Sunset at Gowanus Bay

Sunset at Gowanus Bay
Sunset at Gowanus Bay, Henry Gritten, 1851

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Identifying the Wife of Isaac Bennet

As mentioned in the previous post, the Bennet family genealogy ("Descendants of Willem Adriaeszen") by Wilson V. Leldey (NYGBR vols. 93-95) contains numerous errors and problems. One problem, just solved, involves the identification of the wife of Isaac Bennet (no. 14 in the genealogical summery, found at 93[1962]:200, and 94[1963]:40). No record of baptism survives for Isaac, but he is believed to be a son of Adriaen/Arien Willemsen Bennet (no. 2) and his wife, Agnietje Jans Van Dyck. This placement is based upon Isaac naming his first son, Arie, who when baptized at Brooklyn had as sponsors the above mentioned "Arie Bennet and Angenietje, his wife."

At NYGBR 94(1963):40, Ledley states, "About 1697 he (Isaac) married Magdalena (Lena or Helena) ____, whose identity has not been established but whose surname may well have been Van der Koek." Ledley's basis for this guess is a deed dated May 5, 1701, in Kings Co., by which Isaac Bennet and his wife, Helena, convey to Michael Van der Koeck, 1/2 of a plantation located in Bedford, Kings County. The assumption here being that Isaac and his wife, Helena, were selling their half of an inherited piece of property, to her brother. It can now be shown that Helena (who also appears as Lena and Magdalena) was not a sister of Michael Van der Koeck, but was in fact a sister of Michael's wife, Sarah Joosten.

Digital images of the 1701 deed are now online (Isaac Bennet-Michael Van der Koeck Deed, 1701). The complete deed, which is located in Kings County Deeds Lib. 2, page 219 (re-transcribed version at page 291, FHL film #1413189) shows that the property being transferred was previously owned by "Joost ffranse," deceased. It is apparent that either Isaac or his wife, Helena, and either Michael Van der Koeck or his wife, Sara Joosten, were heirs of Joost ffrance (Frans, Fransen, Francis). Each of these couples owned half of the property, and the first couple, Isaac & Helena, were selling their half to the second couple, Michael & Sara (although Sara is not mentioned in the deed).

Magdalena, daughter of Frans. Joosten (sic, his given and surnames reversed), and Geertruid Aukes, was baptized on 2 November 1679 at Midwout, Long Island (Voorhees, Records of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush, Kings Co., New York, Vol. 1, 1677-1720 [New York: HSNY, 1998], page 394).

Geertruid Aukes, the mother mentioned above, was a daughter of Aucke Jansen (Van Nuys) and his first wife, Magdalena Pieterse. The will of Auke Jansen Van Nuyse, dated May 15, 1694, is abstracted in Abstracts of Wills on file in the Surrogate's Office, City of New York, Vol. 1, 1665-1707 (New York: Collections NYHS, 1892), pages 294-295, with corrections to Aucke's name and the names of others in the abstract, found in Volume 16 of the same series, at page 31. (The original is in New York Co. Wills, Lib. 5-6, page 255). In his will, Aucke Jansen leaves all his estate to his wife Geetie for life, and then to his children by his first wife (Magdalena) including, "the two children of Geetie Auke, deceased, procured by Joost Fransen, viz., Sara Joosten and Magdalena Joosten, for one share." It is established that Magdalena, baptized in 1679, the daughter of Joost Fransen and Geertriud Aukes, had a sister named Sara, although no baptism record for Sara has been located.

Geertruid Aukes, the mother of Magdalena (Lena, Helena) and Sara Joosten, was deceased by January 30, 1692, when banns for the marriage of her widower husband, Joost Franse and Annetie Joris (Rapalje) widow of Marten Reijers were posted (Voorhees, Flatbush Church Records, page 273).

