Captain Volckert Janzen Douw

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ChartsAncestors of Edward Ambrose Cooke
Captain Volckert Janzen Douw, son of Jan Douw, died at Beverwyck, Albany Co., New York, in 1681.1,2,3

Volckert married Dorotee Janse van Bresteed, daughter of Jan Janszen and Englete Jans, at New Amsterdam, New York, 19 April 1650.2,3,1

Captain Volckert Janszen Douw was suposedly persecuted for his Mennonite beliefs and driven to Friedrichstadt, Denmark, a city that allowed religious liberty. About 1637, Calvinists again waged war against this hunted sect, and as the Holland colony of New Netherlands was already flourishing enough to attract emigration, many fled for religious freedom, including Volckert, his brother, two sister, cousins, and other relatives.

He held the rank of Captain in the Dutch army. He settled for a few months at Catskill, going to Beverwyck late in 1638. He dealt largely in real estate and owned several of the islands in the Hudson river below Albany. He bore arms and these are [or were] on a window in the old Dutch church [at Albany?].

In 1640, he received a conveyance of lands from the Indians, which was confirmed to his widow in 1693. He owned a large brewery that he sold to his nephew Harman Rutgers. He was called "Honorable Volckert Douw, Burgher of the village and master (Heerschaps) of the Bonwery lying in the colony of Rensselaerwyck." He was deacon in the church and guardian of the widows and poor in 1654, and was magistrate from 1654 to 1660. He owned much land at Esopus, New York, and was one of the original patentees. For a time, he was commissary and was continuously the Indian commissioner. At different times he was attorney and guardian for large estates.

In 1663 he and Jan Thomas Witbeck, his real estate partner, bought from the Mahikanders, Schotack or Apjen's Island and the mainland lying east of it. He also owned Constapel's Island, lying opposite Bethlehem, half of which, in 1677, he sold to Pieter Winne. He owned Papsknae Island where he had a summer home. However, in 1666, an extradordinary flood wiped the place out, and the family barely escaped. That same year he purchased "Douw's Point Wolvenhoeck," just below the village of Greenbush. In 1672, he owned Schutter's Island below Becren Island, which he sold to Barent Pieterse Coeymans.

He made his will in 1680 and died by 1686.4,3


Dorotee Janse van Bresteed d. 22 Nov 1681
  • Jonas Douw1,2,3
  • Andries Douw1,2,3 d. 1703
  • Volckertje Douw1,2,3
  • Dorothe Douw1,2,3
  • Catrina Douw1,2,3
  • Engeltje Douw1,2,3
  • Hendrick Douw1,2,3 d. bef. 18 May 1751
  • Elsje Douw1,2,3
  • Rebecca Douw1,2,3
  • Volckert Douw+1,2,3 d. bef. 2 Sep 1753
  • Greetje Douw1,2,3
This person was last edited on11 Sep 2014


  1. [S386] Jonathan Pearson, Contributions for the Genealogies of the Descendants of the First Settlers of the Ancient County of Albany, from 1630 to 1800(1872; reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1984), 43-44, further cited as Pearson, Genealogies of the First Settlers of Albany.
  2. [S105] "Ancient Families of Albany," The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 3 (April 1872), at 82-83, further cited as "Albany Families."
  3. [S57] S. V. [Sebastian Visscher] Talcott, Genealogical Notes on New York and New England Families, (Albany, New York: Weed, Parsons and Company, 1883), 64-69, further cited as Talcott, New York and New England Familes.
  4. [S105] "Albany Families," 28-83.