Wolfert Gerritsz Van Couwenhoven1

#1589, (1580 - 1662)
Relationship9th great-grandfather of Nelle Belle Bridges

Family 1

Aeltgen Jansdochter b. s 1584, d. c 1606
The argument as to whether Wolfert had a first wife (Aeltge) who died shortly after their marriage, and that the second wife of Wolfert was Neeltje Jacobse [Jacobsdochter] is covered in the articles of van Kouwenhoven, "Wolfert Gerritsen in The Netherlands" (NYGBR 128-129) and "Wolfert Gerritsen in The Netherlands: Further Thoughts About the Van Couwenhoven Family" (NYGBR 125:4). In any event, the sources agree that Neeltje was the mother of the known children.2 
Wolfert Gerritsz Van Couwenhoven was also known as Wolfert Gerrits. 
Birth*1580He was born in 1580 at Utrecht, Netherlands.1 
Marriage*17 January 1605He married Aeltgen Jansdochter on 17 January 1605 at Amersfoort, Netherlands.3 
Marriage*after 1606He married Neeltje Jacobsdochter after 1606 at Reformed Dutch Church, Amersfoort, Netherlands.4 
by 1630He and Neeltje Jacobsdochter migrated to New Amsterdam, New Netherland, by 1630.5 
Baptism19 May 1641He sponsored the baptism of Jan Jacobsen Van Couwenhoven on 19 May 1641 at Reformed Dutch Church, New Amsterdam, New Netherland.6 
Baptism20 September 1641He sponsored the baptism of Neeltje Gerritse Van Couwenhoven on 20 September 1641 at New Netherland.7 
Baptism27 August 1645He sponsored the baptism of Aeltje Jacobs Van Couwenhoven on 27 August 1645 at New Netherland.8 
Death*1662He died in 1662.9 
The locality modifier "Van Couwenhoven" appears in New Amsterdam church records as early as 1649 when Jacob Van Couwenhoven is named as a sponsor for the baptism of Janneken Backerus. In 1651 appearing as a sponsor for the baptism of Albert Albertsen is Wolfert Gerritszen Couwenhoven, the head of the immigrant family. Earlier records use the familiar Dutch naming convention - given name with patronymic, i.e., the name of the father. In these cases we will find Wolferts sons as Pieter Wolfertszen, Gerrit Wolfertszen and Jacob Wolfertszen (as appears in the records of the Church at New Amsterdam). Only later is Van Couwenhoven (or by some Kouwenhoven) taken by the family as a surname.
Bergen's Register of the Early Settlers of Kings County (1881) states that the family migrated to New Amsterdam from Amersfooort in the province of Utrecht. The modifier "Van Amerfoort" as sometimes found in lieu of "Van Couwhoven" in the early colonial records. In New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, a 1939 contribution "The Van Kouwenhoven-Conover Family" says of Wolfer Gerritse that "it is certain that he came from an estate named Kouwenhoven in the neighborhood of the city of Amersfoort in the Netherlands." In the same publication, in 1997–1998, the contribution "Wolfert Gerritse in the Netherlands" states "there is more than one Couwenhoven in the vicinity of Amersfoort — not only a Couwenhoven to the northwest in Hoogland but also one on the east [actually west] near Zeist and one southeast in Woudenberg." This article includes many of the Dutch church sources to support the Amersfoort origins of the family. The same author, in 2004, comments "[the] farm Kouwenhoven is located in the neighborhood Coelhorst within the former district Hoogland, which is now a part of the district Amersfoort."
Finally, in the last mentioned work (129:3, p. 113), citing a 1639 contract, "the name Couwenhoven was used at this time in Amersfoort in reference to Wolfert's deceased brother Willem."10,11,12,13 
ChartsAncestors of Nelle Belle Bridges


