Church records don't exist for actual birth

+8 votes
I keep hitting some serious dead ends trying to assist/ correct either incorrect or missing LNAB records for the early Lutheran ancestors (1650-1700 timeframe of the New Netherland Settler Project) what are we supposed to do when there simply are no church records to go by?

For instance Hallenbeck-14 has no church records of his birth (or Marriage to Rachel) nothing critical shows up until his 7th child's birth Johannes in 1694 which i just added to the source for Hallenbeck-238 (and since there is no image- I cannot definitively say what they baptized Johannes with as his last name)
Father's Name Jan Casparsz
Mother's Name Rachel Willemsz

Are these records enough, without images to correct the LNAB of these parents... or is more continual research needed, because it may simply no longer exist.
WikiTree profile: Jan Caspersen
in Genealogy Help by Miranda Cartier G2G2 (2.8k points)
edited by Ellen Smith

Since this man is thought to have been born in [Albany] 31 years before the Albany records began, we'll never find his baptism records.

A source cited on some of his siblings' profiles [ADDED: this is] supports the notion that this generation used patronymic names, but some later adopted the family name Hallenbek (with various spellings).

I don't recall at the moment why Casparse is the patronym spelling on the main profile for him (and I'm using my phone at the moment, making it hard to consult multiple pages).

Thanks Ellen, I think for Jan (the son of Caspar) Hallenbeck-14 we had the copy of his will as the earliest written document - dated 1725 which listed his name as Jan Caspersen.  The actual profile currently still has his LNAB as Hallenbeck which would be incorrect.  If the baptism of his son Johannes in 1694 shows that he was using Casparsz or it was written that way then it would probably make the most since that this is the first church record that exists for Hallenbeck-14 and we could definitely correct this man's profile for once and for all. Possibly the same for his wife Rachel (Hoffmeyer-64) since her name is listed on the same baptism record in 1694 as Willemsz.    The baptism on is sourcing from somewhere- is there any way to find where those records are coming from? 

Nice discovery, Miranda! That 1694 baptism of Johannes, son of Jan Casparsz and Rachel Willemsz, is recorded in the Albany church records compiled by the Holland Society of New York. It's free on the web in a number of places. My favorite source for Albany church records is (that's an index page for different sets of records; is the URL for baptisms between 1683 and 1700). I like that site because it's easy to copy and paste the record into a profile here. Johannes baptized in 1694 must have died very young, as the same couple baptized another child with the same name in 1696. Those two baptisms are the only two instances of this Jan and Rachel that I found in the 1683-1700 records. Unless and until another earlier record turns up with a different version of the name, it looks to me like it should be Casparsz.

A standard practice in the New Netherland Settlers project is to compile all of the church records for a person into a subsection of their profile to provide a resource for details on their name history, as well as other parts of the biography. See for one example. A church records compilation like that one would be a helpful addition to this man's profile.

The WikiTree page Space:Baptism and Marriage Records of the DRC in America lists a number of sources for New Netherland (and later) church records. If you find a new source, please add the information to a comment on the page so we can get it added to the page.

1 Answer

+8 votes
Best answer
I would use the last name as given on the earliest document you have. If you later find an earlier document with a different name, then you can change it.

If church records do not exist, then you can use wills, land records, bills of sale, contracts, or what ever exists.

In many church records the name of the child is given as a first name only, without the surname expressly attached to the child’s name. In those cultures where the child takes the father’s name this in straight forward. But in cultures where surnames are more variable, this assumption does not always work. Later documents will determine what surname they actually used.
by George Fulton G2G6 Pilot (683k points)
selected by Susan Laursen
Our New Netherland naming guidance calls for use of the father's surname on the baptism record if the father was using a non-patronymic name. See the project page for detailed guidance.

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