Case study – the origins of Jan Dirkse van Eps

One of my clients asked me to research the origins of her Dutch colonial ancestor, Jan Dirkse van Eps. She graciously allowed me to share the research I did for her on my website, to make it available to other Van Eps descendants. As this article is based on the research report I wrote for her, it will also give you an insight into my work process and the type of research that I do.

Unfortunately, the terms of the Amsterdam City Archives website do not allow me to reproduce the scans of the original records here, although I did obtain permission to share them with my client.

Background information

At the start of the project, the client provided me with the following information:1

Johannes (Jan) Dirkse Van Eps, probably born in Holland to Dirck Van Eps and Maritie Damen after their marriage in 1636, perhaps in Groenlo, province of Gelderland, or Amsterdam. His sister Lysbet was born in Delfhaven, Holland.Johannes Dirkse Van Eps came to New Netherlands after his father died in 1647 (buried at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, although some records say New Netherland).  Jan’s mother remarried in 1649 to Hendrick Andriese Van Doesburg, and brought Jan and his sister to New Netherland some time after that.  After Van Doesburg died, she married again, to Cornelis Van Nes in 1664.  She became very wealthy.Jan Van Eps married Elizabeth Janse Douw in Albany, NY in 1666, and was killed in a massacre in 1690 in Schenectady, NY.Jan’s father, Dirck Evertse Van Eps (or Van Epen), was born in 1603 in Groenlo, town of Epse, now part of Gorssel, Gelderland.  He died 16 Nov. 1647, aged 44 years.  His first marriage was to Stintje Reinders, b. 1597 and died at 39 about 1636.  He then married Maritie Adamse Damen, b. 1611 in Doesburg, in Amsterdam that same year.  Her son, Jan, was born after 1636, as was a daughter Elizabeth (Lysbet).  When Dirck dies, Maritie marries Hendrick Andriese Van Doesburg, 4 Dec. 1649 in Amsterdam.  They go to New Netherland with his daughter, whom Maritie adopts, leaving behind her small children.  Her sister, Aaltje Damen, is declared guardian, along with a weeskamer. Maritie is making several trips across the Atlantic at this time.  When Van Doesburg dies in 1652 she marries Cornelis Van Nes in Albany in 1664.  She becomes a very wealthy woman and there are many written accounts of her real estate dealings, and she purchases property for her son, Jan.  Maritie died in 1682.

View of New Amsterdam

View of New Amsterdam, 1665

Research goal

The goal of my client was to find out when and where Johannes (Jan) Dirkse van Eps was born. A total of six hours was authorized for this research.

Research notes

Analysis of known information

Jan van Eps was probably born between 1636 and 1649. The civil registration of births in the Netherlands doesn’t start until 1811. Prior to that, church records of baptisms are the closest record to a birth. Most churches started recording baptisms in the early to late 1600s. Baptisms between 1636-1649 may not have recorded, or the registers may have been lost.

The migration pattern of the Van Eps family is unusual. There were few people from the Achterhoek (the area of Gelderland where Groenlo is located) who went to Amsterdam, let alone New Netherland. Most people who did migrate like this were merchants. Most people who went to Amsterdam, did not return to the Achterhoek. Since Dirck van Eps married and died in Amsterdam, Amsterdam seems the most logical place to search for the baptism. Alternatively, Jan could have been baptized in Delfshaven. If his sister was born there, the family must have lived there at some point.

Even though Jan is listed as Marritje’s son in her will, we must not rule out the possibility that Jan was Dirck van Eps’ son of his first marriage as wills do not always explicitly mention step-relations.

‘Everts’ is a patronymic meaning ‘son of Evert.’ In the 17th century, patronymics were widely used in Holland and not everyone used a surname. It is possible that records do not use the “Van Eps” name but are under patronymics instead.

“Epse” is not a part of Groenlo. There is a village called “Epse” in the same province (Gelderland) in the current municipality of Gorssel, but it is located about 25 miles north-west of Groenlo. Epse has never been a part of the jurisdiction of Groenlo. It may be that Dirck’s family was originally from Epse and took the name Van Eps when they moved to Groenlo.

Amsterdam records

To define when Jan could have been born, it is important to establish when his parents were married and when his father died exactly.

Marriage records of Dirck Everts van Eps

A search for Eps* in the index of publication of marriage banns in Amsterdam on the Amsterdam City Archives website revealed the marriage record:

Publication of the banns of Dirck Evertss van Eps and Marritie Damen, 19 April 1636
Source: City of Amsterdam, Holland, Netherlands, marriage register February 1635 – February 1638, call number 674, p. 107, Van Eps-Damen, 19 April 1636; “Ondertrouwregisters 1565-1811” [Registers of marriage banns 1565-1811], Stadsarchief Amsterdam (http://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl : accessed 5 September 2014)Abstract:
19 April [1636]
Appeared Dirck Evertss van Eps, shoemaker, widower of Stijntie Reijnders, living in the Hasselaersteech [Hasselaer alley], and Marritie Damen, from Doesburgh, age 25, living at the Conincxgracht [King’s Canal], assisted by Judith Sanders were “meue” [hard to read. Perhaps dialect for “moeie” or aunt] were joined in marriage.
[signed]
Derck Everdtsen van Eps
Marriten Daemen

This record shows that Dirck Everts van Eps and Marritien Damen married in Amsterdam shortly after 19 April 1636. Both signatures are rather unpracticed. Still, the fact that they could both sign their names shows they were better educated than many of the people at that time since there were several people who only signed with a mark.

The first marriage of Dirck van Eps to Stijntien Reijnders was not found by this search. A search for D* Ever* did turn up the marriage.

