Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Favorite Ancestors: Arent Jansen van Naarden or Heerde? [Prall]

Early Prall records are inconsistent at best. We know from his will that he was a wheelwright. His marriage took place in Kingston in 1670. The baptisms of most of his children are recorded in the Dutch Church records.

The biggest problem in researching the family is the Dutch patronymic naming system. Arent Jansen was the son of Jan [Jan's son = Jansen]. Also the individual's town of origin or residence prior to immigration was given. [van Amsterdam = from Amsterdam]

Arent Jansen Prall appeared in records as Arent Rademaker, Arent Jansen, Arent Jansen Prast, Arent and Jansen Ramaker. Not until 1676 was the Prall surname associated with Arent Jansen, at the baptism of daughter Francyna.

There were others of the same name in the Kingston records during the time Arent was there. Sorting them out was some guess work. Arent's birth was estimated at 1645/6, so only dates post 1666/7 [21 years of age] were probably referencing my Arent.

There were others in the NY records with the Prall [Pral, Praul, Praal, Prael] surname. Marritje, Magdelena and Wolfert were believed to have been Arent's siblings.

Then there's Arent's "hometown." His marriage shows him as "van Naarden. " Marritje's hometown was given as "van Heerde," as was the hometown of others believed to be Arent's siblings.

Larry van der Laan, a Dutch born researcher working on the survivors of the 1655 Staten Island Massacre, offered the idea that the clerk copying Arent's name for the marriage spoke a different dialect and misunderstood "van Heerden," writing "van Naerden" instead.

Larry believes that Arent's family arrived on Staten Island about 1650 and was one of those surviving families. He was the son of Jan Arentsen van Heerde and Baetje Jans van Heerde and was one of eight children. Further research tended to support Larry's research and theories. In fact very early research tended to support the concept.

Quite an adventure!

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