners who peopled New Amsterdam did not like that proposition, especially when Stuyvesant started interfering with their property rights.
Under the leadership of a young lawyer and landowner, Adriaen Van der Donck, a representative government was founded in 1649 called the “Board of Nine.” The men (and eventually women) where chosen to represent the citizens of New Netherland. When Stuyvesant refused to pay attention to the council’s petitions, Van der Donck drafted a “bill of rights,” including the right to have a representative government in New Netherland. He took that document all the way to The Hague in Holland were the Prince of Orange himself ratified it. Later, these rights were carried over with the English governance of the colony making New York a precursor for American democracy in the colonies. (5)
- Religious and cultural tolerance. Perhaps one of the most enduring legacies imported through New Amsterdam was religious and cultural tolerance. To quote the New York State Library Research Center’s article on New Netherland, it “developed into a culturally diverse and politically robust settlement. This diversity was fostered by Dutch respect for freedom of conscience.” Don’t be mistaken: the Dutch certainly had their social misgivings including their employment of slavery and frequent skirmishes with the Lenape (Native Americans) but New Amsterdam was founded as a center of commerce and trade. Anyone who wanted to conduct business was welcome.
Within the first year of New Amsterdam’s settlement, it was reported that over 18 languages were spoken up and down the outpost’s narrow lanes. Much to Peter Stuyvesant’s chagrin, it becomes the first place in the New World that openly allowed Jews to worship when it welcomed a boatload of Portuguese Ashkenazi Jews into its harbor. That idea of tolerance and even that Jewish congregations are alive and well in New York today. (5)
The furthest I can take my Dutch Gardenier (Flodder) line back with certainty is to my 10th great-grandfather Jacob Janse “Flodder” Gardenier. He was born between 1610-1615 in Kampen, Kampen, Overijssel, Netherlands. He died 20 May 1688 in Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York. He married Josyna (Josijna) _____ of Kinderhook, New York. She was born about 1620-1626 in the Netherlands and died 28 January 1669 in Kinderhook, Albany, New York.
Josyna‘s maiden name is sometimes listed as Kinderhook. Kinderhook is not normally a Dutch surname. The town of Kinderhook, New York, got its name from the Dutch word Kinderhoek which means “Children’s Corner”.
The name “Kinderhook” has its root in the landing of Henry Hudson in the area around present-day Stuyvesant, where he was greeted by Native Americans with many children. With the Dutch kind meaning “child” and hoek meaning “corner”, it could be that the name refers to a bend (or “corner”) in the river where the children are. (1)
Some believe she was the daughter of Jacobus Janse Kinderhook (possibly originally, he had the Dutch surname Albertsen/Alberts). Jacobus Janse Kinderhook died on 7 June 1663 in Kinderhook, Albany, New York.
A bit about the city of Kampen, Overijssel, Netherlands:
Kampen is a city and municipality in the province of Overijssel, Netherlands. A member of the former Hanseatic League, it is located at the lower reaches of the river IJssel. (2)
(The Hanseatic League was an influential medieval commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in central and northern Europe. Growing from a few north German towns in the late 12th century, the League ultimately encompassed nearly 200 settlements across seven modern-day countries; at its height, it stretched from the Netherlands in the west to Russia in the east and reached as far north as Swedish Gotland and as far south as Kraków, Poland. (3 & 4))
The municipality of Kampen had a population of 53,779 in 2019. Kampen is located in the Northwest of Overijssel and is the largest city in this region. The city of Kampen itself has around 37,000 inhabitants.
Kampen has one of the best-preserved old town centers of the Netherlands, including remains of the ancient city wall (of which three gates are still standing) and numerous churches. Also notable are the three bridges over the IJssel which connect Kampen with IJsselmuiden and Kampereiland. (2)
Between the 14th and 16th century it was the biggest town in the Northern Netherlands (modern day European Netherlands). The town is about 90km (about 56 miles) northeast of Amsterdam.
Traditionally people in Kampen speak a variation of the [Dutch] Sallands dialect, known as Kampers. (2)
Jacob Janse “Flodder” Gardenier arrived in New York on 28 March 1638 on the ship Heinrich, making his way from Kampen and sailing from the port of Texel, Netherlands. Jacob reportedly arrived as the servant of Claes Jansz Ruyter. (6)
He married Josyna ____ in Beverwyck, New York (which later became Albany, New York) and they had numerous children including:
- Jan Jacobse Gardenier born between 1644-1648 in Beverwyck, Albany, Albany, New York, and died 21 June 1695 in Albany, Albany, New York. He married about 1668 in Albany, New York to Sara Janse (Saartje) Van Bremen. She was the daughter of Jan Dirksz Van Bremen. (They are my direct ancestors).
- Aeltie Jacobse Gardenier born 9 October 1646 in Beverwyck, Albany, Albany, New York, and died 21 January 1720 in Kinderhook, Columbia, New York. She married about 1669 in Albany, New York to Adam Dingman. (The ancestors of Hannah Hoes Van Buren (wife of U.S. Pres. Martin Van Buren)).
- Arriantje Gardenier born about 1654 in Beverswyck, Albany, New York and died 7 April 1723 in Kinderhook, Columbia, New York. She married Lucas Pieterse Coeymans.
- Cornelia Jacobse Gardenier born about 1654 in Beverswyck, Albany, New York. She married Johannes Vosburgh.
- Albert Jacobse Gardenier born between 1656-1659 in Albany, New York, and died 29 June 1696 in Albany, New York. He married Maritje Harmense Lieverse.
- Andries Jacobse Gardenier born about 1658 in Albany, New York, and died 13 August 1717 in Kinderhook, Columbia, New York. He married Eytje Ariaanse _____ (her maiden name may have been Van Wyen possibly).
- Hendrick Jacobse Gardenier born about 1660 in Albany, New York, and died about 1694/1695. He married Neeltje (Cornelia) Claessen Van der Burgh (Vandenberg).
- Lysbet “Elisabeth” Gardenier born 11 February 1662 in Albany, New York, and died 3 April 1749 in Deerpark, Orange, New York. She married Thomas Swartwout.
- Josyntje Gardenier born about 1662-1664 in Albany, New York, and died after 6 April 1701 in Albany, New York. She married Maas Cornelissen Van Buren (His brother Marten Cornelisz Van Buren is the ancestor of U.S. Pres. Martin Van Buren).
- Samuel Jacob Gardenier, born about 1666 in Kinderhook, Columbia, New York, and died about 1740. He married Helena Dirkse Bye.
Regarding the surnames Flodder and Gardenier:
In 1648 (and maybe earlier), he was recorded as Jacob Jansz Flodder (pronounced with a long ‘o’ as in ‘flow’ by a Dutch researcher born in the Netherlands). The spelling of the middle name varied in the records (Jansen was common). He was often referred to simply as Flodder. The source of the surname is unknown, and it did not survive in any of his descendants although one of his sons temporarily used the name Jan Floddersz (meaning Jan, son of Flodder). In “Early Records of the City and County of Albany and Colony of Rensselaerswyck” Vol. 3, pg. 415 (by Jonathan Pearson), Jacob is mentioned in 1674 as Jacob Jansz Gardenier. He is sometimes called Jacob Janse Gardenier, alias Flodder. This shows that he was the same person who used the Flodder surname.
So, by 1674 or earlier, Jacob had taken the Gardenier surname. All of his male children have been recorded with Gardenier or some spelling variation of that surname.
Lest you be misled, I should point out that a family member back in the Netherlands has been recorded in a document with the Gardenier spelling. It is possible that the Gardenier surname was already in use in the Netherlands when Jacob came to New Netherland in 1637 or 1638 (he was recorded as Jacob Janse at that time). Or the surname may have been created in the Netherlands after Jacob’s departure. At some point, Jacob decided to abandon Flodder in favor of Gardenier. There had to be some strong reason for him to change from Flodder, a name he used in business and by which he was very well known even by the Van Rensselaer family. (7 & 8)
Some biographical information about Jacob Janse “Flodder” Gardenier:
Jacob Janse Gardenier was a wealthy man and, from his appearances in the Albany County, New York court records, he not only was a litigious man, but he was, in turn, sued by a number of other people. In the time span from 1680-1685 alone, Jacob’s name appears in 25 pages of Albany, Rensselaerswyck and Schenectady court records. The lawsuits all appear to be based on payments owed for transactions agreed upon.
