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Thursday, September 10, 2015

New Netherland Research is Not Simple or Quick

Lois asked a rather convoluted question which does not have a simple answer. Because of the several questions Lois asked, i am going to intersperse my answers with her questions.


Q: After 200 years of historical accounts of the immigrants from the Netherlands, debate is still continuing when the surname Teunise/Teunisen is researched. My ancestor was Teunis Nyssen, who had  7 children based on baptism records, one (Cornelis) from guardianship record after his mother Phoebe Janse died. By 1660, when the 2nd generation started marriage and having children, the names of daughters were Teunis with an “e” added and sons with “en”. Historians and genealogists either made decisions which person had which “Teunis” father, so for the children of Teunis Nyssen, Denyse was added to the name “de Nys, or of Nys, as opposed to child of Teunis Bogaert. 


Is my assumption on the addition of the “e” and “en” correct?
A: The simple answer is "NO". The patronymic was formed by adding -se, -sen, or -szen. Daughters would very often have the ending -x or -dr. added. I suggest that what you are finding ("e" vs "en") is simply the way the name/patronymic was recorded by that specific clerk or individual. See Dutch Patronymics of the 1600s for more help. 

Also, if you have not seen my page on the DAMEN family of New Netherland I urge you to take a look.  As well as a brief expanation of the family origins, you will find several resources for you to use. You will definitely want the 4th one but you may find the others very helpful as well:


Q: The “Teunis” problem seems to have led to the following children  being attributed to Nyssen:   Hillegonde, Geertje, James, Joris and Teunis. So the second question relates to children naming  traditions.    First son after father’s father, 2nd mother’s father and 1st daughter after mother’s mother, 2nd after father’s mother...with exceptions.    A son Teunis for Nyssen is possible, but many records show him by age as 1st son, whereas he would be Dionys (name for Teunis’ father), 2nd son was Jan named for mother’s father.  
A:  You should never take naming traditions or customs as being set in stone. They might be observed by the couple but they might not be. One parent might be honoured by having a grandchild named after him/her but another might be on the "outs" with the family. A rich uncle or someone who could bestow favours on the couple might be the person honoured with a child's name. There may be a missing child which had the name of the missing parent. There are many reasons why naming patterns cannot be relied on!

Q: Is there any way to ID all the men named Teunis who would have been fathers between 1640 and 1670, so the “supposed children” could be linked to the correct parents?  If there is, how can it be communicated to people who have ancestry trees in various websites?  
A: You could certainly devote many years of research and study into an attempt to find all men named Teunis (or Antonis) who could have been fathers in that 30 year time span.  But if you were thinking of the entire area of New Netherland you would have quite a lifetime project ahead of you. Even if you found them all, determing which children belong to which father would quite likely take yet another lifetime, if indeed it could be done. 

Researching the Dutch in New Netherland is not an easy task. It requires years of study to understand naming patterns, customs, patronymics etc *and* to find the records to assist in the research. There are records that Dr. Gehring has been working on translating from the Dutch for over 25 years now! 


Photo credit: Stuart Miles on FreeDigital.Net

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