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  • ID: I001
  • Name: Sijmon Jansz van Aersdalen
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1627 in Nukerke, East Flanders (Belgium)
  • Death: ABT. 28 OCT 1710 in Flatlands, New York
  • Note:
     Excerpt from
    "Six Hundred Years of Van Arsdale Family History" by Charles R. Vanorsdale
    (Copyright 1997)

    Of Symon Jansz's father Jan and grandfather Pauwel, nothing more is known at
    this time. It may be assumed that his grandfather is buried in or near Nukerke. It would be
    reasonable to believe that the family's migration to Gouda came about not long after the death of
    old Pauwel. A Jan van Arsdal was confirmed as a member of the Dutch Reformed Church in
    Gouda on July 20, 1642, whom we believe to be Symon's father. This would be consistent with
    the marriages of Jan's sons in Gouda. If this is the same Jan van Arsdal, the family's migration to
    Holland took place between October 1638 and July 1642. Jan may be buried in Gouda.
    Of Symon Jansz's brothers, it is believed that Philip died before 1698 and that
    Joost died between 1698 and 1727. Joost may be buried in Amsterdam, where he was living in
    1698. His daughter, Geertruyt, was buried there on September 20, 1700 and his daughter Lijsbeth
    was buried there on June 27, 1728. Only Joost is known to have had male children who survived
    childhood. His son Johannes Joosten is known to have had one boy, Willem Jansz, and Hendrick
    Joosten (II) may have had male children. Otherwise, there were no other male relatives in
    Holland to further that branch of the family. Nothing more is known of the Ronse branch at

    The Tumultuous Decade
    Prior to and immediately after Symon Jansz's emigration, the van Aersdaelen
    family endured a very tumultuous decade.
    It is known that, by 1642, the family had moved to Gouda, never to return to
    Nukerke or East Flanders.
    On March 26, 1650, Symon (aged 22 years) showed documentation of his father's
    consent to marry Marritje Baltusdr ____, aged 20. Both were living in Amsterdam. Marritje was
    an orphan, and Symon was engaged in pottery making, judging from his residence on
    Pottebakkerspad (Potter's Lane).
    Also that year, Jan Pauwelsz bought two adjacent houses on Naaierstraat in
    Gouda in which to house his large family. At one time, he had been a carpet-weaver, but now
    made his living as a mustard grinder. This may not have been as profitable as he had planned or
    hoped; it was later acknowledged that Jan Pauwelsz was financially overextended from the
    purchase of the two houses.
    In early 1651, Symon and Marritje celebrated the birth of their first child, a
    daughter named Sylyntje. She was baptised in Amsterdam on February 26, 1651.
    The joy Symon felt at the birth of his first child was saddened later that year when
    his mother, Geertje, died. In October, she is buried at St. Jan's Kerk in Gouda. Widower Jan
    Pauwelsz not long thereafter begins courting Margarieta Philipsdr _____, a widow. On August
    20th, 1652 they marry in Gouda, ten months after Geertje's death. One might wonder about the
    stability of his first marriage, or whether Jan had any concerns over his children's acceptance of
    Margarieta. Perhaps he felt it would be better to have a maternal figure in the house, raising the
    teenagers, but it is difficult to believe that the swift courtship engendered any benevolent feelings
    by the children.
    In Amsterdam, Symon and Maritje mark the birth of a son, Jan Symonsz, baptised
    on November 19th, 1652. Symon, now about 25, finds himself with an increasing financial
    burden. He must find an opportunity to bolster his fortunes and provide for his family, for it is
    doubtful he can depend on his father. An opportunity soon finds him.
    It appears that Symon had little to do with his family in Gouda, although he
    probably was close to his older brother Philip. Philip's daughter, Geertruyd, remembered her
    uncle Symon and his offspring in her will of 1727. Symon probably attended Philip's wedding in
    May, 1653 but left for New Netherland shortly thereafter.
    According to family tradition, Symon came to New Netherland with his father to
    study the utility of the native clays for pottery making. Once this study was completed, Symon
    planned to return to Holland. However, shortly before he was to leave, he was informed that a
    plague had ravaged his family, and that there was no one left for him to return to in Holland.
    As it turns out, much of this is true. We do know, however, that Symon's father
    did not accompany him. Jan Pauwelsz died in Gouda in early 1654 (perhaps January). Symon's
    older brother Philip appeared in court on March 10th of that year to certify that he would assume
    guardianship of the minor children of his father. Symon had been in New Netherland only a few
    months at this point.
    By late 1655, Symon had almost two years of study under his belt in the New
    World and may have contemplated returning home. But in November of that year, a terrible
    illness or perhaps plague took the lives of his wife and children. One of the children was buried
    in St. Anthony's churchyard on November 18th, and only 8 days later Marritje was interred in the
    same graveyard. Although nothing has been found yet to confirm it, it is believed the other child
    died either in this period or before.
    So many important events in a person's life took place for Symon within a ten-year period
    that their impact must have forged the character of an impressionable man in his twenties, striking out on his own in a New World.