Publication of the banns of Dirck Evertss and Stijntie Reijner, 24 April 1631
Source: City of Amsterdam, Holland, Netherlands, marriage register February 1635 – February 1638, call number 674, p. 128, Evertss-Reijner, 19 April 1636; “Ondertrouwregisters 1565-1811” [Registers of marriage banns 1565-1811], Stadsarchief Amsterdam (http://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl : accessed 5 September 2014)
Abstract:
[24 April 1631]
Appeared Dirck Everts from Groll [Groenlo] shoemaker age 27, living in the Hasselaersteech [Hasselaer alley], assisted by Berent Geritsen his uncle, who declared to have his father’s consent, and Stijntie Reijner, from Lichtenvoorde, age 33, living in the Warmoes[straat] [Warmoes street]
[signed]
Derck Evret [mark]

The two signatures share some characteristics, but are also different in their spelling and the way some of the letters are formed. The main difference is in the forming of the initial D, but that could be explained because the 1631 record uses a capital D while the 1636 record uses a regular D. Despite the discrepancies in the writing of the signature, there are enough points of overlap between the two marriage records to conclude that this must be the same person:

  • Both men were called Derck Everts
  • Both men were shoemakers
  • In 1636, Derck Everts van Eps was widow of Stijntie Reijniers, the name of the bride in 1631.
  • In both records, Derck Everts lived in the Hasselaersteeg.

Since the 1631 record does not list a previous spouse, this must be Dirck van Eps’ first marriage. That places the earliest time of birth for Jan Dircks van Eps in 1631.

Burial records for Dirck Everts van Eps

The latest possible birth date for Jan Dircks van Eps is nine months after his father’s death. The index of burial records of Amsterdam at the Amsterdam City Archives website was searched for Eps*, which located the burial of Dirck van Eps.

Burial of Dirck van Eps, 16 November 1647
Source: Nieuwe Kerk en Engelse Kerk [New Church and English Church] (Amsterdam, Noord-Holland), burial register 1642-1668, call number 1055, p. 40v, Dirck van Eps, 16 November 1647; “Begraafregisters voor 1811” [Burial registers before 1811], index and digital images, Stadsarchief Amsterdam (http://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl : accessed 5 September 2014)Translation:
Dirck van Eps at the Haerlemmerdijck [Dike to Haarlem] at ditto [16 November 1647] 10 guilders

This shows that Dirck van Eps, living at the Dike to Haarlem, was buried in the New Church or English Church on 16 November 1647. 10 guilders was owed for the funeral. The rest of the people on the page had to pay 4, 5, 8 or 10 guilders. There were different classes based on the level of luxury of the funeral: the quality of the pall, the number of bells being rung and the location of the burial. Since 10 guilders was the highest rate on the two pages, it suggests that Dirck van Eps was well-to-do.

The name Van Eps is very uncommon in Amsterdam. The 1647 date is consistent with the second marriage of Maritgen Damen and also matches the known information that the client provided. This must be the correct burial. He must have moved from the Hasselaersteegh to the Haarlemmerdijk between his 1636 marriage and 1647 death.

Since Dirck van Eps died shortly before 16 November 1647, Jan van Eps must have been born in August 1648 at the latest. This gives us a span for his birth date of 1631 to 1648.

The search for Eps* in the burial records also showed another burial that might be relevant:

Burial of Evert Dircks van Eps, 1 September 1655
Source: Heiligewegs- en Leidsche Kerkhof [Holy Road and Leiden Churchyard] (Amsterdam, Noord-Holland), burial register January 1653 – April 1662, p. 42v, Evert Dircks van Eps, 1 September 1655; “Begraafregisters voor 1811” [Burial registers before 1811], index and digital images, Stadsarchief Amsterdam (http://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl : accessed 5 September 2014)Translation:
Ditto [=1 September 1655] Evert Dircksen van Eps son of the late Dirck van Eps.

This shows that Evert Dirck van Eps, the son of the late Dirck van Eps was buried in Amsterdam on 1 September 1655. Since Van Eps is an uncommon name in Amsterdam and there was just one Dirck van Eps at that time that we know of, this must be a brother of Jan van Eps. This shows that the family was still living in Amsterdam in 1655.

A search in the index of Amsterdam burials for Stij* or Christi* [Christina is the Latin version of Stijntjen] between 1631 and 1637 did not return any burials for a Stijntje Reijnders. This could mean that she died elsewhere.

Baptismal records in Amsterdam

So we now know that Dirck van Eps had at least three children:

  1. Jan Dircks van Eps
  2. Lijsbeth Dircks van Eps, presumably baptized in Delfshaven
  3. Evert Dircks van Eps, buried Amsterdam 1 September 1655.

No contemporary records have yet been found that show the family living in Delfshaven, the presumed place of birth of Lijsbeth. At this point, the only proven place where the family lived was Amsterdam, so those records will be searched first.

A search for Eps* between 1600 and 1680 in Amsterdam showed two entries with a (Van) Eps:2

  • Grietje Eps was listed as a mother with the baptism of Annetje, daughter of Jan Cornelisz and Grietje Eps on 11 December 1616
  • Lijntje van Eps was listed as a mother with the baptism of Joannes, son of Luijcas Jansz and Lijntje van Eps on 14 July 1626.

No mentions of a Dirck van Eps were found, neither as father nor as witness.

A search in the index of baptisms for Ma* Da*me* as mother between 1600 and 1680 returned 15 results of a Marijtje Damen/Dames or variations, but none with a husband Dirck or variations.

A search in the index of baptisms for Dir* as father combined with a Ma* as mother between 1637 and 1648 returned 153 results. The whole list was checked for names that sounded like they could have been variation of Dirck Evertse van Eps and Maritje Damen but none were found.

