What to do about the murky identity of Geesje Jans?

+6 votes

BACKGROUND. Geesje Jans (or Jansz) was the wife of Jan Albertsz and the mother of several children recorded in Albany and Lunenburgh, New York, beginning about 1692. On at least one baptism record she's identified as Geesje Dircksz; I think that's a one-off error. (Note: She and the children have been mistakenly associated with a different man named Jan Albertse Bradt, and we're still working on disentangling the families -- but that's not the subject of this question.)

A prominent New Netherland genealogist of earlier decades (long-ago deceased) asserted that this Geesje Jans was a girl baptized in New Amsterdam in 1667, the daughter of a "Roelof Janzen Van Meppelen" (wherein "Van Meppelen" might be a family name or might simply be an indication of his place of origin). If Dutch naming traditions were followed, the daughter of a man of that name would have had a patronymic name of "Roelofs" (or similar) or possibly a family name of "van Meppelen," so it's not at all obvious that she would be called "Jansz" (much less "Dircksz"), but naming practices were in flux in New Netherland in the decades after the British took control, so strange patterns do appear. (For example, Geesje's daughter was called by the last name of "Albertti" at her marriage, based on her father's patronymic.) And the date of 1667 is within the right range, and we have this wise old genealogist asserting that these were the same person.


1. There are currently three profiles (Dircksz-37, Janse-90, and Van Mappelen-1) that apparently represent either or both the girl baptized in 1667 or the woman who was married to Jan Alberts and had those children. Should we accept the hypothesis that they are all the same person and merge them together (with documentation of the uncertainty about the identity) or should the girl baptized in 1667 be given her own [unconnected] profile, separate from an origins-unknown profile for the mother of Jan Alberts' children?

2. What's the appropriate LNAB for the profile of the girl baptized in 1667? If we treat "Van Meppelen" as her father's surname, New Netherland naming conventions indicate that to be her LNAB. On the other hand, that's the only record that uses that name, and I think it might simply have been his place of origin. Regardless of that reservation, if she is given a separate profile that isn't connected with Jans Albertsz's children, that's the only record for her, so Van Meppelen is the only last name she has. But for the woman who had those kids, the name of Jansz that appears on the earliest known baptism record for a child would be the appropriate LNAB. If we treat the girl and woman as the same person, does it make sense to deviate from policy and use Jansz as the LNAB in lieu of the more questionable "Van Meppelen"?

WikiTree profile: Geesje Albertse
in Genealogy Help by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
edited by Ellen Smith

4 Answers

+2 votes
Jansz is what my gut instinct says, after chasing my tail on this for a week or so on and off - but that is perhaps just a majority of the clues given by the mistaken identity trees, blurbs and listings of her attached to so many places- It seems I develop biases for one over another for silly reasons at times though so do not go by me

  Back to chasing which child belongs to which Jan I go!

Oh and do not forget about Bradt-127 who has the wrongp arents and luckily no parents or children attached
by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Pilot (145k points)
edited by Navarro Mariott

Well, the decision on the LNAB(s) for Geesje isn't supposed to be based on our hunches. We're supposed to use records and apply the project's naming conventions. If we decide to treat these as two different people, I think that the one who had children should have LNAB of Jansz, and the one baptized in 1667 probably needs to be Geesje van Meppelen (no further record). The quandary develops if we accept the verdict that they are the same person.

To be honest, I'm perfectly willing to forget about Bradt-127. I've not seen good evidence of her existence -- nor her nonexistence, and since she has no spouse or descendants connected to her, it doesn't much matter...

I guess I should have said my "hunch" was also made through calculations and sifting of the sources and records I have seen and through sorting of notes and all - but I do not yet have your expertise on knowing which are of better quality than others although I am starting to be able to bypass the obvious "Junk" and dig down to better sources as I slog thorough all that is to be had on the interwebs -

I do think it is the same lady really but not quite to the point of solidarity I feel one should and I am sure running through all connections and records again for another little time will sway this one way or another - wish I could do it all at once but as I work full time it all gets bits and pieces of time and so that makes concentration so hard to maintain - well I will continue to work on this family and she is a pert of it - hope that I can be of some use on this dilema
So what clue do you see to indicate that the woman who had those kids is the girl who was baptized in 1667?

