Our History

The Van Alstyne family has lived in what would become the United State since the early 1650s. The original Van Alstyne in America, Jan Martense (AKA Jan de Wever), came to the Dutch Colony of New Amsterdam as an indentured servant. After paying off his indenture, he returned to the Netherlands to gather his small family and return for good. In 1655, he brought his wife, Dierkje Hermanse, and his two oldest sons: Herman and Abraham Janse (my ancestor). He also convinced his sister, Catalyntje Martense and her family, including her husband: Cornelis Maeesen Van Buren. They would become the original members of the family of our nation's 7th President: Martin Van Buren. Jan and his family were originally from Meppel, a town in the province of Drenthe. In 1656, Jan and his family moved to Fort Orange where he purchased a plot of land. In 1658, they moved again to the Albany area. They acquired multiple plots of lands there by 1660 by participating in the fur trade and trading with the Native Americans. In June of 1684 after a massacre in Wildwyck, Jan was a cadet in the 2nd company of William Jansen. His son, Abraham Janse would later become a corporal in 1673, an Ensign in 1689 and a Captain in 1700. He was also a farmer and a navigator of a vessel on the Hudson. Eventually, he settled in Kinderhook and he and Dirckje had nine children and acquired over 3,000 acres of land. In 1683, Jan and his entire family (except Herman) were members of the Albany Dutch Reformed Church. Jan died about 1698, Dirckje had preceded him in 1682. He and Dirckje are reportedly buried beneath the current Kinderhook Dutch Reformed Church.


Via inheritance and subdivision, parts of the original 3,000 acres owned by Jan Martense became the estate known as "Lindenwald" which is famous as the home of President Martin Van Buren. His grandmother, Dirckje Van Alstyne, was a granddaughter of Jan Martense, daughter of Abraham Janse and sister to my ancestor: Abraham Van Alstyne. Martin Van Buren is the first President to have been born an American Citizen, one of only two Reformed Dutch Presidents and the founder of the Modern Democratic Party.


Jan's 3rd son, Abraham Janse, married Agniet Van Noestrand and they had 3 children. He then married Maritje Van Deusen and they had 11 children. Among them were the previously mentioned Dirckje (1698) and my ancestor: Abraham Van Alstyne (1703).


Abraham married Wyntje Conyn (Conine) in 1734 in Albany. They had four children Phillipus (1735), Abraham A (1739), Leendert/Leonard (my ancestor, 1743) and Emmetje (1745). Phillipus was a Lt Colonel of the 7th Albany Militia Regiment during the Revolutionary War. Leonard was a private in the same regiment. Their commanding officer, Colonel Abraham I Van Alstyne was the son of their Uncle Isaac (1703), Abraham Janse's 7th child with Maritje Van Deusen. Emmetje married General Samuel Ten Broeck (1745) who was appointed commanding General of all New York Militias near the end of the war. Samuel was also the son of Wyntje's sister, Cathrina Conyn. As you can see, many Van Alstyne's were strong patriots in the Revolutionary War.


However, some Van Alstyne's chose to remain loyal to the Crown. Chief among these was probably Major Peter Van Alstyne (1744). he was the son of Abraham's brother Sander (1700). After being driven from his home due to his loyalist sympathies, Peter led his family and a group of other Loyalists to the Bay of Quinte in Canada. They settled the town of Adolphus and the grist mill he built still stands today (according to Wikipedia)


Leonard married Elizabeth Hoes and they had one son, Abraham (my ancestor, 1773). Leonard then married Hannah Steves and they had three more sons Samuel (1793), Richard (1796), Isaac Leonard (1798).


Abraham married Mary Harrington (1783) and they had 7 children: Elizabeth (1804), Leonard (1806), Isaac (my ancestor, 1809), Jane (1813), Marietta (1815), Caroline (1816) and Peter (1818).


Isaac married Hannah Smith (1809) and had 11 children. William Edward Van Alstyne (1834) was their second child and my ancestor. William was a founding member of the Holland Society of New York. He married Helen Marie Becker (1841) in 1860 and they had 5 children. Rachel Annie (1861), Louis Irving (my ancestor 1863), Percy W (1870), Henry Burhaus (1873) and Dr William Becker (1878), Dr William B Van Alstyne was a member of the Holland Society and a practicing physician before he gave it up to pursue genealogy. He married Lillian Ducharme and had two daughters: Helen (1906) and Margaret. I spoke to cousin Margaret many times prior to her passing in 2016 and learned many interesting facts about our family. She also very excitedly spent an hour talking to JoAnn after our engagement to tell her the history of the Van Alstyne family. She was a very proud Van Alstyne and a lovely lady. She also gifted me with examples of her father's writing in the Albany-area historical journals and introduced me to the work of Lester Van Alstyne who published a 3-volume genealogy of our common family. This history goes all the way down to our next subject and his children:


Louis Irving married Mary Burton Vreeland (1868) and they had 4 children: George Vreeland (1888), Gansevoort Ten Eyck (1891), Emma R (1894), and Lt Cdr Louis Irving (1897). Mary's family also has a long Revolutionary War lineage as her great-great-Grandfather, Johannis, was a Captain in the Bergen County Militia (NJ). Louis Irving was a veteran of WWI and WWII and served on the USS Ancon in both the Atlantic and the Pacific.


Gansevoort Ten Eyck Van Alstyne (1891) , "Gansy", was my great grandfather and many stories have been told of his larger than life personality and his love of friends and family. I own his personalized Zippo lighter with his signature engraved upon it to this day. Gansy was also a member of the Holland Society and I remember my grandparent's having his membership certificate hanging on their living room wall (sadly lost now).


After Gansy, we have the first of the three Kenneths beginning with Ken, followed by my Dad, "Kenny" and me, "Chip." Grandpa was a salesman for Polyplastix and moved his family to St Pete, FL in the 1960s where my Dad and his twin sister Judy graduated from Boca Ciega High School. Judy was a Nursing Graduate from Baylor University and died very young from pericarditis while my dad was serving in Viet Nam. Upon his return from his tour of duty, Dad married Eileen Falloon and I was born a few years later. Dad completed 27 years in the US Air Force as a weather forecaster and retired as a Master Sergeant. He then worked for the US Postal Service and finally Raymond James before retiring and beginning to volunteer at the local VA Hospital. Sadly, Dad passed away in 2019. He was buried with full military honors next to my mother, his parents, sister and grandparents.