Was this child baptized twice?

+7 votes
109 views

I believe I have answered my own question, and the answer is "Yes," but I want to share the story because others of you may want to weigh in on the subject and because the same situation might affect other profiles.

There are two records for baptisms of Blandina, a daughter of Abraham Van Aken (aka Van Aaken or Van Auken) and his wife Jannetje De Witt. The first record is from 1743 in the Minisink Valley (New York) and the second is from 1747 in Kingston, New York. Both baptisms had the same pair of witnesses. The obvious interpretation is that the first Blandina died and a later daughter was given the same name.

However, there is a marriage record for Blandina Van Aken (presumed to be the same person; this name is not one that was repeated much) in Minisink in 1757, followed by christenings of children, beginning in 1759. Girls married early in the New Netherland community, but not at age 10, so something seems to be wrong. Additionally, family genealogist Robert Van Auken pointed out that the same parents had another daughter baptized earlier in 1747; he suggested that something was wrong with the data.

I wondered if one child could have been baptized twice, possibly because someone in the family didn't think the first baptism was good enough. I believe that is exactly what happened. It seems that there were irregularities in the original ordination of the domine (minister) who performed the baptism in 1743 (or more likely in 1742; there is some confusion about the dates in the Minisink records for that period), Johannes Casparus Fryenmoet. (This is discussed in the ''Minisink Valley Reformed Church Records'' book published in 1913, beginning on page xxiii.) Ecclesiastical authorities eventually agreed to his ordination, but there was a cloud over his actions during an earlier period. Eleven baptisms he performed during that period -- including the "1743" baptism of Blandina -- were apparently deemed to have been illegal (and several baptisms were stricken through in pencil in the oringal record, but they weren't necessarily the ones that were invalidated). The Minisink Valley Reformed Church Records book states (on p. xxvi) that there was no record (in Minisink) of these children being rebaptized, but it would seem that Blandina was rebaptized in Kingston.

Accordingly, I conclude that there was just one Blandina, and she was baptized twice.

WikiTree profile: Blandina Van Aken
in Genealogy Help by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
edited by Ellen Smith
Obviously I haven't done the research you have, but have you ruled out the possibility of more than one set of parents with the same names?

I ask because I recently had a situation where there were two same-named second cousins, born to same-named first cousins, about a year apart. Each married a women of the same name, and both women were also of similar age. Both couples lived in the same town and baptized their children at the same church.

In fact I had no idea there were two couples... I was documenting about the 16th child (one born every year for 15 years straight and then, all of a sudden, a gap of only 6 months. A flurry of research and much hair pulling later I found that one set of parents had been married in an entirely different province and had also moved away after their children were all married. Without knowing about the additional out-of-pronvince marriage and death records every fact, except the birth of child 16, fit together like one very prolific family with some children that died young and had 'recycled' some names.
That's a worthwhile question, Rob. Given our ancestors' proclivities for marrying within the same families and naming their children for grandparents, it's probably amazing that the situation you encountered doesn't happen more often. (As it happens, I ran across Blandina because of adding birthdates to the data fields of Van Aken and Van Auken profiles to help avoid confusion between family members with the same names.)

However, I don't believe this could be a case of two couples with exactly the same names. Blandina's father, Abraham Van A(u)ken, was a son of the immigrant ancestor who is believed to be the progenitor of all of the Van Akens and Van Aukens in colonial America. Thus, his generation of Van A(u)kens consisted only of him and his siblings -- so he was the only Abraham Van A(u)ken in that generation. Abraham Van A(u)kens proliferated in the next generation and beyond, and a couple of this Abraham's nephews who were named Abraham were old enough to have kids in the 1740s, but they had wives who weren't named Jannetje De Witt.
Fascinating!
I know of a case where a person in the Cape was baptized twice quite a few years apart ... the profile has been protected but I do not know which on it is now ....

1 Answer

+2 votes
Wow!  What a magnificent piece of research, Ellen!  ... as well as a superb presentation of it here!

THANX for sharing the story!
by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (924k points)

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