The Blauvelt Name
We can trace some of Pieter Blaeuvelt’s descendants for several generations and then the name seems to fade out. We understand that the Blauvelt name is not known in the Netherlands today. According to the customs of the time, many of Pieter’s descendants did not use their family name even though they had one, and some descendants adopted the maternal family name. For example, Pieter’s son, Simon Pietersz Blaeuvelt (a.k.a. Simon Pietersz Blaeuschuit), had two sons. The first, Fredrik Simonsz, used the Blaeuvelt surname, while the second, Volkert Simonsz, preferred the Blaeuschuit surname. It is worth noting that descendants of Fredrik Simonsz Blaeuvelt settled in and around the Purmerend area (south of Enkhuizen) that included Monnickendam, the birthplace of Willem Albertsen Blaeuvelt.
The father of Gerrit, our Blauvelt ancestor, was entered in the records of the church at Deventer only as Hendrick Gerryts, (son of Gerrit), and our Gerrit himself used only his patronymic, Hendricksen. It was the common practice in New Netherland to use patronymics even if an individual had a surname. The three dominant families who settled in the Tappan Patent were Haring, Smith, and Blauvelt. The immigrant ancestors of these families, known by their patronymics, were Jan Pietersen (Haring), Ariaen Lambertsen (Smith), and Gerrit Hendricksen (Blauvelt). Even Willem Albertsen Blaeuvelt used just his patronymic when he ceased his activities as a privateer. But unlike our Gerrit, he is first found in the records with his surname because he had worked for the English in the Caribbean. The English preferred the use of surnames to identify people, just as they required our Dutch ancestors to use surnames after New Netherland became an English colony. However, our ancestors maintained their tradition by using their patronymic as a middle name with their surname.
As Louis L. Blauvelt said, “What seems most significant is that all the children of Gerrit Hendricksen van Deventer simultaneously took the Blauvelt name in this country over 150 years after it had been first used by Pieter in Enkhuysen; and remember that Captain Willem Albertsen Blaeuvelt, came from Monnikendam, twenty miles from Enkhuysen…. If Blauvelt was their family name, and the name originated with Pieter from his coat-of-arms, then they must have descended from Pieter and had a right to his coat of arms as well as the name…. Notice that they all took the Blauvelt name! Not, as in some other families who adopted a surname based on their patronymic, such as Cornelison, or Gerritson, while others adopted, or became known by a “place name” such as Van Deventer, Van Horn, Van Houten, etc. In this way, some branches of the same family ended up with two or more different surnames. “Blauvelt” was Gerrit’s family name, though he had not used it, and his children knew it was their name. There was no guess work, no happenstance about it.”
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Brian M. Blauvelt
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