Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Families of Thomas Verdon and his son, Jacob Verdon

Thomas Verdon was the eldest son of Maria Badie, and only known son of her first husband, Jacob Verdon. Thomas was born in New Netherland (probably on Manhattan Island) and likely between the years of 1626 and 1634. It cannot be stated with certainty whether he was older, or younger, then his sister, Magdalena Verdon, the wife of Adam Brouwer. He was apparently named for his maternal grandfather, Thomas Badie.

The Verdon family was covered by John Reynolds Totten in "Verdon Family Notes," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, volume 64 (1933), pages 105-132. There are errors in Totten's work, particularly with regard to the Brouwer descendants of Thomas's sister, Magdalena Verdon.

Thomas Verdon was married three times, but left only one known child, a son Jacob. Thomas Verdon's first wife was Barbara Imbroeck (or Van Imbroeck). Her parentage and year of birth are not known, although she is probably a sister of Gysbert Van Imbroeck (husband of Rachel de la Montagne). A physician, Gysbert Van Imbroeck is titled as "Mr." in New Netherland records, and his given the title "Dr." by James Riker in his Revised History of Harlem (1904), p. 785. Jacobus, the (only) child of "Thomas Verdon and Barber Inbroeck," was baptized on 19 March 1656 at the New Amsterdam Reformed Dutch Church. The sponsors were Mr. Paulus Van Der Beeck, Mr. Gysbert Van Inbroecht, and Aeltje Braconye. Barbara Imbroeck was deceased by 18 December 1658, when Paulus Van der Beeck appeared before the New Amsterdam Orphan Masters representing her son, Jacob.

Thomas Verdon married his second wife, Jannetje Claes Bonen in June 1659. The banns, published at the New Amsterdam Dutch Church on 1 June 1659 describe him as the widower of "Barber Imbroeck," and Jannetje as the widow of "Tobias Toemszen." This was Jannetje's third marriage. She had previously been married to Urbanus Luyers, and then in 1649, to Tobias Theuniszen ("Toemszen" being an error in the above mentioned marriage record). Jannetje had three children by each of her first two husbands but none by Thomas Verdon. She was deceased by 12 April 1696 when banns were published for Thomas' third marriage.

On 26 April 1696, Thomas Verdon married as his third wife, Elsje (Ytie) Jeuriens. It was her third marriage as well. She was the widow of Theunis Ten Eyck (Theunis Theuniszen Denyck) who was her second husband.  Elsje's first husband was Ditlof Cleaszen van Doorn (they had five children). She had been baptized on 24 April 1661 at the New Amsterdam Reformed Church, the daughter of Jeurian Janszen and Harmentje Jans. Elsje was considerably younger than Thomas (by 30 years or more) yet had already been married twice herself. After Thomas Verdon's death, Elsje married for her fourth husband, Pieter Jansen Boeckholt. There were no children of Thomas Verdon and Elsje Jeurians.

Thomas Verdon, with his second wife, Jannetje Claes, became members of the Brooklyn Reformed Dutch Church on 25 December 1661 with an attestation from the New Amsterdam Church. His half-brother, Willem Willemszen Bennet and his wife, Gertrude Van Mulheym, became members on that same day. In 1664 both Thomas Verdon and Willem Bennet were two of the three nominees from Gowanus for the positions of elder and deacon at the Brooklyn Dutch Church. Thomas is found on the rate list at Brooklyn on 26 September 1683 with 8 morgens of land. He is on the census dated "about 1698," at Brooklyn, with one man, two women and four slaves. He appears in church records as a sponsor for numerous children at New York, Brooklyn and Flatbush, including the baptisms of four children of his step-daughter Neeltje Urbanus and her husband Thomas Franszen. No will or other settlement of his estate has been located, but Thomas Verdon was deceased by 21 November 1699, when his widow remarried. Thomas left one known child, a son Jacob, of his first wife, Barbara Imbroeck.

As mentioned previously, Jacob Verdon was baptized in 1656 at the New Amsterdam Reformed Dutch Church. On 17 March 1678 he married Femmetje Willemse Westervelt, the daughter of Willem Lubbertsen Westervelt and Dirckyen Roelofse. According to the Genealogy of the Westervelt Family (1905) she was baptized on 29 April 1658 at Meppel in the Province of Drenth in the Netherlands. Her father came to New Netherland in 1662 aboard the Hope with a wife and six children. He was described as an "agriculturist from Meppel," and his brother, Lubbert, with a wife and four children were aboard the same ship. Willem Lubbertsen Westervelt was deceased by 1 September 1697 when his wife made her will (proved 22 August 1704). Despite the fact that the couple had nine children, the will only mentions one son, Abraham, who received "all lands, etc."

Jacob Verdon and Femmetje Westervelt had ten children. Baptism records are found for Barbara (1680), Willem (1682), Thomas (1683), and Maria (1685) in either the Brooklyn or Flatbush Reformed Church records. The remaining children are known from Jacob's will which was dated 30 April 1740. The will was proved 17 March 1743, and at the time Jacob was living at Schraalenburgh in Bergen County, New Jersey. He styles himself, "Jacob Fardon of Scrallinburgh in Bergen County, yeoman." The will was recorded in New York (Lib. 15, p. 188). His children are mentioned as. "eldest son Thomas," "daughter Mary" and her husband Frans Vanderburgh, "daughter Jannettie wife of Adolphus Brouwer," "daughter Femmettie wife of Barent Bloom," "daughter Dericke wife of Andries Westervelt," and "my three sons "William, Jacob, and Johannes." The fact that Thomas, called the "eldest son" in the will, was baptized in 1683, after the baptism of son Willem in 1682, implies that Willem died young and a second son named William was born after 1683. Also mentioned in the will is "son Jacob Bennitt." He was the widower of the eldest daughter, Barbara Verdon who predeceased her father. Jacob's wife, Femmetje Westervelt is not named in the will. She had died in 1728.

The descendants of Thomas Verdon and Jacob Verdon are found with a wide variety of surnames. In addition to the early name, VERDON, we find FERDON, FARDON, and PARDON, as well as variations featuring vowel switches from O to E, and E to I. The variations in the first letter of the surname (V to F to P) can be attributed to the wide range of language and dialects spoken in colonial New York and New Jersey, and the phonetic spelling that clerks and ministers employed when writing down their original records.

The Brouwer Genealogy Database has just been updated and newly included is a descendant chart for Thomas Verdon covering five generations. The links will take you to individual profiles where source citations and additional info can be found. The chart is certainly not complete and there are numerous persons named Verdon, Fardon/Ferdon and Pardon/Perdon who are also included on the BGD website whose ancestry from Thomas Verdon has not yet been determined. They are included in the index pages.


  1. According to New York, NY- Marriages in the Reformed Dutch Church, 1639-1801 page 23. On 1 Jun 1659 Thomas Verdon Wed. Van Barber Imbroeck. Then, in the New York, U.S. Dutch Reformed Church Records from Selected States 1660-1926 page 41, is the bapt. of Jacobus on den 19 (Mart) docto. (March) 1656 Ouders-(Parents) Thomas Verdon, Barber Van Inbroeck, Kinders-(Jacobus), Getuygen-(Witnesses), Mr. Paulus Vander Beeck, Mr. Van Inbroeck, Aeltje. Which would mean Jacob was born 3 years before is parents marriage.
    It looks to me Jacob was the illigetament child of Thomas and Barbara Imbroeck. But, it may prove that her brother was Gysbert Van Imbroeck. What are your thoughts?

  2. Merideth, Jacob was not illegitimate. It appears that you do nt have the complete 1659 marriage record. The complete marriage record of 1 Jun 1659 reads, "Thomas Verdon, Wedr. Van Barber Imbroeck, en Jannetje Claes, Wede, Van Tobias Toemszen." Translated: Thomas Verdon widower of Barbara Imbroeck, and Jannetje Claes, widow of Tobias Toemszen. This then is the record of the publication of marriage banns for Thomas Verdon and Jannetje Claes, both of whom had been previously married. Barbara Imbroeck (and Tobias Toemszen) are both deceased by this date.
    There is no surviving record of the marriage of Thomas Verdon and his first wife Barbara Imbroeck, but we know that they had to have been married by the time their son Jacob was baptized on 19 March 1656. The record tells us as much by recording his parents as Thomas Verdon and Barber Van Inbroeck. If Jacob was illegitimate the minister would not have recorded his parents in this manner.


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