Anneke Jans Bogardus Story
Where does the story of Anneke Jans really begin? Most authors of historical manuscripts, articles and books on the early settlement of New Amsterdam have seldom discussed her family origin, but some have cautiously implied that she was descended from William the Silent (1 533-1 584), Prince of Orange, who later became William the Tenth of Orange and William I of Holland.
William the Silent was born in 1533 and married four times. In addition to the legitimate children by each of his wives, he is known to have had a mistress named Eve Elincx and a son educated under the name of Justin of Nassau, but the legend of Anneke Jans also claims that he had had a clandestine relationship with someone whose name is not to be known and that two children by this union were given the surname Webber. It is thus alleged that one of these children, Wolfert Webber, married Tryntje Jonas, the known mother of Anneke and of mother children named Wolfert, Marritje and Ariaentje. Records have proven that Marritje was a sister of Anneke but there is no evidence to prove that she had a brother Wolfert or a sister Ariaentje.
It is then claimed that Anneke Webber married RoelofJansen and thereafter was known as Anneke Jans. Numerous published items, many in the possession of this writer, have unwittingly and without proof thus woven an intricate and detailed family relationship among early Webber-Sybrant-Selyns-Cocks-Wallis families to conveniently strengthen the legendary, yet spurious, descent of Anneke Jans from the Royal Line of William the Silent.
This writer will not lend any credence whatsoever to this fabrication by expounding on these family relationships, and it is hoped future generations of Anneke Jans descendants will, in all honesty, view this legend as early American folklore. There is not a single thread of evidence to support the descendancy of Anneke Jans from William the Silent.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, Anneke Jans was indeed a very real person, although her fame is not due to any personal degree of importance during her lifetime. It should also be noted, incidentally, that there was a considerable number of Jans, Janse and Jansen families of this time period with many daughters named Anneke or Annetjebut there is no evidence of any relationship to Anneke who is the subject of this book. Nevertheless, millions of Annekes descendants have become mesmerized by the illusions of great wealth which sudaced long after her death in 1663, stemming from the disputed title to 62 acres of land she inherited from Roelof Jansen in early New Amsterdam and now the heart of New York City) and compounded by stories of fortunes found in European banks left by her royal grandfather to her seventh generation descendants. More details on the disputed ownership of the New York City property are given below.
Yet the questions remain: Who was Anneke Jans? Where did she come from? And what was her station in life? From the Amsterdam (Holland) Reformed Oude Kerk marriage intentions of April 1, 1693, it is recorded that Roeloff Janssoon, born in Maesterland (Marstrand, on the island of the same name, Goteburg Och Bohus, Sweden but in Bohuslan, Norway until 1658), a seaman, aged 21 years, having no parents (to grant parental permission), assisted by Jan Qerritsz., his nephew, residing three and a half years at the St. Tunis gate, on the one part: and Anna Jans, born in Vleckere, Norway Flekkeroy, on the island of the same name, Vest Agder, Norway), aged 18 years, assisted by Trijn Roeloffs, her mother, residing at the same place, of the second part. The marriage record of Roelof Janz (hereafter cited as Jansen) and Anna Jars was dated April 18, 1623 in the records of the Amsterdam Reformed Niew Kerk. it has been concluded by some that the give name of the father of Anneke Jans was therefore Johan. Jan oriohannes. The first three children of Roelof Jansen and his wife Anneke Jans are recorded as being baptized in the Amsterdam Lutheran Church as follows: Lijntje, baptized July 21, 1624, witnesses: Annetgen Jans, Stijntgen Barents, Sara, baptized April 5, 1627, witnesses: Assueris Jansen, Stijntje Barents, and Trijntje, baptized June 24,1629, witnesses Cornetis Sijverts, Trijntgen Siewerts.
Roelof Jansen was among the first immigrants to New Amsterdam and in .1630 was commissioned to farm land in the new colony of Rensselaerswyck for $72 a year. Roelof and Anneke, together with their two children, a party of colonists and probably Annekes mother and sister, set sail on March 21, 1630 from the Texel for New Amsterdam aboard the ship Eendracht, arriving on May 24,1630. While at Rensselaerswyck, Roelof and Arneke were parents to two additional children, namely: Sytje, born about 1631 on de [aets Burg farm and Jan, born about 1633 at the same place. The family resided and worked at Rensselaerswyck until about 1634, or later, when they moved to New Amsterdam. Their sixth child, Annetje, was born about 1636 in New Amsterdam and probably died as a child sometime after 1642.
