Sunday, April 3, 2016


Ancestor Margaret Williamson McCreary (b. 1835, Ohio) was nearly all Dutch, plus she had some French Huguenot ancestors whose lines migrated through the Netherlands en route to America. Surnames in her ancestry include Van Voorhees, Schenck, Wyckoff, Van Ness, Van Den Burchgraeff, De Mandeville, Van Dyke, Brokaw/Broucard, Bogaert, Willemse, Brouwer/Brewer, Koning, Demarest, De Ruine, Verdon, Van Der Veer, Seuberinge, Van Nostrand, Van Nortwick, Andries, Van Arsdalen, Hendricks, Wilms, Van de Raede, & many more. We had only to identify Margaret’s parents and grandparents in order to connect to multiple ancestries outlined in the book “The Van Voorhees Family in America: The First Six Generations”.

This blog is meant to focus upon selected topics pertaining to some of these Dutch ancestries. This blog is not intended as a forum or discussion board, but constructive comments are welcome. Helpful fora include the Schenck Genforum and the Mandeville Genforum


French Huguenot ancestor David Demarest was born in 1620, married in Zeeland Province Netherlands, & settled in Bergen County, New Jersey.  His son Jean was our ancestor. A Demarest descendant has provided a yDNA sample which falls into Haplogroup J1. See    

Here is the Demarest House Museum, with some of the Demarest history:  In the past there has been a Demarest Family Association, but this does not appear to be currently active. In view of the impressive track-record of genetic genealogy regarding major modifications (and myth-debunking) of several traditional accounts of genealogy and history, one should be very cautious about acceptance of reports of Demarest deep ancestry, crusades, links to royalty, etc. Non-Paternity Events might occur at about 2% per generation. Reports tying our David Demarest to Baldwin I Des Marets (1074 - 1140) “Ain’t necessarily so”.

Jean Demarest (b. 1645) & Jacquemine DeRuine were Gary’s 7th great-grandparents. Some people also descending from this Jean Demarest are among Gary’s autosomal DNA matches in the Family Tree DNA database. There appears to be no other ancestry which can account for these atDNA matches other than Demarest, despite the very long generational reach. The total of chromosomal shared segments with each of these matching persons suggests that common ancestries more recent, so a quest will continue for alternate explanations.  Generally, I have noted substantial cousins’ intermarriages among my Dutch/French Huguenot kinfolk, which might extend the reach of atDNA. Demarest connections to my Van Voorhees kin are quite extensive.

In Gary’s Muffley tree, Jean Demarest is at  My descent from Jean Demarest is à Leah Jansen Demarest (b. 1682; m. Abraham Pieterse Brouwer) à Daniel  Brouwer Sr. (b. 1719; m. Marijtje "Mary" Koning) à Daniel Brewer Jr. (b. 1768; m. Maria "Mary" Voorhees) à Christiana "Tina"  Brewer (b. 1798; m. Johannes "John"  Williamson) à Margaret  Williamson (b. 1835; m. John Skinner McCreary) à Emma Jane McCreary (b. 1862; m. Joseph Pierce Muffley) à Albert Harold "Bert" Muffley (b. 1885; m. Edna Una Jagger) à Robert Pierce Muffley (b. 1911; m. Frances Christine Lindstrom) à Gary.

Jean Demarest is in this Novak-Tuschman tree:  Gary’s atDNA matches include this tree author and 3 other people who report Demarest ancestry. These are among 11 people who match Gary on Chromosome 9. Most of these people do not report enough ancestral information to be able to integrate the overall picture. The graphing tool from  places these Chromosome 9 matches into 3 clusters, and adds to each cluster some people who are Gary’s matches via other chromosomes. Our working assumption is that these 3 groups of people represent the largest groups of Gary’s Dutch/French Huguenot cousins to date in the FTDNA database. Bogart ancestry also enters into this mix. A brother of Leah Jansen Demarest Brouwer was Peter Demarest (b. 1683). Peter was the ancestor of Gary’s Australian correspondent Greg.

This site reports on the yDNA of my ancestor Adam Brouwer (b. 1620). Search at this site for Kits # 30185 & 55150, who have provided Brouwer yDNA samples. These guys also descend from Leah Demerest Brouwer. Autosomal DNA from either, or both, of these men should match me, barring chromosomal shared-segment dropout. 


My autosomal DNA has now been tested in 2 labs. One of the labs provides the crucial chromosome data, but the other does not. Data from all major labs may be quickly & easily sent for utilization of a wealth of investigative tools, including the vital chromosome location analyses. Click at the sending lab to create zip files, & click at GEDmatch to load. Done in minutes. My Cousin Aaron is my Dutch cousin via paper trail, but is my atDNA cousin via joint Swedish ancestry. To ignore the chromosome data is to risk erroneous conclusions.  

