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Friday, September 25, 2009

Finding Ancestors in 1750s New Jersey

Some years ago, Lew asked about
Derek Tunison was born in 1754 to Denes Tunison and his wife Sarah, nee Hoglandt. I believe they lived in Bridgewater Twp. of Somerset Co., New Jersey. I am searchng for the wife and descendents of Derek. Any help will be greatly appreciated.


I responded on a mailing list to Lew's question but I think the process I used to find the answers may be helpful to other researchers of this time period. So I have edited and republished it here:

Olive Tree Answer: Dear Lew, I checked the will abstracts found in "Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey" for you. These books are in 3 vols -- V. I Calendar of New Jersey Wills 1670-1730; V. II 1730-1750; V. III 1751-1760.

Denes Tunison did live in Bridgewater Tp. Somerset Co. He is named in the will of Robert BOLMER,farmer of Bridgewater, 30 Dec. 1754 in regards to Robert's farm -- "...lands adjoining Donies [sic] Tuneson and John Sebring"

With the names of two neighbours (Robert Bolmer and John Sebring) you should now be able to find quite a bit more from the land documents that survive.

Next, I found the will of Cornelis Tunison, who appears to be your Denes' father, in Vol. II - 1730-1750 p 475. The will was written 24 Aug. 1727 and proved 3 Oct AND 3 Nov. 1731. The original can be found in Lib. B, p. 238. It is written by Cornelius Teunissen of Raratan River, Somerset Co. His wife is Neelye. He names his 'home plantation' on the Raritan River.

His children are named as:oldest son Cornelius; eldest daughter Fenmeye widow of George Fairly; second son Tunis;youngest daughter Sarah; third son John; youngest son Dinis [sic]

Dinis is given 'that plantation between the first and second mountains bought of Jacob Sebring, on which my son Cornelius now lives" The importance of the land having been bought from a Sebring, and a Sebring being your Denes' neighbour in
1754 indicates to me that this is the correct man.

In this same volume, on p. 245 I found the will for the man I believe is your Sarah Hoogland's father. The will is of Dirrick Hoogelandt, written 21 April 1746 and proved 8 Aug. 1746. It can be found in Lib D p 399.

Dirrick Hoogelandt is listed as a farmer of Middlesex Co. with wife Annatie. His children are: Hendrick, Derrick,Annatie, Sarah and Maria. His wife is expecting a child. He names his sister Antie Quick; brother Adrian Hoogland;brother Adrian Hoogland's son Hendrick Hooghland [sic]. He mentions "legacies specified in the will of my father" His executors are his brother Abraham Hoogelandt and Dirrick Folckersen.

Adrian Hoogland also has his will on this page so you may wish to find these volumes in a library and read the wills for yourself. Although Derrick speaks of his father's will, I was unable to find any previous Hoogland entries.

If you do not have the Tunison ancestry you might want to check the records of the BOGART family (online book "Genealogical Notes of New York and New England Families" compiled by S.V. Talcott, mentioned many times previously on this list) which indicate that Neeltje Bogart bp 23 Aug 1665 to Teunise Cornelise Bogart and wife Sara Rapalje m Cornelis Teunis Denyse [sic] on 23 Aug 1687.

It appears then that your Denis Tunison may be the son of Cornelius Tunisson and wife Neeltje Bogart. Cornelis Teunise was the s/o Teunis Nyssen and his second wife Femmetje Jans aka Phaebea Faelix. This leads you to the infamous John Celes aka Jan Seals who was Phaebea's father.

For more information on these families, refer to the well documented articles:

"Jan Cornelis Buys (alias Jan Damen) and His Three Wives Eybe Lubbertse, Phaebea Faelix (alias Phebe or Femmetje Jans) WIllemtie Thyssen; Teunis Nyssen (or Denyse) and his wife Phaebea Faelix (alias Phebea or Femmetje Jans); Roelof Willemszen and his wife Willemtie Thyssen" by John Reynolds Totten in New York Genealogical and Biographical Record July 1935

"The True Identity of John Sales alias Jan Celes of Manhattan" by Gwenn F. Epperson in New York Genealogical and Biographical Record April 1992

This gives you quite a few new family names to research! For more help with early New Netherland (New York) genealogy, and online searchable databases for this era, see New Netherland Section on Olive Tree Genealogy.

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