Please can someone familiar with early Dutch or German Pennsylvania settlers help clear up conflicting sources

+6 votes
380 views
This is confusing so hopefully I can explain it right. I came across this profile that was imported it was part of my family so I adopted. original said birth in Germany but I found two good sources that listed his place of birth as Holland and his marriage to his wife in Holland before he came to Pennsylvania and setteled in Nicetown which he founded , so I looked up information on History of Nicetown and found two more sources on him which list him as a Huguenot who came from Holland all together four sources that say he came from Holland. but then after further reasearch I came across two more sources that have him as comming from Crefeld Germany , but  in one of those it also says that a group from both Germany and Holland came together so isn't it possible they could have mixed him up one way or the other? Does anyone have more information on Hans De Neus or maybe even the Jacob Neuss who is attached as his father or a William De Neus who is also believed to be an ancestor? any information that would help clear things up would be appreciated. - Thanks
WikiTree profile: Hans De Neus
in Genealogy Help by Charissa Currie G2G6 Mach 1 (11.7k points)
Hi Charissa,

I ve searched both names, De Neus (sounds very Dutch) and Blomen in Dutch archives. Both lastnames are found in the area between Rotterdam and Krefeld, Germany. Most de Neus-es in the Netherlands are found in Heerlen (few in Rotterdam), most Blomen in Beesel (few in Amsterdam) at the border of Germany less than 60 km from Krefeld.

I couldn t find Hans or Janneke but mabey you know other names of the family to search. (Hans in those days was most likely Johannes, and Janneke, a real dutch maidenname is also withdrawn from Johannes, femaleform Johanna).

I know these archives don t give enough data on the age you re searching but I hope it s a little helpful: https://www.wiewaswie.nl/personen-zoeken/zoeken/q/de+Neus/type/documenten/page/10    

Kind regards from the Netherlands.

A.
Thank you :)
Charissa,  Hans DeNuess(Neuss) is also my ancestor and I spent some time puzzling this out.  This is what I came up with and I am pretty confident but not 100% confident that it is correct.  Georg Neuss (1614-1678) had, best I can tell, 7 children.  He named three of his sons Johann,  Johann Conrad, Johann Georg, and Johann Jost.  That seems unusual, but I know a contemporary man who has done the same and he calls them by their middle names.  Also, Georg father was name Johann and perhaps he was trying to honor him.  Both Hans and Jan are nicknames for Johann.  I believe two of the sons Johann Georg (aka Jan) and Johann Jost (aka Hans) were Mennonites, be patient I will show you why I believe this.  As Mennonites, bothe experiences religious persecution.  Hans went to Holland to escape the persecution.  While he was there, he changed his name to DeNuess to fit in with Dutch culture and he married. Jan married Elisabeth Lucken who was sister to the founders of Germantown in Philadelphia.  So the two brothers and their wives went to Philadelphia to experience religious freedom in William Penn's colony which was established for that purpose.  If you have an Ancestry account, my tree is public and you can check out all my sources.  My most helpful source was:  "William Penn and the Dutch Migration to Pennsylvania",  which lists both Jan and Hans, specifically: Neuss, Hans, brother of Jan, Mennonite teacher,1698-1702,  in Appendix C, of Dutch and German settlers in Germantown 1638-1709.
Thank You, the same first name is something that I've come across before  another ancestor had  4 sons first name John I've heard this could possibly be honoring a family member or sometimes also to honor a favorite saint I've also come across two with Mary as same first name in one family both living at same time,and a few were a family has named a child after one who died earlier.

2 Answers

+2 votes
Based on a quick skim through that profile, it appears that none of the sources cited is a high-quality primary source. The information is based on published genealogies and histories from the 19th and early 20th centuries, Wikipedia and other modern internet sources, and an Ancestry Family Tree that no longer has any content. Without prmary sources -- or at least secondary publications that cite the sources for their contents, it's not going to be possible to decide which version of his history is accurate.

Rather than trying to choose between the alternative accounts of his origins, you can state up front that there are conflicting versions of the story, then proceed to describe each of the conflicting accounts, with clear indications of who presented each version. Even after evidence has been found to substantiate one version or another, it will still be desirable for the profile to include a "Disputed Origins" section that tells about the different theories, so that future users who show up armed with the rejected version of his origin will understand why it was rejected (and not attempt to replace the biography with their version of his life).

Once you've documented the different versions of his life, you'll be in a good position to search for new sources that could support or refute them.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
only sources I could find and did check out where they got imformation on one from Brown family they used [Colonial records of Philadelphia, Register of wills (according to them Hans is in book 3 page 375 #286), and records of swamp reformed church] the other could not find sorces listed but looking at corrections in back and editor it did look like at least a decent source but again all I could find thats why I also looked into history of Nicetown in hopes of finding something.  was hoping someone that has been reasearching the area and time might have something else that could help. I did explain (to the best of my ability) the conflict in place of birth and left that blank in profile and father as uncertain did not disconnect because have no proof he's not the father and do not know what sources the original profile manager had from ancestry). I just don't know where else to look

I feel your pain, Charissa! We can't always find good sources to resolve these mysteries, but we can lay the groundwork for resolving by defining the conflicts clearly for our own benefit (you might stumble upon a great source next week!) or the benefit of future collaborators.

