Andries and Jannetje DeWitt’s Bible
From the bible that had belonged to Andries and Jannetje DeWitt (courtesy of Matthew Ten Eyck DeWitt Family Collection), the entry describing how Andries died: “On 22 July 1710 before midday at about 10 o’clock Captain Andries DeWitt was struck down in a sad way by the breaking of two beams on his bridge and seriously injured, and after speaking a few words [he] departed this life and on Sunday the 23rd of the same month was buried in the churchyard” (translation by Charles Gehring). Andries DeWitt Bible courtesy of the Matthew Ten Eyck DeWitt Family Collection.
Andries DeWitt (1657-1710, first son of Tjerck Claessen DeWitt and Barbara Andriessen) and his wife, Jannetje Egbertsen, kept a Dutch Bible, printed in 1686 in Dordrecht, in which they recorded various family events: births, deaths, marriages. When Andries died, Jannetje continued keeping notes, and then the Bible was passed down; it is still in their descendants’ hands today. Kept in the Bible on loose papers are many notes about family events: births, deaths, marriages.
Notes in the Bible appear to have been made from 1704-1806. Some of the early notes concern events that took place before Andries and Jannetje acquired the Bible (their 1682 marriage, for example).
The notes in the Bible are not a complete record, but often they fill in detail that doesn’t appear in church or civil records. The church records the day a child is baptized; the Bible notes may show an actual birthdate. (Some of the records kept by the family conflict with records in the church.) The records kept by the Old Dutch Church in Kingston generally don’t indicate when a person dies; sometimes this can be gleaned from headstones or other records (a will, for example—although frequently the will just says when it was executed). The family Bible keeps a memorial of certain deaths—the death of an infant, a death due to injury—and helps us fill in a family narrative.
This Bible also lists family events (a death in Bermuda, for example) that would not appear in local records.
Sometimes the Bible also clarifies what a family thought a person’s name was. Spelling at the time was quite fluid, and there was not a “right” or “wrong” way to spell a person’s name as we understand it today. What we see when the name is written down is an approximation (in the ears of the person writing it) of how it was pronounced. A name like Maria might be spelled more or less the same every time (sometimes Marija, perhaps Maritje), but a less common name (Tiade, Taatje, Tette, Tjerck, Emmerentje, Bregje) could be rendered differently depending on how someone heard it. The Scottish name MacLean is Macklin in Dutch, pronounced the same but spelled by different rules.
Andries and Jennetje were married in 1682, before this Bible was printed, so when he enters a note about their marriage, it is in retrospect. As the family grows, they are able to keep notes at the same time as events take place.
A note inside the front cover of the Bible suggests that they may have received the Bible in 1704.
Their son Tjerck and grandson Andries, and other family members, continue keeping family records in the Bible, and a great-grandchild (likely Neeltje, daughter of one of their several grandsons named Andries) enters a final note about the death of her father in 1806.
The notes help us trace who owned the Bible at different times. Andries and Jannetje apparently passed the Bible to their eldest son, Tjerck, who continued making notes about his own family and life. In 1738, Henry, a son of Tjerck, notes his own marriage in the loose sheets kept within the Bible; he goes on to note several other events from his family. Henry mentions “my large Bible” in his will, which may be this volume. In 1748 Tjerck passed the Bible to his youngest son, Andries, making a note of the change of ownership inside the back cover. A Bible was an expensive and valuable possession.
The handwritten notes in the Bible were translated by Dr. Charles Gehring of the New York State Library in Albany in 2020. The notes were known to previous researchers, and had been translated before. We can see traces of them in older published accounts of the family’s history. Today the ink is faded, and some of the notes are very difficult to read, but the stories still unfold and spring back to life. The Gehring translation follows, along with some photos of the actual text.
[I have added some explanatory notes in italics and square brackets. Dr. Gehring interpolated some notes as well. The pages here are not presented in chronological order, and sometimes even within a single page, the order will not be sequential.]