Jacob was a carpenter by trade but gained his wealth through land purchases. He built a grist mill on the Fifth Kill and owned land in Albany on both sides of Wall Street, which he divided into town lots and sold.
By 1667, Jacob had removed to Kinderhook, Columbia, New York and developed agricultural land. By the time he died, he owned over 1000 acres both in Albany and Kinderhook and ran a shipping business on the Hudson River. (6)
It appears that Jacob Janse Gardenier was apparently the owner of at least one enslaved person:
One of the more interesting cases is when Jacob Jansz Flodder [Gardenier] appeared before the courts in 1671 and gave a deposition concerning a slave, “[Gardenier] says that he is not satisfied with the oaths of Eldert Gerbeck and his wife regarding the purchase of the negress child, alleging that they swear falsely; furthermore, that he can not sell the child is the same is his own bastard child.” [re: p. 251, 25 May 1671]. Though the particulars of the court case remain unclear it appears that this slave may have been seized by the court to pay for debt. If so, Jacob’s claim of parentage may have been a rouse to keep his property. The record does show that Gardenier was a slave owner and, if his deposition was true that he did have at least one daughter by a slave. (6)
His first wife Josyna died on 28 January 1669 . He married second to Barentje Straetsmans on 30 September 1674. She was the widow of Hans Coenraats, by whom she reportedly had ten children, and she survived her husband Jacob Janse Gardenier.
My direct line of descendancy is as follows:
- Jacob Janse “Flodder” Gardenier and Josyna (Josijna) ____.
- Jan Jacobse Gardenier and Sara Janse (Saartje) Van Bremen (the daughter of Jan Dirksz Van Bremen).
- Josina Janse (Josyntje) Gardenier and Edward (Evert) Wielaar/Wheeler/Wieler.
- Sara (Zara) Wielaar/Wheeler and Willem Sluiter/Sluyter (the son of Niklaes “Klaes” Klaesen Sluyter and Cornelia Williamse Van Schuyven).
- Edward Sluyter and Lea Van Schuyven (the daughter of Wouter Willense Van Schuyven and Magdaleentje (Magdalene) Harte/Hartje).
- Sarah Annatje (Zara) Sluyter and Roelof Litts/Lits/Litz (the son of Daniel Litz and Femmetje Clerk/Klerk).
- Lea Litts and John (Johann) Kritsinger/Greatsinger (the son of Christian (Johann Christian) Greatsinger (Gretzinger) and Anne Antje Palmer/Parmer).
- Hannah Elizabeth Kritsinger/Greatsinger and David Prindle, Sr. (the son of Amos Prindle and Esther Canfield).
- Daniel Prindle and Sarah Jane “Jennie” Doman (the daughter of Jacob (John Jacob) Doman and Mary Ann Chamberlain).
- Anna “Cora” Prindle and Joseph Edward Cole (the son of Lorin Richard Cole and Nancy M. Losure). – My great-grandparents.
Some side notes:
- Those that link Edward (Evart) Wheeler (Wielaar/Wieler) to being the son John Wheeler, a man of English stock, who died 16 Dec 1691 in New London, Connecticut, I believe to be incorrect. There is a chance he was his son, but it’s also much more probable he was of a Dutch family. Edward did come from New England as indicated from the marriage record at Albany. The Dutch were a close-knit group, there are some intermarriages between the Dutch and Germans that both attended the Dutch Reformed Church, but this did not happen as often between the Dutch and other groups at this time in Dutch history in New York. Wiler is a Dutch surname.