A search in the index of baptisms for Dir* Ev* as father between 1631 and 1648 returned 7 results, but none with a wife called Stijntje or Maritje or variations thereof.

A search in the index of baptisms for St* Rei* as mother between 1631 and 1636 returned two results for a Stijntje Reinders or variations, but none with a Dirck or variations as husband.

Since the indexes of Amsterdam baptismal records are complete for his period, this means that Dirck van Eps’ children were probably not baptized in Amsterdam. Since children in this region during this period were baptized within days of their birth, this means that Jan Dircks van Eps probably was not born in Amsterdam.

Orphan chamber

The orphan chamber was a government agency responsible for overseeing that minors had guardians and that their estates were administered properly. In Amsterdam, the orphan chamber kept their own lists of burials to see who died leaving orphans. Since Dirck van Eps died leaving minor children, he should be listed there. Any guardians that were appointed may indicate where the family lived. Scans of these orphan chamber burial records are available at the website of the Amsterdam municipal archives. The scans for November 1647 were consulted and Dirck van Eps’ entry was found.

Dirck van Eps’ entry in burial book of the orphan chamber, 16 November 1647
Source: Orphan chamber (Amsterdam, Holland), burial registers for the Nieuwe Kerk [New Church], 1641-1693, call number 10, unpaginated, Dirck van Eps, 16 November 1647; “5004: Archief van de Weeskamer: begraafregisters” [5004: Archive of the Orphan Chamber: burial registers], finding aid and digital images, Stadsarchief Amsterdam (https://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl : accessed 5 September 2014)Abstract:
Dirck van Eps at the Haerlemmerdijck [Haarlem dike] near the West India House “inde Stadt Grol,” leaves children. 16 [November 1647] – 3 [children]
[Margin:]
8 January 1648 Maritge Damen the widow deposited the last will of her husband, created before public notary Hendrick Schaeff on 7 October 1647, which states she can remain in the estate.

The record is hard to read but enough words can be read to discern the meaning. Dirck van Eps died at the Haerlemmerdijck near the West India House, “inde Stadt Grol” [in the City of Grol, presumably the name of a house or inn], leaving behind three children. The note in the margin shows that Dirck van Eps had a last will drafted 7 October 1647, just six weeks before his death. This suggests he may have been ill. He left provisions that the estate should remain intact and that his widow could benefit from it so it wasn’t to be administered by the orphan chamber.

Delfshaven baptismal records

According to the Repertorium DTB [Overview of church records], Delfshaven baptismal records of the Dutch Reformed Church start in 1609, with a gap between 1612 and 1633.3 They are complete since 1633. An index of these records is available on the Digitale Stamboom [Digital Family Tree] website of the Rotterdam City Archives.4 The index also contains the baptismal records of surrounding places like Rotterdam, Kralingen and Ridderkerk.

A search for Eps in the Digital Family Tree returned several records in the 18th century, but none before 1700. A search for Dir* as Father between 1631 and 1648 returned 250 results, the maximum number of results for this database. Refining the query by also searching for second person Ma* as mother between 1636 and 1648 yielded 82 results. The list of fathers names was browsed for any names that seem to match Dirck Evertse van Eps. The following results were found:

  • Anna, baptized Rotterdam (Dutch Reformed) 24 January 1641, daughter of Dirck Evertsse and Maertgen Arens. Witnesses: Aij Janssen, [no first name] van Bergen, Harmen Janssen, Annitgen Gerts, Maddelentgen Aerents.
  • Aeltge, baptized Rotterdam (Dutch Reformed) 24 August 1642, daughter of Dirck Eeversen and Maertgen Arens. Witnesses: Arij Janssen, Lisbet Gerts.
  • Neeltge, baptized Rotterdam (Dutch Reformed) 1 November 1644, daughter of Dirck Evase and Maertge Krijne. Witnesses: Thomas Willemse, Kors Janse, Aeltge Rolofs and Annetge Dirckx.

The first two baptisms must be siblings since the names of the parents match apart from minor spelling variations and the first witness matches as well. The name of the mother of the third child (Maertge Krijne) does not match the mothers’ names of the first two (Maertgen Arens). It could be a different couple, or there could have been a mistake in the mother’s name, or the father may have remarried. None of these women seem to match Maritgen Damen, and Rotterdam is not the same place as Delfshaven.

A search for Ma* Da*me* as Mother between 1636 and 1648 in the index of baptisms at the Rotterdam Digital Family Tree only found women named Marija or Maertge Dammes and variations. None of them had a husband named Dirck.

No evidence for the Van Eps family was found in the index of church records of Delfshaven. Since it is unknown where the information came from that Lijsbeth was born in Delfshaven, the truth of that story cannot be ascertained.

Rotterdam Notarial Archives

Rotterdam was the nearest large city to Delfshaven. An index of notarial records of Rotterdam is available online at the Rotterdam City Archives website.5

This index was searched for Eps which returned a last will dated 19 June 1634 that referred to a Martha Eps that does not seem relevant. A search for Damen returned 100 results, the maximum for this database. A search for Damen and Dirck returned 8 index entries but all were for different people.

Groenlo baptismal records

According to the overview of church records, Groenlo baptismal records only start in 1684.6 If Dirck van Eps returned to Groenlo and had children there, their baptisms were not recorded in any records that survive to this day.

Doesburg baptismal records

According to her marriage record, Marijtgen Damen was from Doesburg. According to the overview of church records, Dutch Reformed baptismal records in Doesburg started in 1613, with a gap between 1639 and 1649.7 If they went back to her place of birth, it is possible that their oldest child’s baptism is recorded between 1636 and 1649.