Folio = page (lit. “leaf”)
Recto = front side of the folio
Verso = back side of the folio
Calendar of DeWitt Bible Loose Papers
Excerpts from the bible: Genesis – Josua. [not translated]
1806 Note on the Death of Andries DeWitt
- Folio of Andries DeWitt. [recto] From marriage of Andries DeWitt to the birth of son Wilim in 1733 [son of Andries’s son Andries]; [verso] marriage of Henry DeWitt; also reference to ice storm [ice storm is in January 1737; most of the notes on this page are made by Henry, son of Andries’ son Tjerck, regarding Henry’s 1738 marriage and the births of his children through 1745]
Folio: 1708 marriage of Tyerck DeWitth with Anna Pawling to the death of his mother in 1733
Upper half of folio with poem about the death of Anna DeWitt. [not translated]
Lower half of above poem. [not translated]
Account of the estate of Tierck Claasen D/Witt with names of various people who were financially satisfied
[recto] Folio recording the family of Tjerck Claesen from his death in 1700 to the death of Hendrechktie Brench in 1715. [verso] the death of John DeWitt in 1749 to the birth of Rachel in 1796.
DeWitt Bible Inscriptions
Andries de Witt’s book and Jante dWitt’s book [ ] was written the 4th of October on Thursday 1704.
Kingston, the 16th of December on Sunday 1744 Domine Fremouth of Mynysynck was graduated by order of the Classis of Amsterdam by Domine J.W. Mansius, in the presence of Dom. P. Vas and Dom. Wys, in the church of Kingston, before noon.
Anna Dewitt, wife of Tyerck DeWitt, departed this life. [This would be Ann Pawling, wife of Andries and Jannetje’s eldest son, Tjerck.]
1739 October 17, I was married to Debora Schomaker [Toback written above name]. [She also apprears as Vroom elsewhere]. [The record in the Old Dutch Church has the marriage date as 17 November. The person writing is Tjerck DeWitt, eldest son of Andries and Jannetje, the Bible’s original owners. Debora Schoonmaker is Tjerck’s second wife; Anna Pawling was the mother of all his children.]
Kienston, the 14th of June 1748.
I have given this bible to my youngest son Andries DeWitt so that he shall not be obliged to pay anything for the same. Written by my own hand.
Tyerck De Witt
June the 19th 1708.
My son Tyerck DWitt married [Anna] Palijn. [The person writing this is either Andries or Jannetje DeWitt, the Bible’s original owners.]
In October the 29th 1713, Jan Roos was married to our Marija De Witt. [Andries died in 1710. Maria, who marries Jan Roos, is his daughter.]
1719 the 6th of June, Jacop Swits was married to our Helena DWitt. [Helena also is a daughter of Andries.]
This has been scratched out because it is not worth remaining here.
1731 the 3rd of December, Andries De Witt was married to Breghye Nottingham. [Andries is a son of Andries and Jannetje.]
Andries dWitt [non….?]
Jante dWitt was written the 13th of January.
DeWitt Loose Papers
1806 June 9 at 11 o’clock in the evening my father Andries DeWitt (son of Tjerck DeWitt and Anna Pawling) departed this life and on 10 ditto was buried on the northwest corner of the churchyard of Kingston and on the southeast side of grandfather Andries DeWitt next to a long stone lettered ADW—being 80 years, 3 months, and 16 days old.
[This is not the Andries DeWitt who was one of the Bible’s original owners. They passed the Bible to their son Tjerck, who married Anna Pawling. Tjerck passed the Bible to his youngest son Andries. This note was written in 1806 by one of the children of that later Andries, representing the fourth generation of DeWitts who made notes in the Bible. The Mary Veldran DeWitt genealogy, like the Bible notes, lists three children of this later Andries DeWitt: Neeltje (1759-???), Tjerck (1762-1822), Isaac (1769-1826). The Bible also includes entries on the births of three of Neeltje’s children, so we might surmise that she is the one who records her father’s demise in 1806.]
1682, 7 March, I, Andries DeWitt, married Jannitie [ ]. [Egbertsen]
1683, 23 January, our first son named Tijerck was born on Saturday.
1689 in October our Barber was born.
1691, 30 December our Jacob was born on Friday.
1693, 21 January on Monday Maria was born.
1695, 7 December on Saturday Helena was born.
1697, 1 April on Saturday Andries was born and departed.
1699, 18 March in the morning about 4 o’clock my son Joannies was born and baptized by Dom. Nusse in the church of Kingston; the witnesses were Jacob and Wijntiei de Witt, widow of Jan de Witt.
