Return to Chapter V-1                       Proceed to Chapter V-3



Internet sources are indicated by tildes (e.g. ~internet).  A complete list can be found on the Sources page.

            V-2    Jan Joosten


    ● Knights and Squires and the Manor?

Of Jan Joosten's background and life prior to leaving the Netherlands in 1662, little is known but much has been guessed.  Many webgens attempt to connect him to one or the other of two nobly-titled Van Meteren lines.  Wiser webgens leave him parentless, however reluctantly:

Numerous references to Van Meterens in knighthood lists make it clear that this was a prominent, influential and wealthy family.  Although Jan Joosten's connection to the family in Holland is lost, someday it may be known again.  In any case, there were some interesting Van Meterens in Holland to whom we are somehow related. *

Well, maybe.  Or we may be descended from a man named Jan whose father's name was Joost, and who hailed from the vicinity of the village of Meteren.  Not until 1681 is there any evidence of his being identified as "Jan Joosten van Meeteren" [sic]—in a document he signed simply "Jan Joosten" as per usual.

If we must guess, let us be firmly grounded about it.  Gelderland was "a land of minor squires"—manor lords, holders of the lowest-ranking title of nobility: jonkheer (fem. jonkvrouw).  The esquires of old may have attended upon knights, carrying their armor at tournaments or on battlefields, but 17th Century squires—though they might still aspire to knighthood—were country gentlefolk, prominent landowners and minor judiciary:

I am Robert Shallow, sir; a poor esquire of this county, and one of the King's justices of the peace. **

According to ~herwijnen/1, the lord of a manor in the Tielerwaard would preside over the geërfden (men privileged to hold a portion of the manor, with inheritance rights) and appoint local administrators: the buurmeester (manager), schepenen (equivalent to aldermen), schout (combination sheriff and district attorney), sexton and churchwarden.  The manor lord "could fine parties for lower crimes such as being involved in a physical altercation ... He also controlled the rents and tolls, the fishing rights, the wind rights and the operation of the mills"—these last, of course, being of prime importance to the Dutch.  Everyone on the manor was compelled to take their grain to the squire's designated miller.

For centuries the manor of Meteren belonged to the family who owned the manor of Cuijck in North Brabant, just south of Nijmegen (about 25 miles southeast of Tiel).  In the early 15th Century this family began styling themselves "Van Cuijck van Meteren"—sometimes as "Van Meteren van Cuijck"—and while our knowledge of them is spotty at best (and garbled at worst), it's clear they did not adhere to the naming customs presented in Chapter V-1.  Perhaps, being gentry, they considered themselves exempt from "common" folkways; it was the gentry who first made use of hereditary surnames, which "better preserves continuation of the family, be it for prestige or for the easier handling of official property records."

About the House of Van Cuijck van Meteren we have two sources: ~vm/manor, an essay written and/or translated by the early Van Metre chronicler Samuel Gordon Smyth; and ~vm/history, a present-day contribution to by John Van Meeteren of the Netherlands.  Even after splicing together their information (and de-/reconstructing ~vm/manor's, which is far from coherent) we are left with many gaps and unanswered questions.  Click here to see a tentatively-assembled Van Cuijck van Meteren tree.

After uploading the first version of this VCVM Tree, I received a series of e-mails from Peter van Maanen of the Dutch webgen ~jabberwocky, who supplied many new details and clarification of old ones—especially concerning the man many claim to be Jan Joosten's father.

    Melchior, "Arience"... and Eerke?

Of the webgens that provide Jan Joosten with parents, most name them Melchior Van Meteren and Arience Anneken—often placing them in "Thierlewoodt," and giving them respective birthyears of 1604 and 1608.  "Arience Anneken" appears to be an inversion of Anneke Ariens, translatable as "little Anna the child of Arien (Adrian)."

Of Melchior, ~vm/manor states he was the eldest child of Johan van Cuijck van Meteren (who left Meteren Manor to younger son Balthasar circa 1641); that he married Anneke Ariens, a widow, in 1630; and that he appeared in the list of justices of Deil in 1640 and 1650, dying probably in 1651.  Melchior and Anneke had three children, all with the surname "van Meteren van Cuijck": Jr. [Jonkheer] Goosen, Anna, and Hildegonda or Hillegonda.

Regarding Anneke, ~vm/manor adds that "Anna van Meteren, widow of Jr. Melchior van Cuijck" made her will in 1655, naming as her heirs Adriaan Janszoon Cock, Dirck Jans Olie, Geurtgen Jans Olie, Geurtgen van Beest, and Kennken van Beest, plus "certain grandchildren."  ~vm/manor decides that:

It appears Jr. Goosen and Miss Anna (married to Jr. Wlillem [sic] van Haeften) were children by a former marriage of her second husband, and besides Hildegonda had still another daughter married to a van Beest possibly her first husband was Jan Cock, father of Adriaan Janszoon Cock.

