Peter Janssen

Birth Date - d. 21 May 1683 in Ostbense (Esens Kirchebuch)
Birthplace probably also nearby, possibly Holtriem or Stedesdorf

Falde [Bremers] Claeßen

born in Ostbense, Ostfriesland, probably 1630
died 4 May 1663, aged 33 years

Tjarck Peters

born 29 October 1662 in Kleinholum (Ostbense), Ostfriesland
witnesses: Omme Harmens; Foke Peken (cousin of Falde Claeßen); Fulke, the daughter of Hayke Eyben of Osterbenße (probably a cousin of Falde Claeßen)

died after 10 October 1702, before 25 July 1705

Wübke Menken

married 8 September 1699, in Dunum

baptized Dunum 16 January 1679 - died Ost Dunum 23 September 1762
daughter of Menke Dirks, a Hausman of Nord Dunum, who died 31 March 1724 in Nord Dunum; and Edel Galtets, from Stedesdorf, married 15 July 1676, in Dunum
Wübke’s second husband, married 13 November 1708 in Dunum: Warnke Janssen, a Warfsmann of Ostdunum, baptized 24 November 1686 in Ost Dunum; he died 30 November 1750 in Ost Dunum.
In the 1717 farm count, we find Menke Dirks, her father owned 6 horses, 16 cattle; Warnke Janssen had 2 horses, 4 cattle.

Fahlde Tiarcks

(named for her father’s mother)
baptized 3 September 1699, Dunum (before Wübke & Tjarck married) - died 25 July 1705 Ost Dunum

Peter Tiarcks

(named for her father’s father)
baptized 10 October 1702, Dunum - died ???


See more extensive discussion on pages pertaining to Witt-Claess Janssen, Tjarck’s grandfather, and his grandmother and maternal forebears. Tjarck had several siblings; his oldest brother, Jan Peters, inherited the family farm when he was seven years old, then probably had to endure countless attempts by their father, Peter Janssen, to take it over from him.

When their grandfather died, the property had passed to Falde, Jan and Tiarck’s mother, after 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 family also had relatives who had left the area and moved to North America; they appear to have continued to believe for many years and at least into the next generation that they had inherited some rights to the farm.

The farm had some problems with financial obligations, from as early as 1647 until at least 1704. Tjarck’s father remarried after Tiarck’s mother died, and in 1683 when he died, an attempt was made to pass the farm down to the children of Tjarck’s stepmother. Tjarck’s mother’s brother, his maternal uncle Jan Claessen, interceded, filing papers in Esens explaining why Peter and Tomke’s children should not inherit the property. (Jan had moved to North America when he was younger but may have been located in Amsterdam by the time this happened.)

In 1694, Tiarck, as 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. 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. No reference is made to Jan Peters, Tiarck’s brother who originally inherited the farm. By this time he may have died.

In the 1699 Dike Register, the farm is listed under the name of Class Peters, who was the second son, born in 1658. Tiarck Peters may have died by now. (He explains in his court filing that he lost both hands in a fire when he was younger and cannot earn his living.)

This page is not complete yet; it’s simply here to hold some bookmarks for the time being.



I’m just beginning to list sources here. Apologies for not being more complete. I will continue to add to this list as I have time. There are many sources of information on the family named Claessen DeWitt, some better than others.

The court filing from 1694 was transcribed by Kay Blaas, who also helped with translation suggestions and notes. (The clumsy translation is all mine; Kay helped with recommendations on how to interpret the German phrases.)

Printed sources:

Heyko Heyken, Die Weinkaufsprotokolle des Amtes Esens, Upstalsboom-Gesellschaft, Aurich [Germany], 1998.

Ship Passenger Lists from Amsterdam to New York and New Jersey.

The manuscript church books of Esens, available primarily in Esens (i.e. not published intact elsewhere, though various indexes include much information from them), include baptisms, marriages, deaths, and some other ecclesiastical events, such as confirmations and eucharists.

Online sources:

For some further notes and records about the family, see Ruth Menssen’s excellent and comprehensive site at

Ship passenger lists

Reproduced herein:

Last Modified: Thursday, January 15, 2015

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