Hendrick Janszen Spier is the immigrant ancestor of the Speer family of New Jersey, first found in New Amsterdam. Originally the name was spelled Spiering, Spier, Spyr, Spieringh, and Speir. (Of course, at first, Hendrick just used his patronymic, Janszen.) The name then came to be spelled Speer or Spear, with Speer being the much more common spelling. At one time, the Speers were so numerous that Upper Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey, was called Speertown. Looking at some of the death records of the early 1800s (on the cards provided by the Works Project Administration [WPA]), one often sees the name Speertown given as the place of death. The Speer family started in the settlement of New Amsterdam and then spread throughout various counties of New Jersey - Essex, Bergen, Passaic, Hudson and Morris Counties primarily.
Some researchers have erroneously attributed the date December 13, 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 record for Hendrick Janszen, in the Marriage Book of the Reformed Dutch Church of New Amsterdam, dated 14 September 1652. (banns date) 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 Janszen Spier. Consequently, Hendrick Janszen Spier was in New Amsterdam before 14 September 1652. Apparently, he made a return trip to the Netherlands and came back to New Netherland. 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, other than the fact that his marriage record gives his place of origin as Aschwaerde, which would lead one to think he was German. In fact, 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 June 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.
At this point I would like to interject that the SPIER family is frequently confused with the PIER family of New Netherland. The immigrant ancestor of the PIER family is Jan Theunisszen, not Hendrick Janszen. More about this family can be found on The Olive Tree Genealogy Home Page. Lorine Schulze has done much research regarding this PIER family.
At first Hendrick Janszen 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 December 1660.
In 1661 Hendrick Jansen Spiering 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 September 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 October 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 to 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 March 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 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)[Year Book of the Holland Society of New York] 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 April 1694 to Gerrit Gerritse Van Wagenen, Jr. by Hendrick's widow and children to pay his debts. On 15 June 1674 Hendrick petitioned, with Joost van der Linde, Hendrick De Backer, and Harman Edewartse, for land on Staten Island. On 7 July 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 Janszen Spier died, although it is possible he died prior to 4 September 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 Magdalen Hansen, widow of Hendrick Janszen 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 January 1679. This second marriage did not last long as Harmen was buried at Bergen Reformed Dutch Cemetery on 30 April 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 December 1681 according to the records of the Bergen Reformed Dutch Church. Magdaleentje died after 16 April 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.
Children of Hendrick Janszen Spier and Magdaleen Hans Van Swol:
Jan/Johannes Hendrick Spier, bapt. 5 October 1653 New Amsterdam Reformed Dutch Church, died before 18 September 1724 Acquackanonk (now Passaic, NJ)
(will date). Married 12 August 1679 Bergen Reformed Dutch Church Maritje Franse. (one of my lines.) Note: The baptismal date of Johannes is possibly that of another Johannes belonging to another Hendrick Janszen. There is no doubt, however, that Hendrick Janszen Spier had a son, Johannes.
Sytie Spier, bapt. 25 July 1655 New Amsterdam Reformed Dutch Church (Witness: Tryntie Kip). Married 1st Hendrick Van Reynne (The children of this marriage went by the surname Bruyn.) Married 2nd: Poulus Douwesen on 12 April 1702.
Tryntie Spier, bapt. 25 March 1657 New Amsterdam Reformed Dutch Church. (Witnesses: Nicolaes Backer, and Catharina Booth) Possibly died young as a Cathryntje was baptized in 1671.
Hans Spier, bapt. 8 April 1663 New Amsterdam Reformed Dutch Church. (Witnesses: Cornelis Eenduym and Marritie Frans) Married 1 August 1683 New York Reformed Dutch Church (record in Bergen Reformed Dutch Church) Tryntje Pieters. Died after 1726.
Willemtje Spier, bapt. 12 July 1665 New York Reformed Dutch Church. (Witnesses: Stoffel Van Laer, Dirckie Alberts) Married Claes Hendrickse Volck.
Cathryntje Spier, bapt. 11 December 1667 New York Reformed Dutch Church. (Witnesses: Dirck Claessen, Peryntie Michiels) Married Willem Merrit before 1696.
Abraham Spier, bapt. 16 August 1671 New York Reformed Dutch Church. (Witness: Reynier Willemszen, Marritie Jacobs) Buried 12 May 1679 Bergen Reformed Dutch Church.
Barent Spier, baptism unknown. Married 26 August 1698 Acquackanonk Reformed Dutch Church Catelyntje Hendricks Jacob. Died 8 May 1742, Bergen Reformed Dutch Church records. (This is another of my lines.)