A typical example of ~vm/manor’s syntax.  In other words: since Goosen and Anna go unmentioned in Anneke’s will, they may have been Melchior’s children by an earlier unnamed wife; while Anneke by her first husband—Jan Cock?—had Hildegonda and perhaps another daughter whose children included Geurtgen and Kennken van Beest.)

Jonkheer Goosen—a.k.a. "Goosswin" and "Gosswin"—is first mentioned by ~vm/manor in 1648.  He served as deputy to his cousin Johan, Balthasar’s son, and in the 1660s was guardian over his sister Anna’s sons Arnold and Johan van Haeften.  Goosen appeared on the nobility lists of 1663-71, dying around the latter date.

Tempting as it might be at this point to interpret Goosen, Goosswin, and Gosswin as misspellings of "Joosten," we should ask ourselves why Melchior's son would have that patronymic instead of Melchiorsen, Melchiorszoon, or the like?  Moreover, the permanent departure of Jan Joosten for America in 1662 punctures that trial balloon before it can be launched.

At any rate I incorporated ~vm/manor's info on Melchior, Anneke, and Goosen into the first version of the VCVM Tree.  Then ~jabberwocky's Peter van Maanen e-mailed me that:

Father of Melchior was Johan vCvM, schout (sheriff) in Geldermalsen (1598) ... He was married with jonkvrouwe Dircksken.  Father of this Johan was NOT Cornelis, so far.  There is another Johan vCvM.  He was captain in the service of the State (1605-1629) and lord of Meteren ... This Johan inherited the manor of Meteren from his uncle Willem.  [Johan] was married with Maria van Zwieten ... The father of Johan, lord of Meteren, was Cornelis vCvM [who] was married with Dirksken van Haeften ... These are facts: it is known through documents of Balthasar, son of Johan and Maria van Zwieten. ***

Immediately this clears up a prime unanswered question: if Melchior was the eldest son of Captain Johan VCVM and outlived his father, why would Meteren Manor have been left to Johan's second son Balthasar?  Because Balthasar was in fact the eldest (surviving); while Melchior turns out to be Captain Johan's first cousin: son of the Captain's uncle Johan.

Not only have webgens confused the two Johans till now, but also the two Dir(c)kskens—boiling them down to one (usually listed as "Diske") and making her not Captain Johan's mother or aunt (both of which would have been accurate) but his wife, displacing Maria van Zwieten.

Besides restoring Maria and her forebears, Peter van Maanen confirmed that Melchior did have a first wife: Eerke Goossen[s] van Oever, who was the mother of Goossen and (apparently) Anna.  Quite in keeping with Chapter V-1's customs, Eerke's father and great-grandfather were both named Goossen—which looks to be a patronymic ("Goos's son") that evolved into a first name.

All these particulars have been added to the VCVM Tree's revised version, and more to a separate Van Haeften/Van Oever Tree; but on neither can Jan Joosten be included as the son of Melchior and Anneke Ariens.


Searching through old Dutch records for ~vm/history, John Van Meeteren could find no evidence of any connection between Jan Joosten and the squires of Meteren Manor.  Instead he tied Jan Joosten to another "Van Meteren" line, this one centered in Antwerp and featuring several celebrities: Sir Jacobus van Meteren, financier/publisher of early English versions of the Bible; his wife Orrilia Ortels or Ortellius, from a famous mapmaking family; and their son Emanuel van Meteren the eminent historian, Dutch Consul in London and friend of Henry Hudson.

But there are immediate problems with the Antwerp line's chronology as set forth by ~vm/history and repeated by ~jabberwocky.  Both begin with Cornelius van Meteren, born 1490 in Brecht, whom ~vm/history speculates was a nephew and namesake of Cornelia van Cuijck van Meteren.  Cornelius's son Jacobus (Jacob) is said to have been born in Breda in 1519, marrying Orrilia Ortellius in Antwerp in 1540; yet their son Emanuel was definitely born in 1535.  A year earlier, Jacobus—"an Antwerp merchant"—had approached Myles Coverdale about translating the Old Testament into English, employing "Froschover of Zürich" to print this (combined with William Tyndale's earlier translation of the New Testament) in 1535.  Part of the Coverdale Bible was then incorporated into 1537's Matthew Bible, so-called because it appeared under the pseudonym "Thomas Matthew" though compiled and edited by Tyndale's protégé John Rogers, who married Jacobus's niece Adriana.  While the Matthew Bible was printed and sold in England by Richard Grafton, Jacobus is said to have printed it in Antwerp and Paris.

