History of the Van Dusen Family

Abraham the Patriarch

The Van Dusen Family traces it's lineage back to Manhattan's first few hundred settlers. Research has shown that the American Van Dusen line goes back to a Dutch American patriarch named Abraham Pietersen van Deusen. Abraham was born in Haarlem, Netherlands in 1607 to Pieter van Deursen and Maria Vincke. His parents Pieter and Maria were married on January 15, 1591 in Haarlem where Abraham was later baptized on November 11, 1607

This is Grote St. Bavokerk the church in Haarlem where Abraham and Maria were married. It is still standing today!

My late brother Brian Van Dusen, had a bit of an obsession with our family history. The records indicate that some of the connections he drew late in his life. Just might have a basis in reality. It appears that Abraham van Duersen may have had two siblings: Handrick Van Dussenberg who was Master of the Masons in 1638, and Adrian Pitersen, of Aitzema, Netherlands, who was a director of Dutch West India Company. But, back the story, there will be plenty of time for shady ties and conspiracy theories later!

Abraham married Tryntie Melchior Abrahams on December 7, 1629, in Haarlem and together they had six children.

  • Teuwis Matheeus Abrahamsen Van Deusen, who married Helena Robberts

  • Marytje Van Deusen, who married Thomas Janszen Minsar

  • Isaac Van Deusen I, who married Jannetie Jans

  • Jacob Van Deusen, who married Catalynje Van Eslant

  • Pieter Van Deusen I, who married Hester Webberss (or Webb)

  • Melchior Van Deusen, who married Engeltje Rutgers

  • It's easy to find connections when you are looking for them, but one that came to mind as being interesting is that Abrahams first son married a woman who's last name was Robberts and the last son married a woman who's last name was Rutgers. My grandmother Patti Van Dusen's maiden name was "Robertson" and my counsin Mac Robertson graduated from Rutgers! Just sayin!

    And that is where our story ends for tonight! Tomorrow I will tell the story of Abraham Van Duesen's "Coming to America"...cue Neil Diamond

    Or click here to listen to Neil himself... Neil Diamond "Coming to America"

    Coming To America

    Public records before 1640 were either shoddy or lost but what is known is that Abraham Van Deusen, or Van Deuersen as you may often see, depending on the source, began coming to America as early as 1627. He was a miller working for the Dutch West India Company who traveled to America to build windmills in the area that became known as Manhattan. He apparently traveled back home often as records indicate that, as mentioned above, he married in 1629. However, in 1636, New York Colonial documents show that Abraham Van Deusen took possession of the Island of Quentensis in front of Sloops Bay for the Dutch West Indian Company. In 1638 he is spoken of as the first Miller in New Amsterdam. By 1641 he was appointed to the council of "Twelve Men" chosen by the people to advise the Director General of New Netherland Willem Kieft on the the impending Indian War. This council represented New Amsterdam's first representative democracy. Unfortunately this democracy was temporary as the colonists attacked the Natives, which in turn led to a retaliatory buring of the colony.

    Rendering of New Amsterdam in 1664, notice the Windmill on the far left. Likely built by our forefather!

    Then There Were Eight

    In 1643 Abraham was appointed to a new council of eight men. They petitioned the States General and blamed the governor for the economy going in the toilet. They requested that a new Director General of New Netherland be appointed and that the people have more influence in this new government. As a result, Director General Kieft was canned and replaced by Peter Stuyvesant, who remained in power until the colony was turned over to the British in 1664. Abraham rose in social status until 1657 at which point there are no further records regarding him.

    Presidential Legacy

    Abraham Pietersen Van Deusen died sometime before July 28, 1672 which was the date of his wife's death. Upon her death she was listed as a widow. There are no known records of Abraham's death nor where he was buried. Though he seemd to have slipped into obscurity, his legacy did not. Abraham Van Deursen was the third Great Grandfather of President Martin Van Buren and the seventh Great Grandfather of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was also third Great Grandfather of Conrad Vandusen and Caspar Vandusen who would become heads of founding Canadian United Empire Loyalist families. Abraham's legacy was a mighty one, the Van Deursen, Van Deusen, Van Duser, Van Duzer, Van Duzor, Vanduzee, and Van Dusen families of the United States and Canada are all descendants of this one man, and as we will see in future posts the Van Dusen family ties to power do not end here.

    Note: I just found a source that lists more specific data on Abraham Pietersen Van Deursen including a date of death as being December 18, 1678 in Albany N.Y. Source: www.rjvanduzer.com