[Prelude: I have to apologize. This is going to be a complicated and confusing post. But I really don’t intend for it to be crystal clear, actually, because the confusion is kind of the point.

There will be 9th Cousins and “once-removeds” and all those befuddling things. But forgetting all that for a moment… Dutch family names were patronymic at this time. A clear example is Andries Luycaszen. His name means Andries, son of Luycas. He and his siblings were Luycaszens, but his children were Andriessens. The surname changed every generation! Eventually the families settled into the naming convention we recognize today, but it took awhile. So, my advice: Just go with it.

There – mea culpa done.]

I’ve mentioned before the smattering of Dutch relatives in my tree. My paternal great-grandmother Jessie Hermans Watson was one-quarter Dutch, give or take – through her father Daniel and a whole line of Hermans/Heermans/Hermance men, all the way back to the village of Ruynen, northeast of Amsterdam, at the beginning of the 17th Century.

There was a lot going on on my mom’s side too – it was just a deeper dig to find them. My 6th Great-Grandmother was Jane Stanley Hubbell. But her name at birth was Janneke – her father Marshall Stanley married Lydia Westbrook (daughter of Dirk Westbrook and Jenneke Van Keuren). From this point backward, as far back as I’ve been able to trace it, this branch of the tree goes completely Dutch.

But there is this one place where the two halves of my tree meet up. Mareitje Andriessen (c. 1632-1671) and Barbara Andriessen (c. 1636-1714) were daughters of Andries Luycaszen and Jannetje Stebyns. Both were born in The Netherlands and came with the family to New Amsterdam perhaps as early as 1638.

Mareitje married Jan Janszen Breestede, and are my 8th Great-Grandparents on my father’s side. Barbara married Tjerck Claessen DeWitt, they are 11th Great-Grandparents on my mother’s side.

On Mareitje’s line, her parents are my 9th Great-Grandparents. But on Barbara’s, those same two people are my 12th Great-Grandparents. The sisters are great-grandmothers, but they are also my 9th Great-Aunts. Their children are both great-aunts/uncles AND first cousins, many times removed. This phenomenon is known in genetic genealogy circles as pedigree collapse. And how.

Moving to the next generation now. Mareitje and Jan had a large family – as was the case for all the families in this post – including a daughter named Engeltje Breestede. Her husband was the son of the immigrant progenitor of the Hermans clan – Focke Jansz – and possessor of one of the truly great names in my tree: Jan Focken Heermans.  Engeltje and Jan were my 7th Great-Grandparents.

Their family included two sons – Hendricus and Jan – who (near as I can tell) each married a woman named Annetje Van Wagenen. The Annetjes were first cousins. In fact, the Annetjes were double first cousins.

Their mothers, Clara and Sarah Pels, were sisters (daughters of my 8th Great-Grandparents, Evert Pels and Jannetje Symens). Their fathers, Gerrit and Jacob Van Wagenen, were brothers (sons of 8th Great-Grandparents, Aert Jacobsen Van Wagenen and Annetje Gerrits Van Schaick, the girls’ namesake). And they married brothers. Throw in some cousins-marrying-cousins, and this is some world-class, epic pedigree collapse, folks.

The other sister’s side, Barbara’s, is pretty crazy too – but different-crazy.

Among the many children of Barbara and Tjerck was daughter Taatje DeWitt, who was abducted at age four by natives during a notorious attack on Wiltwyck in 1663. But she was rescued and returned, grew up, and married Matthys Van Keuren (10th Great-Grandparents).

Taatje had a brother named Lucas, who married and had his own son named Lucas.
Lucas Jr. married Catharine Roosa, daughter of Evert Roosa and Tryntje Van Etten. Evert was the son of another pair of 11th Great-Grandparents, Aldert Roosa and Wyntje DeJongh. Evert Roosa’s sister was Jannetje Roosa, who married Matthys Ten Eyck – also 10th Great-Grandparents.

Their daughter Mareitje Ten Eyck married Tjerck Van Keuren (son of the abducted Taatje DeWitt), and it was her daughter Jenneke who married the afore-mentioned Dirk Westbrook in 1728, and they were the last of the full-blooded Dutch ancestor couples on my mother’s side.

To bring this back to today, in my research now I’m seeing what a double-cousin situation does to one’s genetic relationships. For one thing, the cousins in that sisters-marrying-brothers family – all the kids from both sides – will look from a DNA viewpoint more like full or half siblings rather than first cousins. Taking that logic further, very distant cousins will appear to be much more closely related than they actually are. I’m currently looking at a DNA match on this line, a 10th Cousin, one time removed – but the segment of DNA we share is of a size one would expect with 4th cousins.

There. Whew. And now I would kill for a shot of Diep 9. Make it a double.



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