    Symon Jansen van Aersdaelen
    In the meantime, the Dutch had set about expanding their domain. The coasts of
    South America, the Caribbean, and North America had witnessed Dutch colonization, with the
    first North American settlements by the Dutch occurring around 1614 along the Hudson River. In
    1624, New Netherland was established with the trading post of Fort Orange and, within two
    more years, Fort Amsterdam on today's Manhattan Island. The Dutch West India Company was
    formed in 1621 to oversee the American ventures and, back in the homeland, the United
    Provinces of the Netherlands were evolved from the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.
    In 1653, perhaps after his brother Philip's marriage in May, Symon Jansz left
    Gouda and set sail for New Netherland in the ship Dynasty, according to family history. He
    settled in Flatlands, then called Nieu Amersfoort, which had been inhabited by the Dutch
    colonists since 1638. He was the only one of his family to move to the new world.
    Based on the Roll of those taking the Oath of Allegiance in 1687, Symon Jansz
    may have been accompanied to New Netherland by the following: Reynier Aertsen, Jan Van
    Cleef, Rutger Joosten Van Brunt, Jan Theunis Van Dyckhuys, Rutger Bruynsen, Willem Davies
    (possibly a Pilgrim with the English name of William Davis), Jochem Gulick, and Stoffel Jansz
    Romeyn. All of these men claimed to have been in New Netherland since 1653. More will be
    said about Aertsen and Romeyn later.
    The date of Symon Jansz's arrival in New Netherland is not known. The
    trans-Atlantic trip then took about 2.5-3 months to complete, so if he had attended his brother's
    wedding in May, Symon could have arrived by September 1653. He was almost 26, and the only
    known member of his immediate family to have emigrated, and was therefore all alone in a
    strange new land. Perhaps he had a friend or friends who had made the journey before or with
    him. The tale passed down by word of mouth within the family is that Symon came to this
    country to study the utility of the native clays for making Delftware pottery. If Symon were a
    Delftware potter, he had to have been a member of a guild, for which he had to have been
    sponsored and had to have served in apprenticeship. There is no record of Symon's pursuit of this
    craft, nor has any guild record been uncovered yet.
    What pressed Symon to come to New Netherland? In "The Early Dutch and
    Swedish Settlers of New Jersey ", author Adrian C. Leiby notes:
    "The 1650s, however, began to see an influx of settlers who
    were neither browbeaten employees of the West India
    Company nor scheming Indian traders. By the time the
    English seized the colony, these men, Protestant refugees
    from France and the Spanish Netherlands, were coming in a
    stream, pressed by new religious persecutions abroad and by
    the threat of more to come. They, more than the first
    settlers of New Amsterdam, were the men and women who
    were to establish the character of Dutch New Jersey, though
    they were destined to live under Dutch rule hardly at all."
    At the time of his arrival, New Netherland stretched from Long Island (Lange
    Eylant) to Albany (Fort Orange) along the Hudson River. The population was about 1500.
    Not long after Symon's arrival, hostilities between New Netherland and New
    Sweden flared. New Sweden, located along the Delaware River, had a population of 121 in June,
    1644 but had been playing a game of cat-and-mouse with the meager Dutch settlements along the
    river for several years. When he took over control as Governor of New Sweden, Johan Rising
    decided to capture the Dutch Fort Casimir. The Dutch were so incensed at the capture that Pieter
    Stuyvesant conscripted a large army of soldiers and a fleet of ships and swarmed the occupied
    fort in September 1655. The Dutch greatly outnumbered the Swedes holding the fort. It is very
    likely that young Symon participated in this bloodless conquest.
    The Dutch decided that this was not enough ... their troop strength may have
    exceeded the total population of New Sweden, and so they proceeded on to Fort Christina further
    up the Delaware. Fort Christina was the heart of New Sweden and was located near present-day
    Wilmington. There, the fleet bombarded the fort until the Swedes surrendered. With the fall of
    the fort, New Sweden was absorbed by New Netherland, and New Netherland's areal extent was
    now at its greatest.
    The earliest known record of Symon in Nieu Amersfoort is dated October 12,
    1655. On that Tuesday morning in City Hall, Director-General Pieter Stuyvesant and his
    Burgomasters and Schepens began collection of a "voluntary contribution and taxation" of the
    citizens, "each according to his condition, state and circumstances" to erect a wall to safeguard
    the town from Indians. One of the lower contributions was from "Symon Jansen", who gave 10
    florins, and was listed as "dwelling at Clyn Aerts". Symon did not yet have a house, and
    apparently rented or earned his keep from this Clyn Aerts. Considering that most of those
    citizens taxed paid anywhere from three to ten times that amount, Symon was not yet on his feet
    in the New World. (Incidentally, where that wall once stood is now known as Wall Street.)
    Who was Clyn Aerts, the man who took in our ancestor? The name "Clyn" is
    nowhere else to be found in Dutch records except in the same source as the tax record. A scholar
    of New Netherland history believes this Clyn to be the same as Ryn Aertsen, or Reynier Aertsen.
    As mentioned earlier, Reynier Aertsen may have emigrated with Symon in 1653, and therefore
    may have been a friend or master to apprentice Symon.
