The clues I have are provocative but conflicting re my long-ago Vanderbeek v. Terhune ancestry.
A listing on the IGI (not reliable as a sole source, but in this case a good starting point) gives my ggg-grandfather Benjamin Ayres’ birth in 1799 to Eli Ayres and Annaatje Vanderbeek, baptized in March 1800 at the Schraalenburgh Reformed Dutch Church.) The birth date fits well with his confirmed death date.
A late-19th-century biography of Benjamin’s son Arthur says that Eli(hu)’s wife was Susan Terhune. Of course, men often married more than once in those days.
The 1886 will of Benjamin’s younger brother, Albert Ayres, mentions Benjamin and their sisters Susan, Eliza, Ann and Maria, suggesting that either Susan Terhune or Annaatje/Ann Vanderbeek (or both) could have been their mother(s). However, the first child of Eli Ayres listed in the Schraalenburgh records was a daughter named Susanah, born to Eli Ayers and Annaatje Vanderbeek in 1792. That’s not the mother-daughter combination I’d have expected. (The only other child listed under Eli and Annaatje was a son named Solomon born in 1794, but there is no baptism date given, only the birth date.)
I can find no record of a marriage between Annaatje Vanderbeek or Susan Terhune and Eli(hu) Ayres. Intriguingly, the only Annaatje Vanderbeek I’ve found who seems to “fit” (within the right age range and not accounted for elsewhere) was born in 1757 with no mention of a death or marriage -- I’d have thought her too old, but the biography of Arthur Ayres says that his grandmother Susan Terhune Ayres died at the age of 78 in 1836, giving her an approximate birth year of 1758. which is just one year off of Annaatje Vanderbeek’s birth year.
So now of course I’m wondering whether Annaatje was a Terhune or had married a Terhune. That doesn’t sit as well as I’d like though, since the Schraalenburgh records definitely list Eli Ayres and Annaatje Vanderbeek. Not Susan (although the daughter was Susanah).
Either of those women would have been having children late in life. But then Eli(hu) too was supposed to have been born in 1757, so they’d have been “of an age” together. Still, given the culture of those times, it’s unlikely that Annaatje or Susan would have waited till the age of 35 to marry for the first time. And Albert was born in 1810 or 1811, when either woman would have been in her early fifties. Susan Terhune Ayres died in 1836 and is buried with her husband in Staptleton, Staten Island -- he’d run a ferry between Manhattan and Jersey City for years starting right after the Revolution.
Was there any sort of Dutch-American naming custom? If the eldest daughter was Susan/Susanah, was that assuredly a family name somehow? Is there any way in which Susan could be a nickname for Annaatje???
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