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.

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