Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Friday, August 24, 2012

Maria Badie, New Netherland Matriarch

Maria (Marie, Marritje) Badie, was the only known child of Aeltje Braconie and Thomas Badie. She was the mother of Magdalena Verdon, and mother-in-law of Adam Brouwer. Maria was married three times, had thirteen children, and seventy-seven known grandchildren. She is the ancestress of tens of thousands of descendants and as such is arguably one of the more important matriarchs of early New Netherland.

Maria Badie (Marie in French, Marritje in Dutch, she is also recorded with her patronymic as, Mary Thomas), and her mother Aeltje Braconie (whose name also appears as BRACKNOENGIE, and other variations, including one record as "Eli Braconie") have been covered in several published accounts. In 1934 John R. Totten, published "Aeltje Braconie-Baddie-Cool-Bredenbent Family Notes," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 65, pages 234-245. This account primarily deals with Maria's mother, Aeltje Braconie, and lays out eleven pages of instances where she, or one of her three husbands, appears in the New Netherland records. It is a very useful account of essentially abstracts of the records in which Aeltje appears. There is no genealogical summery. Totten also makes the error of assuming that Aeltje Braconie and an "Eli" Braconie were two different people. Totten refers to Maria as "Mary Baddie." Start with this article if you are new to researching this family.

In 1933, Totten had previously published (NYGBR vol. 64, pages 105-132) "Verdon Family Notes." In this account, Totten introduces some primary evidence and produces a chart of the descendants of Aeltje Braconie, and a genealogical summery of the descendants of Maria Badie's first husband, Jacob Verdon.  The article includes a chart of Aeltje Braconie's descendants. In this chart Totten makes the error of assigning three children to Aeltje and her second husband, Cornelis Lambertsz Cool. This couple had no children. Cornelis' three children (Aeltje, Aechtje and Lambert) were by a first wife whose identity has not been discovered. This was not apparent to Totten in 1933. Maria Badie was Aeltje Braconie's only known child. Totten's other errors (regarding descendants) in "Verdon Family Notes," were later corrected by William J. Hoffman. (Hoffman, in "Brouwer Beginnings," refers to Maria as "Marie Thomasdr Badie," TAG 23:194).
It should also be noted that during the colonial period the Verdon surname underwent some interesting alterations, a result of consonant switches due to local pronunciation and phonetic spelling by those who wrote the records. Today, descendants of Jacob Verdon have surnames as varied as Verdon, Fardon, and Pardon (along with numerous other variations created by vowel changes, such as e to a, a to e, o to e, e to i, etc.).

"Van Der Beek Family Notes," (NYGBR vol. 64, pages 229-243 and 367-387) was also published in 1933 by Totten. This thirty-four page account covers the descendants of Maria Badie and her third husband, (Mr.) Paulus Van der Beeck. The couple had six children, five of whom had descendants. The genealogical summery is to the fourth generation with the children of the fifth generation listed. Much of this genealogy appears to be sound, but as is always the case, researchers today should search out for themselves the source records that were used to compile the genealogy.

Maria Badie's second husband was Willem Adriaenszen, whose descendants adopted the surname (reason unkown) of BENNET (variations Bennett and Bennit). According to Wilson V. Ledley, Totten had prepared a manuscript on this branch of the family but never published it (Totten died in 1936). W. V. Ledley picked up on Totten's manuscript, consulted the manuscript of Andrew D. Chidsey, and the self published account of the family by Andrew J. Provost in his "Early Settlers of Bushwick," and compiled "Willem Adriaense Bennet of Brooklyn and Some of his Descendants," which, beginning in 1962, ran in eight consecutive issues, concluding in 1964 (NYGBR Vol. 93, pp. 193-204; Vol. 94, pp. 34-41, 107-114, 156-169, 205-213; Vol. 95, pp. 10-27, 155-165, 204-207). The series covers (for the most part) five generations. While Ledley's account published in the NYGBR seems at first glance to be authoritative, it does contain numerous errors that are only found with closer examination. Just recently I have had the opportunity to correspond and collaborate with two excellent and critical researchers who have a good deal of experience with the families of colonial New Netherland, New York and New Jersey. Together we have been able to identify a number of incorrect assumptions, placements, and even misreadings of original records in Ledley's account of the Bennet family. As of now, I'd say that the Ledley account needs a complete re-evaluation. The Bennets of the colonial period were a large and complicated family with many repeats of given names in the same generations. A re-work of Ledley's account will take time, but it needs to be done. For now all I can suggest is to use Ledley's account with caution. Look to verify every claim. Unfortunately, some of the errors (citing Ledley specifically) have been repeated in later articles published in the NYGBR, even as late as 2001 and 2010.

