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Saturday, January 31, 2009

My New York Ancestors

The January 24th issue of The New York Times has a article on what New york City must have looked like 400 years ago. The image is based on work by Eric W. Sanderson [Henry Hudson’s View of New York: When Trees Tipped the Sky].

The first Dutch North American Ancestors in my family were Hendrick Harmensen who was born about 1590 in Lent (Netherlands) near present day Nijmegen and his wife Catherine. They came to North America around 1638 with their daughter Grietje and her husband Abraham Rycken or (de Rycke) who was born about 1618, also in Lent (van Lent).

It is said that Harmenson was the first European to plant crops on Long Island. His farm was near the place where La Guardia airport is today. Harmenson was a blacksmith and he used to make tomahawks for the Indians. He was murdered in a local uprising in 1643. The cause of death was a blow to the head from one of his own tomahawks.

Arbraham Rycken and his wife owned a lot of property on Long Island, including a small island off the coast near their farms. Their children adopted several names including "van Lent" and "Riker." The small island remained in the family for several hundred years and it is still known as Rikers Island—now the site of a large prison.

Their daughter, Aeltje, married Captain Jan Harmse, a descendant of German/Dutch immigrants. Captain Harmse was born in New Amsterdam (New York) in 1657. Their son, Harmen Harmse (1684-1720), married Margaret Montras (1691-1739) thus uniting my French and Dutch ancestors. Harmen took his wife's last name. They moved to Tarrytown New York and joined the congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church of Sleepy Hollow.

The son of Harman and Margaret Montras is Peter Montras (1715-1790). He was my great6 grandfather.


Anonymous said...

Ancestor worship.

We are all entitled to our various forms of worship.

I worship a giant who continues to bestride the landscape. His spirit lives in Kent, England and can be seen on particular path and occasionally reposing on a tangled bank. He is the god of finches, barnacles, orchids and earthworms. He culls the weak and allows the strong to reproduce. He does not drift (and therefore dislikes travel by ship).

Reina Shelby said...

Hello~! My mother-in-law is descendant of Hendrick Harmensen. Her maternal grand-father was the grandson of a Ryker who can be traced back to Hendrick Harmensen. Their family left Indiana and kept moving (south)west till they ended up in New Mexico. We had no idea there were ancestry in New York until just several years ago. This is fascinating! Thank you for sharing this info!

R.O.K. Speedwagon said...

Thank you for sharing this! We were able this past weekend to connect to our oldest ancestor, Harmensen through my mother's family-- West/McGarry back to Gritman and then the Harmensens. We didn't even realize there was any dutch ancestry and thought we were only Scotch/Irish on that side. This additional information about Hendrick is invaluable!