From Wemeldinge, Netherlands to New Amsterdam in the New World
A Journey to Bedminstertown & Pluckemin
There have been numerous spellings to the Vanderveer name once they landed in New Amsterdam back in the mid 1600's. Van Derveer, V. D. Veer, Van Der Veer, Vander Veer, Vandiver, and our favorite ...Vanderveer. For various reasons, whether by mistake or not, the Vanderveer name originates from the term “of the ferry” or “of the village of Veere”. The common spelling of the time was Van Der Veer. While the family name goes back nearly a thousand years, our journey starts back to 1659 when Cornelius VanDerVeer landed in America.
Cornelius Jans VanDerVeer, also known as Cornelius Janszen Dominicus Vanderveer had come
to New York from Wemeldinge, Zeeland near Veere in southern Holland (Netherlands) back in 1659. Cornelius was referred to as the "New Netherlands' immigrant," or New Amsterdam immigrant, who settled in Flatbush, Kings County, Long Island landing on February 17, 1659 according to manifests from the city known as Veere in Holland. Cornelius was one of the original founding families of Flatbush and understood to be the founder of the "Long Island Vanderveers". Steve Vandiver, a descendent and Vanderveer researcher noted: "Cornelius Jans Vanderveer's surname was originally Dominicus and not Vanderveer. He adopted Vanderveer when he left the Netherlands for New Netherlands to avoid indebtedness issues".
Left: The third standing Dutch Reformed Church in Flatbush Brooklyn, very near to where Cornelius VanDerVeer settled and where his grandson Jacobus Vanderveer was baptized. The church stands today.
Jacobus, pronounced "Jake-o- bus", was born on October 29, 1686 in Flatbush, Kings County, Long Island (now Flatbush, Brooklyn ). He was the ninth of ten children of Cornelius and Tryntje (De Manderville). Father to Jacobus and Grandfather to Jacobus, it was Jacobus who became the Vanderveer
to travel west and eventually settle in the Pluckemin (Bedminster) area.
45 miles west of Flatbush
The Vanderveer legacy to the Pluckemin area began when Jacobus Vanderveer made major purchases along the east and west side of the North Branch of the Raritan River in 1743. At that time he purchased 439 acres on the east side from Lewis Johnston and his wife Mary. At approximately the same time he purchased a large tract of land on the west side of the Raritan River from Major Daniel Axtell. Jacobus built a house on the east lot around 1745. By the 1760s he had built a grist and saw mill along the river as well.
While Pluckemin was predominately Scot, the Dutch farmers settled throughout the Raritan valley. You see, Pluckemin in the seventeen fifties, was a hamlet of about a half dozen houses, with a store or two and Jacob Eoff's famous tavern. Jacob's brother Dominicus went further west and settled west of the Raritan Valley
Historic City of Veere, Holland
Vanderveers leave for New World Click to Enlarge
Historic City of Veere, Holland
Vanderveers leave for New World Click to Enlarge
Jacobus (James) Vanderveer - First Generation Born in Bedminster
As Jacobus, son of Cornelius, moved out of Long Island and settled into the Raritan Valley area, Jacobus. and his wife Catherine Unk had three children; Jacob, William and Hendrick. Jacob, son of Jacobus , was born on March 6, 1704 also settled in Pluckemin, married, and had six children of his own. So as it stands, it was James Jacobus, son of Jacob and Cahterine, who became the first generation Vanderveer born in the area.
Left: Arms of the Van Der Veer and Van Scaghen families from a painting by Mr. De Boer
As a primary landowner in an era when land was equated with wealth and power, Jacobus became a community leader. As early as 1739, he was noted as the Justice of the Peace. He was Justice of the Quorum in 1749, 1752, and 1768; as Judge of Oyer and Terminer, 1766-1768; 1770-1771, and 1774; and as a Judge of Common Please in 1768.
Jacob Janzen Vanderveer died on November 17, 1776 at the age of 72 and was buried at what is now the Bedminster (Dutch) Reformed Church Cemetery, once the northern end of the Vanderveer property.
(Click tombstone to view details)
Note: It was on April 4, 1749 that Bedminster was granted its official charter patent name from a similar name in Somersetshire in England.
from their civic and religious contributions, Vanderveer family
members were staunch supporters of the American struggle for
independence and the Continental Army. Elias Vanderveer, "an active and spirited Whig," was
taken prisoner during a British cavalry raid on Pluckemin
in 1776. Lawrence Vanderveer (brother of Elias, James (Jacobus), John, Femmetje, & Joseph), and son of Jacobus Jr. served as a surgeon during the
war and was also taken prisoner by the British. Brother Jacobus Vanderveer is known to have also helped supply the army.
The Van Der Veer families would stay in the Pluckemin/Bedminster area for generations and will long be remembered as one of the original lasting names to the legacy of the area.
What's in a Name?