I now have a sizable number of atDNA matches in 2 databases where the common ancestries are Dutch &/or French Huguenot, & where the Most Recent Common Ancestors (MRCAs) reach back to the 1600s. For the MRCAs David Demarest Sr. (b. abt. 1620, France) & Marie Sohier: Cousins Rohn, Barbara, & John F. My atDNA match with John F. is on Chromosome 9. I descend from Jean Demarest (b. 1645), son of David & Marie. Jean’s brother Samuel is the ancestor of Barbara. Jean’s brother David Jr. (b. 1651, Zeeland) is the ancestor of Rohn & John F.  David Jr. was also the ancestor of Rev. David D. Demarest, author of the 1885 paper “The Huguenots on the Hackensack”.
Jean Demarest (b. 1645) & Jacquemine DeRuine were the MRCAs for me versus the Chromosome 9 Tuschmann-Novak group, who also jointly match John F. on Chromo 9. I descend from Leah Demarest Brouwer, daughter of Jean & Jacquemine. My atDNA matches at this generational level descend from Leah’s brother Peter.

My ancestors Leah Demarest (b. 1682, Hackensack N.J.) & Abraham Pieterse Brower were the MRCAs for me versus R. D. (admin. By slh1441 at AncestryDNA). My ancestor Daniel A. Brouwer/Brewer Sr. (b. 1719) was a son of Leah & Abraham. Daniel’s sister Rachel Brouwer Banta was the ancestor of Cousin R.D.

My ancestors Daniel A. Brouwer/Brewer Sr. (b. 1719) & Maritje Koning were the MRCAs for me versus lallen76317. My ancestor was Daniel Brewer Jr. (b. 1768). Daniel’s sister Rachel Brewer Comingore was the ancestor of Cousin L. Allen.

My ancestor Daniel Brewer Jr. (b. 1768) married Maria/Mary Voorhees. Although I do not have the atDNA data, Daniel & Mary were the paper-trail MRCAs for me versus the Brewer-surnamed man whose yDNA Kit # 55150 is Haplogroup E1b1b1 in a group of descendants of Pieter Adamsz Brouwer (b. 1646; d. 1700 Hackensack). My ancestor Christina “Tina” Brewer (b. 1798) was a daughter of Daniel & Mary. Tina’s brother Daniel III (b. 1805) & wife Eleanor McVay were the ancestors of Mr. Brewer of yDNA Kit # 55150.

My ancestor Christina “Tina” Brewer (b. 1798, Mercer County, Kentucky) married Johannes/John Williamson (b. 1790, Dutch Conewago Colony, Pennsylvania). Tina & John were the MRCAs for me versus Cousin Lowell B. My second great-grandmother Margaret Williamson McCreary (b. 1835) was a daughter of Tina & John. Margaret’s Sister Jane Williamson Moore was the ancestor of Lowell.

The total shared chromosomes for Lowell & me represent the entirety of my Dutch plus Huguenot ancestries. Chromosome 9 Demarest, & others. Quite literally, this would be the atDNA master-key to all of these ancestries which still have detectible genetic traces.  There could be shared chromosomal segments representing these ancestries, in addition to Demarest, Brouwer/Brewer, & Koning: Van Dyke (2 ways), Van Voorhees, & Williamson/Willemse.  There are some hints that I might have Van Dyke traces. Progress on the Willemse line would be welcome, as knowledge on this ancestry is limited. For those with access to, my Dutch & Huguenot ancestries appear at

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Descendants from our ancestor Roelof Martense Schenck (b. 1619) are many, and there is a vast amount of information found on the Internet and elsewhere about the American part of the line. Roelof Schenck and his siblings Jan and Annetje migrated to the Dutch colonies in America in 1650. Roelof was said to have been born (1619) in Amersfoort, Utrecht Province. There are many people (now and in centuries past) who link our Roelof’s ancestry to the aristocratic line of Schenck Van Nydeggen, despite the lack of evidence (e.g. church records). The case against this assumption: My correspondent Pete Schenck has provided me with pdf images of the April 1937 issue of “The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record”, which forms the basis of this note.

An extract: “It is a difficult and thankless, even an almost hopeless task, to convince the average amateur genealogist that it would he better to give up a long cherished belief in a descent from distinguished, preferably noble, forbears when it has been proven that the pedigree cannot stand close investigation.”  In other genealogical research, I have encountered instances where long-standing and widely believed views are just wrong. And good luck trying to get a substantiated alternate view accepted.
Nydeggen Castle of the Count of Jülich. Christianus 
Schenck (born 1220) lived and worked here and became
the first of the Schenck Van Nydeggen cadet line
Marten Schenck, alleged father of our Roelof Martense Schenck, was said to have been married at Amersfoort about 1618 to Maria Margaretha De Boeckhorst. My microfilm search failed to locate a record of this marriage. This microfilm was FHL INTL Film 543971, Dutch Reformed Church records for Amersfoort, 1583-1624. “Fiches collectie van trouwen in de Nederlands Hervormde Kerk: Fiches Trouwen 1583-1624”. The only Schenck marriage on this entire microfilm was for Matijs Christoffel Schenck, 28 February, 1617. The name of his wife is a bit unclear, but she came from nearby Soest. The microfilm listed several men with the given name Roelof, which is reportedly found more in areas associated with Schenck Van Toutenburg, but not in Limburg, ground zero for Schenck Van Nydeggen.