All this done by a Jacobus van Meteren born in 1519?  Though he might easily have been a father (with a marriageable niece) at the age of sixteen, it's less likely that he also "manifested great zeal" as a "furtherer of reformed religion ... he that caused the first Bible at his costes to be Englisshed by Mr. Myles Coverdal in Andwarp"—while still a teenager, without anyone ever mentioning that singular fact.

Emanuel van Meteren (born 1535 in Antwerp, brought by his father to England in 1550, died 1612 in London), served for many years as the Consul representing "the Traders of the Low Countries" in London.  His publications as an historian included the Historia Belgica, Historie der Nederlanden (which drew upon the journals and logbooks of Henry Hudson, whom Emanuel may have persuaded to enlist in the Dutch East India Company) and Belgische ofte Nederlandsche Historie van onzen Tijden, a survey (some of it witnessed firsthand) of the early part of the Eighty Years War.

By his second wife, Ester van der Corput, Emanuel had thirteen children, of whom three sons and six daughters were alive in 1612.  ~vm/history and ~jabberwocky name one of the sons: Jacobus van Meteren, born in Antwerp in 1556.  This would seem to imply either that Emanuel had a wife prior to "Miss Van Loobeck" (married 1562, died 1563) and Ester van der Corput (married 1564); or that young Jacobus was born out of wedlock; or that he was not in fact the son of Emanuel the Consul.  "More is not known of him," states ~vm/history—other than his having a son named Joost van Meteren (born 1577 in Antwerp) who in turn had a son named Jan Joosten van Meteren (born 1597 in Antwerp)—whom some webgens assume to be THE Jan Joosten who emigrated in 1662, despite this meaning he would have been 109 years old when he died in New Jersey circa 1706.

Both ~vm/history and ~jabberwocky give Emanuel the Consul younger siblings: Cornelius or Curt (or "Cornelius Curt") born 1540, and Mary born 1542.  But only ~vm/history goes further, giving Cornelius Curt a son named Emanuel born 1580 in Antwerp—and stating forthrightly "it is proven that Jan Joosten van Meteren (born 1626) is a son of Emanuel van Meteren."

Unfortunately, ~vm/history provides no documentation for this.  And again we must ask: if Jan Joosten was indeed the son of Emanuel, son of Cornelius/Curt, son of Sir Jacobus van Meteren—why would he bear the patronymic "Joosten" instead of Emanuelsen, Emanuelszoon, or the like?

~vm/history does offer an answer to that question—though not in regard to Jan Joosten.

    Jan Gijsbertsen

"Van Meter: An Interesting Sketch of That Well Known Family" (~vm/sketch: a 1905 article in the Moorefield Examiner) remarks that previous accounts had traced the Van Meters of Virginia back to:

Jan Gysbertsen Van Meteren who with his son Kryn Jansen Van Meteren then thirteen years old emigrated from Bommell [Zaltbommel] Holland in 1663 landing at New Amsterdam.  They migrated to New Utrecht, Kings County, N.Y., and later to Monmouth Co., N.J. ... A doubt exists however concerning the relationship of [the Virginia Van Meters's] progenitor and Jan Gysbertsen Van Meteren the father of Kryn Jansen.  It is more than likely they were of close relationship and possible that they were brothers.

~vm/smyth (p. 25-26) also mentions and refutes the "claim" that Jan Gijsbertsen was the ancestor of the Virginia Van Metres; but acknowledges "the popular belief that he was a near kinsman of Jan Joosten Van Meteren, i.e. a first cousin of the Hudson River pioneer."  At times they seemed to lead parallel lives: both came from Gelderland, leaving it a year apart; both would serve as church deacons and magistrates in the New World; and though Jan Gijsbertsen settled on Long Island while Jan Joosten headed for the Hudson Valley, both would move south to East Jersey around the same time—Jan Joosten to Burlington County in 1695, Jan Gijsbertsen to Monmouth County in 1698.

But unlike Jan Joosten's traveling to America with a wife and five children, Jan Gijsbertsen was accompanied only by the 13-year-old son whose name was Krijn—or "Kreign, or, as it is variously given, Quryn, Kryn, Chrine, Chrynyonce, etc."

Did they leave any family behind?  ~vm/history's John Van Meeteren thinks so: he traces his own ancestry back to Jan Gijsbertsen via an older son, Marten, who remained in Zaltbommel.  "He probably must have been an adult, able and allowed to make up his own decision, whether to come along with his father or not."  Perhaps; but Marten is somewhat tenuously assigned the role of Jan Gijsbertsen's son, after Jan Joosten, Melchior, and Hendrik van Cuijck van Meteren are ruled out as his father: "That leaves only Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren."

