Friday, October 14, 2011

The Dykeman Origins in Early New York

Jack’s maternal line (Dykeman) ascends from the earliest European families who chose to settle on Manhattan Island around the time the English wrestled control of the colony from the Dutch in 1664. Our immigrant ancestor, Jan Dykeman, journeyed across the Atlantic around 1666.

The image above shows the connection of Jack's mother, Ouida Dykeman to Jan Dyckman. Notice the difference in the surnames – this is caused by the turmoil of the American Revolution when a Loyalist faction of the Dykeman family moved to Canada to resettle on lands provided by the British government. 

Jan presumably came to the New World with very little, but became a prominent figure in the community. Arriving at a time that Dutch rule changed to English rule; he must have been involved in many impressionable and turbulent dealings. He married twice and was involved in numerous business transactions that led to him becoming a prosperous land owner in upper Manhattan (called New Harlem at the time) when he died in 1715.

Since the earliest European colonists to New York came from the Netherlands, the Dutch called the area New Netherlands. New Netherland consisted of settlements mainly along the Hudson, Delaware, and Connecticut Rivers, which today are parts of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.[1] 

The name New Amsterdam was given to the growing Dutch village on the lower tip of Manhattan, and was a very diverse place both in terms of customs practiced and languages spoken.  Many of the original Dutch documents from the seventeenth century are currently being translated, transcribed and published through an ongoing project in Albany called the New Netherland Project and Institute