Geurt Hendrickse Van Schoonhoven


Geurt Hendricks was the patriarch of the Albany Van Schoonhoven family.

He emigrated to New Netherland and may have settled in Beverwyck as late as the 1650s. Supporting himself through carpentry, initially he rented a dwelling while working out of a "celler with a lean-to shed" - which he purchased in 1663. Later, he owned a house and lot within the Albany stockade.

He seems, however, to have preferred the countryside. By the mid-1670s, he was farming at "the Half Moon" and later on Cohoes Island. In 1689, he was included on a list of subscribers consisting of farmers in Marte Gerritse's company. One of many contemporaries who held dual residences, the census of 1697 also lists him and his family as householders in the city of Albany.

By the 1660s, he had married Maria Cornelis. They were members of the Albany Dutch Church where he was able to find carpentry work and also aid and assistance. Their six surviving children (all born prior to extant baptism records dating from 1683) became church members.

In August 1700, an ailing Geurt Hendrickse made a will which summarized his life in America. Calling himself a yeoman of Halfmoon, he acknowledged the suppremacy of God and also his allegiance to the king of England. He left his "well beloved wife Marite Cornelius" his entire Halfmoon estate and also his lot in Albany. She was made executrix. Eldest son Jacob was given one pound and ten shillings as his birthright and son Hendrick was left Geurt's carpenter tools. The sons were to share farm tools. After their mother's death, the sons were to have the Halfmoon and Albany property appraised, and, after six years, divide the proceeds six ways to include their sisters, Margarita, Hendrickie, Geertruy, and Jacomyntie Van Schoonhoven.

This New Netherland pioneer died in January 1702.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany The life of Geurt Hendricks is CAP biography number 5887. This profile is derived chiefly from community and family based resources.
The name "Geurt" seems to be unique to several generations of the Van Schoonhoven family - at least in the Albany context. We are told it is a Rhenen dialect form of Gerrit. For more on Geurt Hendrickse, see Andrew Brink, "The Van Schoonhovens: Enterprising Immigrants," De Halve Maen 72:2 (Summer 1999), pp. 33-40.

Gerritse's company farmed Castle Island, today's Port of Albany.

Yeoman means independent (not tenant) and most often land-owning (not a dependant) farmer. The Half Moon was located north of Rensselaerswyck and thus represented an opportunity to actually own land.

Will: A copy or transcription of the actual will document is unavailable at this time.

first posted: 1999; recast and revised 2/20/10