Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Friday, May 25, 2012

Additional Info Regarding Claes de Graaf

In the post of April 12, 2012 I voiced skepticism to the claim by Jonathan Pearson that Claas de Graaf was born in 1628 and that his patronymic was Andriesse. I note that Pearson did not provide sources for these claims. The source for the birth date has been found, but there is a problem with it. In Early Records of the City and County of Albany, and Colony of Rensselaerswyck (1656-1675) Vol. 1 (Albany: J. Munsell, 1869) at page 224, we find on 22 February 1655 the deposition of Klaas Andriese [De Graaf] aged about twenty-seven years in a case brought by Steven Janse against a man named Harmen (surname not known) regarding an assault. This volume was compiled by Jonathan Pearson himself, and in the text the surname, De Graaf, is in brackets (as shown above). This is because Pearson is inserting the surname himself. The original text only calls the deponent, "Klaas Andriese." Pearson is assuming that this man is Claes de Graaf, and from here derives Claes's birth date as 1628. I believe Pearson is incorrect in this assumption, and that this man, "Klaas Andriese," is more probably Claes Andriese de Gojer/Goyer.

In looking for evidence as to the existence of men named Claes Andriesse (Andriessen, Andries, etc.) living at Beverwijck or Rensselaerswijck in the mid 1600s (1640 to 1670). I have only found one, and he appears to be Claes Andriese de Gojer. According to A.J.F. Van Laer in Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts, being the letters of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, 1630-1643...(Albany: Univ. of the State of New York, 1908), at page 31, Claes Andriesz came to New Netherland in 1644, from Hilversum in the Gooi or Gooiland, province of North Holland. In fact there are a handful of different men found in the records of Albany county during this same period found with the suffix, de Goyer (de Gojer) indicating that they came from the area known as Het Gooi. Claes Andriesse is named in a handful of records in the Deacon's Church Accounts for Beverwijck in the 1650s and 1660s. See Janny Venema, Deacon's Accounts, 1652-1674, Beverwijck/Albany (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Erdmans Pub. Co., 1998) where at pages 33, 35 and 38, Claes de Gojer is mentioned. On 2 March 1657, money was advanced to his children (p. 38). On 5 August 1662, f10 was given to Styntie Claes, the daughter of Claes de Goyer, deceased. Claes was alive on 25 Aug 1660 when he is listed among those owing a debt to Evert Noldingh [Early Records of the City and County of Albany and Colony of Rensselaerswyck vol. 3 (Albany: Univ. of the State of New York, 1918) originally authored by Pearson but revised and edited by A.J.F Van Laer, at page 36, see footnote which identifies him as "Claes Andriessen, from Hilversum, in the Gooi, hence called "the Goyer"]. Claes' daughter, Styntje (Stijn) is mentioned in April 1672, when she received aid from the Deacons at Beverwijck for her illegitimate child.

At this point I have still not found an original record that would confirm Jonathan Pearson assertion that Claes de Graaf was born in 1628 and that his patronymic was Andriesse. I believe Pearson confused Claes de Graaf with Claes Andriesz de Gojer. I would be most interested to hear from anyone who can demonstrate otherwise. (E-mail).

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