Dutch practices of naming kids varied, but the most common practice was for a first son to be named after the paternal grandfather, a second son to be named after the maternal grandfather, a third son to be named after the father’s paternal grandfather, and so on down through 6 sons and 6 daughters. If Roelof Martense Schenck and first wife Neeltje Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven followed this practice, let us look at what the ancestral names should have been. First son Jan. Second son Martin. Third son Garret. Well, it looks like Roelof and Neeltje varied the pattern a bit. It looks like Garret was named after Neeltje’s father. Martin was presumably named after Roelof’s father. Who was Jan named after? Roelof had a brother Jan and a first son named Jan (died as a child). Who was Jan in Roelof’s ancestry? And why did Roelof have no descendant named Pieter (his alleged grandfather)?  Look at this pattern of descent: Marten Schenck (father of Roelof and Jan) – Jan Martense Schenck – Martin Janse Schenck – John Schenck – Martin Schenck, etc.

Some Jan Janssen Schenck was baptized on November 27, 1645, at Wijk bij Duurstede, which lies just south of Amersfoort, Utrecht Province. The Jan Schenck who was father to this guy would have been a contemporary of our Roelof Martense Schenck. Roelof allegedly lived in Amersfoort from 1630 to 1650.  Wijk bij Duurstede was quite rich in the surname Van Scherpenzeel, and was also associated with Utrecht Catholic Archbishop Fredrik Schenck Van Toutenburg (d. 1580).

It is usually claimed that Roelof’s grandfather was Pieter Schenck Van Nydeggen (b. 1547, Goch, Germany). Pieter reportedly married Johanna Van Scherpenzeel in 1580 in Doesburg, Gelderland. This marriage does not appear to be in the online Gelders archives records. Pieter was said to have died at Doesburg. In April, 2012, I had a private tour of the Martinikerk in Doesburg. My guide was a Doesburg man who researches burials there. A fairly complete 1937 inventory of burials listed no Schenck. My guide said that Judge Van Scherpenzeel was a Doesburg name known to him. This was possibly Johann (the reported father of Johanna Van Scherpenzeel), who was said to have been a judge. Further, Pieter’s sister Maria Margrieta Schenck Van Nijdeggen Voorst appears in 1614 online records in connection with Doesburg. My Doesburg guide suggested that I look further south for the Schenck Van Nydeggen surname. 

In addition to online data, the Gelderland archives at Arnhem may have unpublicized family folders, I was told by my guide at Doesburg. There was no time on this holiday for archives work. Archives at The Hague may also have pertinent information, he said.

A Schenck correspondent who lives in Limburg Province, Netherlands, thinks that our Roelof may have instead descended from the Schenck Van Toutenburg line. Particular given names in Dutch families tend to recur. The name Roelof is unknown among the Schenck Van Nydeggen line, and is indeed unusual in the south of the Netherlands where many Schenck Van Nydeggen lived (especially Limburg Province). The given name Roelof occurs more often in the middle of the Netherlands, in regions where Schenck Van Toutenburg lived. An up-to-date summary of Schenck Van Nydeggen: I encountered the given name Roelof several times on that microfilm of Amersfoort marriages. 

Online Utrecht archives data have multiple references to both Schenck Van Nydeggen and Schenck Van Toutenburg.  Around the time of Roelof’s reported birth at Amersfoort, there were some Schenck and several Scherpenzeel persons on Dutch Reformed Church records (on DVD from at Wijk bij Duurstede, which lies south of Amersfoort and southeast of Utrecht. There are Schenck persons living in that village today. They could descend from either aristocratic line, or other lines altogether. The Bishops of Utrecht held Duurstede Castle including Archbishop Frederik Schenck Van Toutenburg.

Some Berndt Schenck Van Nijdeggen of Emmerijck married Beeligje Meussen in Wijk bij Duurstede on September 20, 1618, the year before our ancestor Roelof was reportedly (where is the evidence for that?) born at nearby Amersfoort. Over 3 decades prior to this wedding, a Berndt Schenck Van Nijdeggen was described as a cousin of Peter/Pieter Schenck Van Nydeggen (b. 1547, Goch). In order to secure Maarten Schenck Van Nydeggen’s release from captivity, hostages were part of a complex deal. Hostages included Maarten’s brother Peter, and cousins Berndt Schenck Van Nijdeggen and “Johann Van Cleet” (Cleef?). This was reported on page 19 of “The Rev. William Schenck: His ancestors and descendants”. I don’t know where that book author got the name of the earlier Berndt Schenck Van Nijdeggen, but I’ll bet that the author was unaware of the existence of the later Berndt Schenck Van Nijdeggen. So, we have a Berndt allegedly a cousin of Pieter, and a Berndt showing up near Amersfoort just prior to the reported birth of Roelof. Interesting.  