The website Digital Resources Netherlands and Belgium indicates that there is no online index for Doesburg Dutch Reformed baptisms.8 Scans are available online at Familysearch.org. These images were browsed for the period 1636-1639, reviewing every baptism that started with a father named Dirck or variations, but no baptisms of Dirck Everts van Eps and Maritgen Damen or variations were found.9 Part of the volume was poorly legible because of apparent water damage, but that affected only three entries.

Amsterdam notarial archives

Notarial records can sometimes provide information about birth places or previous places of residence. Since Amsterdam is the only place that we know for certain where Dirck Evertse van Eps lived after his marriage, Amsterdam notarial records may provide more information. The Amsterdam notarial archives are very extensive and contain 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) of records. A partial index is available in the form of a card catalog, created by former archivist Simon Hart. He seems to have had a particular interest in New Netherland and trade so these records are well-represented. The card catalog is arranged by geographical name or family name. Each card contains a reference to the source and an abstract of the record.

Van Eps references in Simon Hart card catalog of Amsterdam notarial records
Source: “En t/m Escallier,” card catalog, call number 59, entries for “Van Eps;” “Archief van S. Hart: (gedeeltelijke) toegang op de notariële archieven” [Archive of S. Hart: (partial) index on notarial archives], finding aid 30452; Amsterdam City Archives, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.Abstracts:
31 July 1646. Notary H. Schaeff, call number 1323 p. 231v, notary H. Schaeff
Harmen Hanss, from Niekerck in Hessen, enlisted as soldier under director Stuyvesant in the service of the West India Company, owes to Dirck van Eps, innkeeper, 32 “carolus” guilders for his equipment, will be repaid from his salary.
18 March 1651, notary Henrick Schaff, call number 1300 p. 43
Marritgen Damen, widow of Dirck van Eps and wife of Henrick Andriesz, freeman in New Netherland, about to depart for New Netherland, gives power of attorney to Jan Arnoldus Huydekoper at the “Benningenpad (Beuningenpad?)” outside the “Regulierspoort” [city gate] in Amsterdam, to receive from the Dutch East India Company and the West India company and other companies the wages owing to her.25 March 1651, notary Henrick Schaeff, call number 1300 p. 47
Baerendt Leferinck, master tailor in Amsterdam and holding the mortgage of a house and yard in the Oude Lievelderstraat in Groenlo, as left behind by his uncle and guardian Evert van Eps and his wife Geeske van Eps and mortgaged to him for 125 “daalders” [dollars] at 30 “stuiver” [5 cent pieces] at 6% per years, Lubbert van Eps, son of Evert van Eps and cobbler in Amsterdam, and Pieter Pietersz. De With, merchant in Amsterdam and appointed by last will as fellow guardian of the minor children of Dirck van Eps, son of Evert van Eps, give power of attorney to Barent Schoemaker, citizen of Groenlo, to sell said house and yard.4 November 1655, notary H. Schaeff, call number 1305 p. 112.
Pieter de Witt, from Amsterdam, lying ill in his bed, guardian appointed by last will over the children of Dirk van Eps, whose mother is in New Netherland, gives power of attorney to Aaltgen Damen, from Doesburg, to protect the interests of the children.

20 October 1668, notary Jan Volkaertsz Oli, call number 1520, p. 245
Lijsbeth Dircx van Eps, housewife of Gerrit Banckers living in Albany in New Netherland, according to power of attorney dated 6/16 July 1668 before D. van Schelluijne, secretary in that location, being one of the relict children of the late Dirck van Eps and on accord of the death of one of her brothers, owner of 300 guilders, being half of the 600 guilders that her mother Marytgen Damen owed to fulfill her paternal inheritance, and that was kept by Pieter Pietersz de With, in his lifetime merchant in this location, according to his manuscript of 16 December 1649, of which the other half belongs to her brother Jan van Eps, declares that Marritgen Laurens widow of Pieter Pietersz de With paid her in full.

28 December 1668, notary Jac. De Winter, call number 2297 – III, p. 19-22
Elisabeth van Eps, housewife of Gerrit Baenken, living in Albany in New Netherland, having power of attorney by her husband (created before D. van Schelluyne secretary at Albany 6/16 July 1668), and Abel de Wolf, merchant in Amsterdam, declare to have settled accounts et cetera of the trade in New Netherland until this moment, totaling in wages, invested capital et cetera 7416-10-8 “carolus” guilders [7416 guilders, 10 “stuivers” or 50 cents, and 8 pennies]. She declares to have received from Abel de Wolff 9416½ “carolus” guilders of which she remained indebted 2000 guilders according to the recorded obligation. The sum was paid by De Wolff in several payments. Has furthermore received 300 “carolus” guilders for grain coming from the bouwerij [farmstead] the “Schenhectide” to be received and sold by De Wolff for their mutual profit.

28 December 1668, notary Jac. De Winter, call number 2297-III, p. 22,23
Elisabet van Eps, having power of attorney from her husband Gerrit Baenken at Albany in New Netherland, declares to owe to Abel de Wolff, merchant in Amsterdam, 1600 “carolus” guilders for the account of Engbertus Hugo, apothecary, because of the settlement of the account with Abel de Wolff for goods traded in New Netherland. To be paid on return of the first ships from New Netherland with 4% interest. The risks at sea are taken by Elisabeth van Eps.

