Sunday, August 13, 2023


In June 2023, I had an opportunity to visit the Brooklyn Museum, to have a distant look at gravestones inside the Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church Cemetery, & to examine relocated Dutch graves at Cedar Dell in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn. Which cemetery was also part of the site of the 1776 Battle of Brooklyn Heights. Flatbush was briefly a headquarters for the invading British, who had assembled the century’s largest armada & landing force to subdue the American colonies. The Dutch graves at Cedar Dell in Greenwood Cemetery contain some of my ancestral surnames, but these date from a century or more following my current interest in my kin of 1600s Long Island. 

Brooklyn Museum has on display the house once owned by Jan Martense Schenck, my 8th great granduncle. And the house of his grandson Nicholas Schenck (1732-1810). Some years ago, the Jan Martense Schenck House was visited by Hans Zijlstra, who has a yDNA match with several male Schenck-surnamed descendants of Jan, & of his brother Roelof (my ancestor). The Schenck yDNA link with Hans & others is evidence of a link to Friesland & North Holland. Hans’ ancestral village is near a castle of Schenck Van Toutenburg; Hans wrote an article about this connection. I have met with Hans in Amsterdam. 

The “Clan of Schenck” in the Friese Waddenzee yDNA Project has a couple of these yDNA kits: Hans’ kit & the kit of Ray, my Schenck cousin also descending from Roelof. A recent yDNA match with Ray is a descendant of Selick Skank (1817-1846) of Upstate NY.  This match is at the 111 STR (Short Tandem Repeat) markers level at Family Tree DNA. To date, I have no information on any advanced DNA testing done on Schenck or related kin. E.g. the Big Y700 test of SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) & STR markers. 

A separate line of Schenck from the south of the Netherlands is not yDNA kin to my group, but the two lines of Schenck intermarried, creating no doubt a complex autosomal DNA picture. At Cedar Dell in the Greenwood Cemetery is the grave of Maria Schenck, wife of Van Remsen. The inscription is hard to decipher. However, I believe that it is likely that she was a granddaughter of Johannes Schenck (1691-1729) & Maria Lott. This Johannes is alleged in some old histories to have been a cousin of our Roelof & Jan Martense Schenck brothers; the yDNA evidence says otherwise. This Maria Schenck (1743-1772) was reportedly the wife of Rem Aris Van Remsen (1743-1780) who reportedly had Rapalje ancestry, so he was my kin anyway. 

There are several URLs pertaining to Jan Martense Schenck (b. 1631) & how his house came to be in the Brooklyn Museum, & furnished in styles typical of the period. A connection between my Schenck and the pirate William Kidd is reported, as is a mysterious Captain Schenck. Jan had several descendants whose Schenck-surname yDNA kits are inter-matching. 

Jan Martense Schenck (b. 1631), Gary’s 8th great granduncle, married Jannetje Stephense Van Voorhees (Gary’s 8th great grandaunt). Their son Stephen Janse Schenck (1686-1767; m. Antje Claes Wyckoff) was the father of Nicholas Schenck (1732-1810; m. Willemtje Wyckoff, 1757) whose house is also on display in the Brooklyn Museum, 4th floor. See Wiki Tree “Schenck-1272” for a brief account of Nicholas. 

At the time of the 1776 invasion of Long Island by the British & their Hessian allies, Nicholas Schenck & family may have been in the vicinity. The predecessor of the current Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church would have been in existence. And the graveyards contained several of my ancestors and kin. The cemetery also contains some non-Dutch graves, including Revolutionary War Patriots. 

Battle Hill, now inside Greenwood Cemetery, lies northwest of Flatbush (= Midwout). The views from the top are spectacular. Little wonder that the British sought to control this vantage point, prior to their takeover of New York City. See David McCulloch’s work “1776”, which I heard on CD just prior to the Brooklyn trip (wedding of my grand-niece). 

