Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Marriage of Jan Franz Van Housum and Volckje Jurriaens van Nordstrandt

Jan Franz Van Husum (Housum) and Volkje Juriaens (Jurriaens) married in Amsterdam on April 30, 1639. At the time, they were living on Tuinstraat, near the Dam Platz, with its Royal Palace and the Nieue Kirk where the ceremony took place. The church they were married in was devastated by fire in 1645 and rebuilt in its present day Gothic style.

The couple was married in the Dutch Reformed Church.

The marriage ceremony was performed under the rites of the Dutch Reformed Church, which reflects the fact that Holland was in the midst of its own Protestant Reformation. The Dutch Reformed Church was a more tolerant version of Lutheranism which held sway in large sections of northern Europe. And Lutheranism was a more tolerant version of Christ's teaching than Roman Catholicism. The Roman Catholic faith was the official religion of Holland ruled by the Spanish, who were then fighting the Dutch people for political control.

The Translation

The marriage certificate is written in Old Dutch using Gothic script, also called Blackletter. As with any old document, spellings may vary. The first few words, "Compareerdey als woren, literally translates as "Appearing as before," but is used in the sense "Present for signing.".

The certificate translates as follows:
                                              On 30 April 1639

Present for signing Jan Franz Van Housum, sailor, age 30, living in Corte Tuijnstraat, having no parents but assisted by his cousin, Anna Jans, and Volckje Juriaens, from Noortstrant, age about 21, of the same address and having no parents, but assisted by her acquaintance Isaack Pietersen.

Requesting their three Sundays' proclamation, in order to have the before mentioned marriage solemnized and consummated, in so far as there are no lawful objections made, and if fully that they are free persons, and not related by blood, whereby a Christian marriage could be prevented, such grounds do not exist, their banns are allowed.
The translation with a few minor variations comes from the site Vanhoose History and Joyce Lindstrom's Book on the Van Huss Family in America. I would not include the word daughter after Volckje Jurianes name, preferring to think that "dr" or "dv"  is short hand for "de van" meaning, from the, or the French "de" which also means from. The word "bekende" or acquaintence probably better translates as witness. The word sailor probably comes from the Dutch word "varensgezel", but the spelling seems to have changed. It might also translate simply as sea man or boats man.

In research Jan is often referred to as a sailor, but I have not come across any references to his sails except on the Den Harinck, the ship the two of them sailed on in going to America. Once in America the couple settled in Beverwyck (today's Albany, New York) up the Hudson River, and Jan became a businessman and property owner.

Jan's home in Amsterdam, Corte Tuijnstraat, is a location that still exists. "Corte" is a Spanish word for court, a holdover from the fact that Holland was then part of the Spanish Netherlands.Google Map.

The Anne Frank House is just a minute away from Tuinstraat, and it is a ten minute walk to Nieuwe Kerk on Dam Square where the couple married. The church burned down six years after the marriage, and a new church was built at the same location in Gothic style. (See images of the New Church in Amsterdam).

Nortstrandt, Noortstrand, Nordstrand

Volckje's former address "von Noortstrand" refers to the island of Nordstrand. (Again, the spelling depends on the language. Variations also entered over time, just as with Van Husum to Van Huss.) The island is part of the chain of islands that made up North Friesland. Don't confuse these islands with Friesland which is a part of Holland.

On a modern map of the North Sea, these islands are located to the east of Amsterdam, north of Germany, and off the western coast of Denmark. I have included Von Blaeu's map of the area made after the flood. The smaller detail below shows the flooded areas of the island with small horizontal dashes.

The town of Husum, not on the map, is located by the sea to the east of the island of Nortstrandt. The island and the city both suffered greatly in the flood of 1634. this same flood killed Volckje's parents and probably was the calamity that brought the couple together, as Volckje was taken to Husum after the flood.

Map by Von Blaeu and detail, showing the island of Nortstandt (Nordstrand), shortly after the flood of 1634.

The fact that Jan was called Van Housum at all was principally to distinguish him from other Jans and the inclusion of the name Fransse or Franz designated his father. When looking at Dutch records in America, one will again come across the tendency to use a place name to distinguish individuals. Thus, I came across one "Jan Pieterson Van Husum" in looking at the records of New Netherlands, but it was clearly a different individual.

