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Beginning in 1614, with fur trappers and Indian traders growing in number with farmers and craftsmen, watermen, merchants and she-merchants, throughout most of the remainder of the 17th century to the English takeover near its end and beyond, the Dutch of New Netherlands seeded fifteen or so generations of Americans. Even with the English in charge, the practical Dutch survived and quite well, by marrying their daughters off to the conquerors gaining more land and producing more children.

As a result, Americans who think of themselves in terms of a fixed nationality or ethnic descent are often surprised to find, at some point in their genealogical adventure, that their earliest instance of ancestral presence in America is none other than Dutch.

If you are researching a family that originated with the 17th and 18th century Dutch colonies in America, please do not miss this source:

By Rosalie Fellows Bailey
Published 1936 (Hardcover); 1968 (Paperback)
Full Name Index
ISBN 0-486-21985-2 (Paper)

This is one of the richest regional background sources for genealogical research available. Bailey did a wonderful thing in preserving on paper the house histories of the areas mentioned in the title. Too many of these houses are forever gone. Just as wonderfully, she researched and wrote family histories of the people who owned and occupied the houses.

As a professional genealogist, as well as an architectural historian, she used primary sources, such as wills and deeds, as well as secondary sources, like local histories and biographies, to document the lives of each house's owners and residents. As a clear and clever writer, she made what can be a dry topic readable and enjoyable.

In preliminary chapters, Bailey discusses the characteristics of vernacular Dutch-style houses, whether Dutch, English, French or German settlers built them. She outlines the history of land titles, the locations of Dutch settlements, the size and plan and detail of typical Dutch colonial architecture, and compares variations that developed in different locales.

The main part of the book, the house and family histories, is broken down by county. Kings (Brooklyn) and Queens, Richmond (Staten Island) and Rockland in New York. Bergen and Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Somerset, in east New Jersey; and a section that includes Essex, Passaic, Hunterdon, Morris, Sussex and Warren to the west. There are black and white photo plates of many of the houses she describes.

A typical vignette would be of the Simonson-Blake House in New Springville on Staten Island, New York. Bailey locates the house "on the northern half of the tract at the Fresh Kills granted to Isaac See on Sept. 29, 1677." She then tells how the southern half of the property was sold first to Christian Corsen, who sold it to Barent and Stoffel Christopher, two brothers who divided the tract in 1717.

Returning to the northern half of the tract, she tells us the Simonson family came into possession of the house between 1677 and 1702. She then gives a genealogical summary of the Simonson family from its immigrant ancestor, Barent Simonson and his widow Tryntje Claes, who remarried to Jurian Blanck, Sr., "goldsmith of New Amsterdam," with whom Tryntje wrote a joint will. In the will, she named her son by her first husband, Symon Barentszen, whose youngest son Aert Simonson settled on Staten Island as a young man.

With Aert Simonson's ancestry fully established, Bailey outlines Aert's life on Staten Island through signed petitions to the king, baptismals he witnessed, his two marriages, land and probate records. She then traces his descendants for several generations until reaching Dorothy Barnes Simonson, baptized 1797, who sold one half of her late father Esaac Simonson's farm to Daniel Blake, the husband of her sister Anne Simonson.

Bailey describes the house as one and a half stories tall, built of stone, and situated on 40 acres of the original homestead of the Simonson family, set in a field, east of Richmond Avenue, south of Travis Avenue and the Springville Creek Crossing.

Each house history in the book, be it in West Nyack, Rockland County, New York, or in Franklin Township, New Jersey, includes this kind of detail and interest. She also writes of legends and stories and domestically or historically significant events that either took place in the house or involved a family member. Who served in the Revolutionary War, who was a deacon of his church, who went oystering, who was called "Long John" because he was so very tall? Where did George Washington really sleep, anyway?

Anyone who has a Dutch colony era ancestry, and has reached the point in his or her research where the surnames have been established, will find the every name index invaluable. A sampling would include: Ackerman, Arrowsmith, Banta, Blauvelt, Britton, Brokaw, Carteret, Christopher, Crane, De Groot, Demarest, Ditmars, Egbert, Fisher (Visscher), Guyon, Hardenburgh, Haring, Haughwout, Ingart, Johnston, Jones, Kip, Lake, Lakeman, Lozier, Mann, Moelich, Nevius, Ogbourn, Pelton, Petersen, Prall, Ryerson, Sickels, Smock, Staats, Ten Eyck, Van Buskirk, Vanderbilt, Van Dyke, Westervelt, Wyckoff, Zabriskie.

This book is out of print in both editions. Fine paperbacks can be found at and the book is sometimes offered on eBay. Barnes & or Amazon sometimes has copies in their books out of print sections. A search of Barnes & yielded four copies.

Just don't pass it by because you think it is about houses and not people. You would be missing out on one of the best secondary sources and genealogical guides in or out of print.