[There is some confusion here. The register of baptisms in the Old Dutch Church in Kingston says that Egbert DeWitt was born March 18, 1699, baptized 9 April 1699, witnesses Franciscus Salesburry and Lydia de Meyer. Johannes, according to church records, was baptized 13 April 1701, witnesses Jacob de Wit and Wyntje Kierstede. Jan de Witt, MVDW 6, writes his will 29 October 1700, so Wyntje Kiersted likely is not his widow yet in 1699.]
1701, 2 July my son Andries departed this life and was buried on 4 ditto in the churchyard at Marbeltown.
1703/4 my second son named Andries was born. Baptised on 20 February on Sunday at noon by Domine Nuesella; the witnesses were Johannijs Wijnkoop and his wife Corneijlija Wijnkoop.
[All of the above notes appear to have been made by Andries DeWitt, one of the original owners of the Bible. He died in 1710.]
1733 September 29, a son of Andries was born named Wilim, baptized on Saturday by Domine Vas; the witnesses were Marte de Lameter and Eliesabet Nottingham.
[The note refers to Andries, son of Andries and Jannetje.]
1687. The 14th of May was born Anna Pawlijngh [Ann Pawling was the first wife of Tjerck, son of Andries, the Bible’s original owner.]
1714. The 14th of January Henrij Dewitt was born. [This is Henry, son of Tjerck, son of Andries. See note below, probably in Tjerck’s handwriting, saying this was in 1717.]
1736/7 January the 30th. A severe ice storm broke the tops off most of the trees.
[ ]mber 10th, I, Henry Dewitt was married to Mary Ten Broeck. [November 10 1738, according to Old Dutch Church records]
9 December. Our oldest daughter, named Elisabeth, was born on Sunday; the witnesses were, father, Jacop Tenbroeck, and my mother-in-law. [Another note written by Henry; Jacob Ten Broeck is his father-in-law. Old Dutch Church in Kingston records the baptism on 9 December 1739.]
[Se]ptember 9. Our first son named Tjerck Clase was born at about nine o’clock in the evening on Tuesday and baptized by Domine Hendericus Boslan of New York; the witnesses were my father, Capt. Tjerck Dewitt and Maria Roosa. [Old Dutch Church register shows baptism 9 September 1741.]
43 November 21. Our second son named Jacob was born about 3 o’clock in the afternoon on Monday; the witnesses were Cornelius TenBroick and Chatrina Ten Broick. [43 added before month most likely indicates the year 1743]
45 October 11. Our third son name John was born about 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday; the witnesses sere my brother John Dewitt and brother Andries Dewitt, and Jannetje Rosa. Baptised by Dom Vas. [45 added before month most likely indicates the year 1745] [John DeWitt traveled to Jamaica at least as early as 1740; he died in Bermuda 1749. He does not appear to have married—his will leaves his things to his father and nieces and nephews—but he seems to have been a business associate of the Livingston family, who also lived and worked in Ulster County and Dutchess County, as well as in the Caribbean, being involved in trans-Atlantic shipping, including importation of slaves from Guinea.]
1708 June 18. I, Tyerck Dewitt, married Anna Pawling.
1709 Sept 26. Our first son Andries was born at seven o’clock in the morning.
1711 [year of Andries’s death, see entry below]
1714 April 4. Our first daughter named Neeltye was born on a Wednesday at 9 o’clock in the morning. [Years may be confused here, possibly because of legibility, or possibly because the person writing down dates later misremembered. Church baptism record is 22 April 1711, not 1714.]
1717 January 14. My son Henry was born in the evening at about 8 o’clock. [See note above, possibly written by Henry himself, saying this was in 1714. Church baptism record is 24 January 1714.]
1722 Aug. 13. My son Johannes was born at twelve o’clock on Monday. [Church baptism record is 18 August 1717.]
1723/4 July 9. My son Petrus was born on Monday at about two o’clock in the afternoon. [Church baptism record is 15 July 1722.]
1726 February 24. My second son named Andries was born at one hour before midday. [Church baptism record is 3 March 1728.]
July 23 [the year of Andries’s death recorded above after his birth] My first son Andries departed this life about an hour before daybreak and was buried on the 25 ditto in the churchyard of Kingston next to his grandfather Andries DeWitt by a stone lettered ADW on the northwest corner of the churchyard on the right side because there was no room on the other side.
1733 Nov. 23. My mother Jannetje Dewitt departed this life and was buried on the 26 ditto in the churchyard of Kingston by a long stone between my father and my son.
|To diverse persons paid as appears by a certain account given to me by my mother
|By an account of Mattheys Matteysen
|By Marten Hofman’s heir, claim
|By an account of the debts assumed by Willem Nottingham and Jacob D’Witt in the year 1715/6
|[ ] amounts to 17 skipples of wheat at 10gld per skipple
|To Matteys Perssen for brickwork
|To Barent Benthuysen, paid long ago
|To Jacob Kip, paid
|Paid by my uncle Jacob D’Witt to diverse persons
|I paid to Majr. Wynkoop
|To Willem Nottingham, paid for expenses as clerk
|To Hans Kiersteden, doctor’s fee, paid
|To Elizabeth Masten, paid
|To Wm. Nottingham for service done on the estate
[NB: Dutch schepel “skipple” is a dry measure equal to ¾ of a bushel.]
[Without doing a close analysis, this appears to be an account of the estate not of the original Tjerck Claessen DeWitt (1620-1701), who emigrated to North America in the mid-1650s, but perhaps of his grandson Tjerck (1683-1762).
[It could also plausibly be for the estate of TCDW’s youngest son, Tjerck, named in his will and in other family documents but not described further in MVDW’s family tree. There are other Tjerck DeWitts to be studied further. The note that this one was a doctor may help narrow the field.
[TCDW also had a great-great-grandson of the same name (1741-1812), husband of Jannetje Eltinge. TCDW 1741-1812’s only child recorded in the Mary Veldran DeWitt genealogy was Elizabeth DeWitt, 13 August 1780–25 Apr 1847, who died unmarried. His father was Henry DeWitt (1714-1753), son of Tjerck DeWitt (1683-1762), son of Andries DeWitt (1657-1710), son of the original TCDW.
[But the reference to the heirs of Martin Hoffman goes all the way back to the original TCDW’s sister Emmerentje, who married Martin Hoffman in the 1660s. It doesn’t seem plausible that TCDW who died in 1812 would still be concerned with debts assumed in 1715/16. Matthys Matthysen van Keuren, also indicated in the settlement, was husband of Taatje DeWitt, daughter of the original TCDW, who died in 1707.
[A closer look might reveal more.]
On the 17th of February 1700 about 10 o’clock in the morning Tjerck Clase de Witt departed this life and, on the 20th, ditto was buried in the church of Kingston.
On the 20th of September 1707 at about noon on Saturday my sister Taetten Mattysen departed this life and was buried on the 22nd ditto in the churchyard of Kingston.
On the 22nd of July 1710 before noon at about 10 o’clock Capt. Andries DeWitt, in a sad way, was thrown down and severely injured by the breaking of two beams on his bridge, and after uttering a few words, departed this life; and on 23 ditto, Sunday was buried in the churchyard of Kingston.
On the 6th of July 1714 at about 8 o’clock Barber dWitt departed this life and was buried in the churchyard of Kingston. [This is Barbara Andriessen, wife of Tjerck Claessen DeWitt, mother of Andries DeWitt who died 1710.]
On 1 November 1715 at about 9 Barber DeWitt departed this life and the 3 ditto was buried in the churchyard of Mormer Tount [Marble Town]; namely, the daughter of Andries DeWitt.
On the 11th of October 1715 at about 12 o’clock Hendrecktie Brenck departed this life and was buried on the 15 ditto in the churchyard of Horlie [Hurley]; namely, the daughter of Cornelis Lambertsz. [The reference here is unclear: Why is this burial recorded in the DeWitt Bible? It is not clear which DeWitt daughter or granddaughter, if any, married Cornelis Lambertsen Brink; presumably that would be the reason to include this note. The Brink family was local to Kingston and Hurley, and Cornelis and Lambert were both names that came up repeatedly in the family. The connection to the DeWitt family is not clear at this time.]
