The fact that they were the founders of the first successful European colony on the American continent has brought enjoyment to my life because records about them exist as opposed to other ancestors whose lives were not chronicled due to the circumstance of their birth location and quiet lives.
Research on my father’s side of the family almost exclusively results in people of historical note, be it pastors who drew their flocks to New England to escape religious persecution to royalty to folks like those who came to America on a small but famous boat.
My mother’s side of the family is comprised of folks with no claim to the fame we assign to some groups of people. They were farmers, blacksmiths and butchers by trade. Tracing them through the generations has been considerably more difficult due to their natural level of anonymity.
Or so I thought ….. until one fine day when I discovered proof that my mother descends through the Dutch who settled New York (New Amsterdam) shortly after the arrival of the Mayflower in the Massachusetts colony.
Records exist for these folks! The Dutch are well known for the church records they kept and preserved. My people were in those records.
My first encounter with the Staats family happened when I found the name of my 7th great grandfather, the reverend Cornelius Van Santvoort who was born in 1696 in Leydan, Holland. Cornelius married Annetje Staats the daughter of Jan Pietersen and Catharina Corssen Staats.
Knowing there are active genealogy communities around the early Dutch, it only took a couple of posts on related genealogy bulletin boards to find cousins with information about my ancestral families. One of the hints I was given was the book, Genealogy of the Staats Family by Harold Staats.
Using it for reference, I was able to prove my lineage through church and other records back many generations on the Staats and related ancestral families of grandma Annetje Staats Van Santvoort.
During the first week of research on these families, I wished I’d known of their existence when I’d visited New York walking where they walked, entering a few of the same buildings they’d frequented and of course, wished I’d have visited the libraries, cemeteries and other records sources that chronicled events in their lives.
The Dutch lines eventually hit the same ‘edge of paper’ wall that most of my mothers English ancestors enjoy. They weren’t royalty or involved in other notoriety and thus the trail of their lineage ends with the early days of church records that were recorded for common folks.
Thanks to the Van Santvoort and Staats lineages, that rule is bent or falls as some of the lines were notable and had their lives chronicled.
Mom lineage has some ‘wins’ if one considers the tracing of lines dated prior to 1600 as a ‘win’. I do and have been happy to have had to struggle just a little less finding and proving those lines.
How about you? Have you similarly encountered any, “Well, look at that!” moments in your lineal quest? If not, here’s to you enjoying one of those, “Well look at that!” moments in you research in the near future.Copyright (c) Lee Drew 2013-11-30 07:00:00
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