Are we to be stuck in limbo forever? I don’t think so, but it will require some enthusiasm for yDNA testing among Schenck-surnamed men of probable Dutch origin in America, in North Limburg (plus the Nijmegen area, rich in the Schenck surname in 1947), and Schenck whose ancestors came from Schenck Van Toutenburg areas (Gelderland, Utrecht, and Overijssel).  It will take several high-resolution STR yDNA samples to be able to triangulate on number of generations to Most Recent Common Ancestors, arrive at meaningful groupings of lineages, and tease out Non-Paternal Events (e.g. adoptions). Deep ancestry would also prove interesting. I don’t mean to imply that yDNA can give us answers to all the particular questions we might have about the ancestry. But, I do think it is possible to prove or disprove genetic kinship among the Dutch Schenck groups, and descendants of the Schenck men who settled in New Netherlands in the 1600s. It is hoped that eventually there will be yDNA profiles available from both of these aristocratic Schenck lines, as well as non-Dutch lines. A few years ago there was no Clan Donald DNA Project; today the project is huge. The same could be done for Schenck.

Surnames distribution mapping at various time periods have shown some degree of stability over time. The book “Surnames, DNA, and Family History” outlines the case for this in England.  Cleves district Germany & Limburg Province Netherlands were two main centers for Schenck Van Nydeggen. Cleves: Goch, Gaesdonck Monastery, Walbeck Castle, Schenckenshans Fortress, Wachtendonk, and Emmerich. Limburg: Afferden, Bleijenbeek Castle, a castle at Venlo, Sevenum, and Castle Hillenraad.

Given the number of centuries during which North Limburg Province and neighboring parts of Germany and Netherlands were ground-zero for Schenck Van Nydeggen, many Schenck-surnamed males now living in this vicinity would seem to stand a good chance of being linked via yDNA to Schenck Van Nydeggen. Currently, New Jersey and Delaware have relatively high concentrations of the Schenck surname. Undoubtedly, many of these persons descend from Dutch Schenck people who appeared in the 1600s in future New York State. There is a New York State DNA project which includes the surname Schenck, but as of mid-2012 the Schenck samples were autosomal DNA, not yDNA. Autosomal DNA can help spot genetic cousins with the Most Recent Common Ancestor only about 5 generations back. We need Schenck-surname high-resolution (67 STR markers or more) yDNA to track the male line back indefinitely in time. The Netherlands Y DNA Project and joint Netherlands yDNA and mtDNA project are in need of Schenck samples. Currently (Winter 2012), Family Tree DNA has 4 Schenck yDNA samples, but the ancestry of the donors is not public.  Two of the 4 samples had a common ancestor several generations ago, and these samples fall into Haplogroup R1b, which is quite common in Western Europe.

The Netherlands Dual DNA Projects yDNA results page  happens to include samples from descendants of my ancestor Adam Brouwer (1620-1692). His haplogroup and subclade: E1b1b1a1b; shorthand is E-V13. See  and

where my ancestors Daniel and Mary Van Voorhees Brewer appear. Family Tree DNA Kit # 55150 came from a distant Brewer cousin of mine, a descendant of Daniel Brewer who married Mary Van Voorhees, Butler Co. Ohio. These were the parents of Tina Brewer Williamson (mother of Margaret Williamson McCreary).

is interesting, particularly regarding a possible Balkans connection.


The “Clan Schenck” yDNA cluster at the Friese Wadden yDNA Project consists so far of the matching data from a descendant of my ancestor Marten Schenck (NOT Sir Maarten Schenck Van Nydeggen), and from Hans, a descendant of Marten’s really close yDNA kinsman Geert Jochums. The yDNA group “Schenck-Four plus Hans” consists of Pete, Paul, Ray, Robert, & Hans.

In the Friese Wadden Project, Hans’ data is Kit # N27042. Ray’s data is Kit # B5237. This group is Haplogroup R1b, positive on SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) marker U198 (tested in Hans). Ray’s data also appears in the Netherlands Dual DNA project at Paul’s Kit # is 172264. Bob Schenck is another of our yDNA match group. He is President of the Holland Society of New York.  Roelof Martense Schenck was the father of Gerret Roelofse Schenck (b. 1671), who was the common ancestor of Bob, Ray, Paul Edgar, as well as many others who do not carry down the yDNA.

Frisian Waddenproject (Friese Waddenproject) - Y-DNA Classic Chart. For genealogy within the most recent fifteen generations, STR markers help define ...