John DWitt, son of Tijerck Dewitt and Anna Dewitt, departed this life in 1749 on 30 May, a Tuesday, before noon at about 10 o’clock in Barmud[a] [Bermuda] at the age of 31 years, 9 months, and 16 days.
Henry Dewitt, son of Tijerck Dewitt and Anna Dewitt, departed this life on 27 September 1753 n.s., at about 9 o’clock in the evening and on the 28th ditto was buried in the churchyard of Kingston at the west corner near a long stone lettered ADW, at the age of 39 years, 8 months, and 15 days.
On the 17th of December in 1757 I, Andries T. DWitt was married to Rachel DuBois, I being at the age of 29 years, 9 months, and 17 days, my bride at the age of 20 years, 11 months, and 12 days. [This is Andries (1728-1806), the son of Tjerck DeWitt and Ann Pawling, grandson of the original owner of the Bible.]
On the 16th of June 1759, in the evening at about 9 o’clock, our first daughter named Neeltje was born; witnesses were: father, Isaac Dubois, and Sara Dubois.
On the 20th of May 1762, in the morning at 3 o’clock, our first son was born named Tijerck; witnesses were: Petrus D[ ] and Rachel Redelift, his wife. [Petrus DeWitt, brother of Tjerck, uncle of the infant, and his wife, whose name is more typically written Rachel Radcliff. They both were living in Livingston Manor, in Sullivan County west of Kingston, when they married, but they are buried in Rhinebeck, in Dutchess County, on the east side of the Hudson River facing Ulster County. There was a DeWitt mill nearby, although there is some confusion over which DeWitt was running it, and Rachel’s sister Jannetje was married to the first Domine of the Rhinebeck Dutch Reformed Church.]
1762 August 30th in the morning about six o’clock, Tijerck Dewitt departed this life and on the 31 ditto was buried in the churchyard of Kingston at the east side a long stone lettered ADW, at the age of 79 years, 7 months, and 7 days.
On the 5th of May 1769 in the evening at about 7 o’clock, our second son name Isaac was born; the witnesses were William Eltinge Jr. and Jannetje Debois; baptized the 15th ditto by Dom. Christophel Kuyper.
[6 February 1783: “Petrus Elmendorp, junior, j.m., and Neltje DeWitt, j.d., both parties born and resid. under the jurisdiction of Kingston,” marry in the Old Dutch Church in Kingston.]
1787 January 14 in the evening around 10 o’clock, Andries, son of Neeltje DeWitt and Petrus Elmendorph was born; witnesses were Andries and Rachel DeWith.
1789 October 23, Lena, daughter of Neeltje DeWitt and Petrus Elmendorph, was born.
1790 January 3 in the evening at about 10 o’clock, Petrus Dewitt departed this life, at the age of 67 years, 3 months [ ].
1796 October 5, Rachel, daughter of Neeltje and Petrus Elmendorph was born.
Bible records recording burials in the Reformed Church of Kingston
On 17 February 1700 at about 10 in the morning Tjerck Clase de Witt departed this life and on the 20th of the month was buried in the church at Kingston.
On 20 September 1707 at mid-morning on Saturday my sister Taetten Mattysen departed this life and on the 22nd of the month was buried in the churchyard.
On 22 July 1710 before midday at about 10 o’clock Captain Andries DeWitt was struck down in a sad way by the break of 2 beams on his bridge and seriously injured and after speaking a few words departed this life and on Sunday the 23rd of the month was buried in the churchyard.
On 6 July 1714 at about 8 o’clock Barber DeWitt departed this life and was on the 8th of this month buried in the churchyard in Kingstowne.
On 11 October 1715 at about 12 o’clock Hendreckties Brenck departed this life and on was on the 15th of the month buried in the churchyard at Horlie; to wit: the daughter of Cornelis Lamberze.
[Translated on 5 March 2020 by Charles Gehring, director of the New Netherland Research Center at the New York State Library in Albany, New York from copies provided by Gage DeWitt.]
NB: the spelling of proper names and place names have been maintained as they appear in the document.
[This is a selected list from the total set of Bible records included on this page. Note that several other burial records not included in this short list are in the Bible notes above, including an infant Andries buried next to his grandfather Andries, Capt. Tjerck, grandson of Andries (1762), Andries, great-grandson of Andries (1806), and others.]