For example, you could start off a paragraph with the statement "Published histories and genealogies present conflicting information on the origins of Hans De Neus." Then where you say "Hans family are BELIEVED to be French Huguenots who settled in Holland where Hans met and married his wife Janneke," you could be specific about who believes this and why they believe it. For example, say something like "Brown[footnote] states that Hans was a French Huguenot who settled in Holland, where Hans met and married his wife Janneke some time before emigrating to America, but Brown doesn't explain the basis for his conclusions." (Note that I haven't checked exactly what Brown said, so please don't copy my words!) Then continue by saying something like "In his 1911 book Colonial Families of Philadelphia, Jordan gave Hans' birthplace as Crefeld, but did not identify his source."

Don't worry about trying to justify the data from the 2011 profile you adopted. You've gone far above and beyond what it contained.

Online resources at familysearch.org (free) and Ancestry.com (paid subscription required) might help you. I found a marriage (index-only record) at https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JHQQ-Z25 :

Hans Newes

mentioned in the record of Hans Newes and Jenneken Blomen
Hans Newes
Jenneken Blomen
13 Oct 1697
Evangelisch, Krefeld, Rheinland, Prussia
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M95050-3 , System Origin: Germany-ODM , GS Film number: 174469
 
Citing this Record

"Deutschland Heiraten, 1558-1929," Database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JHQQ-Z25 : accessed 29 June 2015), Hans Newes and Jenneken Blomen, 13 Oct 1697; citing Evangelisch, Krefeld, Rheinland, Prussia; FHL microfilm 174,469.

That indicates that his marriage was in Krefeld (Crefeld). There likely are other relevant records out there...

Thank you

Great recommendations, Ellen.

Just a note on the Huguenot claim-- any Huguenot claims-- Huguenots were people of French (not German or Swiss) origin who were Protestants and horribly persecuted (and massacred) by King Louis XIV. The survivors fled France-- often to Germany. Some may have gone to Holland-- I don't know. And then from wherever they initially fled (some went to London), they dispersed around the world, many to New Holland / New York.

Unless you can find evidence of French origins, chances are that any Huguenot claims are false. 

As for the Swiss protestants-- these were Calvinists (as opposed to the Lutherans of Germany). For those interested in such things, the history of this early division among Protestants-- which itself was a division from Catholicism-- is quite fascinating and unfortunately violent. And then there's the Church of England (which became the Episcopal church in America), which was also a break-off from Catholicism, but for totally different reasons than those of Luther and Calvin.

 

A person's port of embarkation might not indicate their national origin.

I have seen indications of French Protestants who may have been in the Netherlands before emigrating to America.
+4 votes
I don't think I will be the best answer (nor is it intended to be), but maybe I can give a short history lesson that will help you understand the politics of the time.  I read tons on the subject only to learn my ancestors were German and Luteran so not the typical "Dutch" immigrant of the early 1700's.  Many of these people were neither Dutch nor German, but were Swiss by birth.  They were persecuted for their religious beliefs and the Dutch Reform church in Amsterdam actually wound up sponsoring getting many of them out of Switzerland and Germany by paying passage to the Colonies via Holland.  Many were relesed from prison by vowing never to return to Switzerland.    Plus, there was the 30 years war ongoing.  These people were non combative by religion and the Swiss government said they didn't want anyone who wouldn't defend the country if needed.  To date they still rely on a militia vs a standing army.  At any rate, it is often hard to know where someone was born.  The process of getting from Switzerland, to Holland and then on a ship from Rotterdam, usually bound for Philidelphia was a long process.  Plus, Switzerland adopted another protestant religion as a state religion, maybe it was Lutheran, not sure on that one.  Anyhow, it was not unusual for a newly pregnant woman to begin in Switzerland or Germany and then to give birth in Rotterdam or even abord ship bound for the Colonies.  Also, many of these people were running back and forth between Germany and Switzerland and Holland, before coming to the Colonies.  Quite a few did not take the "don't ever return" clause of their release from jail to heart, returned to Switzerland, were imprisoned again and then killed.  They went to Pennsylvania by specific invitation of William Penn.  My German ancestors were not under near as much pressure and I have one ancestor that was born on a stop over on the Isle of Wight.  They left for the Colonies from Rotterdam.  Apparently that was the usual departure point from that part of Europe.  Many of my records look the same as yours.  I don't think we will ever know the absolute truth.  I use common sense, math and most likely human behavior and then choose the answer that seems to fit best.  The essence will always be there:  left Prussia due to religious persecution.  Came to the Colonies in the early 1700's via Rotterdam and landed in Philadelphia.  Hopefully, understanding the times and situation will help you understand that the records of the times are not all that great when you can find actual records.
by Cathy Harmon G2G3 (3.5k points)
Thanks for that history lesson, Cathy!
Thanks so much for that elucidating note!
Rotterdam was a refuge city for many people who were persecuted, not just the Swiss, and people stayed there sometimes years before getting a ship out to the Americas.    In researching a group of Germans called The Brethen, I found that they went to Rotterdam and some stayed there several years before getting ships out to America.   Scots, English, Jews, everyone found refuge in Rotterdam.

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