Saturday, January 8, 2011

Relaxed - kind of...

Well, in the brief hiatus I spent some time in a log cabin with no TV. Yes, boys and girls, you heard me right - there was no television set. Much like our ancestors, we had to make due with a variety of parlor games. So I got to thinking, what type of parlor games did the settlers of New Amsterdam play, assuming they had the time? So I did what any red blooded 21st century person would do - I googled it! What I found really interesting is that the game of Double Dutch - which is now a competitive varsity sport in New York's public schools - (you know the one - two jump ropes) was probably played by the people who lived in New Amsterdam at the time of the Castello Map.  If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself by clicking Double Dutch

So, meanwhile, how am I doing with my resolution? I have definitely put in my four hours worth... And to keep myself motivated, I am obviously going to use this blog. I think what I will do is post once a week, probably on the weekends. Each post will include some genealogy (of course) and a few tidbits, as well as a recipe (since in addition to genealogy, I am an amateur gourmet cook, if that makes any sense). Sometimes I will tie the recipe into the genealogical tidbit and sometimes not...  

Over the last week, I accomplished two "big things" for the family history. The first is I found this
really cool software that makes timelines, so I can superimpose an historical timeline (what was going on in the New Netherland area - uprisings, the "white whale" on the Hudson River near Beverwyck, whatever) against the events in each family's life. The software is called TimeLine3D and it was created by BeeDocs. It is really easy to use, has an educational discount (handy) and fairly flexible. The BeeDocs website obviously sells the software, but includes lots of ideas and some specifics on making the most of the program. Warning: I am a died in the wool Mac user, so Windows users - well, I don't know if they have it for Windows, if not eat your hearts out (did you know Macs - with help from programs like Parallels - can run windows programs but not vice versa?) TimeLine also might be useful for other things as well, and I have spent quite a bit of time "capturing" the historical events of the area.

The second thing I accomplished was to continue to polish my 
chapter on Pieter Stoutenburgh and Aefje van Tienhoven. Pieter worked for the Orphanmasters Court by becoming trustee of the assets of the children (he was trustee for the

orphans of Cleyn Claesi (aka Claes Martenszn/Claes Martenszen van Rosevelt) and Jannetje Tomas - the progenitors of the Roosevelts (and by the way, if you are related to Stoutenburgh, you also are related to the Roosevelts). One assumes he did a good job, given the wealth of that particular family.. i

Now, back to the Orphanmasters. The Orphanmasters Court played a key role in New Amsterdam, and contains a wealth of genealogical information. And it is even available online to peruse (I'm not a techie so can't figure out why a link doesn't work on this one, but google "Orphanmasters New Amsterdam" and you will find a searchable Google Book that is the minutes of the court proceedings). According to one of those dry, academic papers (I have produced a few myself):

The Orphan Chamber of New Amsterdam was established in 1656 to guard the welfare and the estates of children who lost parents. The institution was well known in the cities of the Netherlands. Transplanted and adapted to New World conditions, it helped make life more familiar, continuous and civil for the Dutch settlers who staked their well-being, and that of their children, on the fortunes of the West India Company’s venture on the Hudson River. It also rendered the colony more distinctively Dutch despite its multinational population. ... The need for the Orphan Chamber was manifest, and the institution’s functions extended beyond the economic care of orphans. The chamber was deeply involved in familial and philanthropic concerns; simultaneously, it played a role in the politics and commerce of New Amsterdam. In a place that had no banks or stock exchanges, the chamber provided capital for the city government, the Reformed Church and individual inhabitants who petitioned it. Serving these multiple purposes, the chamber became a locus of influence in the public affairs of the city and the colony as well as the private lives of the people.” ii

Even when only one parent died and the other remarried, the Orphanmasters still had a say in how the children would be protected, and Pieter Stoutenburgh frequently was involved. Obviously kind hearted, Pieter even was known to take an orphan if he thought the child was being abused, such as Willem, the child of Samuel Tomassen (deceased). One can imagine that Aefje might have cooked up some pompoen en havermout pannekoeken (pumpkin pancakes - flavors "borrowed" from her new found Native American neighbors) for the poor boy to help him feel at home.

Pompoen en havermout pannekoeken or Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes: 
1 cup flour 
1 cup yellow cornmeal 
1 cup confectioners sugar + extra for topping 
½ teaspoon dried ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon 
2 eggs, lightly beaten 
1 cup mashed pumpkin (or canned) 
3 cups milk & butter for frying 

Combine flour, cornmeal, 1 cup of the conf. sugar and the spices. Combine eggs & pumpkin & beat into flour mix. Add milk slowly to make a smooth batter. Heat 8" frying or crepe pan and pour about ½ cup of batter in, swirling to make a thin pancake. 

Cook on both sides til nicely browned. Serve hot, dusted with extra sugar (maple sugar goes especially well). Makes ten 8" pancakes. [The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and the New World, recipes translated by Peter G. Rose]

Think that is all for today - talk to you next week.

i  Minutes of the Orphanmasters of New Amsterdam, 1655 – 1663, Volume I, by Berthol Fernow (1902), page 171, 202, 212.
ii  Zweiten, A. The Orphan Chamber of New York, in William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Series, Vol. LIII, no. 2, April 1996, pp 319-321]


  1. That Double Dutch thing was kind of interesting. Thanks for sharing that. Now I think I'll have myself a mug of Double dutch hot chocolate :-)
    Theresa (tangled trees)

  2. OOH yes, better than jumping a rope - I can go for the Chocolate. Glad you enjoyed it (I very vaguely remember playing Double Dutch as a child, and recall I was really rotten at it!)