Saturday, January 11, 2014

Surname Saturday: VREELAND

The roots of the name VREELAND are somewhat clouded. Our famed immigrant ancestor, Michiel Jansen VREELAND, may have, at one point, lived in Vreeland, Utrecht, the Netherlands, but  no evidence so far has been found, other than deeply entrenched oral history. He first appears as Michiel Janez van Scrabberkercke, a colloqialism of 's Heer Abtskerke on the island of South Beveland, Zeeland, the Netherlands. He very probably lived--and may well have been born--here. He is later referred to in New Amsterdam church records as Michiel Jansen van den Berg, referring to the hill farm at Rensselaerswyck Colony (a tract of land surrounding current Albany, New York), where he first settled before removing to New Amsterdam (now New York City) in 1646.

Stories and History:

Ahnentafel #9474 - Jans (dates unknown) - father of immigrant ancestor, Michiel, patriarch of the VREELAND family in America

Ahnentafel #4736 - Michiel Jansen VREELAND (c. 1610 - 1663) - born in the Netherlands, he married FitjeHartmans (also known as Fitje Wessels; alternative spellings include Fitie, Fytje, Sofitje, and Sophia) (c. 1611 - 1697). In May 1638, Michiel and Fitje boarded Het Wapen van Noorwegan (the Arms of Norway) and sailed from Texel, the Netherlands, arriving about August 4 in New Netherlands (now the area of New York State and New Jersey). As a farmer, Michiel brought two farm laborers with him. The family joined a small group in the Rensselaerswyck Colony, where Michiel was head farmer for the Patroon, Killiaen Van Rensselaer, from 1640 to 1646, until his move to New Amsterdam. In 1647, the Director General of New Netherlands, Pieter Stuyvesant, and his Council chose Michiel and eight other men to give advice and assist in promoting the welfare of the colony. Michiel started raising horses in 1648. A rumor persists that he sold contraband munitions to the Indians (forbidden by Stuyvesant), and also was fined for selling beaver skins without paying duty (taxes). He made a fortune in the trapping grade.

In 1654, Michiel moved to Pavonia, the area of New Netherlands that is now New Jersey and corresponds with the current Bayonne-Jersey City area. The following year, on September 15th, the Native Americans raided the settlers. Michiel, Fitje, and their six children were the only family to escape completely unharmed, which may lead credence to the rumor that he sold munitions to the natives. However, he did lose his house and all his possessions. They returned to Manhattan and there on October 23, 1656, Michiel opened an inn tap room (tavern) on the north side of Pearl Street, just south of Broad Street. He became prosperous and bought more property in New Amsterdam, but later tired of city life. In January 1658, he returned to Pavonia and raised a large number of cattle, continuing to become wealthy.

He was named one of the first magistrates of the first court of justice within the present state of New Jersey. He and Fitje had nine children, all born in New Netherlands. He died in 1663, shortly before the English took over in June, renaming the area "New York." Fitje continued to manage the considerable estate that was left to her, and in her selling and trading was considered an excellent business woman until her death in 1697, whereupon she left all her lands to her seven surviving children.

Ahnentafel #2368 - Hartman Michielsen VREELAND (1651 - 1707) - born in New Netherlands; married Maritje (Mary) BRAECKE (1652 - c. 1724) in 1672. They had 12 children, 10 of whom survived childhood.

Ahnentafel #1184 - Claes Hartmansen VREELAND (1675 - 1757) - married Annetje Harmanse (1674 - 1698) in 1697. She was my ancestor. After her death, he married Elsje Pieters HESSELSE (b. 1675) about 1699, and had eight children.

Ahnentafel #592 - Hartman Klaes VREELAND (1698 - 1760) - the only child of his father and his first wife; married Jannetje Jacobus (b. 1710) in 1733. They had nine children.

Ahnentafel #296 - Johannes "John" Hartmans VREELAND (1733 - 1803) - married Judith "Judy" [--?--] (dates unknown). They had three known children. He died in Pequannock Twp., Morris Co., New Jersey.

Ahnentafel #148 - Hartman VREELAND (c. 1767 - 1826) - married Elizabeth VAN DUYNE (1770 - 1862). They had six children.

Ahnentafel #74 - John P. VREELAND (1799 - 1870) - married Mary KANOUSE (1804 - aft. 1870) on 31 May 1827 in Montville, Bergen Co., New Jersey. They had eight children. John was the first Vreeland of my line to move out of New Jersey and head west. He and Mary did so about 1841, with the oldest six of their children. They settled in York Twp., Washtenaw Co., Michigan, where he was a farmer.

Ahnentafel #37 - Elenor "Nellie" L. VREELAND (1835 - 1912) - born in New Jersey, she moved with her parents as a child to Washtenaw County, where she met and married John Wallace LEWIS, Sr. (1839 - 1908) in 1867. He was a widow with two young children, and a Civil War veteran. They had seven more children, five of whom lived to adulthood. Nellie died at the home of her daughter and son-in-law in Pontiac, Oakland Co., Michigan.

Ahnentafel #18 - George Emmett LEWIS (1868 - 1964) - read his AnceStory here

Ahnentafel  #9 - Marie LEWIS (1902 - 1986) - my great-grandmother; read her AnceStory here

Ahnentafel #4 - Robert Lewis ROBBINS (1920 - 2003) - my paternal grandfather; read his AnceStory

 Ahnentafel #2 - my father (living)

Ahnentafel #1 - myself

More About the VREELAND Family:

1. Online database (I update this at least once a month): VREELAND ancestors and relatives (no info on living persons available)

2. Posts about VREELAND ancestors and relatives on this blog

3. Some scanned VREELAND photos

4. Some scanned VREELAND documents

5. The Vreeland Project, a surname genealogy website and database

My VREELAND Immigration Trail:

The Netherlands > New Netherlands (New York and New Jersey) > Washtenaw Co., MI >Clinton Co., MI > Muskegon Co., MI > Manistee Co., MI > Muskegon Co., MI > Ottawa Co., MI > AK > Stevens Co., WA > Spokane Co., WA

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