This week’s theme is “Close Up.” When I first started delving into the Dutch history of New York City, I started to notice people in databases like Ancestry having birth places or death places in Long Island City, a neighborhood of the borough of Queens. That is not very far from the neighborhood I live in, in the western part of Queens. I also saw other places I recognized, like Flushing, and places I didn’t, like Newtown.
The first part of Queens to be settled by the Dutch was Maspeth in 1642 and Vlissingen (now Flushing) in 1643. Those towns still exist today as neighborhoods in Queens. In 1652, the village of Newtown was created. Newtown, now known as Elmhurst, expanded until part of it broke off in the late 19th Century to became Long Island City. So technically, a farm in Newtown in the early 18th Century could be translated as being in Long Island City in the present day, but that may or may not be accurate.
My seventh great-grandmother Aeltje Janse van Cowenhoven was baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church of Flatbush in Brooklyn in 1678. Her parents were recorded as Jan Gerritsen van Cowenhoven and Gedyne De Cille (aka Gerardina de Sille) and the witnesses as Laurens De Cille and Archonia Hillegonde. Aeltje grew up in Brooklyn with her parents then married Dirck Brinckerhoff and moved to Flushing, Queens to live with him. They had nine children together.
She was buried in Queens in an old cemetery called the Brinckerhoff Cemetery, sometimes called the Black Stump Cemetery. It is located in what is now called Fresh Meadows, but was known as the Black Stump community when her family lived there. It was created from a corner of the Brinckerhoff family farm and a corner of the Noorstrandt farm. Most of the headstones are missing or buried , but back in 1927 a photo was taken of Aeltje’s headstone that is now in the Archives at Queen’s Library. The cemetery was landmarked in 2012.
A good next step would be to look at old maps for Queens and compare them to current maps to better translate old place names to new.
Lincoln C. Cocheu, “The Van Kouwenhoven-Conover Family,” article, Find My Past (http://www.findmypast.com : accessed 7 May 2018), 274; citing prior publication in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (1940).