28 December 1668, notary Jac. De Winter, call number 2297-III, p. 23, 24
Elisabet van Eps, having power of attorney from her husband Gerrit Baenken at Albany in New Netherland, declares to owe to Abel de Wolff, merchant in Amsterdam, 400 “carolus” guilders for the account of Barent Holthuysen, merchant in Amsterdam, because of the settlement of the account with Abel de Wolff for goods traded in New Netherland. To be paid on return of the first ships from New Netherland with 4% interest. The risks at sea are taken by Elisabeth van Eps.

28 December 1668, notary Jac. De Winter, call number 2297-III, p. 28,29
Lijsbeth Dircx van Eps, housewife of Gerrit Bancken, living in Albany in the colony New Netherland, temporarily in Amsterdam, having power of attorney of Cornelis van Nes, former commissioner, and Marritje Damen (spouses), also living in Albany. Since she is about to depart she gives power of attorney to Abel de Wolff and Jan Hendricxsz Sijbingh merchants in Amsterdam to claim the sum of 3500 “carolus” guilders on behalf of Marritje Damen, from Schaep Esq. in Doesburg, with past interest and to invest the money again with interest.

5 February 1684, notary Jac. De Winter, call number 2323, p. 131
Geertruyd de Wolf widow of Gerrit Janss Groenewouw also known as Kuyper gives power of attorney to Gerrit Bancken and Elisabeth van Eps (spouses) living in Albany in the colony of Renselaerswijck in New Netherland to claim there all outgoing debts of them, and especially to demand 1039 guilders 18 “stuivers” [5 cent pieces] owing to her from the estate left behind by Juriaen Jansz Groenewouwt, her brother-in-law in Albany.

Note about the amounts:
The “gulden” [guilder] was the main unit of coin in the Netherlands. There were different types of guilders. The “Carolus gulden,” named after emperor Charles V, was worth 20 “stuivers” [5 cent pieces] and often used to describe amounts.

These records give us the following information:

  • Dirck Evertse van Eps was an innkeeper in Amsterdam on 31 July 1646. His inn could have been the “Stadt Grol” [City of Groenlo] that was mentioned in the orphan chamber records. Inns were often named after the place of origin of the innkeeper and Groenlo was his place of birth according to his 1631 marriage record.
  • Dirck Evertse van Eps was the son of Evert and Geeske van Eps from Groenlo. They owned a house in Groenlo in the Lievelderstraat [road to Lievelde]. After Evert and Geeske’s death, this house belonged to their heirs: their son Lubbert van Eps and the children of their deceased son Dirck van Eps. The house was mortgaged to Baerendt Leferinck, master tailor in Amsterdam. His name Leferinck also points to an origin near Groenlo, since Leferinck is a farm name that is common to that area. On 25 March 1651, Lubbert van Eps, together with the guardian of his brother Dirck van Eps children and Baerendt Leferinck give permission to sell the house.
  • Elisabeth van Eps and Jan van Eps were brother and sister and the children of Dirck Evertse van Eps and Marytgen Damen. Together, they were entitled to 600 guilders from their father Dirck Evertse van Eps’ estate. They used to have another brother. This is consistent with the conclusion that Evert Dirckse van Eps who died in 1655 was also a son of Dirck van Eps.

It does not seem likely that any of these records provides additional information about the place of birth of the children of Dirck Evertse van Eps, so the originals of these records were not consulted at this time.

Transport registers of Amsterdam

To see when Dirck Evertse van Eps lived in Amsterdam, the index of transport registers was consulted. Transport registers record real estate sales. An online index is available on the website of the Amsterdam City Archives.10

A search for Eps* in the index of transport registers showed three results for a Jan Epstrop in the 1700s, but no relevant results. A search for Di* Ev* in the index of transport registers returned 14 results, all in the 1600s. Three of the entries involved real estate in the Haerlemmerstraet, another name for the Haerlemmerdijck. The Haerlemmerdijck was the place where Dirck Everts van Eps lived when he died according to the burial records and the orphan chamber records. These three records were retrieved.

Purchase of a house by Dirck Evertsz, 7 December 1635
Source: Schout en Schepenen [Sheriff and Aldermen] (Amsterdam, Holland, Netherlands), register of transport of houses sold by execution, October 1630-13 April 1639, call number 2166, p. 227, heirs of Barent Evertsz Keteltas to Dirck Evertsz, 7 December 1635; “Transportakten voor 1811” [Transport registers before 1811], index and digital images, Stadsarchief Amsterdam (http://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl : accessed 8 September 2014)Abstract:
21 January 1633 was sold to Dirck Everts “varentman” [sailor] a house and yard in the Haerlemmerstraet on the north side across the “West indisch huijs” [West India House], having the heirs of Barent Everts Ketelas to the east and west side, sharing a wall, the yard to be fenced on the east side in the middle of the joined wall, from the street to the [river] IJ in the back, left by Barent Everts Keteltas for the sum of 5420 guilders which Dirck Everts paid 7 December 1635.

This tells us that Dirck Everts purchased a house across from the West India House at the Haerlemmerstraat in 1633. This must be the same house as where he died in 1647, when the orphan chamber listed him at the Haerlemmerdijck near the West India House. It is remarkable that his occupation is listed as a “varentman” [sailor], not shoemaker or innkeeper. Still, the location of the house makes it very unlikely that this is not the correct man.