Hans’ ancestor Geert Jochums was born about 1650 at the village of Ee, near Dokkum Friesland. In 1650, the siblings Roelof (Rudolf) Martense Schenck, Jan Martense Schenck, and Annetje Martense Schenck migrated from the Netherlands to America. One wonders if they were aware that they had close biological kin near Dokkum, Friesland. That vicinity then included the aristocratic line of Schenck Van Toutenburg, as well as some commoners with the surname Schenck (and spelling variants). Toutenburg castles were once found in Germany, Vollenhove Overijssel, and just east of Leeuwarden Friesland. I doubt that there were any commoner Schenck near Dokkum prior to the early 1500s arrival nearby of Friesland Governor Georg Schenck Van Toutenburg (b. 1485), who was known to have had kids out of wedlock in  My thanks to Hans for this link.

Hans Zijlstra, Gary and Kathryn
in Amsterdam
Recall that there is exactly zero original documentary evidence linking Dutch Schenck-of-America and Schenck Van Nydeggen. The given name Roelof has never been known to occur in the Schenck Van Nydeggen line, but the equivalent Rudolf was a recurring name in the Schenck Van Toutenburg line. Hans, descendant of Roelof’s yDNA close kinsman Geert Jochums, wrote about his possible connection to Schenck Van Toutenburg in the blog of the Historical Society of Northeast Friesland.  Search for Schenck. Hans’ article has a photo of himself at the Brooklyn Museum’s Jan Martense Schenck home.
Pete, a descendant of Jan Martense Schenck, has a 63 of 67 STR (Short Tandem Repeats) yDNA markers match with Hans. Pete’s yDNA matches with descendants of Jan’s brother Roelof (my ancestor) have similarly close matches to Hans. I doubt that the Most Recent Common Ancestor between the Schenck group & Hans lived much earlier than Marten Schenck, father of Jan and Roelof. Nothing earlier than the 1500s, I’d say. Virtually nothing is known about this Martin, despite the multitude of claims, all without firm bases.   

See for a critique of the astounding conclusions despite a lack of evidence. I am reminded of several other genealogical investigations which have uncovered honest mistaken impressions, errors based upon weak research, wishful fantasy, and in one instance for another of my ancestries a famous genealogical hoax.  All of the Schenck histories claiming the Van Nydeggen link are based upon the original flawed assumption. Don’t show me any more of the histories. I have plenty. Show me the evidence.

My ancestor Annetje Pieterse Wyckoff was the second wife of Roelof Martense Schenck. These were my 8th great-grandparents. Roelof’s first wife Neeltje Gerretse Van Couwenhoven was the ancestor of the majority of my several Schenck correspondents. A flurry of communications followed our meeting with Hans in Amsterdam on June 6, 2015. My wife Kathryn and I had just completed a boat and bike tour of North Holland. Hans met us at our boat “Angela Esmee”. Like Hans, the ancestor of Wibo Boswijk was also Geert Jochums. Wibo is a co-administrator of the Friese Wadden yDNA Project.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Gary and Lara at Latin School in Nijmegen. 
Dr. Michael De Mandeville taught here.

Lara and her father Gary had bicycling, tulip, and ancestral adventures in the Netherlands in late April and early May, 2012. Lara arrived in Amsterdam half-way through Gary’s 9 ½ days stay. Schenck ancestry got most of the attention, with visits to some De Mandeville sites. No time was left for Van Voorhees, Van Ness, or other ancestries. Schenck Van Nydeggen sites visited: Amersfoort, Doesburg, Schenckenshans Fortress site (Germany), Nijmegen, Afferden, Bleijenbeek Castle, site of Gaesdonck monastery, Walbeck Castle, and Muiden.
Gary on bicycle outing near tulip fields

Lara near tulip fields and Keukenhof park.

It should be noted that Schenck Van Nydeggen histories claim descent from the earlier Dutch Schenck Van Toutenburg people. However, Schenck Van Toutenburg histories do not mention a link with Schenck Van Nydeggen. Indeed, Schenck Van Toutenburg reportedly arose in East Prussia, and they lived in Thüringen and Bavaria prior to entry into the current Netherlands, after the Schenck Van Nydeggen were well established there. The events now described follow the Schenck Van Nydeggen version of history. Schenck Van Nydeggen might not even be my ancestry, but let us follow this interesting history anyway.

St. Maarten’s Chapel at Valkhof Castle site, Nijmegen. 
Built for Emperor Frederick Barbarosa (r. 1152-1190), 
overlord of Reynier Schenck, 12th Baron Van Toutenburg. 
Reynier was the father of Christianus Schenck Van Nydeggen.

