NameRoelof (Roeloffse) Jansen
Birth1605, Masterland (island near Goteborg, Sweden/Norway)
Death1636, New Amsterdam, New York
Misc. Notes

Roelof Jansen arrived at New Amsterdam by "de Eendracht," May 24, 1630. The ship sailed from the Texel, March 21, 1630. He was to work in the colony of Rensselaerswyck for $72 a year. He was accompanied by his wife Anneke (Anetje) Jans, his daughters Sarah, (Katrina) and Fytje. Until quite recently it has been believed that Roelof Jansen and his family were Dutch. In the "Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts," (p. 56f. note) it is shown by A. T. F. van Laer, Archivist of New York State, that they were not from "Maasterland," but from "Masterland" or "Maesterland," meaning Marstrand, which is on a small island off the coast of Sweden, near Goteborg (Gothenburg). The editor and translator of "Bowier Manuscripts" concludes therefore that Jansen's family probably were Swedes. But why not Norwegians? Marstrand belonged to Norway prior to 1658, and it is significant that Claes Claesen and Jacob Goyversen, both from Flekkero, Norway, sailed with Roelof and worked with him on "de Laets Burg." There were on July 20, 1632, only three men on this farm: Jansen, Claesen, Goyversen, three Norwegians.

On July 1, 1632, Roelof Jansen was appointed schepens. The oath of the schepens, administered by the Schout to Jansen, and other schepens, among whom was Laurens Laurensen, another Norwegian, was as follows:

"This you swear, that you will be good schepens, that you will be loyal and feal to my gracious lord and support and strengthen him in his affairs as much as is in your power; that you will pass honest judgment between the lord and the farmer, the farmer and the lord, and in the proceedings between two farmers, and that you will not fail to do this on any consideration whatsoever.

"So help you God."

As schepen, Roelof Jansen got a "black hat, with silver bands.

As to Roelof's farming, but little can be said. Van Rensselaer, always exacting in his demands, complained in a letter written July 20, 1632, to Wolfert Gerritz, that it showed "bad management that Roeloff Jansen could not get any winter seed. I hope that he has sown the more summer seed."

Likewise in a letter of April 23, 1634, to Director Wouter van Twiller, the Patroon said: "I see that Roeloff Janssen has grossly run up my account in drawing the provisions, yes, practically the full allowance [even] when there was [enough in] stock. I think that his wife, mother, and sister and others must have given things away, which can not be allowed. He complains that your honor has dismissed him from the farm, and your honor writes me that he wanted to leave it. It would thus appear that Jansen left the colony of Rensselaerswyck in 1634.

Roelof Jansen moved with his family to New Amsterdam about 1634 or a little later. In 1636 he received a groundbrief of thirty-one morgens of land lying along East River. "It formed a sort of peninsula between the river and the swamps which then covered the sites of Canal Street and West Broadway." Here Jansen "probably erected a small farmhouse upon a low hill near the river shore at about the present Jay Street; but he had hardly made a beginning in the work of getting his bouwery under cultivation when he died, leaving his widow the arduous task of caring for a family of five children in a colony hardly settled as yet." Of Jansen's children, Sarah, Katrina and Sofia married in New Netherland (See the articles following). Annetje died as a child. Jan (Roelofsen) settled in Schenectady and was killed by the Indians in the massacre of 1690.

Jansen's widow married again. The Dutch Reformed preacher in New Amsterdam Everardus Bogardus took her for his wife in 1638. See the article "Anneke Jans." Of all Scandinavian immigrants in early New York she is probably the best known.

Ref: Scandinavian Immigrants In New York 1630 - 1674. by John O. Evjen (pages 89-91)
Birth15 Jan 1605, Flekkeroy, Vest Agder, Norway
Death19 Mar 1663, New Amsterdam, New York
Burial23 Feb 1663, Dutch Calvinist Burying Ground, Fort Orange (Albany), NY
Marriage18 Apr 1623, Amsterdam, Holland
ChildrenSarah (1626-~1693)
Last Modified 26 May 2012Created 4 Sep 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh