Harmen Harmense Van Gansevoort

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ChartsAncestors of Edward Ambrose Cooke
Harmen Harmense Van Gansevoort, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), was born at Holland, 1635.1 He died at Albany, Albany Co., New York, 23 July 1710.2

Harmen married Marritje Liendarts Coyne, daughter of Leendert Phillipse Coyne and Agnietje Casperse Stynmets, say 1669.3

He was sometimes referred to as Van Gansevoort, but, per Kenny, that does not indicate his origin as there was no town of that name in seventeenth century Netherlands. Reynolds says there was a town of Ganzfort on the border of Germany and Holland, but such a place has not been located on modern maps (Google) thus far (as of 2022). There are records of Gansevoorts found in Groningen, and they are traced to a manor called Harena or Harn a few miles outside Lippe in Westphalia.

There was a Harmen the brewer cited in default in an unidentified court action in 1655, but there is no further identification. He was in Beverwyck (original Dutch name for Albany) at least by 1657, as shown below. He was born at least by 1635, as 25 was legal age among the Dutch, and in 1660 he executed several documents before a notary.

On 19 Apr 1657, Pieter Bronck quarreled with Poulus Martensen in Hendrick Bierman's tavern. Harmen tried to intervene, but Bronck drew a knife. Three other bystanders got involved before it was stopped. At the trial, Harmen refused to state what happened, Harmen saying that "he is not an informer and will not say it." He was later recalled, along with the others and they had to admit seeing Bronck with the knife. Bronck was convicted and fined, the others were not prosecuted.

In Oct 1660, he got involved in a petty argument over what he and another had done in the old country--Harmen was "accused" of being a Hog Driver, Claes Bever of being a shepherd. Apparently, this occurred while eight or nine of Harmen's neighbors were sampling some new brew. Harmen ended up losing a large kettle over the issue.

In another case, Harmen tried to break an agreement to sell a farm to an immigrant with a long record of convictions for debt and misdemeanors. This was the first civil case in Albany to be heard by a jury, even though the English had taken over 15 years earlier, this being 1678. Harmen's wife Maritje brought the suit, claiming that Harmen was drunk when he made the deal and she was sure the buyer would never make the payments. The court upheld the sale, but did require the buyer to put up security, which was a good thing. He later did default, but later sold the farm to someone else who did complete the payments.

These three examples were quite typical of life in Beverwyck. Small disagreements so frequently produced lawsuits that it is impossible to avoid suspecting that at least some of the inhabitants thoroughly enjoyed the momentary importance such an action gave them. Men sued each other for hasty words, usually spoken in their cups. Women, who seldom advanced that particular extenuating circumstance, showed their dislike of their neighbors in such unladylike ways as shouting obscenties at them in the street or engaging them in physical conflict, also usually in the street. Complete equality of the sexes was practiced in this respect; more than once a doughty housewife was fined for having beaten some unfortunate male with a stick or even with her fists, and men and boys did not hesitate to reply in kind. The court heard all these cases patiently and fined which ever party appeared to be the aggressor, and in some cases both. In this casually violent frontier community, it is noteworthy that only once in twenty years was Harmen Gansevoort ever summoned concerning a disturbance in his taproom.

There were several changes in government in the late 1600's due in large part to changes in the English monarchy. In such times, it can be hazardous to be on the wrong side. Harmen was, but not to the extreme. By 1691, the English were firmly in control, and a military expedition sent by William and Mary came to normalize the government of New York. Those who were now on the "winning side" engaged in various reprisals. In 1694, Robert Livingston charged Harmen with not paying his beer excise in 1689-90. Harmen was not in a position to remind the authorities that Livingston was not there to collect it, having been on the "outs" at the time. Harmen had supported the "losers" who had just been hanged! He was fined 6-00-00 plus court costs.

He remained true to his church to the end, although most of the members of his Lutheran church, particularly the younger generation and including many of his own children joined the Dutch Reformed church in the 1690's. But shortly after Harmen was buried at his church in 1710, the congregation ceased to exist.4,5


Marritje Liendarts Coyne b. abt. 1650, d. bef. 7 Jan 1742/43
  • Elsie Gansevoort6 b. say 1670
  • Anna Gansevoort6 b. say 1672
  • Maria Gansevoort6 b. say 1674
  • Aguite Gansevoort6 b. say 1678
  • Lysbeth Gansevoort6 b. say 1681
  • Leendart Gansevoort+3 b. 19 Sep 1683, d. 30 Nov 1763
  • Hillitie Gansevoort6 b. say 1685
  • Rachel Gansevoort3 b. 20 Jun 1686
  • Lydia Gansevoort3 b. 20 Jul 1690
  • Rebecca Gansevoort3 b. 9 Jul 1693
  • Catarina Gansevoort6 b. say 1694
  • Hendrick Gansevoort3 b. 27 Sep 1696, d. bef. 27 Sep 1746
This person was last edited on28 May 2022


  1. [S397] Alice P. Kenney, The Gansevoorts of Albany: Dutch Patricians in the Upper Hudson Valley (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1969), 9, further cited as Kenney, Gansevoort Family.
  2. [S746] Cuyler Reynolds, Editor, Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs: A Record of Achievements of the People of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys in New York State Included Within the Present Counties of Albany, Rensselaer, Washington, Saratoga, Montgomery, Fulton, Schenectady, Columbia and Greene, 4 Vols. (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1911), 1:65, further cited as Reynolds, Hudson Families.
  3. [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), 51-52, further cited as Pearson, Genealogies of the First Settlers of Albany.
  4. [S397] Kenney, Gansevoort Family, Chapter 1.
  5. [S746] Reynolds, Hudson Families, 65.
  6. [S746] Reynolds, Hudson Families, 1:66.