- Femmetje Clerk/Klerk was the daughter of Willem Klerk/Clerk and Hilletje Vanderbilt. There are those that say Willem Clerk was the son of William Clerke of Leicester, Leics, England who died in Virginia and Mary Spenser. This is highly unlikely. Clerck is a Dutch surname, often found as De Clerck. He married Hilletje Vanderbilt, a woman of obvious Dutch ancestry, in the Dutch Reformed Church in Kingston, Ulster County, New York on 25 Aug 1698. The baptism records of their children are found in the same church records.
- That takes me to the subject of Hilletje Vanderbilt’s parentage. There were a handful of Dutch families using the Vanderbilt (and related spellings) surname in New York during this time. But research has strongly suggested her being the daughter of Aris Aert Janse Vanderbilt and Hillitje Hillegonde Vanderbeek. Her mother was the daughter of Rem Jansen (Remsen) Vanderbeek and Jannetje Rapalje — I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I have several DNA matches that are also descended from this this Vanderbeek/Rapalje couple.
Cousin Hannah Hoes Van Buren (wife of U.S. Pres. Martin Van Buren).
Hannah Hoes was the daughter of Johannes Dircksen Hoes and Maria Quakenbush. Johannes Dircksen Hoes was a great-great grandson of Jacob Janse “Flodder” Gardenier and Josyna (Josijna) ____. Thus, making Hannah Hoes Van Buren my fourth cousin, seven times removed. Meaning that my ancestor Sarah Annatje (Zara) Sluyter Litts and Hannah Hoes Van Buren were direct fourth cousins.
Hannah Hoes Van Buren was the wife of the eighth President of the United States, Martin Van Buren. She died of tuberculosis before he was elected, leaving him one of the few Presidents to remain unmarried in office. Because she died eighteen years before he became President of the United States, she never served as First Lady, but is included in The White House historical records as part of First Families. She was the first president’s wife to be born a citizen of the United States, rather than a British subject.
She was raised in a Dutch home and never did lose her distinct Dutch accent. Van Buren was devoted to his shy, blue-eyed bride, whom he always called “Jannetje”, a Dutch pet form of the name Johanna. She and her husband were Hoes first cousins; one time removed. They were raised in a close-knit Dutch community, Hannah Hoes and Martin Van Buren grew up together in Kinderhook, New York and were childhood sweethearts. Evidently, he wanted to establish his law practice before marrying his sweetheart–they were not wed until 1807, when he was 24 and his bride just three months younger. Apparently, their marriage was a happy one, though little is known of Hannah as a person. (9, 10, & 11)
They were married on February 21, 1807, at the home of Hannah’s sister in Catskill, New York, when she was 23 and he was 24. Theirs was a very happy marriage. Van Buren was reportedly devoted to Hannah, who was rather shy, an unusual trait for a politician’s wife. She managed to overcome her shyness and functioned as his official hostess as he began his political career. They had four children together before she contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 35.
At the time of her death, her husband was a New York state senator, and already making a name for himself. Shortly after her death, he was elected a U.S. Senator, and then governor of New York. Her effect on his career continued to be felt through her four sons, all of whom served in important political roles for their father during his career, and especially his Presidency. (12)
- Kinderhook (town), New York – Wikipedia
- Kampen, Overijssel – Wikipedia
- The Hanseatic story. 400 years of exciting past
- Hanseatic League – Wikipedia
- 10 Things the Dutch Introduced to America – Untapped New York (untappedcities.com)
- Jacob Janse Gardenier aka Flodder, Beverwyck, NY 1638 | Empty Branches on the Family Tree
- Jacob Janse Gardenier – Cliff Lamere (rootsweb.com)
- Patronymics, Surnames & Dutch Given Names – Cliff Lamere (rootsweb.com)
- Hannah Hoes Van Buren | The White House
- Hannah Van Buren – Wikipedia
- First Lady – Hannah Van Buren | C-SPAN First Ladies: Influence & Image
- The President’s Lady – Hannah Hoes Van Buren | World History
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