Throughout history in America, while families struggled between speaking Dutch and English, names were frequently altered for various reasons. In the early 1800's when the First Dutch Reformed Church in Bedminster formally recognized English as the primary sermon language, you start to see many of the names in wills and documents change from a more Dutch/Latin base, to a more Anglicized naming structure.
With all the genealogy mishaps, it is true that Jacobus is latin for the name "James". You'll see alterations, modifications, and pure mis spellings at times as well. Many times, as people settled into the new world, they began to alter their names to a more anglican pronunciation. Thus, Jacobus became Jacob or James, Maria became Mary, Lowrens became Larry, Hendrick became Henry, Femmentje became Phebe, Johan became John and you get the idea.
The same held true for the surname as well. Van Der Veer became Vanderveer, Vandiver, and Vander Veer. It certainly makes for tough research.
While the Friends of JVH does not have an official historian, we've have reached out to a number of Vanderveer, Van Derveer, and Vandiver family members that have been providing details on the history of the Vanderveer Family. (See below)
The family coat-of-arms or Het Familiewapen is of unknown origin and is supposedly registered with the Heraldry office in Dordrecht, Holland, I have not not been able to confirm this however. My understanding of coat-of-arms in The Netherlands was many times nothing more that a family seal for the purposes of family business identification and may not have been registered as heraldry as such. I have also heard that this coat-of-arms may have been derived from the seal of the Van Scaghen family, a family related to the Van Borsellen family.
The coat-of-arms is described as:
The arms art: Argen (silver or white)
Three fir trees ( natural color, green)
In the middle chief ( a terfoil, three leaf clover with stem, red)
Crest on the cap of dignity (red turned up ermine)
A wolf's head of gold torn off (erased)
Interpretation of Het Familiewapen
Terfoil denotes some action in the defense of the Trinity had been performed by him to whom the Arms were first granted.
The cap of dignity in crest denotes the family to have been of noble origin.
The wolfs head in heraldry denotes courage and determination.
The Latin inscription "Aut Inveniam Aut Faciam"
English translation "What we undertake we do".
Dutch translation "Wat we ondernemen doen we"
Download a digital timeline of the Vanderveers and the Vanderveer house. Click Here
See also the Pluckemin story of two Vanderveer homesteads - Click Here
Vanderveers Ultimately Lose Vanderveer Houses
Dr. Henry Vanderveer's Will contested - New York Times - June 6, 1868 - Click Here
* by Louis P. De DeBoer,
published in 1913 by Charles A. Ditmas , Brooklyn Eagle Press
** Maps of early Brooklyn and Flatbush - Click Here - It was noted Cornelius owned 221 acres lying partly in the 26th and 32nd wards of Brooklyn.
*** The building of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church as it stands today is not the first church on that spot. It is the successor to a church that was built in 1702 and which in turn is successor to one that was built in 1654 by special order of Gov. Peter Stuyvesant. Built between 1793 and 1798, the Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1979. It is the third church built on the site, which has been in continuous use for religious purposes for longer than any other location in New York City. Brooklyn was actually named after the Dutch town of Breukelen. There is actually a Vanderveer Place less than 1/2 mile south of the church.
**** Jacobus Vanderveer Sr. was baptized Oct 29, 1686 in Flatbush, Long Island, New York.
1913 - Louis P. De DeBoer book entitled "The Van Der Veer Family in the Netherlands" Click Here
Genealogy Timelines - Cornelius Vanderveer - Click Here
Genealogy Timelines - Jacobus Vanderveer (son of Cornelius) - Click Here
Submitted: May 2009 - Brooks Betz & Steve Vandiver
Updated: March 08, 2010 - Brooks Betz
As the museum evolves and digital archives become available, additional information does come forward as research inquiries dig deeper and spread to more people. The Friends of JVH always welcome input and feedback regarding any of the information posted to this website.
About the Vanderveer/Knox House & Museum
& the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment
For over two centuries, the Jacobus Vanderveer House has been at the center of Bedminster Township’s rich and colorful history. The house is the last surviving building in Bedminster associated with the Vanderveer's, a family prominent in Bedminster Township history from its earliest settlement through the mid 19th century.
The Vanderveer house served as headquarters for General Henry Knox during the winter of 1778-79, when the Continental Army artillery was located in the village of Pluckemin during the Revolutionary War's Second Middlebrook Encampment. The house is the only known building still standing that was associated with the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment. The artillery park and military academy is considered to be the first installation in America to train officers in engineering and artillery and predates the United States Military Academy at West Point (est.1802) by twenty four years.
The Vanderveer family house was later enlarged with two additions in the nineteenth century, remodeled in the twentieth century, and subsequently abandoned. The Township of Bedminster purchased the home and the surrounding area as part of River Road Park in 1989. The home has been restored by The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, a non-profit group of inspired volunteers dedicated to use the home as a museum and educational center.
The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House
P.O. Box 723, Bedminster, New Jersey 07921-0723
908 - 212 - 7000 ext. 611