The Flatbush Cemetery holds the remains of several of my kin. Of particular interest are the grandparents of my 7th great grandmother Sarah Van Middleward (b. 1685; m. Jan Brokaw): Teunis Van Middleswaert & Femmentje “Phoebe” Seals; Teunis Gysbert Bogaert & Sarah Rapalje. Four of my 9th great-grandparents.  Phoebe & Sarah were in-laws. I have reason to believe that I have an autosomal DNA trace from Phebe, whereby a chromosomal triangulation links multiple people who either were in my line of descent, or were ancestral to people with Vanover ancestry, via Phebe’s daughter Willempie. Willempie had to have been a daughter of Phebe in order for the observed atDNA matches to make sense. 

Above-ground marble vaults at the Flatbush Cemetery reportedly include my Van Couwenhovens. The inscriptions have reportedly faded, so getting inside the locked cemetery would probably not have clarified this anyway. 

Nicholas Schenck House

Map_Battle Of Brooklyn

Manhattan From Battle Hill Brooklyn

Jan Martense Schenck House

Jan Martense Schenck House Front roomFireplace

Jan Martense Schenck House & Gary

Greenwood Cemetery Brooklyn Maria Schenck

Gary & Minerva Greenwood Cemetery Brooklyn

Gary & Lara Brooklyn Bridge

Flatbush Dutch Church Cemetery Vaults

Saturday, April 27, 2019


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


My 8th great-grandfather Roelof Martense Schenck (b. abt. 1619) & his brother Jan had many descendants in America, including this yDNA inter-matching group: Pete, Paul, Ray, Bob, & Daniel. Ray has a 101 of 111 STR (Short Tandem Repeats) yDNA markers match with Johannes L., whose ancestry tracks back to Noord Scharwoude which lies just northeast of Alkmaar in North Holland. The unknown Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) for Ray versus Johannes L. was unlikely to have lived earlier than 15 generations back from Ray. The unknown father of my Roelof Martense Schenck was 11 generations removed from me. Ray has with Hans Z a 62 of 67 STR markers match. It is difficult to say whether the MRCA Schenck versus Hans Z was before, or after, the MRCA Schenck versus Johannes L. The reported ancestral locations of Hans Z (near Dokkum) versus Johannes L. (near Alkmaar) are about 148 kilometers apart by current roads.

North Holland Canal north of Alkmaar

In the Friese Wadden yDNA Project at the “Clan of Schenck” shows the kits of Ray & Hans Z. Note than Hans has tested his Haplogroup R1b SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) phylogenetic tree sequence down to U198. “Downstream” (later mutating) markers could be further tested in any of our male Schencks, or close yDNA kin, down to a Terminal SNP. Downstream from DF89 is suspected.

Various historical records turn up Schenck people in Friesland, & it is likely that some were totally unrelated to Schenck Van Toutenburg or Schenck Van Nydeggen. For example, in the Open Archives NL records for Leeuwarden Friesland, people who are clearly Schenck Van Toutenburg are so indicated. So, who was Melchior Schenck Van Lubeek of 1561? Kin to Van Toutenburg, or not? And/or kin to Schenck people known to have lived in northern Germany?

Some Schenck-of-Netherlands who went to America are not DNA kin to my Schenck-of-Flatlands Long Island line. Roelof’s purported cousin Johannes Schenck (b. 1656; Schenck-of-Bushwick L.I.) has yDNA descendants, the “Schenck-Two”, who are not yDNA matches with the Schenck-Five Plus Hans Z & Johannes L group. Keep in mind the possibility of Non-Paternity Events down a line. I think, however, that these two Long Island Schenck families were in fact never kin, although their descendants intermarried, & this may potentially create some autosomal DNA puzzles.

There is a stand-alone story (a family “tradition”, with no documentary support) of some Sir Roelof Schenck, son of Admiral Van Schenck, who was not the same guy as my Roelof. At least a generation separated the two Roelofs. Roelof (Rudolf) is a given name seen more in the north of the Netherlands, never in Schenck Van Nydeggen (Limburg & vicinity) records. A 1670 painting of New Netherland was done by some Peter/Pieter Schenk, a person unknown to me. Kin or not?

The above legend of Sir Roelof Schenck links him to Henry Hudson. Which reminds me of the blog note by Hans Z “Frieses in the Wake of Hudson”, about Frieslanders who were early migrants to New Netherland.