Sale of a house by Dirck Everts, 3 May 1645
Source: Schout en Schepenen [Sheriff and Aldermen] (Amsterdam, Holland, Netherlands), register of transport of real estate, 6 May 1644-9 May 1645, call number 40, p. 230, Dirck Everts to Pieter Stockman, 3 May 1645; “Transportakten voor 1811” [Transport registers before 1811], index and digital images, Stadsarchief Amsterdam (http://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl : accessed 8 September 2014)Abstract:
[margin] sold fl. 5354 [guilders]
Dirck Everts “Lichterman” [skipper with a light cargo] sold and transported to Pieter Stockman “grootschipper” [skipper of large cargo] a house and yard in the Haerlemmerstraet outside the dike, neighbors: Claes Claes van Medenblick to the east and Lieven Jans with a communal led gutter and fence to the west, stretching in front from the street to the back towards the house of Cornelis Adriaens Hogeboom. Bondsmen: Jan Arents “Maeckelaer” [realtor/agent] and Tjaers Wijvels Stockviskoper [stockfish salesman]. 3 May 1645

In this record, Dirck Everts, a skipper transporting light cargo, sold a house in the Haerlemmerstraat to Pieter Stockman. The neighbors are different than the 1633 purchase but the location to the north side of the Haarlemmerstraat is consistent with that house. It is possible that the neighbors sold their houses in the meanwhile.

Sale of a house by Dirck Everts, 6 April 1646
Source: Schout en Schepenen [Sheriff and Aldermen] (Amsterdam, Holland, Netherlands), register of transport of real estate, 27 April 1645-9 June 1646, call number 41, p. 120v, Dirck Everts to Branckgen Huijerts, 6 April 1646; “Transportakten voor 1811” [Transport registers before 1811], index and digital images, Stadsarchief Amsterdam (http://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl : accessed 8 September 2014)Abstract:
[margin] 5200 guilders
Dirck Everts “drooghgasterijhouder” [inn where food was served, not just drinks] sold and transported to Branckgen Huijberts “waterscheepman” [water ship man], a house and yard in the Haerlemmerstraat “buijttendijx” [outside the dike] past the second street to the side, neighbors Lucas Pietersen “kistemaecker” [chest maker] to the east and Claes Thomassen Ditmer to the west, both sides with communal walls and lead gutters, stretching from the street in front to the back towards Adriaen Claes Prigge “teercoper” [pitch buyer], the well that is located between this house and the house of Lucas Pieters is shared between the two houses. Bondsmen: Hendrick Agges, “lijnslager” [rope maker] and Sijmon Reijers “coopman” [merchant]. 6 April 1646

In this record, an innkeeper named Dirck Everts sells his house in the Haerlemmerstraat between the houses of Lucas Pietersen and Claes Thomassen Ditmer to Branckgen Huijberts. The reference to the “drooghgasterijhouder” [inn keeper] makes it very likely that this record is about Dirck Evertse van Eps. The location of this house is also similar to the 1635 house as it is located on the Haarlemmerstraat. Research on all of the neighbors might reveal which of the houses is the house purchased in 1633/1635.

Sister Elisabeth

Elisabeth van Eps was married to Gerrit Bancken before 20 October 1668, when she appeared before the public notary as his wife. Their marriage record may reveal her place of birth.

A search of the index of Amsterdam marriage banns for Ger* Ba* as groom between 1647 (16 years after first marriage of father) and 1669 (married before 20 October 1668) returned 25 results, but none with an Elisabeth or Lijsbeth as partner. It seems likely that they married in the colonies rather than in the Netherlands.

A search of the index of Amsterdam baptisms for Ger* Ba* as Father between 1647 and 1680 returned 158 results, including one for a Gerrit Baenken.

Baptism of Annetie Baenken, 12 December 1659
Source: Oude Kerk [Old Church] (Dutch Reformed, Amsterdam, Holland, Netherlands), baptismal register July 1651 – March 1667, call number 9, p. 255, Annetie Baenken, 12 December 1659; “Doopregisters voor 1811” [Baptisms before 1811], index and digital images, Stadsarchief Amsterdam (http://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl : accessed 9 September 2014)Abstract:
On Friday 12 [December 1659] baptized by Rev. Schotanus:
[…]
[parents] Gerrit Baenken Lijsbeth van Eps [child] Annetie
Witness: Dirck de Wolff

This shows that Gerrit Baenken and Lijsbeth van Eps had their daughter Annetie baptized in the Old Church in Amsterdam on 12 December 1659. This means that the mother, at least, was in Amsterdam around this time, perhaps both parents. Dirck de Wolff may be related to Abell or Geertruyd de Wolf, with whom Elisabeth was handling business affairs in the notarial records.

This record shows that Gerrit Baenken and Lijsbeth van Eps were already married by 12 December 1659, or the record should have mentioned that the child was illegitimate. Since Lijsbeth’s parents only married in 1636 and few girls married before they were 20, this makes it likely that Lijsbeth was the eldest child, born around 1637.

Baptismal records of Amsterdam revisited

Since we now know that Dirck van Eps was living in Amsterdam in 1631 (first marriage), 1633 (purchase house) 1636 (second marriage), 1645 (sale of a house) 1646 (innkeeper, sale of a house) and 1647 (death) and no contemporary record indicates he lived elsewhere, Amsterdam is the most logical place for his children to have been born. We now know that he had three children: Evert, Jan and Elisabeth/Lijsbeth. Of these three, Evert is rather uncommon and Jan and Elisabeth are very common.

A search for children named Ever* born in Amsterdam between 1631 and 1649 in the index of baptisms show 225 entries.11 Limiting the search to also include fathers named D* limited the list to just three children:

  • Evert, son of Dirck Evertsz and Jannetje Jans, baptized (Dutch Reformed, Nieuwe Kerk) 29 September 1643
  • Evert, son of Dirck Evertsz and Jannetjen Jans, baptized (Dutch Reformed, Oude Kerk) 4 August 1647
  • Evert, son of Dirck Jansz, baptized (Evangelical Lutheran, Lutheran church) 5 August 1640.