In 1636 Roelof was granted thirty-one morgans (62 acres) of land (later confirmed to the widow of Domine Bogardus in her own name, Anneke Jans, on July 4, 1 654), described as a line drawn near the north side of todays Warren Street on the South, and Canal Street, or perhaps Desbrosses Street, on the north; on the west by the Hudson River, and on the east by a series of irregular lines west of Broadway. This presently includes parts of the modem neighbourhoods of Greenwich Village, So-Ho and Tribeca in New York City. A tiny triangle of land at the intersection of Duane and Hudson Streets, now known as Duane Park, has been marked with a plaque proclaiming it to be the last remnant of greensward of the Anneke Jans Farm. It should be noted that this entire parcel of land, once owned by Anneke Jans, did not encompass the land upon which the Trinity Church of New York was later built, it being upon the southern most tip of Manhattan Island that had been granted to Trinity Church in 1705. It is the ownership of the Bogardus farm as shown above that eventually came to be disputed by subsequent generations of Annekes descendants as having been improperly conveyed to the Trinity Church Corporation. Roelof Jansen died shortly after his arrival in New Amsterdam and in March 1638 Anneke jans, then a widow, married Domine (Reverend) Everardus Bogardus. Domine Bogardus had previously arrived in New Amsterdam in April 1633 aboard the ship de Southberg to succeed the ministry of Jonas Michaelis, thus becoming the second ordained minister of the Reformed Dutch Church in America.
The 62 acres of land which Anneke inherited from her first husband, Roelof Jansen, acquired the name Domines Bouwerie. Combined in English days with the Companys Bouwerie and granted to Trinity Church in 1705 by the Colonial Governor, Lord Combury, as a representative of Queen Anne of England, this questionable conveyance of ownership of the original property of Anneke Jans became the basis for repeated and hotly contested lawsuits initiated by her descendants to claim their apparent legitimate part-ownership. As recently as the 1920s, when the property was then considered to be worth billions, some descendants were still attempting to obtain a favourable settlement from the courts, having been denied restitution in preceeding generations. Nationwide Anneke Jans Bogardus Heirs Association chapters were established to help finance the legal costs involved, and questionable lawyers obtained millions of dollars from gullible, presumed descendants, on the basis of undocumented or dubious genealogical evidence. Of course, none of the lawsuits were ever settled in favour of the descendant heirs. fn reviewing the facts again today, however, one could conclude that the heirs of Anneke Jans were treated unfairly, but it is also plainly clear that no such lawsuit should ever be initiated again because of the finality of the court judgements that were previously rendered.
The following is an interesting and little known bit of recorded history about Anneke Jans. In the translation of Fort Orange court minutes, under an entry for Tuesday, February 2, 1 655, it is recorded that Claes Gerritsz, who had been summoned by the court and asked whether he knew who was guilty of bestowing the (nick) names then in circulation, declared he heard that Cornelis Vos had given the name to Mother Bogaerdus house, The Vulture World (de Gierswerelt). The editor of the translated minutes, Dr. Gehring, noted that it is difficult to understand the significance of these names beyond a literal translation and that the real meaning is probably obscured by allusions clear to the seventeenth century. He went on to say the actual intentions may lie in a deeper meaning that ties together an allusion evoked by this expression and a characteristic of the person involved. Although this nickname might connote a negative impression of Anneke Jans, we do not know the circumstances surrounding its use and must not be quick to judge her character. In any event, she became the greatest grandmother to millions of descendants, many of whom were quite prominent, and thus contributed to the history of our nation.
Anneke Jans died in Beverwyck (now Albany, New York) and although in this book and others her date of death is recorded as February 23, 1663, this is actually the date when her son, Jan Roelofszen, then 30 years old paid the church for the rental of a burial pall. She may have died a day (or days) earlier and perhaps even buried a day or more after February 23rd, but this is the closest date known regarding her death.
The will of Anneke Jans, dated 29 January 1663, is on record in the original Dutch in the book of Notarial Papers, County Clerks Office, Albany, NY (a transcript of the text from John 0. Evjens book is given on the following page). Her descendants are now estimated to number in the millions, and future generations will be no less interested in proving their pedigree to this illustrious ancestor, via the children of her first husband, RoelofJansen, or her second husband, Domine Everardus Bogardus. or both, as has already been done.
The children of Anneke Janse and Roelofs Jansen were surnamed Roelofs for the five daughters and Roelofszen for the one son, although only Sara, Trijntje (Catrina) and Sytje are know to have left producing families of their own. None were surnamed Jansen. The children of Anneke Jans and Domine Everardus Bogardus were all born in New Amsterdam and baptized in the Reformed Dutch Church, although the baptism of their first son, Willem, was apparently performed before the first recorded baptism (25 September 1 639). In addition to Willem, born 1639, Cornelis, Jonas and Pieter were baptized on 9 September 1640, 4 January 1643 and 2 April 1645, respectively. All were surnamed Bogardus although only Willem, Cornelis and Pieter left children who produced families with descendants living today."
Anneke Jans Main Page
These web pages are done with the written permission of William Bogardus and The Anneke Jans and Everardus Bogardus Descendants Association. Any questions or comments should be directed to:
Mr. William Bogardus
1211 Linhof Road
Wilmington, OH 45177-2917
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