Born in Germany. Arrived in New Amsterdam (New York) by 1652, later settling in New Jersey and
Born in Netherlands. Arrived in New Amsterdam (New York) by 1652, later settling in New Jersey.
Hendrick Jansen Spier is the immigrant ancestor of our Spier line. He was born in about 1619, probably in Germany. He is first found in the records of New Amsterdam (New York), where the name is spelled variously as Spiering, Spier, Spyr, Spieringh, Speir. In general, of course, Hendrick would have just used his patronymic, Jansen, in Dutch fashion. The name then came to be consistently spelled Speer, Spear or Spier. Our descendants apparently preferred the “Spier” spelling, which is used here for consistency (although among the descendents in general, the “Speer” spelling is probably more common. At one time, the Speers were so numerous that Upper Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey, was called Speertown, the Township of Montclair not being formed until 1868).
Hendrick Jansen Spier married Magdaleen Helena Von Swol in New Amsterdam (New York) shortly after 14 Sep 1652. Magdaleen was born about 1630 in Zwolle, Netherlands and died in 1697 in Bergen, New Jersey. After Hendick’s death, Magdaleen subsequently married Harmon Edwards in 1679 (who died shortly thereafter) and Jan Aertsen Vanderbilt in 1681.
Some researchers have erroneously attributed the date 13 Dec 1660 as Hendrick’s immigration date, as on that date he sailed in De Trouw (“The Faith”) to New Netherland, along with his wife, and two children, ages 4 and 5 years old. Looking more closely, however, at the early New Amsterdam records, one finds a marriage (bann) record for Hendrick Jansen, in the Marriage Book of the Reformed Dutch Church of New Amsterdam dated 14 Sep 1652. The marriage record reads:
Hendrick Janszen, Van Aschwaerde in’t Stift Bremen, en Magdaleen Jans Van Swol…
Subsequent baptismal records and court records identify this Hendrick Janszen as Hendrick Jansen Spier. One may conclude, therefore, that Hendrick Jansen Spier was in New Amsterdam prior to 14 Sep 1652. Apparently, he made a return trip to the Netherlands returned to New Netherland in De Trouw in 1660. Incidentally, their marriage record is the only place where Magdaleen’s name appears as Magdaleen Jans. Subsequent records have her name written as Magdaleen Hans. The first baptismal record for a child of Hendrick and Magdaleen (Helena as she is frequently called in the records), where his name of Spiering occurs, is for the baptism of daughter Tryntie, baptized 25 March 1657 in the New Amsterdam church, where the witnesses are Nicholaes Backer and Catharina Booth.
Not much is known at this point about the origins of Hendrick Jansen Spier, other than the fact that his marriage record gives his place of origin as Aschwaerde in’t Stift Bremen, which would lead one to think he was German. The place named as Aschwaerde has not been identified.
Apparently the records also show another Hendrick Janszen Van Bremen who signed the petition to Governor Andros for the establishment of the two Lutheran churches at Swanwyck and Cranehook (which are just north of where Fort Casimir was and near present-day Wilmington) on 1 Jun 1675. However, this seems to be a different man with a similar name.
At first Hendrick Jansen Spier lived in New Amsterdam. The baptisms of his children appear in this church and he himself appears in the records of New Amsterdam. Some examples appear in an article by Janet T. Riemer in The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, Volume 55, Number 1, Whole Number 199, January 1980, pg. 1. This article also tracks Hendrick‘s removal to New Jersey.
“On 18 November 1659, he [Hendrick] petitioned for payment of 30 gl. balance of rent due from Aafie Leenders [Records of New Amsterdam, III:78]. On 14 February 1660, Hendrick purchased from Pieter Pietersen Menist a lot on Heere Graf [Broad Street] which the latter had just purchased from Fredrick Lubbersen” [Valentine’s Manual 1865:667-68].
Apparently Hendrick visitied Holland shortly thereafter as he, his wife, and two children returned to New Amsterdam on De Trouw on 23 Dec 1660.