Charlemagne (Emperor 800-814) particularly liked his palace at Nijmegen. His descendants had a presence at Valkhof Castle here. Clove de Witte, Baron Van Toutenburg, was allegedly the ancestor of the aristocratic Dutch Schencks, both Van Toutenburg and Van Nydeggen. Clove died in 878 fighting Danes. A couple of years later, Vikings wintered at Valkhof, and then burned the palace.  It was rebuilt later. On our trip, Lara and Gary saw two chapels, all that remains of Valkhof. The St. Maarten Chapel ruin is from the time of Emperor Frederick Barbarosa (r. 1152-1190). During Barbarosa’s time lived Reynier Schenck, 12th Baron Van Toutenburg. The split between Toutenburg and Nydeggen lines allegedly occurred with two sons of Reynier, Theodorus and Christianus, respectively. Christianus became cup-bearer to the Count of Jülich, who had a residence at the Nydeggen Castle, southeast of Aachen. Thus, we see the von/van Nydeggen (and several spelling variants) by-name for the cadet line. Christianus Schenck appears in records from 1225, i.e. 787 years prior to 2012. So, around a couple dozen generations or so prior to living Schenck descendants. In that time, several mutations would have occurred at faster-mutating STR (Short Tandem Repeats) yDNA markers. Otherwise, yDNA from existing male-line descendants should be very close to the genetic pattern of Christianus, always allowing for some unknown Non-Paternal Events (e.g. adoption, funny business with passing court jesters, etc.). Descendancy from Christianus:

Person # 119 is the famous Maarten Schenck Van Nydeggen, brother of Pieter (b. 1547). A newer summary of Schenck Van Nydeggen:

After a fascinating and fruitful morning in Nijmegen (more on that later), Lara and Gary searched for bike rentals in Afferden, to no avail (closed for the holiday) A couple of great bike rides happened on later days. A castle at Afferden on the Maas/Meuse River predated Bleijenbeek Castle, but no longer exists. Bleijenbeek (Happy Brook) Castle at Afferden was mentioned in 1228, but it was awhile before Bleijenbeek and Schenck Van Nydeggen were clearly linked. Down from Heinrich Schenck Van Nydeggen (d. 1403) and his wife Aelide Van Rayde, the descendancy can be traced 6 generations to Pieter Schenck Van Nydeggen, our purported (but seriously doubted) ancestor. Heinrich and family definitely lived at Bleijenbeek. Aelide brought Walbeck Castle into the Schenck Van Nydeggen family.
Early Bleijenbeek Castle

Middle Bleijenbeek

Later Bleijenbeek
Bleijenbeek Castle in 1738

Bleijenbeek Castle in 1908

Current Bleijenbeek

Bleijenbeek Castle was still in good shape up to World War II, but after being bombed by the RAF, Bleijenbeek is now a bat sanctuary. Lara and Gary could only view it from outside the line of the moat. Information boards there contain representations of the probable former appearances of the castle.

Heinrich’s and Aelide’s grandson Dederich Schenck Van Nydeggen (c. 1424-1487) was a land and cash benefactor of Gaesdonck (Goose Hill) Monastery, now the site of an Augustinian College just over the border into Germany. Lara and Gary saw the church now there before setting off for Walbeck Castle.
Church at site of Gaesdonck Monastery, Germany. 
Dederich Schenck Van Nydeggen (c. 1424-1487)
was a benefactor of this monastery.

Walbeck Castle. In Germany near Dutch border.
Gary at Walbeck Castle, long a holding of 
Schenck Van Nydeggen families.

Walbeck Castle passed to the line Dederich’s brother Johann (d. 1491) and Johann’s descendants down 4 generations or so. Currently, Walbeck Castle is owned by a religious group which uses the castle for youth education and work with traumatized kids. The castle is in the heart of the Walbeck Spargel (asparagus) growing area. Every year, there is a festival involving a Walbeck Spargel Princess and her escort the Spargel Grenadier.  We saw a representation of the Spargel Grenadier.

Dederich married Aleid Van Büren. Their son Derich (d. 1525) had 3 consorts, including our reported ancestor Alheit Cüsters. There arose some question about whether or not there was a proper marriage. This set the stage for a lot of troubles spanning another 3 generations, as others coveted ownership of Bleijenbeek Castle. Bleijenbeek Castle in 1505 saw the wedding between Maria Van Galen and Dirk Schenck Van Nydeggen, son of Dederich and Aleid. Dirk and Maria were the grandparents of Pieter (b. 1547).

Dirk died at Bleijenbeek on May 5, 1530. A couple of months later Dirk’s widow Maria and kids were evicted from the castle and arrested on the orders of Charles II Egmond, Duke of Geldern, Jülich, and Zutphen. Duke Charles was the son of Catherine of Burgundy, whose grave Lara and Gary had viewed in the undercroft of St. Stevens Church at Nijmegen. The widow Maria Schenck Van Nydeggen and family relocated at some point to nearby Goch, now in Germany. Maria’s son Dederich married Anna Van Berlaer in Goch; their kids: Maarten, Pieter (our purported ancestor), Johann, Maria Margaretha, and Maria Magdalena. While Maarten was still a child, his father was still trying to get Bleijenbeek back. Civil courts favored our Schencks, but that counted for naught when the Vatican (1546) and the Emperor (1549) said otherwise. That apparently did not sit well with Maarten, who spent several years fighting to get back Bleijenbeek, not always by peaceful means.