The Blog of the Historical Society of Northeast Friesland: Hans’ article on his yDNA connection to Schenck:


My autosomal DNA matches include several people who descend from Roelof, most in known ways. I also have other lines of Dutch ancestry, & am particularly interested in those with North Holland roots, given my Schenck cousins’ yDNA match with Johannes L who has ancestry near Alkmaar. Broek op Langedijk is interesting: Perhaps near a one-time location of my distant genetic kin, & not far from the Angela Esmee boat-and-bike tour route followed by my wife Kathryn & myself a few years ago. At the end of the tour, we were met by Hans Z in Amsterdam.

My 7th Great-grandmother Mayke Roelofse Schenck (b. 1683; m. Jan Lucassen Van Voorhees) had several sibs, & half-sibs by the first wife of Mayke’s father Roelof Martense Schenck (b. 1619?). Among my several Schenck autosomal DNA (atDNA) matches, descendants of Mayke’s half-brothers Gerret Roelofse Schenck (b. 1671) & Jan Roelofse Schenck (b. 1670) have been particularly fruitful. The atDNA results appear in databases at Family Tree DNA, AncestryDNA, &/or the publically viewable Several apparent descendants of Jan Roelofse Schenck (b. 1670; m. Sara Van Kouwenhoven) have with me sizable shared chromosomal segments on Chromosome 6. At GEDmatch, go to either the original format or the new Genesis format. My kits are A693287 (from AncestryDNA) & T203534 (from FTDNA). My Chromosome 6 matches who descend from Jan include T230807. People who match both him & me print out to about a page. Several of those kits triangulate at the same Chromosome 6 shared segment. Some matches exceed 24 centiMorgans, a nice big chunk for that far a generational reach. Jan & Sara were ancestral to a lot of people, some famous. They reportedly had 54 grandkids. I think that actor Lee Van Cleef was my 8th cousin, once removed. Chromosome 6 is not the only place where my atDNA cousins descending from Jan code. On Chromosome 16, I have a small 6.9 cM shared segment with a descendant of Jan’s son Jan Janse Schenck (b. 1722; m. Neeltje Bennett). Leading down to Leah Schenck (m. Peter Shanks) & beyond. Jan Roelofse Schenck (b. 1670) was also the ancestor of the newest member of the Schenck-Five yDNA group, who is Gary’s 8th cousin once removed.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019


Gary’s 7th great-grandparents include Sarah Teunis Van Middlesward/Middlesworth & Jan Brokaw, who were married in 1704 in Somerset County New Jersey. This couple are one set of Most Recent Common Ancestors for myself versus DG in the tree of bossbb96, & may account for the atDNA 24 centiMorgans shared chromosomal segment. Two Van Middlesworth brothers of Sarah were executor & witness, respectively, of the 1719/20 will of Cornelius Vanover Jr. (= Van Houwegem). The will abstract may be accessed via Information on Cornelius Vanover III is at Marretje Buys, the wife of Cornelius III may have been a cousin of our Sarah. Starting at Cornelius Vanover IV on down there is a divergence whereby several descendants have with me autosomal DNA matches, &/or are otherwise persons known to me. Cornelius IV:

Cornelius Vanover V was a reported ancestor of Darlene, who is a cousin via another way to one of my daughters-in-law. Cornelius Vanover VI is the route down to some of my atDNA matches at Family Tree DNA. Richard Vanover (b. 1776), brother of Cornelius V, was ancestor to more of my atDNA matches, including (1) Mark, whose Vanover yDNA is known; & (2) GEDmatch kit # T074840 whose atDNA Chromosome 9 shared segment with me triangulates with several other people. Included in the Chromo 9 triangulation is Kit # M883609 who is also known to have Vanover ancestry. And Kit # A107023, whose ancestry includes Van Voorhees. And a Chromo 9 shared segment at FTDNA, not sent to GEDmatch, but who also has Vanover ancestry.