In 1661 Hendrick Jansen Spier[ing] and Johan de Decker were in disagreement concerning repairs made to a house in New Amsterdam. The case was referred to arbitrators who reported on 9 Sep 1661 [Calendar of Historical MSS, I:226, 228]. Their findings were not given. Hendrick sold the Heere Graf lot, with a house on it, to Christoffel van Laer, a shoemaker on 9 May 1662. Disputes concerning this sale were recorded in the town records on 29 May 1663 [Records of New Amsterdam, IV:249]. Hendrick‘s name appears in the records again when, on 2 Oct 1668, he acknowledged a debt of 360 florins to Nathaniel Jans Backer and requested a delay in repaying. Spier was granted one month to pay the debt plus costs [ibid, VI:153].
The arrival of Hendrick Jansen Spier in what is now New Jersey occurred following his purchase of twenty-five morgens of land near Gemenoepa (now part of Jersey City) in July 1662 from Annatien Dircksen, widow of Pieter Kock. This land was one-half of that originally granted to Klaes Karstensen Noorman on 25 Mar 1647. Hendrick‘s purchase was confirmed by a patent from Governor Carteret on 12 May 1668. The patent stated that the land was at Mingackqua. It remained in the Spier family until 1 May 1768 when it was sold to Jacob Van Wagenen [C.H. Winfield, History of Land Titles in Hudson County, 1871].
Hendrick Jansen Spier evidently moved to New Jersey and was living at Mingackqua in 1662 as he was one of three men who signed a petition refusing support of a clergyman at Bergen (now Jersey City). He extended his holdings by purchasing from Severyn Laurensen about seventy acres of land adjoining that which he already owned. This tract was sold on 10 Apr 1694 to Gerrit Gerritse Van Wagenen, Jr. by Hendrick‘s widow and children to pay his debts. On 15 Jun 1674 Hendrick petitioned, with Joost van der Linde, Hendrick De Backer and Harman Edewartse, for land on Staten Island. On 7 Jul 1674 Spier was granted twenty-five morgens beginning opposite Schutter’s Island and further westerly along the Kill van Kull [Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New York II:721, 729].
It is not certain when Hendrick Jansen Spier died, although it is possible he died prior to 4 Sep 1674, as a patent for land on Staten Island was granted to Jans and Hans Spieringh (two of his sons) on that date [Calendar of Historical MSS, II:30]. It is certain that he died prior to May 1679 when a son of Magdaleen Hansen, widow of Hendrick Jansen Spier, was buried at Bergen Reformed Dutch Church.
Magdaleentje Hans married second, Harmen Edwards of Bergen, whose first wife, Jannetje Hendricks Oosteroom (daughter of another Hendrick Jansen!), was buried on 5 Jan 1679. This second marriage did not last long as Harmen was buried at Bergen Reformed Dutch Cemetery on 30 Apr 1681. Magdaleentje was identified as his widow in the record of her betrothal to her third husband (Flatbush Reformed Dutch Church records). Magdaleentje Hans married her third husband, Jan Aertsen van der Bilt on 11 Dec 1681 according to the records of the Bergen Reformed Dutch Church. Magdaleentje died after 16 Apr 1694, as on this date she is selling land with the consent of her husband Jan Aronison Vander Bilt to Garret Ivers Garretson, of Bergen County. (Bergen County New Jersey Deed Records) Keep in mind that at this point in time, Jersey City, or Bergen, as it was then called, was part of Bergen County. Bergen County was one of the beginning counties of New Jersey and covered a large area.
The children of Hendrick Jansen Spier and Magdaleen Helena Van Swol and approximate dates of birth are listed as follows:
- Johannes Hendrick Spier (1653)
- Sytie (1655)
- Tryntie (1657) and possibly died young
- Hans (1663)
- Willemtje (1665)
- Abraham (1671)
- Barent (unknown)
Johannes Hendrick Spier was baptized 5 Oct 1653 at the New Amsterdam Reformed Dutch Church and died before 18 Sep 1724 in Acquackanonk (now Passaic), New Jersey. On 12 Aug 1679 in Bergen, New Jersey, he married Maritje Franse.
Johannes was one of the fourteen men who shared the Acquackanonk Patent granted on the 16 Mar 1684. This piece of land, lying east of the Hackensack River, embraced many thousands of acres. The land had been conveyed in 1679 by Captahen, an Indian Sachem, Hans Diderick and others. Johannes owned several lots of land in this area, now Passaic, New Jersey. In 1714, he was appointed to a committee, which partitioned the common lands of Acquackanonk. The Spier tract was large and covered the heart of what is now the village of Second River (Belleville). He built his house in what is now the Soho section of town. His property stretched for two miles fronting the Passaic River. In his will Johannes left his estate to his wife, Maritje, for her lifetime, and stipulated its division after her death among his children: Hendrick, Frans, Jacob, Gertry, Magdelena, Janetea, Rachel Spier, Mary, Garretea and Lea.
Maritje had arrived in New Amsterdam on 29 Jul 1661 as a passenger on De Beaver, presumably as a very young child with her family. Some sources report that her parents are Frans Jacobsen Oudewater and Geertie Gerrits, but on this the records are silent, and speculation on her ancestry and origins appears to be conjecture. She joined the Dutch Reformed Church at Bergen (Jersey City), New Jersey on 3 Oct 1682 and survived her husband, as she was executrix of his will.
The daughter of Johannes Hendrick Spier and Maritje Franse is Rachel Spier, born about 1692 and died 7 Apr 1748, both events in New Jersey. In 1724 she married Enoch Vreeland, born 14 Mar 1700 in Bergen, New Jersey and died 17 May 1777. Not much more is known of this couple.
The daughter of Enoch Vreeland and Rachel Spier is Rachel Vreeland, who married Robert Badgley (1740-1783). Their lineage is continued under the heading of Anthony Badgley (1660-1715).
 The Vanderbilts are one of the oldest and best-known families in America. Jan Aertsen Vanderbilt emigrated from Bilt, Netherlands to the Dutch colony of New Netherland as an indentured servant in about 1650. Although his descendants prospered as farmers on Staten Island, New York, they lived modestly. It was only during the lifetime of Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), known as the “Commodore,” that the family name became synonymous with extraordinary wealth. Jan Aertsen Vanderbilt is the 3rd g-grandfather of Cornelius through his first wife, Annetje Hendricks (1629-1655).
 Bremen is a city in northwestern Germany located about 60 km (37 mi) south from the Weser mouth on the North Sea.
 In his book Scandinavian Immigrants in New York, 1630- 1674, author John O. Evjen reports on page 418 that this was the German, Hendrick Janszen, who settled at South River (Delaware). Evjen says that Hendrick Janszen was a mariner who was at Fort Nassau in 1648 and at Fort Casimir in 1655, saying that he was a member of the Lutheran Church in 1675. Thanks to the exellent sleuthing of another Speer researcher, Howard Swain, who checked New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch–Delaware Papers–A Collection of Documents Pertaining to the Regulation of Affairs on the South River of New Netherland, it was found that this Hendrick Janszen was another man. First of all, this Hendrick Janszen signed the petition to Governor Andros for the establishment of the two Lutheran churches at Swanwyck and Cranehook (which are just north of where Fort Casimir was and near present-day Wilmington) on 1 Jun 1675. He signed his name as Hendrick Jansen Van Breemen. There is further research regarding this “Hendrick Janszen Van Bremen” aka Sybrants, aka Johnson. Evidently two horses owned by William Tom were “spoyling of” Hendrick’s “corne”. Getting no redress, Hendrick finally “did shut one of them with some shot which afterwards was found dead in the woods.” Further sleuthing in the book of the Records of the Court of New Castle on Delaware 1676-1681, shows more about this Hendrick Janszen Van Bremen, who is not our Hendrick Janszen Spier. The court records show the ongoing case between Henry Johnson (Hendrick Janszen Van Bremen) and William Tom. Further information about this Henry Johnson shows that by April 1680, he had married the widow of Jurian Junsen and “spoyled the land” thus depriving Jurian’s “orphan” son. Since the wife of Hendrick Janszen Spier was a widow in 1679, this Hendrick Jansen van Bremen, alias Hendrick Sybrant, alias Henry Johnson, is not the same person.
 The baptismal date of Johannes is possibly that of another Johannes belonging to another Hendrick Janszen. There is no doubt, however, that Hendrick Jansen Spier had a son, Johannes.