Annetje Rapalje (1646- )

Annetje Rapalje was born 8 Feb 1646 in New Amsterdam, 9th child and 6th daughter of Joris Rapalje and Catalina Tricot. She is the 9th great-grandmother of my son-in-law. The family was extraordinarily lucky: of Annetje’s ten siblings, only one died young, all others went on to have families, and play a large role in the history of New York, New Jersey and the nation.

Annetje’s parents had come from France, via Amsterdam, to New Netherland in Jan 1623/4. Their first child Sarah was the “first white child born in the New World.”

Annetje married Marten Reyerszen, who was born and baptized in Amsterdam, and was in New Netherland before 1663, when he was admitted as member of the Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn. They go on to have ten children; the naming pattern conforms mostly to expectations: Marritie (his mother), Joris (her father), Ryer (his father), Catalijntje (her mother), Sara (her sister), Geertje (his sister), Jacobus (her brother), Helena (?), Cornelius (?), and Frans (his maternal grandfather). All except Jacobus are known to have married and produced offspring. Annetje died after 1691, when she is a sponsor at the baptism of one of her grandchildren.

The accepted wisdom is that Marten came with his brother Adrian to the new world. Marten is the progenitor of the Reyersen family; Adrian’s descendants call themselves Adriance (son of Adrian), possibly to distinguish themselves from the other family. I am however not convinced that they are brothers. I have not been able to find a baptism in Amsterdam for an Adrian, whose parents also had a son Martin. Adrian is never a sponsor at any of the baptisms of Marten’s children. Marten does not name any of his children after Adrian, while he does name a child after his proven sister Geertruy. Adrian is in the new world before 1659, when he married Annetje Schenck in Midwout, Long Island, Marten is only mentioned starting in 1663.

Annetje and her husband are part of the history of the US, and both are connected to the Netherlands, which makes it doubly interesting to me. As an immigrant from the Netherlands, other immigrants from that small country have a certain appeal. While our circumstances were vastly different, I do feel a connection.

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