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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Classic Photo: Neighborhood Gathering, c1908

From top: Helene Andersen Riis, Thor Riis, Hans C. Riis, Alfred Riis.

From top: Helene Andersen Riis, Thor Riis, Hans C. Riis, Alfred Riis.

The circumstances of this photo are unknown, but it appears to be summer (clothing, baseball bats) and, except for Hans C. Riis and his wife and children, I can identify no other relatives. My guess is that it’s a gathering of Queens neighbors for some special occasion (Fourth of July, perhaps?) in about 1908, judging by the ages of Thor (born 1904) and Alfred (born 1902).

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Classic Photos

 

Classic Photo: Family Gathering, 1929

Although the occasion is lost to time, the Riises and Andersens were gathered together in Queens Village in 1929 when this fantastic photograph was taken.

Pictured (left to right): Hans C. Riis, Helene Andersen Riis, Alva Lundquist Riis, Clifford A. Riis, Hans J. Andersen, Helene E. Riis (holding cat), Robert T. Riis, Warren A. Riis (infant), Ida Adams Riis, [Ane] Marie Andersen Gudmundsson, Ingvar Gudmundsson, Thor C. Riis. Not pictured: Alfred Riis, taking the photograph.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in Classic Photos

 

Connection: HRH Prince George of Cambridge

Are we related to HRH Prince George of Cambridge, the world’s most publicized baby? But of course.

Actually, the Prince’s family and ours have many intertwined ancestral lines, but our most recent connection is through the family of Prince George’s paternal grandmother, HRH Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997), born Diana Spencer.

Lady Diana’s 16th great-grandfather, John Spencer, Esquire (c1418-c1477) of Hodnell, Warwickshire, is also the 16th great-grandfather of Robert, Warren and Elizabeth Riis and Judith Henken. John and his wife, whose surname was Wardell but whose first name is unknown, had four known sons: Henry, Thomas, John and William. Diana and her grandson George are descendants of William; our line descends from John.

The American branch of the Spencer family tree springs from Garrard Spencer, who was born April 25, 1614, in Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England, and came to America in 1630. After living in Cambridge Town, Massachusetts, he moved to Lynn with his brother Michael in 1638 and ran a ferry from Lynn to Saugus. In 1661 Garrard was one of the 28 purchasers of the town of Haddam, Connecticut, where he died on September 3, 1685.

Diana Spencer was 17th cousin to Robert, Warren, Betty and Judy, and 17th cousin once removed to Richard, James, Gary, Lisa, Carl, Jane, Bruce, Cathy, Ron, Stacey, Matt and Sandy.

HRH William, Prince of Wales, is 18th cousin to Richard and his generation, while Prince George is 18th cousin once removed.

 

Captain Joseph Sill (1636-1696)

Joseph Sill is the 9th great-grandfather of Richard, James, Gary, Lisa, Carl, Jane, Bruce, Cathy, Ron, Stacey, Matt and Sandy; and 10th great-grandfather of Asher, Owen, Caitlyn, Becky, Emily, Jack, Jill, Jordan, Mike and Brian.

Joseph Sill's signature from 1685

Joseph Sill’s signature from 1685

Joseph Sill was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England, in 1636. He came to America with his parents, John and Joanna Fillbrook Sill, and sister Judith in 1637. The Sills settled in Cambridge Town,  Massachusetts, where John had established a farm.

Joseph married Jemima  Belcher on December 5, 1660 in Cambridge Town. They had six children. Three of four sons died young; the fourth son, Thomas, survived, as did two daughters, Jemima and Elizabeth.

Joseph Sill devoted a large portion of his life to military service. On the roster of  officers of the first American army as organized for the Narragansett Colony, mustered at Pettaquamscutt, Rhode Island, December 19th, 1665, was the name of Captain Joseph Sill. Joseph served during the bloody King Philip’s War (1675-1678). In February 1676 Joseph and his men  captured 300 Indians. Another time Joseph, with a company of only fifty  troopers, conducted a long train of wagons from Groton, Connecticut, to Boston, successfully fending off attacks along the way.

