In the name of God, Amen: Know all men that on this day, the 26th of May 1663, about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, before me, Dirck van Schelluyne, notary public, and before the afternamed witnesses, personally came and appeared the honorable Harmen Thomasz van Amersfort, master shoemaker, and Catalina Bercx, husband and wife, to me, the notary, and the undersigned witnesses known; both being sound in body, standing and walking, having full possession and use of their faculties, reason, memory and understanding, as outwardly seemed, and without one being able to observe anything to the contrary; which appearers, considering the shortness and frailty of human life, the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the hour thereof, and wishing therefore to anticipate the same by a proper disposition of all such temporal estate as after the decease of the first of the two it may be found that Almighty God has granted them, declare that deliberately and after mature consideration, without inducement, persuasion, or misleading of any persons, they have made, ordained and decreed this their present joint last will and testament, in form and manner following:
First and before all commending their immortal souls, whenever they shall be separated from their bodies, to the gracious hands of God, their Maker and Redeemer, and their bodies to a Christian burial, and revoking, canceling and annulling hereby all and every such testamentary dispositions, bequests or last wills as they jointly or separately may have made and executed heretofore, and now deposing anew they, the appearers and testators, have nominated and instituted, as by these presents they do mutually and reciprocally nominate and institute, the survivor of them both as the sole and universal heir of all the estate, real and personal, claims and credits, gold and silver, coined and uncoined, jewels, clothing, woolen and linen, household furniture and other things, nothing excepted nor reserved, which the first deceased of them both on his or her death shall vacate and leave behind, to do therewith as with his or her own absolute property, without opposition or contradiction of any persons, save nevertheless and with this express restriction and condition that the survivor shall remain holden to nourish and bring up in an honest and godly way, until they shall come to maturity or marriage estate, the five children by the testatrix procreated with her former husband, Dirck Bensingh, deceased, namely, Dirck aged 13 years, Sampson aged about 11 years, Johannes aged 8 years, Catarina aged 6 years, and Maria Dircxsz Bensingh aged about 4 years, alone, or with the child or children (since she, the testatrix, is at present pregnant, or with child), which they, the testators, may also have in wedlock; and then to fit out the same as the survivor in his or her conscience shall think proper, without nevertheless the outfit being in any manner obligatory; which nourishment and bringing up they, the appearers, intend and desire that the survivor shall undertake and that their children shall be holden to be content therewith, in place of and for their legitimate portions (belonging to them by law from their deceased parents' estates), and that in consideration of these weighty reasons, to wit, that her said former husband, Dirck Bensingh, deceased, left her, the testatrix, in her widowhood with a much incumbered estate and that her said present husband with the labor of his own hands has earned, cleared off and paid the greater part of her debts and charges upon said estate. It is furthermore stipulated that in case the testatrix die before the testator, and he, the testator, shall marry again, or leave the country during the minority of said children of the first marriage, then he shall be holden to arrange with the hereinafter named authorized and solicited guardians respecting the children interested herein as they may jointly find just and proper; to which end [the testators] hereby solicit and appoint as associate guardians, Mr Adriaen van Ilpendam and Jan van Aecken for the oversight of said children and earning out of the contents of this will, which they hereby accept and undertake according to their ability; and on the departure or decease of one of them, the survivor may choose, take and accept another [to act] with him. Finally, in case the said survivor dies without remarriage, the said children of the first marriage with the child or children which they shall beget together shall inherit and divide equally, share and share alike, the property which the survivor shall leave behind. All that is hereinbefore written, they, the appearers and testators, declare to be their joint last will and testament, willing and desiring that the same after the death of the first of them shall have full force and effect, whether as testament, codicil, donation, gift in anticipation of death, or otherwise, as may be most suitable, notwithstanding that certain formalities demanded by law or rules of court may not herein have been fully observed; desiring that the utmost benefit hereof may be enjoyed, and that one or more instruments hereof in proper form may be made and delivered by me, the notary, to be used according to the exigencies of the case.
Thus done and executed in Beverwyck near Fort Orange in New Netherland, at the dwelling of the testators, in presence of said guardians, Adriaen van Ilpendam and Jan van Aecken, together with Jan Verbeeck, neighbors of the testators, called and bidden as witnesses hereto.
This mark X was made by Catalyntie Bercx, aforenamed, with her own hand [witnessed by] Adr1aen Van Ilpendam Jan Koster Van Aaken
first posted: 9/5/12; revised 1/12/13