More recently, Harry Macy, Jr. (former editor of the NYGBR) has added new information on Maria Badie, her mother, Aeltje Braconie, and second husband Willem Adriaeszen. In "Origins of Some New Netherland Families," NYGBR vol. 123 (1992), pages 21-22, Macy uses entries in the Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts (1908) to identify Willem Adriaeszen's origins (prior to coming to New Netherland) as "Elseneur" identified as Helsingör in Denmark. In 2011, Macy's article, "Some New Light on Aeltje Braconie and Maria Badie," NYGBR vol. 142, pp. 21-36, uses some "re-discovered" information to calculate Maria's birth year as "say 1612," and to identify her place of birth as probably Liège, in present day Belgium. Her first husband, Jacob Janszen Verdon, was from La Rochelle, France. The author also clarifies Totten's confusion over the identity of "Eli" Braconie (who is Aeltje herself, and not some relation as was surmised by Totten). The article hypothesizes that Magdalena Verdon, eldest child of Maria Badie and wife of Adam Brouwer, was married to Adam at the early age of thirteen years, which is certainly possible. Macy's account includes a genealogical summery, and offers a very plausible account of the early life of Aeltje Braconie and her daughter, Maria Badie.

Aeltje Braconie, like her daughter, Maria Badie, was married three times. The two (mother and daughter) were among the earliest settlers to arrive at New Amsterdam. There is no surviving record of their passage, but as Maria's daughter Magdalena Verdon is stated in her marriage record in 1645, to have been born in New Netherland, they would have had to have been there in the late 1620s (say 1625 to 1630, and quite possibly in 1628). Aeltje's first husband, the father of Maria, was Thomas Badie. He is simply known from the fact that Maria appears in records with the surname, Badie, and with the patronymic, Thomas. From this it is concluded that Maria's father, hence the husband of Aeltje Braconie, was "Thomas Badie." There are no direct records, or evidence of him otherwise. Macy, in his 2011 account, suggests that Aeltje came to New Netherland with her first husband and that he died there in the 1630s. Aeltje's second husband was Cornelis Lambertszen Cool. No marriage record exists but evidence for it is from a 1644 agreement in which Aeltje is called, "Aeltjen Brackongne, widow of the late Cornelis Lambersen Cool." There were no children from this marriage (Cornelis had three known children from a prior marriage). Her third marriage was recorded in the Reformed Dutch Church of New Amsterdam  records. The banns dated 4 September 1644 for her intended marriage to Willem Bredenbent, call her a widow of "Cornelis Lamberts." Willem Bredenbent, who like Adam Brouwer, was from Cologne, was a bachelor at the time of the marriage. There were no children from this marriage. Aeltje and Willem wrote a joint will in 1670, she is mentioned as a member of the Brooklyn RDC (from Gowanus) on 19 November 1679, and is believed to have died just prior to 8 April 1681.

My own genealogical summery of the families of Maria Badie and her three husbands is available online. This will be updated in the future to cover three generations. Bennet family corrections will be forthcoming (as time permits) as well.

The Families of Maria Badie and Her Three Husbands

And as usual, please refer to the Brouwer Genealogy Database for source citations. (The site is to be updated soon).


  1. Where might I locate the "Verdon Family Notes". Roland Vardon e-mail in Toronto Canada

  2. I would suggest trying the Toronto Public Library. A search at their website for New York Genealogical and Biographical Records gives this result (you will have to copy and paste this link):
    From this page I take it that copies of the NYGBR can be found at the Toronto Reference Library, 789 Younge Street -
    Online you could access a copy of issues of the NYGBR at Find My Past ( but this requires paying for a subscription. They currently have a 14 day free trial offer. A membership with the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society ( will also give you access to Find My Past.


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