The Trouw Boeck

Tjerck Claeszen de With was married to Barber Andrieszen (no family name given) in Manhattan on April 24, 1656.

The record was kept by the Dutch Reformed Church. A couple of notes:

The e's look like o's. Look at the spelling of Amsterdam, for example, and you'll see that this is how an e is written. (Also check out the spellings of Drenth, in the line above, or Andrieszen, both in this entry and the next, and you'll see more e's.)

Also, Claeszen means Tjerck's father's name was Claes, and Andrieszen might only mean (probably only means) that Barber's father was Andries: We may not have any clue what her family name was.

Using the patronymic (-zen) for the middle name is a pretty firm standard in older records from the American colonies. In Esens, though, no family name was generally listed--all you'd get was first name and patronymic, so you'd know the father's name. My understanding is that the French were the ones who finally got the Dutch to start recording family names, sometime in the 1800s (see related site). As you can imagine, this makes it more interesting to trace family forebears.

Please note: This is not the original record. In the introduction to the typeset volume comprising the same record, published in 1890 by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society and reprinted several times since, Samuel S. Purple, M.D., editor of the project, writes that these records “are a copy to 1682 of a previous record, not now known to exist, made by Domine Henricus Selyns, probably soon after his second installment as minister of the church in 1682.”

The original record would probably have been in the handwriting of Domine Joannes Megapolensis, who served in New Amsterdam from 1649 to 1670 and probably married Tjerck and Barber. It could also have been written by Samuel Drisiüs, who served from 1652 to 1673.

Debunking another misconception: For many years, this record and the others in the Trouw Boeck were considered marriage records, but the shrewd insight of Harry Macy in 2012 revealed what must have been well understood 350 years before: The book is a register of plighted troths, not of marriages; it records couples’ intentions to marry, but the marriages themselves, assuming no objections were raised, came later, frequently in other places. (See The New York Researcher, Vol. 23, No. 1, Spring 2012, p. 17, for further detail and discussion.)

We were able to see the book (and photograph it) during the summer of 1998. It's kept by the Collegiate Church office in New York. Here's the title page for this section (the second "deel," or part, of the book).

To see a larger picture with the same entry, click here.

To see a really big picture of the entire page, click here. If you take a look at the whole page, you'll see further up that two people, the wives in the first and third entries, are listed as being from "Oostvrieslt.," which would have been the Dutch name for what today is (in German) Ostfriesland. One is from Eland, and one is from Norden. So whoever was keeping this book knew where Ostfriesland was, and they knew it well enough to abbreviate it.

That just makes it more curious that Tjerck would be recorded as being from Zúnderlant, if in fact it's the spot we're talking about. No old records refer to this spot as Zúnderlant. In fact, no old records refer to anywhere as Zúnderlant.

It's possible the confusion occurred back when this information was being written down. Who knows? Maybe Tjerck had a sense of humor. It’s also possible that Domine Henricus misread the original handwriting. Copies of Domine Joannes’ handwriting still exist; it would be worthwhile to examine them to determine what types of errors might have been likely.

In most script, including modern English, the letter -m- is easy to misread (or miswrite) as -un-. Probably the easiest explanation for the misreading is that the original read Emderlant, another name for Ostfriesland (which is next to the Ems river), and Emderlant, scribbled, was read as Zunderlant.

For a complete online copy of the early years of this record, see the links page. For a little more discussion of early Dutch American marriages and baptisms, and what they mean to my genealogy, click here.

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