When I called my genealogy organization "One Bad Apple Genealogy", I was referring to Nils aka Nicholas Hornell, my 6th great-grandfather on my Cone side who was an excommunicated Lutheran Minister. Since then I've discovered another "bad apple" on my Grandmother Hazel Bynon Allen's side, Laurens Duyts.
Duyts? That's a surname unknown to many family members. What is the relationship to us? That's a good place to start. He is my 8th great-grandfather. The family tree is as follows: My father, Charles Newton Cone, Jr. was the son of Hazel Bynon Allen, the daughter of Ida Mae Dye, the daughter of Amon Dye, Jr., the son of Amos Dye, the son of John Dye, Jr., the son of John Dye, the son of John Laurens Dey, the son of Hans Laurentzen Duyts, the son of the said bad apple, Laurens Duyts. One can see from the lineage, that there were several spellings of the name due to inconsistency as well as translation from the Danish, to Dutch, to English.
Danish? There are Danes in our family tree? Yes, there are.
28 Aug 1638
"Laurens Dyijs from Noortstrant, a laborer living at the Brouwergracht, aged 26 years, with Ytgie Jans from Amsterdam aged 18 years" intend to wed.
For those of us who have visited with my sister Trude in Amsterdam, we remember the Brouwersgracht as one of the most picturesque canals in the city. In the 17th century, it was the docking point for ships returning with spices from the East Indies, and lined with warehouses and trade buildings. It also housed a number of breweries as it was easy to transport fresh water to the site. Today the warehouses have been turned into apartment buildings.
The record says that Laurens is from Noortstrant. This probably referred to Nordstrand Island part of a chain of Islands that run from the Dutch province of Friesland north past the German coast line and along the southern part of the Danish coast. Nordstrand Island lies in the Danish Region and during Laurens Duyts' time it was part of Schlesweg-Holstein.
Why is our young Dane in Amsterdam? During the night of October 11-12, 1634, a storm raging off the North Sea destroyed the coastline of North Friesland. Nordstrand Island sustained the most damage and more than 6,000 people drowned. If Laurens was in Nordstrand that night he was very lucky to be alive. The economy was devastated so people scattered to the places where they could find work, like Amsterdam.
A man named Cor Snabel has created a website that explains the flood and includes some contemporary accounts. Cor Snabel's Flood of Nordstrand Island 1634 It is worth a visit.
Not long after his marriage, Laurens and his wife and her sister leave from Hoorn, Holland on the "Brant van Troygen" commanded by Captain Jochiem Pietersen Kuyter. It arrives in New Amsterdam sometime during the month of July. Evidently, he did not have the funds necessary for their passage, because on 21 Jul 1639 he makes his mark on a lease from Jonas Bronck (for whom Bronx will later be named). "They shall be at liberty to plant tobacco and maize, on the express condition that every two years they shall clear new pieces of land. Furthermore, Pieter Andriesz and Lourens Duyts bind and pledge their persons and properties for payment of what Mr. Bronck has disbersed for them on board the ship De Brant van Troyen, 120 guilders, 16 stivers, of which Pieter Andriessen must pay fl 81:4 and Lourens Duyts fl. 49:12. Done in Fort Asterdam 21st of July 1639. (from the Dye Family.us).
Doesn't sound like a bad apple yet. Laurens and Ytie have three children who are baptised in the Dutch Reformed Church in New Amsterdam. But, Laurens who is often referred to as "Groet Foot or Big Foot" because of his size, seems to be a difficult person, frequently involved in quarrels with his neighbors and fellow citizens. There are many references to these problems in the Dutch manuscripts from New Amsterdam.
On November 25, 1658, Governor General Pieter Stuyvesant sentences "Laurens Kuyts, of Holstein, for selling his wife, Ytie Jansen, and forcing her to live in adultery with another man, and for living himself also in adultery, to have a rope tied around his neck, and then to be severely flogged, to have his right ear cut off, and to be banished for 50 years."
As Paul Harvey used to say... tomorrow the rest of the story.