Monday, December 17, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: A Deed for a Church (1680)

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009.  Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.


This week I am sharing a passage from The Annals of Albany, by Joel Munsell. It includes a transcription of the deed for a Lutheran church in Albany from the 17th century, and mentions my 8th great grandfather, Myndert Frederickse (son of Frederick Van Iveren), as well as Myndert's brother, Carsten. The children of Myndert and Carsten would, by and large, return to the Van Iveren surname, which later changed to Van Every.

The deed was originally in Dutch, though the author provides a translation. I include both below.

Source: The Annals of Albany, Joel Munsell. Volume 1, Second Edition. 1869. Pages 151-152

The Lutherans seem to have succeeded in gathering a church here before 1670, for it is found that the functions of their minister, the Rev. Johannes Fabritius, were in that year suspended by the public authorities.1 It is supposed to have been about this time that the Lutherans erected a church and parsonage in Albany, fronting on Pearl street, between Howard and Beaver streets, long since known as the Centre Market.2 Capt. Abram Staets (or Staas)3 obtained a patent of that lot on the 25th of October, 1653, which he sold to the officers of the Lutheran congregation on the 28th of March, 1680. The original deed, having the above date, states that the lot was already occupied by a Lutheran church,4 and a house in which the domine lived. The consideration money is not stated, but it is distinctly set forth that the first and last penny were paid, which certainly puts a very credible finish to the aspect of the transaction. The following is a copy of the original deed, and a translation:

Compareerde voor my Robert Livingston, Seer, van Albany, Colonie Rensselaerswyk ende Schaenhechtady, &ca, ten overstaen van de E. achtbaar heeren, Mr. Andries Teller & Mr. Cornells Van Dyk, commissarissen der selver Gerechte, Maj. Abraham Staas, d'welke verclaerde in waren Rechten, vryen, Evgendom te cederen Transporteeren, en over te draegen, aen en ten behoeve van Albert Bratt, Myndert frederickse ouder Lingen, Anthony Lespinard en Carsten frederickse Diakens van d'Luyterse gemeente hier in Albany, seker huys en Erv, staende ende gelegen alhier in Albany, met alles datter aen Aerde & nagel vast is, op d'Eerste kil, belendende ten suyden d'eerste kil, voortz ten noorden d'gewesene gemene Padt, nu gepossideert van Mr. Pretty, Jacob Sanders, Johannes Wendel, Myndert Harmense & Hend. Cuyler, ten oosten d'gemeine wegh, ten westen een cleyn killetje, is Breedt ten oosten Twalf Eoeden en elf voet, & ten westen zes Roeden & vier voet, & lang aen de Zuydtsyde een & twentigh Roeden & een voet, & aen d'noort syde drie & twentigh Roeden en Twee voeten, alles Rhynlandsche maet, op welke Erff d'Luyterse Kerk nu staet, als mede 't huys voor d'Luyterse domine, synde van d'geheele Luyterse Gemeente gekocht & betaelt, aen welke d'selve opgedraegen wort ; Zulx by Cedent uyt doet uyt Cracht van Grondtbrief hem verleentvan den gewezenen Governr Richard Nicolls, sub dato den 25 April 1667, zynde een gedeelte van d'Erff waertoe in desen gerefereert wordt, en dat vry en on beswaert, sonder eenige Lasten daerop staende ofte uytgaende, behoudens der heer zyn Reght, sonder dat hy cedant in 't minste daerop meerder heelt pretentie, als bekenende daer voor ten genoegen voldaen en betaelt te wesen, de eerste Penning met den Laetaten, gevende derhalven plenam actionem cessam, & volkome macht aen d'voornoemde Persoonen, in qualitae als kerken Raet zynde van d'Luyterse gemeente, synde voor het gebruyck van d'heele gemeente om met het voorsz huys en Erff te doen & te disponeeren gelyk als zy met haere Eyge Patrimoniale gooderen & affecten doen soude moogen, beloovende 't selve op & Jegens eenen Ygelycken te waren & te vryen voor alle commer, naemaeninge ofte beswaernisse als Recht is, & vorders hier tegens nimmer meer te sullen doen nochte laeten geshieden in geeniger maniere, onder verbant als naer Rechten daertoe staende.

