See more extensive discussion on pages pertaining to Witt-Claess Janssen, her father, and her mother and maternal forebears. In addition to an unknown number of half-siblings from her father’s first marriage, Falde very likely had an elder brother, Tjerck Claessen, who emigrated to North America from near Esens in Ostfriesland (today the northern coast of Germany) in the early or mid-1650s. Three of their siblings joined him over the next few years. Others remained in Ostfriesland, on the farm the family had owned for several generations.
Since Tjerck was gone from Ostfriesland in 1659, when their father died, the property passed to Falde, after (apparently) some back-and-forth regarding inheritance. To inherit the property, an heir had to be present, and had to pay the property transfer tax (the “Weinkauf”).
The Weinkauf record for this property suggests that the transfer from Witt-Claes’s estate to Falde was not concluded until 1661. There may have been problems with financial obligations, or there may have been dissent over which child should inherit the farm.
Four of the seven children of Witt-Claes and Tiade Bremers had emigrated to North America. Three sisters remained in Ostfriesland. In a power of attorney written in North America in 1661, Falde’s elder brother Tjerck Claessen suggests that he expects to receive rent from the farm left behind by their father. In subsequent court documents, various North American members of the family take a continuing interest in the property, going so far as to travel from North America to Ostfriesland, as late as 1704.
When Falde Claessen died, at 33, in 1663, the family farm passed to her first son, Jan Peters, who was seven years old. It appears that his father, Peter Janssen, may have tried to take over ownership of the farm; the Kanzleiverwalter and Oberrentmeister insisted that the boy, as direct descendant of the farm’s owners for many generations, must be the registered owner of the property.
Peter Janssen dies in 1683, and again ownership of the family farm comes into question. His second wife, Tomke Janssenwho survives himmay have been angling to have one of her children take over control of the farm. Falde’s brother Jan (who traveled to North America in 1662, at age 18, but may have eventually settled in Amsterdam, or split his time between Europe and North America) filed papers in Esens explaining why Peter and Tomke’s children should not inherit the property.
In 1694, Tiarck Peters, the youngest son of Falde Claessen and Peter Janssen, and a direct descendant of the historical owners of the farm, also files papers regarding possession of the farm, this time with reference to various creditors on the property, which apparently had been used as security for loans dating as far back as 1613 (though it may not have been used as security until 1647). The property appears to have been seized by creditors as early as 1654, and Jan Claessen again appears to have fought for family ownership in 1692.
In the 1699 Dike Register, the property is listed under the name of Clauß Peters de Witte, apparently referring to Falde’s son was born in 1658, suggesting that family ownership of the farm has been preserved.
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