Volckje or Volkje's father was called Juriens, and she hailed from the island of Noortstaat (Nordstrand). There were other Juriens in the same colony where Jan and Volckje lived. One Captain Juriens later came under their care.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Volkje and Annetje Juriens (Jurriaens)

In 1639 Volkje Juriens (Jurriaens) married Jan Franz Van Husum, the first Van Huss in America.

But before that Volkje lived on the North Friesland island of Nordstrand with her parents and sister Annetje. The area along the western coastline of the Jutland peninsula was marchy and periodic floods laid down sediment. Eventually homes were built on mounds and dikes built to contain the flood waters. Because of the grass, cattle were raised, but geese and duck were also prevalent. Volkje was 16 years old in 1634. That was the year that a disasterous flood swept the island killing thousands including Volkje and Annetje's parents.

There are no images of either Volkje or Annetje, but one can imagine that they might have looked much like the Girl with the Pearl Earring, a painting by Dutch painter Jan Vanmeer, who lived from 1632 until 1675.

In 1639 Volkje would marry Jan Franz Van Husum. The same year, the two crossed the Atlantic and came to New Netherlands, settling in Rensselaerwyck in the small village of Beverwyck. Annetje would marry Andries Herbertz Constapel. All I know now is that he was at Renssalaerwyck from 1640 - 1662. See WMGS.

The Painting

Vermeer's painting of The Girl with the Pearl Earring can be seen in the Mauritshuis museum in the Hague. There is no date on the painting and the identity of the girl is unknown.

If you would like to read a little more about the painting and learn about the possible identities of the girl, go to the following article by Anna Holdsworth - Girl with the Pearl Earring. One can also read Tracy Chevalier's book of the same name for a good story of Dutch life in the 17th century.

Jan Van Husum - sailing man

It is not entirely clear what Jan Franz Van Husum did in the city of Husum before leaving for Amsterdam. One would suspect that he was a sailor for Husum was a seaport. And those who lived along the North Sea often earned their living catching herring along the Dogger Bank near the English coast and whaling in the frigid waters off Spitzbergen.

We do know that Jan arrived in Amsterdam sometime after 1634 when a great flood devastated the city of Husum and the nearby island of Nordstrand where his wife to be, Volkje Juriaens lived. Both Jan and Volkje were living on Tuinstraat in Amsterdam in 1639, when they applied for a marriage license. On the marriage certificate, available online from Jeanshoundshellpeppers.com, Jan lists his occupation as "varensgezel," or seafaring man.

Detail Marriage Certificate Jan and Volkje Van Husum

In the 17th century, most sailing on Dutch ships was done on a Dutch flyboat or fluyt. This was a sturdy, round-sided ship with great carrying capacity that operated with fewer crew than other boats. While sizes varied, a ship of 150 to 200 tons, might use a crew of seven or eight, whereas the English and French used a crew of ten or twelve. And again, while sizes might vary greatly, the ship might measure no more than 60 feet from stem to stern, and 13 feet in width.

The Fluyt, by Charlotte Wilcoxen, from Selected Papers of Rennselaerswijck Seminar.

Dutch Flyboat from KingsAcademy


The Baker Willem Juriens

The last name of Willem Juriens is intriging, for it suggests a connection with Volkje Juriens, wife of Jan Van Husum. But if there is a connection, it is not yet established.

He must have been a crusty fellow for he was often in trouble with the law.

Willem Juriens was once a ship's captain, but by 1638, at the age of 58, he signed on with the colony at Renssalaerwyck to become a baker. From 1641 to 1647 he is credited with baking at several farms and for various individuals. But by 1644 and again in 1647 he was in trouble with the authorities for misdeeds that included attacking one, Antonio de Hooges, the Patroon's Commissioner (tax collector?) with a knife. The authorities banished him for his misdeeds, but granted him respite on condition that he refrain from his attacks. Old Man Juriens was not up to the task, and again in 1650, at the age of 70, was back before the court.

This time the court paroled Willem to the care of Jan Van Hoesen. Jan received Willem's bakery on the condition that Willem could live there so long as he should live. This was not quite the bargain it would seem, for later the neighbors would raise a stink.

Get story and put it here.

Renssalaer Bowier Manuscripts online, page 20.

History of the New Netherlands, by E.B. O'Callaghan, M.D..Google Book, page 437.