The original entries for these three baptisms were consulted to see if there were any indexing errors, but there weren’t any. The first two entries listed Jannetje Jans as the mother, not Maritgen Damen. The third entry did not list a mother, but the patronymic (Jans) doesn’t match. Also, since this child was baptized in a Lutheran church, his parents were probably German rather than from Gelderland. So none of these three children is a match for Evert, son of Dirck Everts van Eps.

A search for children named Ever* born in Amsterdam between 1636 and 1649 in the index of baptisms, with a mother Mar* show 26 results. None of them have a father named Dirck or variations or a mother with last name Damen or variations.

Despite a range of search strategies, the baptisms of the children of Dirck Everts van Eps have not been found in Amsterdam. The index is complete in the sense that all surviving records have been indexed. The information in the index does not say whether all records have survived.

Evert must have been named after his paternal grandfather, Evert van Eps. That makes it likely that he was the eldest son, as the eldest son was traditionally named after the paternal grandfather. That would make Jan the second son. Lijsbeth may have been named after the maternal grandmother, as was customary for the eldest daughter. Jan may have been named after the maternal grandfather, as was customary for the second son. Jan was probably not born posthumously (after the death of his father), or he would have been called Dirck, as it was customary to name a posthumous child after the father.

If Lijsbeth was indeed the eldest child, as she was married at most 23 years after her parents’ marriage, Jan was probably the third child born to Dirck van Eps and Marijtgen Damen. There may have been miscarriages or other children who died young. Since Dirck van Eps and Marijtgen Damen married in 1636, and Jan van Eps was probably the third child and born while his father was still alive, he was probably born between 1641 and 1647 (death of his father).

Summary

The research was partially successful. Unfortunately, no baptismal record for Jan Dircks van Eps has been found to tell us exactly when and where he was born. He does not occur in the indexes of Amsterdam baptisms and in the Doesburg baptismal records. Baptismal records in Groenlo only start in 1684 so his baptism was not recorded there either.

Research into his parents showed that Amsterdam was his most likely place of birth, despite the fact that he does not appear in the indexes of the Amsterdam baptismal records. His father Dirck Evertse van Eps lived there in 1631 (first marriage), 1633 (purchase house) 1636 (second marriage), 1645 (sale of a house) 1646 (innkeeper, sale of a house) and 1647 (death). Jan must have been born between 19 April 1636 (publication of the marriage banns of his parents) and August 1648 (9 months after his father’s death). Based on naming traditions and the fact that his sister was already married by 1659, he was most likely the third child and born while his father was still alive, which would put his birth date between say 1641 and 1647.

Map of Amsterdam

Map of Amsterdam. Frederik de Wit, 1688. Credits: Wikipedia

The research turned up several other records relating to the Van Eps family, which gives the following timeline:

Date Place Event
24 April 1631 Amsterdam Marriage banns of Dirck Evertss and Stijntie Reijner
21 January 1633 Amsterdam Dirck Evertsz purchases a house on the Haerlemmerstraet cross the West India House.
19 April 1636 Amsterdam Marriage banns of Dirck Evertss van Eps and Marritie Damen
3 May 1645 Amsterdam Dirck Everts sold a house on the Haarlemmerstraat (uncertain if this is the same person/house as in 1633)
6 April 1646 Amsterdam Dirck Everts sold a house on the Haarlemmerstraat (uncertain if this is the same person/house as in 1633)
13 July 1646 Amsterdam Dirck van Eps, innkeeper, lend 32 guilders to Harmen Hanss for his equipment to join the West India Company as a soldier.
7 October 1647 Amsterdam Dirck van Eps writes his last will before public notary Hendrick Schaeff
16 November 1647 New Church and English Church, Amsterdam Burial of Dirck van Eps
8 January 1648 Amsterdam Maritge Damen appears before the orphan chamber to show that her late husband’s will allows her to remain in possession of his estate.
18 March 1651 Amsterdam Marritgen Damen, widow of Dirck van Eps and wife of Henrick Andriesz is about to depart for New Netherland and gives power of attorney to Jan Arnoldus Huydekoper to receive wages owing to her from the East India Company and the West India Company.
25 March 1651 Amsterdam The heirs of Evert van Eps and Geeske van Eps (including the minor children of Dirck van Eps, son of Evert) give power of attorney to Barent Schoemaker to sell the house in Groenlo that they inherited.
1 September 1655 Holy Road and Leiden Churchyard, Amsterdam Burial of Evert Dircks van Eps, son of Dirck van Eps
4 november 1655 Amsterdam Pieter de Witt, ill, guardian over the children of Dirk van Eps, whose mother is in New Netherland, gives power of attorney to Aaltgen Damen from Doesburg to protect the interests of the children.
12 December 1659 Old Church, Amsterdam Baptism of Annetie, daughter of Gerrit Baenken and Lijsebet van Eps.
6/16 July 1668 Albany Gerrit Banckers gives power of attorney to Lijsbeth Dircx van Eps.
20 October 1668 Amsterdam Lijsbeth Dircx van Eps, housewife of Gerrit Banckers in Albany, is satisfied by the widow of Pieter Pietersz de With for her half of the inheritance of her father Dirck van Eps. Her brother Jan is entitled to the other half since their brother died.
28 December 1668 Amsterdam Elisabeth van Eps, housewife of Gerrit Baenken, settles her account with Abel de Wolf. She received 9416½ and remains 2000 guilders in debt.
28 December 1668 Amsterdam Lijsbeth Dircx van Eps, housewife of Gerrit Bancken in Albany, gives power of attorney to Abel de Wolff and Jan Hendricxxz Sijbingh to claim 3500 guilders on behalf of Marritje Damen from Schaep Esq. in Doesburg.
5 February 1684 Amsterdam Geertruyd de Wolf gives power of attorney to Gerrit Bancken and Elisabeth van Eps in Albany to claim all outgoings debts of them, in particular the 1039 guilders 18 “stuivers” owing to her from the estate left behind by Juriaen Jansz Groenewouwt, her brother-in-law in Albany.