Maarten Schenck Van Nydeggen (1543-1589) and his Schenckenshans 
Fortress in Germany. Now ‘a small village with a big history

The actions of Phillip II of Spain against the Dutch provoked the 80 Years Wars of independence, starting in 1568. Maarten and some buddies seized Bleijenbeek Castle in 1576, the year of the “Third Revolt”. Whatever else might be said of Maarten Schenck Van Nydeggen, as a soldier he often got results. So, it may not have been a wise move to make him an enemy. The Dutch Estates General gave Maarten’s foe Caspar van der Lippe the OK to attack Maarten at Bleijenbeek. Caspar didn’t have much luck (1577), nor did troops of the Count of Nassau (1579). Maarten became an active ally of the Spanish (what with the Dutch authorities opposing him regarding Bleijenbeek), winning several victories for the Spanish (but getting little reward for his efforts, being bypassed for positions he sought). I don’t know what our alleged ancestor Pieter was doing at this time, but Pieter did surrender himself as hostage in 1582 as part of a complex deal to free Maarten from captivity. Their Cousin Berndt Schenck Van Nydeggen was also a hostage. Maarten had been captured at Xanten by agents of the Governor of Guelders, and Maarten was held at Geldern and Nijmegen (castle dungeon?). Meanwhile, Caspar van der Lippe had switched to the Spanish side and was still after Bleijenbeek.

Sir Maarten Schenck Van Nydeggen at the Battle of Amerongen, 1585.

In May 1585, Maarten was persuaded by prominent Dutch persons to give up pursuit of possession of Bleijenbeek in exchange for other properties, commands, titles, and perks. The following month, Maarten was engaged in the Battle of Amerongen; it was a defeat for the Dutch, but Maarten escaped. His subsequent military exploits were many and colorful, including involvement in the Cologne War (as a soldier of fortune, he became a soldier with a fortune, after looting Westphalia). He was knighted by the Earl of Leicester (Robert Dudley), a favorite of English Queen Elizabeth I.
Coat of arms of Sir Maarten Schenck Van Nydeggen.

Maarten Schenck Van Nydeggen built Schenckenshans Fortress, now in Germany near the Dutch border. The Dutch and their English allies sought to control traffic on the Rhine River. Gary visited Schenckenshans prior to Lara’s arrival in Amsterdam. There are several signs about Maarten at this village atop the fortress site, plus a genuine Maarten Schenck Van Nydeggen doll in a glass case (not available in stores).
Sir Maarten Schenck Van Nydeggen doll at Schenckenshans.

Timeline of Maarten’s Rhine River fortress, the Key To The Netherlands.
Village at the site of Schenckenshans Fortress.

It might not be sufficiently appreciated that the Dutch helped to avert disaster posed by the 1588 Spanish Armada planned assault on England. Dutch ships kept the ships and troops of the Duke of Parma bottled up in Flemish ports, so that they could not support the Armada. Spanish admirals blamed Parma for the failure to seize England.

1589 drowning of Maarten Schenck Van Nydeggen 
while attempting to seize Nijmegen.

Poor Bleijenbeek Castle in 1589. In January, the Spanish hit it hard with troops, artillery (over 1000 cannon balls), and siege works. Was Caspar van der Lippe chuckling? It took Maarten some time to put together a relieving force, but they got there too late to stop the Spanish takeover of Bleijenbeek (June 25).  Later, Caspar tried unsuccessfully to get Bleijenbeek from the Spanish, and later still he finally grabbed Bleijenbeek by marrying off a daughter to a Schenck Van Nydeggen.

St. Anthony's Gate, near where Sir Maarten drowned.

Lara in Nijmegen at St. Anthony's Gate. 

Sir Maarten Schenck Van Nydeggen planned a waterborne sneak attack upon the Spanish at Nijmegen (which Maarten had previously seized for the Spanish). The attack was not quite stealthy enough, and failed. Maarten, weighed down by armor, drowned in the Waal River at Nijmegen. Lara and Gary visited St. Anthony’s Gate at Nijmegen, near where the drowning occurred (Aug. 10, 1589). The gate’s alternate name is the Maarten Schenck Gate. Not content with Maarten’s drowning, his opponents had his body beheaded and quartered, hanging bits of Maarten above each city gate. A couple of years later, Prince Maurice of Nassau reportedly arranged a burial for Maarten at St. Stevens Church in Nijmegen.

Lara and Gary went in quest of the burial site of Maarten in the church. Lara came rapidly around a corner, saying to Gary, “Dad, come quick! They’re talking about Maarten Schenck!” (The title of my e-mail from our B & B in Huizen that evening). A Dutch guy was speaking in German to a tour group. This guide pointed to an unlabeled slab (Number 886) as the grave of Maarten. The Germans may have been surprised to have American possible kin of a historical figure materialize at the grave. Later, a second guide (the one who gave us the crypt tour) discounted this as Maarten’s burial site. Yet a third guide ventured that “maybe” that was Maarten’s tombstone. The list of burials had no entry for stone # 886. So, draw your own conclusions.

