Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Two Anneke Jans Law-Suits"

As a continuation from the last post regarding published works on Anneke Jans, here is another, this one from The American Genealogist, vol. 24 (1948), pages 65-69.

In "Two Anneke Jans Law-Suits," by H. Minot Pitman, the author presents some genealogical data that was taken from the court records of two cases involving claims to the "Trinity Church Property," alleged to have been owned by Anneke Jans. The cases examined were filed in 1830 and 1834.

The first case, initially filed in 1830 by John Bogardus (1760-1832) and dismissed in 1847, includes a lineage of John Bogardus' descent from Anneke Jans. Testimony and depositions given by individuals regarding their family ancestry, and/or the composition of families, is sometimes used as a source by later genealogists. Many researchers make the mistake of assuming that testimony given before a court is always correct. This isn't so, and testimony and statements are particularly inaccurate when human memory is involved. In this case, filed by John Bogardus in 1830, is an example of an incorrect (in this case an incomplete) claim. The lineage from Anneke Jans to John Bogardus, as filed in the court records, is missing a generation. Here is the correct lineage from Anneke Jans for John Bogardus. Recreate the lineage as stated in the record (as presented on pages 65-66) and you will find the missing generation.

The second case presented is from 1834, Jonas Humbert et al, vs. Trinity Church. In this case, which involves a line of descent through the Bayard family of New York City, the lineage is correct. It's a bit confusing as multiple Samuel and Peter Bayards are mentioned, but once put together and checked against other records (baptism, marriage and probate records) it can be summarized as follows: Samuel Bayard (1706-1784) Descent from Anneke Jans

I approached both of these cases by first writing out the lineages as claimed in the cases, and then looked to confirm each generation using available church, probate and other (in the case of John Bogardus, a Bible record published in the NYGBR in 1953). This is the approach I would recommend to anyone who encounters in their research, a lineage that may appear at quick glance to have some air of authority since it was presented in a court case, or used to secure a membership in an esteemed genealogical society (D.A.R. for example). And simply because a lineage is accepted, that acceptance does not mean that the stated lineage is absolutely accurate. Take the time to check the the claims against other records. If the lineage is correct, you should have no trouble recreating it from scratch.

(All of those mentioned above, and in the lineage charts, with source citations, will be available online with the next update of the Brouwer Genealogy Database. The copy of the article was scanned from a photocopy in the William B. Bogardus Collection. If you scroll down past Minot's article and past a segment on Austin's Rhode Island Genealogies, you will come to a follow-up article titled, "Anneke Jans Descendants," by Lewis Neff).

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