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Immigrants Jurian Westphael and Marretje Hansen

Bigraphical sketches of my immigrant 10*great grandparents

Jurian Westphal (1621 Netherlands - 1667 Kingston, Ulster, NY) and Marretje Hansen (1636 Schleswig-Holstein, Denmark - 1670 Kingston, Ulster, NY)

by Robin Richmond, December, 2018

Variations in the spelling of Jurian's family name in 17th-century records include Bestvall, Bestevall, Bestivall, Bestwall, Westval, Westvael, Westvaelt, Westphae, and van Westphalen. It was eventually anglicized to Westfall.

Marretje (or Maretia) is a variant of Mary, and "Hansen" is often spelled "Jansen".

Jurian Westphal

His family name suggests that Jurian, or at least his family, came from the Duchy of Westphalia, a component of the Holy Roman Empire that is now part of the German state North Rhine-Westphalia. The absence of a patronym in Jurian's name is consistent with non-Dutch origins. Jurian may have been born in Leiderdorp, Netherlands, which is now a suburb of Leiden, where the Pilgrims who settled Plymouth Colony lived at about the same time. The log of the ship den Houttuyn on which he sailed New Netherland listed Leiderdorp as his home town.

His passage on den Houttuyn was almost certainly paid in return for his commitment to indentured service in Rensselaerswyck (a "patroonship"; essentially a feudal colony that was essentially where Albany, NY is today). He arrived there in on 11 Aug 1642, and began work on the farm of Michaael Jansen. Jurian evidently satisfied the terms of his service, and, by 1652, had settled on a farm in Esopus, further south on the Hudson River.

Marretje Hansen

Marretje was born in 1636 to Hans Jansen and Rymerig Volkert in Nordstrand, Schleswig-Holstein, which was part of Denmark at the time, and is now part of Germany. Both of her parents are believed to have been born in Nordstrand, which is peninsula that is a remnant of an island named Strand that was torn apart in 1634 by floods in that killed over 6,000 people (more than the population of Nordstrand today).

(Using the Dutch patronymic conventions, the name "Hans Jansen" means "Hans, the sone of Jan". Also, the son of Hans would carry the surname "Hansen". Formally, daughters would carry the name "Hanse", but records of Marretje's family use the "Hansen" convention for both boys and girls.)

Hans and Marretje immigrated to New Netherland in 1639. There is no record of the immigration of Marretje's mother, but Hans Jansen had a child baptized in New Amsterdam in 1641. Hans settled on a farm in what is now Brooklyn, New York, where, consistent with Dutch tradition, the the toponym "van Nordstrand" was added to his name. He was thus frequently identified as Hans Jansen van Nordstrand. 8-year-old Marretje was indentured to tavern-keeper Phillip Gerritsen for three years starting in 1645.

Marriage and Children

Jurian and Marretje were marrried in 1653, when he was 32 and and she was 17. Modern records generally say that they were married at Fort Orange (Albany), but the Dutch Reformed churches kept detailed records, and no record of their marriage has been found. It seems reasonable that they might have been married in or near Brooklyn. The only church record referring to their marriage is this curious note that is reported out of context in a book about records at the Dutch church in Oyster Bay:
Jurian Westphael, of Esopus, m. Harretje Hansen, dau. of Hans Jansen and his first wife.
Marretje was the girl bound to the tavern-keeper.
It is not clear whether the subsequent text in the book:
Reymerick, m. 1672, Thos. Quick.
Abell, bp. Sep 25, 1661. Symen, bp. Sep 30 1663, at Kinsgston. Witnesses Grietjen Hendricks and Simen Hansen.
is from the church record, or is an annotation by the author. In any case, it is incomplete, since they had at least six children (all born in Kingston, Ulster County)
  1. Rymerick (1654 - 1719 Montague, Sussex Co, NJ), m. Thomas Theunissen Quick. They had four children, all in Kingston.
  2. Johannes Jurian (1659 - 1725 Minisink, Orange Co, NY), m. Marietje Kool in 1683. They had 11 children, all in Kingston. Four of them married van Kuykendall siblings.
  3. Abel (1661 -1689 in Augusta Co, VA)
  4. Symen (1663 - 1733 Ulster Co, NY), m. Neeltje Quachenbos. They had 9 children, all in Kingston.
  5. Niclaes (1659 - at least 1715 in Montague, Sussex Co, NJ), m(1). Maria Montanye and had one child in Kingston , m(2).Sara Van Aken and had 6 children; 2 in Kingston, and 4 in Minisink.
  6. Rebecca (abt 1665; no baptismal record)
  7. Elsjen (1666 - 1686 Kingston, Ulster Co, NY)

It is not clear how Jurian (who lived up the Hudson River) and Marretje (who lived in Brookly) met. Their marriage may even have been arranged. (However, there is no known relationship between Marretje's father Hans Jansen and Jurien's former master Michael Jansen.)

Jurian is reported to have been killed in 1667 by Native Americans while guiding a group of British soldiers. Marretje married Jacob Jansen (no relation) a year or so after Jurian died. She died in Kingston after 1670.


  1. A Documentary History of the Dutch Congregations of Oyster Bay, Queens County, Island of Nassau (Now Long Island) by Henry A Stoutenburgh. Serialized by The Knickerbocker Press. 1902-1907. p.672. Available at the Internet Archive, at
  2. Westfall Family Tree by Ronald Nevin Wall (one webpage; 91 printed pages), at
  3. Descendants of Jurian Westfall by Don Norman (one webpage; 73 printed pages) at
  4. Westfall Genealogy by Walter Westfall (several huge pages), at
  5. The Westfall Family by Ray and Sue Wall, at

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