  1. [S227] Van Cleave Family Tree, online http://vancleavefamilytree.com/index.php, WOLFERT GERRITSZ VAN COUWENHOVEN, b. 1580, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands, d. 1662, Long Island, New Netherland.
  2. [S520] VWH.
  3. [S1637] Netherlands, Utrecht Province, Church Records, 1542-1955, images, online FamilySearch.org, Nederlands Hervormde > Amersfoort > Trouwen 1592-1627, 1631-1700 [FHL Film 121344]; img. 62/758. As described in "Wolfert Gerritse in the Netherlands" (NYGBR 128:217), "The entry, dated 17 January 1605, indicates that Wolfert Gerritse married Aeltgen Jansdochter." In the film image, there is a first date, 9 Jan 1602, then the entry, [line numbered 1] Wolfer Gerritse and [line numbered 2] Aeltgen Jans Dochter [Aeltge, daughter of Jans; in the patronymic style her name would be Aeltge Jans or Janse] [line numbered 3] married in Amersfoort the 17th of January. The first date may be the date of betrothal (intentions) but more needs to be discovered about the style of these entries.
  4. [S1638] Willem van Kouwenhoven, "Wolfert Gerritse in the Netherlands: Further Thoughts", The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 135:4 (Oct. 2004): p. 253. "It then follows that Aeltge was first wife, that she died shortly after their marriage without bearing any children who survived, and that Neeltje who is shown as his wife in the documents from the Amersfoort archives, was his second wife and the mother of his known children."
  5. [S672] A. J. F. van Laer, editor, Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts (Albany: University of the State of New York, 1908), p. 158, citing V. R. B. Mss, Letter Book, f.35b (extract in V. R. B. Mss 36). "Instructions from Kiliaen van Rensselaer for Bastiaen Ianssen Crol, commis at Fort Orange, 12 Jan 1630."
    I have engaged Wolffert Gerritssz, farmer, to direct provisionally all my affairs concerning the farms and purchase of cattle, [asking him also to] show [said Gerritssz] every favor as to what he may need for me for that purpose, also to cause to be made what he may want in the way of hardware or other things and to charge the same to my account, and if he needs any carpenters, for the erection of my houses, barracks, barns, sheepfold or other buildings, to accommodate him therewith if they are not more needed for the Company . . .
    If it is a good acorn year there, that Wulffert Gerritssen or his foreman have a good quantity bought up for me to be kept for the winter as feed for the hogs . . .
    And inasmuch as Rensselaer has agreed to plant a colony, and is thereby bound to support 50 people in that country, he must necessarily have many animals or will otherwise not be able to maintain his colony. Wolffert Gerritssz shall therefore try to obtain as many animals as possible from this one and that one . . .

    And "Instructions to Wolfert Gerritsz," 16 Jan 1630.
    Amersfoort, this 16th of January 1630, in Amsterdam Wulfert Gcrritssz aforesaid is engaged by Rensselaer, his service to begin on his arrival in that country. He is bound for four summers, but Rensselr. may end the contract after one or two summers.
    The annual term of service of Wulfert is agreed upon to be from April to November, when all the winter seed is in the ground ; and if it is very necessary he must stay through the winter and he shall receive 20 guilders for each month of service being at his own expense as to board.

    Footnote, p. 161: "In the N. Y. Col. Mss, he is occasionally referred to as Wolfert Gerritsz van Couwenhoven. Couwenhoven is a farm or country seat about four miles northwest of Amersfoort."
  6. [S1171] Thomas Grier Evans, editor, Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam and New York: Baptisms From 1639 to 1730 (New York: New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 1901), p. 10. Jan, son of Jacob Wolphertszen [mother's name not given], bapt. 19 May 1641; sponsors Wolfert Gerritszen, Pieter Wolfertszen, Aeltie Cornelis.
  7. [S1171] Thomas Grier Evans, Records of the RDC in NY: Baptisms 1639–1730, p. 11. Neeltje, dau. of Gerrit Wolfertszen [mother's name not given], bapt. 20 Sep 1641; sponsors Wolfert Gerritszen, Huyge Aertszen, Hester Simons.
  8. [S1171] Thomas Grier Evans, Records of the RDC in NY: Baptisms 1639–1730, p. 19. Aeltje, dau. of Jacob Wolphertszen [mother's name not given], bapt. 27 Aug 1645; sponsors Wolfert Gerritszen. Pieter Wolfertszen, Maryken Thymens, Ariaentje Cornelis.
  9. [S1643] Lincoln C Cocheu, "The Van Kouwenhoven-Conover Family", The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 70, 71 (1939–1940): court action 24 Jun 1662; heirs sued 24 Jun 1662; citing HSYB 1900, p. 142.
  10. [S1176] Teunis G. Bergen, Register in Alphabetical Order of the Early Settlers of Kings County, Long Island, N. Y. (New York: S. W. Green's Sons, 1881), p. 81.
  11. [S1643] Lincoln C Cocheu, "Van Kouwenhoven-Conover Family", p. 232.
  12. [S1647] Willem van Kouwenhoven, "Wolfert Gerritse in the Netherlands", The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 128:210–218, 129:21–31, 109–120 (Oct. 1997, Jan./Apr. 1998): p. 212.
  13. [S1638] Willem van Kouwenhoven, "Wolfert Gerritse: Further Thoughts", p. 252.
  14. [S1176] Teunis G. Bergen, Early Settlers of Kings County, pp. 77–81.