    A problem with early records of New Netherland is the lack of adopted surnames.
    Typical documentation would list "Symon Jansen" or "Jan Jansen" with little other distinction.
    Of considerable trouble is the predominance in court records of Symon Jansen Romeyn who
    appears to have been engaged in law, but who frequently was recorded as "Symon Jansen".
    Romeyn must have been related to Stoffel Jansz Romeyn, who may have emigrated with Symon.
    The Romeyn and van Aersdalen families are often confused as a result.
    Around 1658, Symon Jansz married Pieterje Claese van Schouw, sometimes
    referred to as Pieterje Claese Wyckoff, daughter of Claes Cornelisz van Schouw, a tobacco shop
    owner. Symon would be very close to his father-in-law and to the Wyckoff branch of the family.
    On May 3, 1660, Symon Jansz van Aersdalen was appointed a schepen of Nieu
    Amersfoort. Symon apparently had begun to make a name for himself within the community and
    was re-elected to this position in 1661 and 1662. In his magisterial post, Symon was chosen to
    represent Amersfoort in the "convention holden at New Amsterdam, on July 3, 1663, to engage
    the several Dutch Towns to keep up an armed force for public protection." Public protection took
    on new meaning for Symon; he now had a daughter Geertje Symonse (aged 3-4 years).
    But not everything is easy for Symon. On Tuesday, August 28, 1663, "Symon
    Janzen" appears in court against carpenter Jan Teunizen and Willem Steenhalder and wife,
    claiming that Teunizen wouldn't release a house to Symon for which he had been paid. The court
    requested further proof from Symon, and so on September 4th, "Symon Janzen Asdalen"
    produces testimonials from two witnesses. Finding this satisfactory, the court rules in favor of
    Symon and he takes possession of the house.
    In February 1664, Symon and his father-in-law became very involved in the
    building tensions with the British. On the 19th, they and three other witnesses appear before
    notary Pelgrom Clocq at Midwout (Flatbush) to testify about a public disturbance caused by an
    English captain. Symon signs his name to the document and attests to being 35. (However, if he
    was baptised in February 1628, he would have been 36.) Then, on the 27th, Symon and Claes
    participate in a convention in Midwout which they instigated, bringing together the
    Director-General and Council of New Netherland "to lay before the States General and West
    India Company the distressed state of the country." The tormenting by the British had
    accelerated, and the Dutch found themselves being surrounded.
    On September 8th, 1664, the Director-General of New Netherland, Pieter
    Stuyvesant, relinquished the Dutch colony to the British after four British warships with over
    1000 men threatened them from New York Bay. At first, the defiant Stuyvesant cursed the
    English when confronted with a document agreeing to surrender the colony, tearing the paper to
    shreds and stomping upon it with his wooden leg. However, in his attempt to muster the Dutch
    forces against the British, he soon found himself all alone. New Netherland had grown to a
    population close to 10,000 people by that date, but some 20-40 % of those were non-Dutch
    Beginning in 1665, Symon's attentions turned to acquiring land as evidenced by
    numerous entries in the Flatlands Town Records. Many lots and parcels of "land and meddow
    ground" were purchased by Symon between 1665 and 1686, thereby establishing a large farm to
    suit his likewise burgeoning family. Cornelis Symonsz is born about 1665, and his second
    daughter, Jannetje, is born about the same time. His only other son, Jan Symonsz, is born in
    1676. Metje Symonse is born about 1670, and his last child, Maritje Symonse, is born in 1678,
    but is believed to have died young.
    His eldest daughter, Geertje, married Cornelis Pietersz Wyckoff at the Dutch
    Reformed Church in Flatbush on October 13, 1678. On December 11, 1681, Symon and Pieterje
    were present when their first grandchild, Marije, is baptised at the Dutch Reformed Church in
    Breuckelen. Symon is 54 years old at that time. Geertje and Cornelis' first son, Symon, named
    for Symon Jansz, is baptised in Amersfoort on November 23, 1683.
    On March 23, 1686, Symon purchases from Cornelis Willemsz (van Westervelt)
    "Nos. 30, 31, and 32 of the 15 acre allotments of Gravesend, with the right of commonage on the
    beach and on Coney Island". This appears to be Symon's last purchase of land. A year later, on
    March 15th, Symon's oldest son Cornelis Symonsz married Aeltje Willemse van Kouwenhoven
    at the Dutch Reformed Church of Flatbush. It would be nine years before his other son, Jan
    Symonsz, would marry Lammetje Probasco.
    One of the more important documents related to Symon was the Oath of
    Allegiance taken September 30th, 1687. This record indicates that Symon, listed as "Simon Janse
    Van Aerts Daalen", had been in this country for 34 years, thus establishing his time of arrival,
    while his son "Cornelis Simonsen Van Aerts Daalen" was recorded as a native, i. e. born here.
    This oath also tabulated other Dutchmen who had been in this country for 34 years, hence
    potential shipmates of our ancestor. By this time, Symon had become prosperous and an
    outstanding member of the religious and civic communities.
    Symon spent more of his latter years in church pursuits and keeping up with his
    family in North America -- although not with the family back in Holland. In 1698, Symon
    received a letter from his brother Joost, and in a letter dated September 9th, Symon wrote back to
    Holland and his brother for the first time in many years, if ever before.

