How the Project Started

Before 2003, the origins of trhe family in the Netherlands were not clearly known, although  the journey of the widow Geertje Cornelis and her six children to New Amsterdam in the summer of 1661 was a familiar starting point for everyone researching the Vanderhoof name. Andrew J.Provost includes a section on the Van Der Hoeven Family in 'The Early Settlers of Bushwick' (1949) and this was developed further in Wilson Ledley's 'New Netherland's familes (1959)

The patronymics of the three sons of Geertje indicated that their father's name had been Cornelis. As the oldest of the three sons was named Gijsbert, presumably for his paternal grandfather, it was possible that the father of the family, who had died in the Netherlands before the voyage, was named Cornelis Gijsbertsen. Other Albany sources revealed that that Geertje and her sons, Cornelis and Jan, had adopted the surname Van Der Hoeven by 1683 when they were recorded as members of the Albany Reformed Church and used a number of phonetic variant spellings around this time.

Geertje uses her presumed maiden name of Van Fulpen(ffulpen) in her will of 1684 in which she mentions her house 'situate opposite the island occupied by Mr Marte Gertzen'.

Research in the Netherlands was organised in the hope that some traces of the original Van Der Hoeven family could be found from the few facts that we had. A visit to the Beesd Dutch Reformed Church in 2003 revealed that the registers for the mid 1600's no longer existed, probably removed during the time of Napoleon. Members of the local history society, The Historishe Kring of West-Betuwe, and the Gelderland Archives were very helpful and a local historian assisted by decoding the difficult handwriting and archaic Dutch of the 17th century records. 

The Central Bureau of Genealogy in The Hague has a register of church members of Beesd 1644-1687 and this register showed that Geurtgen Cornelis, widow of Cornelis Gijsbertsen, was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church in Beesd in 1656. In 1659 Jantgen Cornelis, daughter of Cornelis Gijsbertsen, is also recorded as a church member. This encouraging beginning at least gave some hope that the family had some connection with the town of Beesd so the next stop was the Regional Archive of West-Betuwe in Geldermalsen

This regional archive at Geldermalsen holds the registers of deeds of the court of aldermen(Schepen) of Beesd and Rhenoy 1634-1661 which mentioned a Cornelis Gijsbertsen as an alderman of Beesd in the years 1637, 1639-1640, 1642-1648 and 1650-1651. Land transactions, wills and other legal contacts had to be witnessed by aldermen, and Cornelis Gijsbersen's name appears in court records for these years, as do the names of members of the Van Vulpen family.

Also, there are several deeds showing that the alderman, Cornelis Gijsbertsen, bought and sold property in Beesd during the 1643-1651 period. His full name is mentioned in two deeds of 1651 as Cornelis Gijsbertsen van der Hoeven and that his wife was called Guertgen Cornelis van Vulpen.

In 1644 a man called Cornelis Gijsbersen van Hagenstyen bought a house and yard in Beesd on the north side of the Steenstraat. Later on, in 1651, Cornelis Gijsbertsen van der Hoeven sold a house and yard in Beesd at the Oosteind. The Oosteind is situated on the north side of the Steenstraat (the eastern end of the present Voorstraat), so the events of 1644 and 1651 could very well concern the same house. This possibility is supported by the fact that a man called Cornelis Willemsen (Schipper) was a neighbour in both years

If this were true, Cornelis Gijsbersen van Hagenstyen and Cornelis Gijsbertsen van der Hoeven could well be the same person and it is possible that Cornelis Gijsbertsen van der Hoeven was called "van Hagestyen" because he (or his ancestors) came from the nearby village of Hagestein.

The information fitted well with what we knew about the Van Der Hoeven family in America, including Geertje's maiden name under which she made her will.

The office of Alderman could only be held by someone over the age of 25 which infers a latest date of 1612 for Cornelius' birth. The office of Schepen may have had an hereditary aspect, so it may be that older generations of the Van Der Hoeven family may also have held this office. Clearly, Cornelis had died by 1656 so the possibility of his death during the voyage to America cannot be true.

Also interesting is the church membership record for Jantgen. She would have been at least 18 to be eligible, so may have been the eldest child of the family. She is unmarried in 1659, and a marriage before the family's departure in 1661 may have prevented her migration.

The Homburg is a tract of land to the northeast of the town on the road to Culembourg and the Frederiksakker is a section of land in Beesd owned by the Marienwaerdt estate, designated as tithe land.

Extracts from Rechterlijk Archief of Beest en Rhenoij : Court of aldermen, Register of deeds

Number 200, fo. 31vso 4 May 1643
Cornelis Gijsbertsen, alderman in Beesd, transfers to Mayken, widow of Evert Anthonissen, former carpenter in Beesd, 31/2 hont of land, situated in Beesd, at the Homburg.

Number 200, fo 36vso 22 August 1643
Metgen Hanricks, widow of Willem Dircxsen, her daughter Sygjen Willems; Dirck and Anthonis Willemsen, brothers; and Jan ter Berch, husband of Hanricksken Willems, transfer to Cornelis Gijsbertsen 4 morgen(6) of land, situated in Beesd, in the Boscaly.

Number 200, fo 49 19 May 1644
Jacob Jacobsen and Gerrit Jacobsen, wheelmakers in Beesd, transfer to Cornelis Gijsbersen van Hagenstyen a house and yard, situated in Beesd, on the north side of the Steenstraat (adjacent above Cornelis Wielmsen and below Sijgen Wielms).

Number 200, fo 94vso 30 June 1647
Gijsbert Jansen Vos transfers to Cornelis Gijsbertsen 1 morgen of land, situated in Beesd, at the Frederiksakker.

Number 201, fol. 49 10 April 1651
Cornelis Gijsbertsen van der Hoeven, husband of Guertgen Cornelis van Velpen, and Gerrit Cornelissen van Velpen, together transfer to Jan Aertsen Spaen their share in 4 morgen of meadow-land, situated in Beesd, in the Nijland.

Number 201, fol. 68 25 September 1651
Cornelis Gijsbertsen van der Hoeven transfers to Dirck Anthonissen Castelijn a house and yard, situated in Beesd, at the Oosteind (adjacent above Cornelis Willemsen Schipper and below Evert Ceelis).

Archive of Dutch Reformed Church of Beesd Register of church members, 1644-1687
23 May 1656 : Geurtgen Cornelis, widow of Cornelis Gijsbertsen.

6 October 1659 : Jantgen Cornelis, daughter of Cornelis Gijsbertsen

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