Joost Franse was deceased by January 27, 1696, when the inventory of his estate was recorded for Reynier Aertse and John Auke. In this recording Joost Franse is described as "late of Bedford in Kings County" (Abstracts of New York Co. Wills, Vol. 1, page 277, abstracting Lib. 5-6, p. 166). On February 3, 1696, Benjamin Fletcher, Captain-General and Governor of New York, granted Letters of Administration on the estate of "Joost Francis of Bedford, late deceased by fire, leaving behind him a widow non compos mentis, and two children," to Reynier Aertse and John Auchine, "the next relations." Joost apparently had no blood relations in the New York area (other then his two daughters) and the two appointed administrators were a husband of Joost's deceased first wife's sister (Jannetje) and his deceased first wife's brother, Jan Aukes. Joost Franse is deceased in early 1696 and his real property, in Bedford, would then pass to his only two heirs, his daughters, Magdalena and Sara.

On February 15, 1699, banns were posted in the New York Reformed Dutch Church for "Michiel Van der Koeck, j.m. Uyt Zeelt (born at Zeeland), en Saertje Joosten, j.d. Van Breuckelen, de Eerste woonende, en twede op Betfort (born at Brooklyn, now living at Bedford). They were married in Brooklyn.

On June 9, 1700, Isaak, child of Isaak Bennet and Leena, was baptized at Brooklyn, sponsors Michael Van der Koek, Saartje, his wife (van der Linde, Old First Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn, New York: First Book of Records, 1660-1752, New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch [Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983], page 143).


On May 5, 1701, we have the above mentioned deed by which Isaac Bennet and his wife, Helena conveyed to Michael Van der Koeck, one half of a property in Bedford formerly belonging to Joost ffranse, deceased. This property would have passed to his legal heirs, which in 1696 were his only two children, daughters Magdalena and Sara (as stated in the 1694 will of Auke Jansen Van Nuys).


 On October, 26, 1702, Joost, child of Michiel van der Koek and Sara was baptized at Brooklyn, with sponsors Yzaac Bennet and Lena, his wife (van der Linde, Old First Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn, New York: First Book of Records, 1660-1752, New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch [Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983], page 147).

The wife of Isaac Bennet (no. 14) in Ledley's account of the Bennet family, can now be identified as Magdalena/Lena/Helena Joosten, daughter of Joost Fransen and Geertruid Aukes, and granddaughter of Aucke Jansen Van Nuys and his first wife, Magdalena Pieterse. Magdalena would have been named for her maternal grandmother (Magdalena Pieterse) and so was most probably Joost and Geertruid's first daughter. Her sister's name (Sara) may be a clue to the identity of Joost's mother. Joost Fransen's parents and origins are not known.

It should be mentioned that both of the given names, Magdalena and Helena, can be shortened to the same diminutive, Lena. It is not uncommon for women, born as Magdalena to be seen in later records with the name Helena, with the confusion/switch originating with the common diminutive of Lena.

Isaac Bennet and Magdalena/Lena/Helena Joosten had four sons baptized at Brooklyn. They were the above mentioned Arie in 1698, the above mentioned Isaac in 1700, also William in 1704 and Jacob in 1706. A fifth son, George, is attributed to the couple as he was an executor of his (likely) brother Jacob's will in Bucks Co., Pennsylvania in 1747, and by virtue of the fact that he was named, George, which in the Bennet family of this period equated to the Dutch, Joost, therefore he was named for Magdalena's father. Ledley claims two more "probable" children for Isaac and Magdalena: John ("b. abt. 1710) and Sophia ("b. ___). There is no basis for the inclusion of children John and Sophia in the family of Isaac Bennet. They should be removed from this family until, or unless, evidence that supports their inclusion can be found.

Ledley also states that Isaac, "first moved his family to the vicinity of New Brunswick, New Jersey, and about 1731, to Bucks County, Pennsylvania." While it appears that his sons, Isaac, William, Jacob and George, did relocate to Bucks County, there is no direct evidence that points to Isaac himself as having made the move. Ledley also assigns Issac a second wife, Sarah, stating that they stood as sponsors at a baptism in Bucks County in 1732. Verification for Ledley's statements regarding Isaac has not been found. We do know that Isaac and Lena witnessed a baptism in 1705 at Brooklyn for Angenitje, the daughter of Jacob van Dooren and Marijtie (who was Isaac's sister). Records for Isaac, after this date, must still be located.

With the identity of Isaac Bennet's wife is now assured, other questions regarding Isaac's complete family and his whereabouts after 1705 can be pursued.


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