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Jan had a farm in Midwout, later Flatbush, New York. The earliest real estate transaction found involving Jan is mentioned in a deed dated 4 May 1677 between Jan and Paulus Dircksen concerning land that "came" to Jan on 6 August 1668.1 Jan is on the confirmatory deed issued by Gov. Andros to the landowners (Jan was a non-resident) of New Lots in Flatbush on 27 March 1677 and its subdivision on 2 April 1680, as well as the confirmatory deed of Gov. Thomas Dongan to the landowners in the town of Flatbush dated 12 November 1685.2 He purchased numerous lots of land thereafter up to at least 1702 in Flatbush, Jamaica, Hempstead and Gravesend, including one from his brother Reyndert on 19 February 1699/1700.3 With three others, Jan bought a 75-acre tenant farm for 116 lbs., located on the Jamaica/Hempstead town border and described as a "messuage house and land" with "housing gardens."4
     Jan appears on the Midwout rate or tax lists of 1675 and 1683.5 The taxes on his property were among the highest in the town. He had 4 oxen, 4 horses, 13 cows and about 60 acres of land in 1675, and 3 horses, 22 cows, 9 "yearlings" and about 120 acres in 1683. He is in the 1698 census, having in his household 1 man, 1 woman, 1 child (presumably Laurens, then aged 18) and 4 slaves. The tax list of 1709 says he had 128 acres, 11 farm animals ("bests"), and 2 slaves.6 Jan took the Oath of Allegiance to the King in September 1687, listed as "Jan van Ditmaertz," and a native.7 He was probably the Jan Jansen who served as overseer of Midwout in 1682-3.8 He was constable for the town in 1687-8.9 In 1690, Johannes Van Eckelen was brought to court for locking himself in the Flatbush schoolhouse in protest against the provincial authorities in suppressing what is known as "Leisler's Rebellion." Jan, as constable, was expected to forceably removing Johannes from the school to retrieve the key.10 After ignoring a warrant by Justice Hegeman for its return, they were brought before the town justices. For behaving "contemptuously" toward the justices, a 100 lb. bail was posted for each to ensure their "good behavior" until the next court session. On 19 May 1692, they appeared again in court and Jan was released, "cleared by proclamation."
     Jan's wife Ariantje had previously married Claes Gerritsz and came to New Amsterdam with their son Gerrit on the ship d'Eendracht in 1664.11 Claes died soon after, and in order to protect the interests of their 5 year-old son, a guardian was appointed when Ariantje and Jan announced their intention to marry. In the guardianship document dated 29 August 1665, her name is given as "Adryaenyen Lollenckx," which is the only inclusion of her patronym found in New Netherlands records. This entry was badly garbled by who ever wrote it. It has been posited that she and Claes were from Friesland, where names were only somewhat similar if at all to those elsewhere in the Netherlands.12 The closest Friesian patronymic to "Lollenckx" is Lollesz, the male name Lolle being common in that region. Friesian names in New Netherlands were often changed to a Dutch equivalent. The appearance of Laurens amongst the names of Jan and Ariantje's children suggests that he was named for Ariantje's father. Jan and Ariantje sponsored the baptism of her grandson "Klaes Gerrits," son of Gerrit Claesz and Marritje Ariansz on 4 May 1695.13
     At least four of Jan and Ariantje's children apparently died young. Jan paid for shrouds in 1686, 1688 and 1691, and a grave for a son was purchased in 1679.14 A list of their children can be pieced together using fragments of evidence. There is evidence that Douwe was their eldest and Laurens their youngest surviving sons. Jan and Ariantje were probably married in October of 1665, and Douwe was married probably in October of 1688.15 Since there is no reason to believe Jan and Ariantje did not follow the Dutch custom of naming their earliest children after their grandparents, there must have been sons born before Douwe named Jan and Lolle/Laurens. If there was a Jan born in 1666 and a Laurens in 1667, Douwe could have been born in 1668. It was unusual for men to marry before 20 years old, and this birth date would allow Douwe to have married at about 20 in 1688.
     On 27 April 1719, less than a year after Jan(2) died, Douwe Ditmars of Jamaica sold to Johannes Ditmars the Flatbush farm of Johannes' grandfather Jan.16 Process of elimination makes Douwe of Jamaica Douwe(3), son of Jan(2), and Johannes(4) was Douwe's son. In his book on the early settlers of Kings County, Teunis Bergen states Jan(2) was the father of Johannes(4), a notion restated in later Ditmars genealogies. No will or probate record for Jan(2) has been found, but it is reasonable to assume that his oldest son would have been given his father's homestead property. Douwe, in turn, gave it to his oldest son. This indicates why Johannes was the only son of Douwe who lived in Flatbush, the others staying in their hometown of Jamaica.
     Jan describes Laurens as his youngest son in a deed of January 1700 involving land in Gravesend.17 In Jan's deed to Laurens he also states "I neither desire that my son aforenamed after my death shall be blamed herefore by his brothers and sisters for this gift." Unless this is an error in translation, there was at least another son and daughter (aside from their known daughter Jannetje) born to Jan and Ariantje who were living as late as 1700-1 whose identities are unknown. The surviving son named Laurens was born in 1679-80, and he probably was the last child of this couple, as Ariantje would have been at least 40 years old. He would have been named for the son for whom a grave was purchased in 1679.
     There is a record in Flatbush of Jacob Suydam paying for the grave of Ariantje Ditmars on 2 May 1724.18 This was most likely for Jan's widow, but Jacob Suydam's involvement is a mystery. He would have been Jacob Hendricksz of Flatbush, whose wife of record was Sytje Jacobsz. He and Ariantje may have married after Jan's death in 1718, although she would have been about 25 years older Jacob. Jacob does not mention a wife in his will, written in 1738.

children of Jan Jansz van Ditmarsen and Ariantje:

i. Jan?, b. ca. 1666
ii. Laurens?, b. ca. 1667, d. early 1679-80?
iii. Douwe
iv. Jannetje, b. ca. 1670-8
?child b. ca. 1670-8, d. 1686, 88 or 91?
?child b. ca. 1670-8, d. 1686, 88 or 91?
?child b. ca. 1670-8, d. 1686, 88 or 91?
?Laurens (or ii. Laurens), the son who d. early 1679
v. Laurens, bap. 25 April 1680, Flatbush RDC

vital records sources:


all text and photographs © 1998-2021 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted