Decamp #1814

Laurens Jansen Decamp (1645-1726)

Born in France or Netherlands.  Arrived in New York in 1664 and

Aeltje Gillis Mandeville (1660-1687)

Born in New Amersterdam (New York).

Decamp #1814

Much of the information known of our ancestor, Laurens Jansen Decamp, has been summarized in the DeCamp genealogy: Laurent De Camp of New Utrecht, N.Y., 1664 and his descendants (J. Munsell’s Sons, 1900) by George Austin Morrison.

Laurens Jansen Decamp came from the province of Normandy, France.  Morrison seems to agree with the speculation that he may have come from the city of Rouen, as there was a “De Camp” family in that city, one member of which, Jean de Camp, a saddler, was killed there during the St. Bartholomew massacre in August 1572.  There does not seem to be reliable information regarding Laurens’ parents, beyond that his father’s name is presumed to be Jan.  His family apparently moved from France to Netherlands prior to Laurens’ departure for America, and it is not known with certainty whether Laurens was born in France or Netherlands.

Our Decamp ancestor arrived on an unknown ship, at the shores of New Amsterdam about 1664, in the company of other Huguenot[1] refuges from Holland.  His name appears as Laurens Jansen (Lawrence, son of John) in early Dutch records.  His immigration preceded the large-scale Huguenot migration to the American colonies that occurred after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.  The Dutch encouraged emigration to New Netherland.  Immigrants, composed chiefly of persecuted persons or indentured servants who had served out their time, flocked into New Netherland, where they might enjoy freedom such as existed in Holland at the time. Laurens Jansen Decamp was the only Huguenot of that name to immigrate to New Netherland[2].  Some of his fellow immigrants were, Antone Du Chaine, Nicholas De la Plaine, Jean de la Warde, all of Normandy:  Simon Boucle, Jacques Monier, Pierre Monier, Gedeon Merlet, Jacques Cossart, and Jean Aus de Rues.

There is no birth or baptismal records for Laurens Jansen Decamp.  In the early Dutch Church records he is repeatedly called Laurens Jansen, but his full name “Laurens Jansen DeCamp” appears on the Kings County, New York assessment rolls: 24 Aug 1675 – 2 horses, 2 cows (£L52) and 24 morgens of land (£48); 29 Sep 1676 – 2 horses, 2 cows (£52) and 12 morgens of land (£24).

Laurens married Aeltje Gillis DeMandeville (“Elsie” in its anglicized form) about 1676.   She was probably born in New Amersterdam about 1660, and she is the daughter of Gilles Jansen De Mandeville and Altje Hendricks[3], discussed under their own heading. Laurens took the oath of allegiance to England at New Utrecht in 1687[4], and New Utrecht is where he originally settled[5]. Laurens and Aeltje were both members of the Reformed Dutch Church of New Utrecht in 1677.  This church was founded in 1677, but they did not build the church until 1700.   This is probably why Laurens’ and Aeltje‘s children were baptized in the  Reformed Dutch Church in Flatbush.

Many Huguenot immigrants to New Netherland (later New York) settled on the south shore of Staten Island[6].  In  about 1688-90, Laurens’ family moved to a Huguenot settlement with a French church on Staten Island.  Records indicate that he occupied about 160 acres of land that is located on the north end of Staten Island, just west of where the Bayonne Bridge is located today.

Laurens Jansen Decamp was pastor of the Staten Island Church in 1719[7].   It was a log building, octagonal in shape and survived until the American Revolution, but the church and its records were lost  when it was burned to the ground by the British.  The La Tournette, Sequire, Androvette, Perrin, Monet, Britten, LeFebore, Pillot, Grasset, LeGereau, Woods, Noes, Drakes and LaFountains (ardent Patriots) attended this church.

The children of Laurens Jansen Decamp and Aeltje Gillis DeMandeville are listed as follows (along with approximate dates):

  1. Joannes Decamp, born about 1677 and died about 1742 in Elizabethtown, New Jersey.
  2. Johanis (1679-1765)
  3. Styntje (1681- )
  4. Hendrik (1682-1771)
  5. Gideon Agidius (1683-1763)
  6. Weraichie (1685—1781)
  7. Altje (1690-1730)

In 1698 Joannes Decamp married Joseph Kelsey, born about 1673 at Windsor, Connecticut.  He removed to Elizabethtown, New Jersey and died there about June 1742.

The lineage of Joannes Decamp and Joseph Kelsey is continued under the heading of William Kelsey (1600-1676).


[1] For the historical background of French Huguenots, refer to the article on that subject.

[2] Morrison points out that as early as 1650 the names of “De Camp”, “Van Kamp” and “Van Campen” appear on the church and State records of New Amsterdam and the surrounding towns. It was long supposed that these three families were closely related, if not identical, but a critical examination of the records not only of the parents and children, but also of the baptismal sponsors, carries the conviction that the “De Camp” and the “Van Campen” families were of different origin and nationality. Almost all the original ” De Camp” settlers who can positively be identified and traced as such were recorded in the Dutch church records of New Amsterdam, Brooklyn, Flatbush, New Utrecht, and Staten Island, under the names “Van Kamp” and “Van Campen” by the clerks of the above several parishes. It is only after the year 1710 that the name begins to be written correctly as ” De Camp ” or ” D’Camp ” on the church records. At first it was theorized that some of the early “Van Campen” settlers were originally members of the “De Camp” family, basing the presumption upon the repeated recording of the name of “De Camp” in its Dutch equivalent, but upon classifying and comparing the names of the several sponsors at the baptism of the “De Camp” and “Van Campen” children, the strongest evidence is found to sustain the statement that the two families were nowise related by blood or marriage, the one being of French and the other of Dutch origin.

[3] Giles Jansen de Mandeville and Altje Hendricks were Huguenots who fled from Rouen, France. They came to America in 1649 De Trouw (“The Faith”). They settled in New Amsterdam.

[4] He was listed as having been in New York for 23 years at that time, which establishes the date of his arrival in about 1664.

[5] The area that encompassed the town center of New Utrecht is located in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. 84th street between 16th and 18th Avenues approximates the main thoroughfare of the town. The rest of the town’s lands are today the neighborhoods of Borough Park and Bay Ridge.

[6] In 1661, the first permanent Dutch settlement was established at Oude Dorp (Dutch for “Old Village”), just south of the Narrows near South Beach, by a small group of Dutch, Walloon and Huguenot families. Today, the last vestige of Oude Dorp exists as the present-day neighborhood of “Old Town”, adjacent to Old Town Road.

[7] Koehler, Albert F. The Huguenots or Early French in New Jersey. Bloomfield, New Jersey, 1955.


Your comments are welcome. Keep in mind, however, all comments are moderated, and please no off-topic links.