Carrie Quackenbush speculated that the connection was being made solely because of the name Roelof.

I was hoping to see some clues in the lists of baptism witnesses, but basically I see a couple of New Amsterdam names on the baptism record from 1667 and a bunch of Albany names on the records for kids who were baptized in Albany.
Still looking, I thought someones mom was a witness somewhere and of course now I can not find it but still checking here
Well here we have more possible close names and potential for confusion - there was also a Geesie Roelofsen that married a Jan Albertsen! But the child listed was baptized in Kingston so probably a different family - still seems close and all - could be part of this confusion across some of the trees and genealogies out there
Aha! That Kingston record may be an important clue.

The baptism in Kingston on 18 February 1700 of Geertruy, child of Jan Albertsen and Geesje Roelofsen, fits perfectly in the gap between the baptisms in Albany of Pieter, child of Jan Albertsz (mother not named), on 16 January 1698 and Johannes, child of Jan and Geesje Albertse, on 5 July 1702. The fact that the child was baptized in the Kingston church doesn't necessarily mean this is a different family (domines from both Kingston and Albany covered large hinterlands, sometimes a domine from Albany shows up in the Kingston records, and there are some instances of individuals or families moving between settlements for short periods). I can imagine that Innes Getty might have identified Jan Albertsen and Geesje Roelofsen as the same "Jan and Geesje" as those other baptisms, and that might have inspired him to identify Geesje Jans as the daughter of  "Roelof Janzen Van Meppelen" whose baptism was recorded in New Amsterdam.  (But I think he must have had more information to go on than that...)
+2 votes
I see that the proposed merges are on the pending merger page.  However, I think I would go with Jansz as her LNAB, rather than Dircksz (can't figure out where that came from, but since it only appeared in one baptism, I think Dircksz is probably a mistake).
by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Mach 6 (64.1k points)
Oh yes - thank you Kenneth I have to get back to this - where are my notes!?!  Supper and rehash
+2 votes
"Van Meppelen" means "from Meppel" which is a town in the province of Drenthe in the Netherlands. Because the baptism record shows her father using a patronymic, Janzen, and a location suffix, "van Meppelen", I think it's difficult to argue that Van Meppelen is a family name. I would discard Van Meppelen from the list of candidates.
by Jim Moore G2G6 Mach 1 (11.2k points)
edited by Jim Moore
yup, it means "from Meppel" But is's in the east of the country and not north of Amsterdam.... maybe you can say northeast but at least a totally different part of the country. For the rest... totaly agree with your answer.
Yes, I agree now, after rechecking the source of my information. I will edit my remark so that it doesn't hang there, possibly confusing others.
+2 votes

Hi just found the marriage(s) of her parents in Amsterdam, it was her fathers second marriage, his first wife was Geertje Egberts, there was a daughter baptized by Roelof and Geesje named Geertje as well, she perhaps was named after her fathers first wife ? 

Looking for more info I noticed some are wondering if maybe there is a connection between Roelof and Hilletjen Hendriks (also from Meppel) wife of Andrees Barents who after his death remarried Albert Jans (from Steenwijk). 

The first husband of Roelofs first wife was Hendrick Everts, he also was from Meppel, he would be old enough to be Hilletjen's father, but no records for it, and the only thing they have in common (so far) is the place where they came from + the first name /patronymic (= fathers first name + ending s/sz/ss/szen etc.) Henrick Everts and Geertje Egberts married in Amsterdam in 1632 and only one child named Jannetjen was baptized in Amsterdam in 1636 of this couple.. And no children of Roelof Jansz and Geesje Claes ..they married in 1649 and there's no trace of them after this marriage, so they emigrated between 1650 and 1653 ...perhaps we can find their emigration/immigration ? 

The LNAB for Geesje according her baptism would probably be Van Meppelen if her father really used it for last name in 1667, but comparing all records Jansz (or Jans) seems to be the most correct one ?  

by Bea Wijma G2G6 Pilot (277k points)
edited by Bea Wijma

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