    " ... I let you know that I, your brother, and my wife and children are in
    good health yet, thank God for His grace and we hope to learn the same from you in due time; I
    wonder you didn't write about our niece; farther I let you know all my children are married and
    each of them is living in a farmhouse that earns their livelihood; I sold my farm to my eldest son
    Cornelis, 33 years of age, has got five children, three sons, two daughters; my son Jan, 22 years
    of age, has got two sons; my daughter Geertje has got eight children; Janneken has got five
    children; Mettgen has got three children; they are comfortably off but they have to work which
    God commanded Adam; as for me, your brother, I stopped working since I am 71 years old now,
    my wife is 58 years of age and you, my brother, are, if I remember rightly, 60 years of age; God
    be pleased to give us a blessed end ..."

    The same year, a census was taken for Kings County, New York and in the town
    of "Fflatlands" or New Amersfoort was a listing for "Simon Jantz Van Aersdaelen" and "Cornelis
    Simontz Van Aersdaelen". Symon's house contained 2 men, 3 women, and 1 slave, while
    Cornelis's house contained 1 man, 1 woman, 6 children, and 1 slave.
    On May 10, 1700, Symon sold the three 15-acre lots he'd bought from Cornelis
    Willemsz van Westervelt in 1686 to his eldest son Cornelis Symonsz. Cornelis now had a
    sizeable farm on which to raise his large family.
    The last record of Symon's good deeds occurred around February 23, 1710. In the
    Deacon's Book of the Flatlands Dutch Reformed Church is a note tabulating the donations given
    by twenty contributors. The largest sum, 40 guldens, was donated by Symon.
    Symon passed away in late October of that year. His death was recorded in the
    Deacon's Book as "1710, October 29. Received from Cornelus Van Arsdale for a grave and
    shroud for Symon Van Arsdale, 24 guldens." And so our ancestor passed into history at the age
    of 83.

    Father: Jan Pauwelsz van Aedsdaele b: ABT. 1590 in Nukerke, East Flanders (?)
    Mother: Geertje Philipsdr Haelters

    Marriage 1 Marritje Baltusdr b: 1630
    • Married: 26 MAR 1650 in Amsterdam
    1. Has No Children Sylyntje van Aersdalen b: FEB 1651 in Amsterdam
    2. Has No Children Jan Symonsz van Aersdalen b: NOV 1652 in Amsterdam

    Marriage 2 Pieterje Claes van Schouw b: 1640 in Brooklyn, New York
    • Married: 1658 in Flatlands, New York
    1. Has Children Geertje Simonse van Aersdalen b: ABT. 1659 in Flatlands, NY
    2. Has Children Cornelis Simonsz van Aersdalen b: 1665 in Flatlands, New York
    3. Has No Children Jannetje Simonse van Aersdalen b: ABT. 1667
    4. Has No Children Metje Simonse van Aersdalen b: ABT. 1670 in Flatlands, NY
    5. Has Children Jan Simonsz van Aersdalen b: 1676 in Flatlands, Long Island, NY
    6. Has No Children Maritje Simonse van Aersdalen b: 1678 in Flatbush,NY
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