Sunday, January 16, 2011

Moving right along...

It has been a bit of a busy week, but so far I am keeping with my resolution pace of at least four hours a week on the family history. I am still "detailing" the chapter on Pieter Stoutenburgh and Aefje van Tienhoven. By today's standards, they were quite the bunny rabbits (figuratively speaking) with at least nine children baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church. It appears, however, that the majority of their children did not survive childhood - perhaps that was one reason why Pieter worked for the OrphanMasters and even took in an orphan or two now and then.
  • Enjeltje [Angelica] was baptized 20th August 1651. Rachel van Tienhoven, Aeltje's sister-in-law, is listed as the baptismal sponsor. Unfortunately, Enjeltie lived only a year, dying before sometime before 1652. 
  • Economizing on names (as did many), the next child who was baptized also was named Enjeltie [Angelica], baptized 5th January 1652/53 (no sponsors listed).
  • Pieter was baptized 13th December, 1654 and again only survived a short time, dying in 1655 (see reference below - the RDC records only list an un-named child being baptized on this date. His name may have been inferred by later family historians from birth order as a first born son being named for his father. But I have found no "official" name or sex for this child as yet, just the baptism record without a name)
  • Jannetje [Jane] was baptized 30th August 1656. Her baptismal sponsor was listed as Rachel Vinge  (Jan Vinge was a frequent partner of Pieter in protecting the assets of orphans).
  • Wyntje [Lavinia] was baptized 8th May 1658. Her witnesses were Fredrick Lubbertszen, Tryntje Hendricks & Belitje Cornelis. Living to only four years, Wyntje died in 1662.
  • Tobias was baptized 18th January 1660. His batpismal sponsors was Judith [Bayard] Stuyvesant, wife of the Director General of New Netherland.
  • Another Wyntje [Lavinia] was baptized 15th October 1662 (no sponsors listed).
  • Lucas was baptized 10th January 1666. His baptismal sponsors were Jan Vinge & Sara Roelofs.
  • Yzaak (Isaac) was baptized 20th August 1668, with baptismal sponsors listed as Jacob Kip & Tryntje Roelofs. [i]
You will note that for the most "non-obvious" I have provided English name equivalents in brackets. As you might expect, there are a number of websites that provide these English equivalents. One of the most comprehensive can be found on RootsWeb [link last checked January 2011]. Why is this important? Aside from idle curiosity, being adept at switching between Dutch and English versions of the same name (or being able to look up) can help you break through a brick wall.

Although I am sure they didn't do it just to irritate me, my Dutch ancestors "morphed" their names with regularity, in part because there were no commonly accepted spellings. Yet if you want to track someone over time, you really need to recognize how really labile their names were. Of course, when the English took over, names tended to become Anglicized (hence the importance of the translations). But there also are some Dutch names that (I think) bear no resemblance to their English equivalents. I mean, come on now, how do you logically get from Cornelis to Kees, from Jaapje to Jane, or from Valentyn to Felte?

In addition, "officials" recorded names with their own preferred spellings. Can you imagine the permutations that would take place with an English official trying to phonetically sound out the name of an illiterate Dutch settler? No wonder it is hard to find Aunt Jacomyntje and Uncle Gijs! To make matters worse, the settlers themselves didn't spell their own names consistently. Although it probably was not really done to irritate me, it does seem that they changed their names on a whim, with people in the same family even using different last names...

The settlers themselves - as well as officials – sometimes used patronymics (based on their father's first name), matronymics (based on mother's name – used by some Native American tribes in the area), place names (where born or from), occupational names (de Bakker/the Baker), or any number of other name choices (for example, think of Edward I of England. He was very tall and hence called as Edward Longshanks).

Of course, each of these different conventions served a useful purpose. As populations grew, old Tomas wasn't the only Tomas in the area, so there had to be some type of differentiation. One can imagine that one Tomas became Tomas de Bakker (the baker) when another became Tomas de Metselaer [the mason]. But what if there were three bakers named Tomas? A different way of differentiating obviously could be used... and these folks were very creative. So, for example, Teunis Teunisen de Metselaer could be found under Teunis Teunisen (Anthony, son of Anthony), Teunis de Metselaer (Anthony the mason or bricklayer), and Teunis Teunisen de Metselaer (Anthony the mason who is the son of Anthony). All of which makes it difficult to find those ancestors hiding in the pages of what official records still exist. However, if you know your Dutch occupations, then there is a benefit to offset the frustration  - last names are revealing at the time (rather than primarily "inherited" as they are today)

Add to the mix that to the unfamiliar eye, the nicknames used (e.g. Margaret/Peggy; Robert/Bob), when in Dutch, become non obvious to our non-Dutch eyes (Jaap/Jacob, Johanna/Jopie, Mannes/Harmannes; Magdaleen/Leentje). No wonder I get confused... In sum, depending on the day, the event, or even different contexts on the same day, you will find historical records reflecting the same person's name spelled in a variety of ways. This makes things a wee bit hard when trying to piece things together over a 300+ year timespan.

On to today's recipe: OK, I have to admit it is a bit hard to think of eating Bambie, let alone Thumper! Yet, since I claimed above that Pieter and Aeltje were rabbit-ish, it does seem that the most likely suspect for an ingredient in the recipe would be rabbit(s). So instead of rabbit, and because part of today's post includes phonetics (at least tangential), I will leave you with my favorite recipe for Welsh Rarebit instead...

"No Thumper - really!" Welsh Rarebit Recipe (serves 4 luncheon meals)
       1 tablespoon butter

       2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped

       ½ cup dry white wine
       ½ cup whipping cream

       1½ - 2 teaspoons of truffle oil (optional but enhances taste)
       a good sized pinch of nutmeg
       1 tablespoon cornstarch

       2 ½ cups shredded black truffle cheese (can substitute white cheddar)
       A nice sourdough bread - four slices OR 4 English muffins
       1 or 2 vine ripened tomatoes, thickly sliced (4 slices for bread, 8 for muffins)

Preheat broiler & slice bread thickly. Trickle some extra truffle oil (or mild olive oil) lightly over one side. Put on foil lined baking sheet.

Drizzle tomato slices with truffle oil (or mild olive oil) & put on foil lined sheet with a "foil crumple wall" between tomatoes & bread so juices don't make bread soggy.

Broil in pre-heated broiler (but watch them both - depending on slice thickness, they could be done at different times). When first side of bread is lightly toasted, turn over for half the time. (Alternatively you can toast bread on hot grill or grill pan to get grill marks...). Remove tomatoes when done & sprinkle with some sea salt & fresh cracked pepper. Keep warm. Turn bread over and toast the other side for half the time. Set aside but keep warm.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Cook shallots shallots in the butter until soft. Add wine cook and stir until the sauce is reduced by half. Add whipping cream and simmer for 5 minutes, but be careful not to let it boil (or cream will curdle). Reduce heat to low and add nutmeg and truffle oil.

Mix shredded cheese with cornstarch in a baggie and shake to make sure cornstarch coats the cheese evenly. Add a bit at a time to the warm sauce, stirring constantly in a zig zag pattern until all of the cheese is melted. Again, do not let it boil or you will have a mess on your hands.

To serve, layer with toast on bottom & a little rarebit on top, then broiled tomato, then more rarebit. Garnish with "shaved" truffle cheese curls, parsley, or very finely chopped toasted pecans. Be sure to serve warm with a nice buttery chardonnay.


i Taken predominantly from records of the Reformed Dutch Church (New Amsterdam), and A history of Ontario County, New York and its people, by Charles F. Milliken, Volume 2, page 234. Death dates of children who did not survive childhood inferred from birth records of siblings with the same name, with the exception of Pieter, whose death date is provided in a number of undocumented family and other histories. Pieter does not appear in any further records, so it may be a plausible assumption.

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