Need help with your colonial ancestors?

As you can see from this case study, there are several records available in the Netherlands for Dutch colonial ancestors. Baptismal, marriage and burial records can tell us when they were born, married and died. Transport registers, orphan chamber records and notarial records can provide information about property, business transactions and family relationships.

Many people settled their affairs before a notary before getting on a ship. But it doesn’t end there: The Van Eps case shows them appearing before Dutch notaries years after they immigrated to New Netherland. Merchants especially, can often be found in notarial records in Amsterdam for decades after their departure. These notarial records are available in the reading room at the Amsterdam City archives. The card catalog of the notarial records created by Simon Hart means they can be searched efficiently.

If you have Dutch colonial ancestors and would like me to research them in the Netherlands, please contact me for a quote. Their records are waiting to be found.


Notes

  1. Email from client to Yvette Hoitink, details withheld for privacy reasons.
  2. “Doopregisters voor 1811” [Baptisms before 1811], index, Stadsarchief Amsterdam (http://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl : accessed 5 September 2014)
  3. W. Wijnaendts van Resandt, Repertorium DTB [overview of church records], 2nd edition (The Hague: Central Bureau for Genealogy, 1980), entry for Delfshaven; PDF, Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie (http://www.cbg.nl/download/Repertorium-dtb-totaal-ocr.pdf : accessed 5 September 2014)
  4. Rotterdam City Archives, Digitale Stamboom, index (http://rotterdam.digitalestamboom.nl/search.aspx : accessed 5 September 2014)
  5. “Zoeken in uittreksels” [search abstracts], index of notarial archives, Gemeentearchief Rotterdam (http://www.gemeentearchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 5 September 2014)
  6. W. Wijnaendts van Resandt, Repertorium DTB, entry for Groenlo.
  7. W. Wijnaendts van Resandt, Repertorium DTB, entry for Doesburg.
  8. “Gelderland,” overview of links, Digital Resources Netherlands and Belgium (http://www.geneaknowhow.net/digi/resources.html : accessed 5 September 2014), entries for Doesburg.
  9. “Netherlands, Gelderland Province, Church Records, 1405-1966,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 05 September 2014), path: Nederlands Hervormde > Doesburg > “Dopen 1613-1639, 1649-1676, 1705-1811 Index, Dopen 1705-1811.”
  10. “Transportakten voor 1811” [Transport registers before 1811], index, Stadsarchief Amsterdam (http://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl : accessed 8 September 2014)
  11. “Doopregisters voor 1811” [Baptisms before 1811], index, Stadsarchief Amsterdam (http://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl : accessed 8 September 2014)
About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 25 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

Comments

  1. David Slager says

    Wonderful article Yvette. I enjoyed reading about how you narrowed down the facts of the case and your reasoning behind it all. I’ll be reading this again!

  2. You define a ‘lichterman’ as a skipper with a light cargo. That could be true. However, a ‘lichter’ is a kind of ship. It takes part loads from sea going vessles for onward inland transportation. All ‘rijnaken’ [ships travelling the river Rhine] departing from Rotterdam to e.g. Germany are called ‘lichters’. And these lichters can take very heavy cargoes as well.
    But I enjoyed your article/research, very impressive!

  3. Jack Gracey says

    Yvette,
    Thank you so much for posting this detailed research report. Although I am not aware of having any Dutch ancestors, your report will serve as a model for my efforts to produce such reports on my ancestral research in the future. Were I seeking Dutch ancestry, I would hire you in a minute.
    Regards,
    Jack Gracey
    Marlborough, Massachusetts, USA

  4. This is likely the best article I have read on researching one’s ancestry particularly for me as my family is Dutch and likely before that German. My ancestor Johannes Pootman likely the son of Victor Pootman and Maria Davids of Aalburg, Netherlands, was a close associate of Jan Dirckse Van Esp and Johannes may have worked for Jan Eps in early Schenectady, NY. It was wonderful reading your research

    • Michele Van Epps says

      Hello Mark, I stumbled across this. Do you have any stories of Jan Dirckse Van Esp and Johannes. While I enjoy reading paper trail and documents is it always fun to hear old day to day life. How long did you family remain in Schenectady?

  5. Yvette,
    Thank you and your client for posting this information. Your research methods and report are impressive. Please let your client know that your post has reached her goal of sharing with other family members. Dirck Van Eps is my 8th great grandfather. I had found the record of his marriage to Maritie Damen on a visit to the Stadsarchief in Amsterdam in May but had no idea of many of the other records that you have found.
    As you can see, I am found your post more than six months after your wrote it. This is a reminder to all genealogists to continue to search for even identified ancestors. My impetus today was a note I received via http://www.ancestry.com asking for additional information on my Van Eps ancestors.
    Thank you for sharing,
    Cecily

  6. Cheryl Van Epps says

    Thank you for posting your research findings, Yvette Hoitink! You’ve given me more information to add to my family tree. I will share with my close relations. Many thanks,
    Cheryl Van Epps
    Essex, Vermont

  7. Donald J Van Epps says

    In a park in Oriskany N Y there in a monument with the names of two Van Epps who were in the battle of Oriskany? Said to have been the bloodiest battle of the war in 1776. over 800 americans Died. But they stopped the indians and the English! Visit Oriskany N Y or buy the book Or contact me. Donald J Van Epps 315 489 5001 Aug 1 2019.

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