Actum in Albany, de 29 Maert, 1680.
Abram Staas.
My present,
Ro. Livingsten, Sec.
Concordat cum suo Principali quod attestor.
Robert Livingsten, Seer.
A. Teller. Corn. Van. Dyk.

Appeared before me. Robert Livingston, Secretary of Albany, Colony of Rensselaerswyck and Schenectady, etc., in the presence of the honorable Messieurs Andries Teller, and Cornells Van Dyck, commissaries of the same jurisdiction. Maj. Abraham Staets, who declares that in true rights, free ownership, he grants, conveys, and makes over, to and for the behoof of Albert Bratt, Myndert Frederickse, elders, Anthony Lispenard. and Carsten Frederickse, deacons of the Lutheran church here in Albany, in a certain house, standing and lying here in Albany, with all that is fast in earth and nailed, on the first kil, bounded to the south by the first kil aforesaid, to the north the late common path, now possessed by Messrs. Pretty, Jacob Sanders [Glen,] Johannes Wendell, Myndert Harmense [Van der Bogert] and Hendrick Cuyler, to the east the highway, to the west the little kil, breadth to the east 12 r. 11 ft, west 6 r. 4 ft., length on south side 21 r. 1 ft., on the north side 23 r. 2 ft., all Rhynland 5 measure, on which lot the Lutheran church now stands, together with the parsonage, being purchased and paid for by the whole Lutheran congregation, to whom the same is now made over ; which this grantor, does by virtue of a patent to him given from the late Governor Richard Nicolls, of date the 25 April, 1667 ; being a part of the lot to which reference is herein made ; free and unincumbered, with no claims standing or issuing against the same (excepting the lord's right) without the grantor's making the least pretensions thereto any more ; also acknowledging that he is fully paid and satisfied therefor, the first penny with the last; giving therefore plenam actionem cessam and full power to the aforenamed persons in the character of the consistory of the Lutheran church being for the use of the whole congregation, to do with and dispose of the aforesaid house and lot as they might do with their own patrimonial estate and effects ; promising to protect and free the same from all such trouble, claims and liens of each and every person, as are lawful, and further, never more to do nor suffer anything to be done against the same, in any manner, on pledge according to laws therefor provided.

Done in Albany, the 29 March, 1680.

Was subscribed,
In my presence,
In the margin,
A. Teller.
Corn. Van Dyck.

(1) Documentary History of New York, iv, 13, 22-3.

(2) The Centre Market, which cornered on South Pearl and Howard streets was removed in 1868, to make room for a new building for city purposes. The workmen, in digging for laying the foundations, found the remains of several bodies, which were removed to the new grounds of the Lutherans in the Rural cemetery. There had been no burials here for nearly a century, and when the grounds were surrendered to the city in 1816, but one body was removed, that of John Christopher Hartwick, subsequently spoken of in this article.

(3) He arrived 1643, in the same ship with Dom. Megapolensis, and is believed to be the ancestor of those who take the name of Staats.

(4) The earliest allusion to this edifice that we have found in the public records is in a deed of a lot made in 1674. See  , p. 100.

(5) This is the orthography in most of the ancient records. A Rhynland or Leyden foot is equal to 12 3/8 inches English measure, and a Dutch or Amsterdam foot, about one inch less than the Rhynland.


1) Editorial changes: As can be seen above, this text originally covered two pages, with both the Dutch and English translation split in two. I have combined the two sections. In so doing, I changed the number of the first footnote on the second page. I also removed hyphens that were caused by linebreaks.

2) Editing the OCR text of the Dutch translation wasn't exactly easy for me, and I may have made errors, for which I apologize to anyone who can actually read Dutch. Naturally, as usual, I apologize for any errors I may have made in the English as well, but I hope there are less of them.

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