Maarten’s brother Pieter (our purported ancestor and grandfather of Roelof) at some point obtained the rank of general in the service of the Dutch. Their brother Johann served the Spanish. Martin Schenck, son of Pieter and Johanna Van Scherpenzeel Schenck Van Nydeggen, was reportedly born on August 7, 1584, at Muiden (pronounce “Mouw-den”). The date and place are reported in various histories, but lack documentary support. Lara and Gary had a brief look at the exterior of Muiden Castle.

By 1500, Dutch civil records included land, cemetery, wills, notarial, and court. In 1530 began baptismal, marriage, & grave records (DTB = Doop, Trouw, Begraafboeken).

Martin Schenck (proposed nephew of the famous Maarten) reportedly married Maria Margaretha Boeckhorst at Amersfoort in 1618 (my search of marriage records on microfilm failed to confirm this). Their alleged son Roelof (b. 1619, Amersfoort?) was part of the family who went to America. Evidence of descent from Roelof to ourselves seems solid enough. It is the connection between Pieter and Martin (or even Sir Maarten and Martin) which is in dispute: Accepted by many, but viewed by some as unsupported by some. Maria Margaretha Boeckhorst as mother of Roelof is also problematic. She is also said to be the mother of Johannes Schenck (b. 1656), who is variously called a cousin of Roelof and Jan, or completely unrelated. Johannes and his wife Maria Magdalena de Haes reportedly joined the Dutch Reformed Church in New Amsterdam based upon a certificate from Middelburg, Zeeland Province. While a case can be made for Middelburg origins for Johann, no documentary case can be made for his alleged connection to Limburg or to Schenck Van Nydeggen. See

Warning: Some Schenck trees at list Roelof (b. 1619) as a brother of Johannes (b. 1656), although the two were born 37 years apart. A history by Mrs. Adrian Van Sinderen Schenck indicated that the brothers “…Jan and Roelof were followed to America in 1683 by Johannes Schenck, a cousin, and his young wife Magdelena de Haes.”  There may be some confusion between Roelof’s brother Jan and their purported “cousin” Johannes. Jan and Johannes have different dates, wives, kids, and timelines.  Jan appears on page 9 and 10 of “The Van Voorhees Family in America: The First Six Generations”. Jan’s and Jannetje Stevense Van Voorhees’ 9 kids do not match the kids of Johannes. Incidentally, the Boeckhorst surname is associated with Loo village (near Duiven) southeast of Arnhem, Gelderland.

Gary, still jet-lagged but stoked-up, visited lovely Amersfoort on the first day of the Netherlands trip. This town was the reported birthplace of ancestor Roelof Schenck (b. 1619), marriage place of his parents, and birthplace of Roelof’s sibs Jan and Annetje.

Amersfoort is within Utrecht Province, and the online Utrecht Archives have several records of both Schenck Van Nydeggen and Schenck Van Toutenburg. Just not our particular people. This is not to say that the pertinent records did not at one time exist, nor that they might not still exist elsewhere, as at The Hague (according to my guide at the church in Doesburg, who also said to look for non-published family folders in archives).    

It is reported that 1704 saw the end of Schenck Van Nydeggen at Bleijenbeek Castle, and that this aristocratic line became extinct in 1827. People calling themselves Schenck Van Nydeggen continued to be found in Dutch records through the 1800s. E.g., Antoine Francois Joseph Schenck van Nijdeggen appeared in an 1854 record for Nijmegen. Meanwhile, in America the 1790 and 1800 censuses showed Schenck households to be mostly concentrated in New York State.  Later than that, substantial numbers of non-Dutch Schenck people no doubt cloud the picture.

My Schenck correspondent Pete descends from both Roelof and Jan, and has multiple connections to Van Voorhees, plus Van Der Veer ancestry. Pete’s yDNA would be from Jan. Pete’s ancestry includes 3 persons named Ferdinand Schureman Schenck. Pete has provided me with a considerable amount of interesting and helpful information on the Schenck ancestry.

Our ancestor Roelof’s brother Jan married Jannetje Stevense Van Voorhees. Jannetje’s brother Lucas Stevense Van Voorhees was also our ancestor. Lucas’ son Jan married Mayke Schenck, daughter of Roelof. Got that? Jan’s and Mayke’s son married a Brokaw, and a grandson married a Van Dyke.

From me (Gary) back to Roelof is 10 generations, with our respective birthdates 324 years apart, and an average span of 32.4 years/generation. Autosomal DNA can only detect cousins with a common ancestor back about 5 generations, so back from me to the level of the parents of our Margaret Williamson McCreary.