Sunday, September 27, 2015

New Amsterdam family, part 3

Magdalena Dircks > Christina Rosenkrans > Johannes Cortright > Elisha Cortright > Isaac Cortright > Mabel Cortright > Jameson Ransom > Charles Ransom > Lillian Ransom > Charles Walters

Continuing with my New Amsterdam ancestors. Part 3 of 3
(See Part 1 and Part 2)

Magdalena Dircks was the daughter of Dirck Volckertson and Christina Vigne. She was born sometime around 1635 and would have grown up witnessing the various incidents that her father was involved in (not to mention a wide variety of troubles her extended family caused, but that’s a whole other story). It is little wonder then, that Magdalena herself would cause some trouble.

In October 1652, Magdalena was married to Cornelius Van Dort. The couple had a daughter in 1654 and in 1655 Cornelius died. His death was probably a result of conflict with local Native Americans. Magdalena then married Harmen Hendricksen (also known as Harmen Rosenkrans) in March 1657, a time that also marks the beginning of Magdalena’s first bit of trouble. Court records for March 1657 charge Magdalena and her bridegroom with insulting the Fire Warden of the City and causing a "street riot.” Magdalena appeared in court without her new husband, where she admitted that she and her sister had made a joke about Fire Warden Litschoe as they passed his home. Magdalena seemed to think nothing of their comment, saying they always joked, but the warden took great offense to it. It was ruled that such behavior was not "and ought not to be tolerated on account of its bad consequences" and Magdalena was fined 2 pounds, one to be paid to the church, the other to the poor. She was warned if similar behavior continued other fines would follow.

Unfortunately for Magdalena, her wild behavior didn’t come to an end and unfortunately for our story, the exact nature of her actions weren’t including in surviving records. Whatever she did, it was bad enough for her to be sent back to Netherlands, on account of her “dissolute life.” In June 1658, Harmen and Magdalena petition to be allowed to return to New Netherlands. They asked that their prior offenses be overlooked and if they were allowed to return, they promised not to be involved in beer, wine or brandy. They said they would live honestly, knowing additional charges against them would result in further punishment.

A week later, the directors of the West India Company agreed to allow “Magdalena Dircx, alias the Flying Angel” and her husband to return to New Amsterdam, provided they lead a "quiet and honest life." The fact Magdalena’s name was mentioned in the document, and not her husband’s, suggests she was indeed the real reason for their banishment. (“Flying Angel,” it is thought, may have been the name of a tavern ran by Magdalena.)

Sometime around 1662, Magdalena and her family moved to Esopus in Ulster County. What may have started as a clean slate for Magdalena, did not remain that way for long. In October 1663, Magdalena was the defendant in a case against Roelof Swartwout, a local official who oversaw that the laws were kept. He charged Magdalena with hindering him when he was arresting Aeltje Claes. Magdalena said she didn't interfere, but only questioned Swartwout why he was arresting her. "Why do you want to disgrace her? She is neither a whore nor a thief.” Magdalena was told to submit evidence in the next session to clear her name.

The conflicts and allegations surrounded Magdalena carry on for many more years, however I have only been able to find partial books and records available online. There is mention of debts, theft, violence, vulgar insults and even Magdalena’s marital unfaithfulness. Someday I hope to find these records and sources for myself.

The last record of Magdalena is in the will of her daughter, Sara Rosenkrans, written in 1726, making Magdalena over 90 years old. Sara’s estate was left to her mother and following Magdalena’s death it was to be distributed to her siblings and nieces and nephews.

Sources: Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam and New York,; Baptisms of New Amsterdam Reformed Dutch Church 1639-1730; Dutch Records in the City Clerk’s Office New York, part 1; New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch/New Netherland Documents,; Invading Paradise: Esopus Setters at War with Natives, 1659-1663 by Andrew Brink,; The Records of New Amsterdam from 1653 to 1674, volumes 3, 5, 7,; The Dutch Records of Kingston, Ulster County, New York,; “The Flying Angel,”

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