At the close of King Philip’s war, Joseph petitioned the General Court,  assembled at Boston, for a grant of land in return for his service in the  military. Although he was awarded a tract of land, Joseph was convinced by friends, fearing  retaliation from the Indians, to move  away from the area. Joseph and his children – Jemima having died in 1675 – moved to an area north of Lyme, Connecticut, which came to be known as Silltown. His tract of land in Massachusetts was inherited by his daughter, Jemima.

On February 12, 1677, Joseph married his second wife, Sarah Clark Marvin (1644-1715), widow of Lieutenant Reinhold Marvin, in Lyme, Connecticut. Joseph and Sarah had two sons: Joseph (our ancestor), born January 6, 1678, and  Zechariah, born January 1, 1682.

Sarah Clark is another double ancestor, for we are also descended from a son, John Marvin (c1664), from her first marriage. So, let’s sort this out: Joseph Sill is our 9th great-grandfather, Reinhold Marvin our 10th great-grandfather, and Sarah Clark is both our 9th and 10th great-grandmother. Thank goodness for genealogical computer software to keep all this straight!

Joseph spent the remainder of his life as a  farmer and an elected official. He died August 6, 1696, at the age of 60 and was buried in the Duck River Cemetery in Lyme.

The grave of Captain Joseph Sill, Duck River Cemetery, Old Lyme, CT

The grave of Captain Joseph Sill, Duck River Cemetery, Old Lyme, CT

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2013 in Biographies, Immigrant Stories

 

Our Kanien’keha:ke Heritage

Modern flag of the Mohawk Nation (left) and the flag of the Iroquois League of Five Nations (right)

Modern flag of the Mohawk Nation (left) and the flag of the Iroquois League of Five Nations (right)

Caniachkoo is the 11th great-grandfather of Richard, James, Gary, Lisa, Carl, Jane, Bruce, Cathy, Ron, Stacey, Matt and Sandy; and 12th great-grandfather of Asher, Owen, Caitlyn, Becky, Emily, Jack, Jill, Jordan, Mike and Brian.

Pieter Adriaense Van Woggelum and Lysbet are the 10th great-grandparents of Richard, James, Gary, Lisa, Carl, Jane, Bruce, Cathy, Ron, Stacey, Matt and Sandy; and 11th great-grandparents of Asher, Owen, Caitlyn, Becky, Emily, Jack, Jill, Jordan, Mike and Brian.

Of all the branches in our family tree there is but one that cannot be traced through to an ancestor leaving his or her home in Europe for a new life in the New World, for that branch was already here. That part of our family heritage has its roots in the Kanien’keha:ke tribe of Eastern New York.

Pieter Adriaense Van Woggelum (1613-?) and his brother Jacob left their native Woggelum in Noord-Holland with their widowed mother, Anna, to settle in Beverwijk (now Albany) in the Dutch colony of Nieuw Nederland. Both Pieter and Jacob set up shop as innkeepers.

17th century Mohawk village as recreated at the New York State Museum

17th century Mohawk village as recreated at the New York State Museum

Around 1641 Pieter married the daughter of Caniachkoo, the sachem of the Turtle Clan of the Kanien’keha:ke (Mohawk) tribe, who represented the Kanien’keha:ke in the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) League of Five Nations as well as in the sale of land to a number of Dutch settlers. While the birth name of Caniachkoo’s daughter is unrecorded (some unsubstantiated sources give it as Ack-Toch), upon her marriage to Pieter she assumed the name Lysbet (AKA Lysette).

Pieter and Lysbet had three known children: Tryntje (1642), Jan (our ancestor; 1647) and Pieter.

In 1664 Pieter Sr. had a patent for a bowery or farm and home lot in Schenectady but sold it in 1670 to Helmar Otten for the price of 35 beavers.

Peter is last mentioned in records in June of 1681; there is no reliable record of when he died. Lysbet appears to have died in Schenectady in 1703.

The 1613 treaty between the Haudonosaunne and the Netherlands is still recognized by both governments 400 years later.

The 1613 treaty between the Haudenosaunee and the Netherlands is still recognized by both governments 400 years later.

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2013 in Biographies, Immigrant Stories

 

Connection: President Barack Obama

Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, is the 10th great-grandson of Quaker Edward FitzRandolph, born July 5, 1607, in Sutton-In-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England, and his wife, Elizabeth Blossom, born to expatriate English parents in Leiden, Holland, in 1620.

Edward and Elizabeth were married in Scituate, Massachusetts, in 1637. After 30 years in the Massachusetts Colony, Edward and his family moved to Piscataway, New Jersey. Edward’s and Elizabeth’s son, Nathaniel (1642-1713), settled in Woodbridge, New Jersey, with his wife, Mary Holley (or Holloway; 1638-1703). Of Nathaniel’s and Mary’s four children, one, Samuel (1668-1754), is the 8th great-grandfather of Barack Obama, while another, Edward (c1671-1760), is the 8th great-grandfather of Robert, Warren and Elizabeth Riis and Judith Henken.

President Obama is 10th cousin to Robert, Warren, Betty and Judy; and 10th cousin once removed to Richard, James, Gary, Lisa, Carl, Jane, Bruce, Cathy, Ron, Stacey, Matt and Sandy.

Less closely related, Samuel and Edward’s first cousin, Nathaniel FitzRandolph, was the founder of Princeton University.

 

Pieter Winne (1609-c1690), Flemish Fur Trader

Pieter Winne is the 9th great-grandfather of Richard, James, Gary, Lisa, Carl, Jane, Bruce, Cathy, Ron, Stacey, Matt and Sandy; and 10th great-grandfather of Asher, Owen, Caitlyn, Becky, Emily, Jack, Jill, Jordan, Mike and Brian.

Pieter Winne was born the son of Franciscus Winne (1585-c1672) and Jannetjie (surname unknown) in Ghent, Flanders (now in Belgium), and baptized there in St. Bavo’s Cathedral on April 14, 1609.

Pieter moved to Amsterdam, married Aechie Jans Van Schaick, date unknown, and together they emigrated to the Dutch colony of Curaçao in the West Indies, where their son, Pieter, was born in 1643.

Aechie died in Curaçao in 1647. Pieter Sr. subsequently left the West Indies, arriving at Fort Orange, New Netherlands, in 1652, and becoming a tenant farmer and operator of a sawmill at Rensselaerwyck, near present-day Bethlehem, New York.

Mid-17th century Beverwijk

Mid-17th century Beverwijk

By 1655 Pieter had built a house in Beverwijck (renamed Albany by the British in 1664), become a fur trader, and married Tannetje Adams, a settler from Friesland. Pieter and Tannetje would have 12 children: Adam (our ancestor; 1658), Livinius, Frans, Allette, Killiaen, Tomas (another ancestor, c1664), Lyntje, Martin, Jacobus, Eva, Daniel, and Rachel (by virtue of her marriage to Jellis Fonda the 5th great-grandmother of legendary actor Henry Fonda).

In addition to prospering in the fur trade, Pieter purchased a sawmill in Bethlehem 1673 and another in 1677. In July 1675, he bought one half of Constapel’s Island in the Hudson River below Albany for the price of 69 beaver skins.

From 1672 to 1684 Pieter served as a magistrate for Bethlehem. He was also active in the Albany Dutch church, serving in a number of capacities.

On September 28, 1676, Pieter served on an “extraordinary court” convened by the governor and council of New York to resolve a dispute between the Reverend Nicolaas Van Rensselaer and Dominie Gideon Schaets concerning some allegedly heretical declarations made by Van Rensselaer in a sermon he preached on August 13, 1676. The decision of Pieter and the court was “that Parties, shall both forgive and forget as it become Preachers of the Reformed Religion to do; also that all previous variances, church differences and provocations shall be consumed in the fire of Love; a perpetual silence and forbearance being imposed on each respectively; to live together as Brothers for an example to the worthy Congregation, for edification  to the Reformed Religion, and further for the removal and banishment of all scandals.”

Pieter Winne died in his early 80s, sometime between May 1690 and May 1693. On May 7, 1693, Pieter’s widow Tannetje married Martin Cornelisse Van Buren, great-great grandfather of President Martin Van Buren. Tannetje died before 1697.

Pieter Winne has the distinction of being our double ancestor: Pieter’s granddaughter, Lidia Winne, daughter of his son Adam, married Jacobus Moll (Mull) c1703, while his great-granddaughter, Rebecca Barheit, descendant of Adam’s brother, Thomas, married Jacobus Moll’s son, Johannes,  Rebecca’s second cousin, c1745.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Biographies, Immigrant Stories

 
 
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