Just as tenuous is Jan Gijsbertsen's being attached to the Antwerp line.  "The question is, who his father was? ... Two options are open: Emanuel van Meteren, born 1580 in Antwerp and Jan Joosten van Meteren, born in 1597 in Antwerp."  Having determined that Jan Gijsbertsen and the Jan Joosten who emigrated in 1662 "were no brothers," and "since it is proven" that the latter Jan Joosten was the son of Emanuel, "this means that Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren was a son of Jan Joosten van Meteren (born 1597)."

Why then the patronymic Gijsbertsen instead of Jansen?  ~vm/history offers the following explanation:

Jan Gijsbertsen was probably named after Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren (born 1585 and married to Soeta Tijnagel).  Most people think that for instance Jan Gijsberts is the son of Gijsberts [sic].  This is true in most cases.  However, sometimes a double name is just the name of a relative.

Were the Dutch using "double names," including non-patronymic patronymics ("Gijsberts," "Willemse") as early as the 17th Century?  Even among the Van Cuijck van Meterens we don't find evidence of this.  But there is another, simpler alternative to consider—one without links to knighthood or squirearchy.

    The Untitled Line

~vm/history divides the historical Van Meterens into three parts: the Van Cuijcks of Meteren Manor, the Antwerp line, and:

Gijsbert van Meteren, born in 1515 and married to Jutta van Herwijnen.  They had at least one son, Joost Gijsbert van Meteren, born 1540.  It is not known who his wife was, but he had a son, Gijsbert Joost van Meteren, born 1560.  This Gijsbert Joosten van Meteren named his son Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren, born 1606.  It is possible that he had a son too, Lambert van Meteren, born 1627.

But that Jan Gijsbertsen is the same Jan Gijsbertsen whom ~vm/history says was born 1585 and married to Soeta (Soetja) Tijnagel.  By consulting other webgens—~athens/oracle, ~hultgren, ~rclarke/gijsbert, and the ~meanbunny series—plus Peter van Maanen's e-mails, we can turn this "untitled" line into a tree with respectable middle-class roots.  (Click here to see it.)

Regrettably, we cannot award this solution conclusive gospel status; again we lack sufficient firsthand documentation.  But here at least there is no stretching, no straining to make connections; the effect of Chapter V-1's naming customs is immediately obvious on the Untitled line—patronymics in proper place, first names alternating from Gijsbert to Joost and back, and then to/from Jan.  Here the emigrants Jan Gijsbertsen and Jan Joosten are indeed shown to be near kinsmen: first cousins, both named Jan because they had a mutual grandfather Jan.

    "Van Meteren"

At what point did they adopt the surname "Van Meteren"?  As far back as Jutta van Herwijnen's husband Gijsbert, born circa 1515 in Tiel?  It might be noted that no one in the Antwerp or Untitled lines is said to have been born IN Meteren—only to have, at some undefined point, come FROM Meteren.

A place-name, it is reasonable to suppose, was a handy surname only when a man moved from his place of origin (where the place-name would make a futile addition to his name) elsewhere, and his new neighbors bestowed it, or he himself adopted it. ****

It is also reasonable to suppose that "Van Meteren" was traditional in the Untitled line by the 1660s—otherwise, once in America, Jan Gijsbertsen might have become known as "Van Bommel" and Jan Joosten as some variation on "Van de Thielerwaert."  There may even have been willingness on their part to be associated with Sir Jacobus and Consul Emanuel on the one hand, or the squires of Meteren Manor on the other.  At any rate consistent use of "Van Meteren" began after the English turned New Netherland into New York; and over the years it would be "variously written or expressed in these forms: Van Meteren, Van Metre, Van Meter, La Meeter, Lameeter, La Maetre, La Maitre, de la Meter, &c., &c..."



* Van Meter, James T.  "Van Meter Pioneers in America" (~vm/pioneers), prepared for an Ohio family reunion in 1978.
** Shakespeare, William.  2 Henry IV III ii 63.
*** Van Maanen, Peter.  E-mail to the author, August 7, 2003.
**** Cottle, Basil.  The Penguin Dictionary of Surnames (Penguin, 1967) p. 17.


Proceed to Chapter V-3

Return to the Fine Lineage Index Page

Go to the Fine Lineage Sources Page

Return to Top

Last updated August 22, 2009

Return to the Skeeter Kitefly Website Index

Copyright © 2003-2009 by P. S. Ehrlich; All Rights Reserved.