My Jan Brokaw & Sarah Van Middlesward had a daughter Marytje Brokaw who married Petrus Van Voorhees. These latter two appear on Page 73 of “The Van Voorhees Family In America: The First Six Generations”. Marytje’s & Petrus’ son Stephen Petrus Voorhees (m. Margareta Hendrickse Van Dyke) as my 5th great-grandfather, is captured by Thru Lines at AncestryDNA. More atDNA matches.

The Vanover yDNA Project results are at Haplogroup R1b, tested to SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) marker L21+ (Atlantic Celt). I think that one of the displayed kits is Mark, with whom I have a Chromosome 1 = 14.99 cM shared segment at FTDNA.

The Conewago Dutch Colony in Pennsylvania was home to a large number of my Dutch & French Huguenot kin, including ancestors of my second great grandmother Margaret Williamson McCreary. but it appears that my ancestors had parted ways by then with their Vanover cousins. More on Vanover:

In 1779, British Ranger Lt. Col. Simcoe burned the Raritan Dutch Reformed Church (built in 1709), where many of my Dutch kin had attended. I didn’t much like his character in the TV series
I’m liking Simcoe even less now. A convincing villain.

The original Raritan Church was already in existence by the time of the 1720 death nearby of Bourgon Broucard, my 8th great-grandfather. Bourgon was father of my Jan Brokaw (m. Sarah Teunis Van Middlesward) & also of Abraham Brokaw, ancestor of my atDNA match bb1645 at AncestryDNA. A few years ago I saw the Walloon Church in Amsterdam, likely briefly attended by the Broucard/Brokaw family. See & search for 8th great granny Sarah Teunis Van Middlesward.

Margaret Williamson McCreary

Marytje Brokaw Van Voorhees

Sunday, April 3, 2016


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

Saturday, April 2, 2016


In the Demarest yDNA Project, Haplogroup J1, at there are 2 kits from descendants of David Demarest (b. 1620, Picardy): 351905 & 284329. These were tested out to 111 STR (Short Tandem Repeats) markers, thus a high resolution test. The match between the 2 kits is 108 of 111. One of the kits further tested SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) markers out to BY163094. Currently, this Terminal-SNP is 9 markers “downstream” (later mutating) from P58 (Levant & Arabia). See under P58.

Regarding the legendary descent of our David Demarest (b. 1620) from Baldwin I des Marets (1074-1140): Was there a Levantine Non-Paternity Event down the Demarest line during the Crusades?  David’s Haplogroup J1 findings are Levantine, not European.



Going back to the Demarest yDNA Project, we see that the same Demarest Terminal-SNP BY163094 also applies to 2 Ellsworth descendants, who are close STR matches with the Demarest guys. The Ellsworth guys also sent their data to the J-Levites yDNA Project at which is meant for Haplogroup J men with an oral tradition of Levite ancestry.

On autosomal DNA: My several Chromosome 9 matches with Demarest Ancestry continue to serve as reference points for this ancestry. E.g., my 7th great-grandfather Jean Demarest (b. 1645; m. Jacquemine DeRuine) was the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) for myself versus the Novak group at Family Tree DNA. 22.38 centiMorgans shared on Chromo 9. A small part of this shared segment is also shared by a Fisher guy, with whom my MRCA is one more generation removed: David Demarest (b. 1620; m. Marie Sohier).

My 6th great-grandmother Leah Jansen Demarest (b. 1682, Hackensack) married Abraham Pieterse Brouwer (yDNA Haplogroup E) on March 29, 1700, Hackensack, Bergen County, New Jersey. Leah’s Grandpa David’s place: I think that Samuel Demarest mentioned here was Leah’s uncle, & an ancestor of more of my atDNA matches.

“The French element was so speedily absorbed by the surrounding Dutch, that not a few of the numerous descendants of the Huguenot pioneers, from whom the farms they occupy have come down in unbroken descent through seven or eight generations, verily believe that they are of pure Holland stock, and the story of their French origin is to them a new revelation”.  From “The Huguenots on the Hackensack”, by David D. Demarest, 1886. This David was a 6th cousin of my Great-grandmother Emma Jane McCreary Muffley. The Demarest land between the Hackensack & Hudson rivers was purchased from Mendawasey, Sachem of the Tappan Indians, 1677.

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.