Other branches of our family tree



Jan Pieterszen Staats (1605-1675)

1. Elsje van Huysen (Abt. 1610-1651)
2. Greitje van Groeningen Jans
3. Elsie JansenMargaret Flock (1753 - 1839)

The large Dutch Staats family of pre-colonial times consists of two separate branches. The progenitors arrived in New Amsterdam, later to become New York when the British won control of the new world. Major Abraham Staats traveled north to settle near Albany, while Jan Pieterszen, settled in Gowanus (now Brooklyn). It is possible they were related, but there is no proof of that.

The Gowanus branch of the Staats family descends from Jan Pieterszen Van Huysen. Actually, there is no record that he used the Staats surname. He is called "van Holstein" in the New Amsterdam records. The surname Staats originated with his two sons who adopted the name with their oath of allegiance in 1687. Why this came about is unknown.

Jan was born about 1605 in the town of Husum, located in an area of Denmark on the peninsula north of Germany -- an area now in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. He left for the new world as a young man, and appears in the first record as living in New Amsterdam in 1638 as a tobacco farmer. His birthdate of 1605 is established by a document in which he gives his age.

Jan was married three times. He married (1st) in 1629 in Huysen, Elsje van Huysen. There were at least four children. All were born in America since his eldest son, Pieter, took the oath of allegiance "as a native" in 1687. Elsje was killed by marauding Indians in 1651.

Following her death, he married (2nd), Grietje Jans van Groeningen Jans in New Amsterdam on 16 May 1652. There were two children. She died about 1662/63 probably in childbirth.

He married (3rd), Elsie Jansen, widow of Frederick Jansen on 15 November 1663.

Jan Pietersen and Greitie Jans are listed among the first members of the Brooklyn Dutch Church in 1660.

He was a ship carpenter by trade. There is a record[1] that Jan Pieterszen of Gowanus (now Brooklyn) sold a lot near Whitehall Street, New Amsterdam (now New York City) on 15 November 1663. This lot was the property of Elsie's deceased husband.

He was on the assessment roll for Brooklyn for 1675 but not on later years, suggesting an approximate death date.

Jan had six known children, four by Elsje and two by Greitje:

  Pieter Staats  1638-1705 m. Annetje VanDyck
  Neeltie Staats 1640-?    m. Gerret Croesen
  Jan Staats     1643-?    m. Annetie Praa
  Annetje Staats 1646-?    m. Jan Van Cent

  Elsje Staats   1653-?    m. John Perry (?)
  Sara Staats    1662-?


Pieter Jansen Staats (1638 - 1706)

Annetje Jans van Dyck

Annetje Jansz Van Dyck was the daughter of Jan VanDyck (Jan Thomasse Van Dyck). He had emigrated from Amsterdam, Holland, in 1652, and settled in New Utrecht, one of the villages which would one day coalesce into the city of New York.

Pieter Staats and Annetje owned and farmed land in Gowanus (Brooklyn, New York). He was on the assessment rolls of 1675 and 1683, and the census of 1698.

In 1674[2], Peter Jansen and his sons Jan and Pieter "of Gowanus" petitioned for a piece of land on Staten Island opposite Amboy.

In 1677, Peter and Annetje were listed as members of the Dutch Reformed Church of Gowanus. In 1687, Peter took the oath of allegiance in Breucklyn as a native. In 1690, he was commissioned Lieutenant of horse in Kings County.

There were nine children:

  Jan Staats     1656-1734 m. Catharine Corsen
  Elsje Staats   1661-?	   m. Sander Egberts
  Peter Staats   1663-1748 m. Lysbet Aerentsen
  Abraham Staats 1666-?    m. Rachel Taylor
  Neeltje Staats 1674-?    m. Harmen Bouman
  Annetje Staats 1677-?    m. Cornelius Bouman
  Agneta Staats  1680-?    m. Abraham Messelaar
  Isaac Staats   1682-?
  Jacob Staats   1685-?

The first six were born in Brooklyn, Agneta in New Utrecht, Isaac in Midwoud and Jacob in Flatbush.


Pieter Pieterszen Staats (1664-1748)

Elizabeth Aerentsen

Staats family histories for decades have that claimed the wife of Peter Staats (1663) was Lysbet Middagh. Most researchers tend to accept the work of others. This is fine, except there is a risk of an error being perpetuated and spread in subsequent work. Only recently have researchers of the Middagh family established that Pieter's wife was not of the Middagh family, but was most likely an Aerentsen, or Aerson.

Pieter Pieterszen Staats, born in Brooklyn in 1663, took the oath of allegiance as a native of Breucklyn in 1687.

Pieter first appears living in Richmond County in 1701. He was constable of the North Division of Staten Island in 1702 and 1703.

He remained in Staten Island until at least 1724 since on March 6 of that year his earmark[3] was recorded.

The census of Staten Island of 1706 lists Peter with a family of 4 women, 3 boys and 2 girls, the same names as appear in his will. (As the census was taken over a two-year period, it sets his birthdate at 1664, plus or minus a year.)

Peter, Lysbet and their children later moved to Bensalem Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He died there in 1748.

Pieter and Lysbet had nine children (some dates uncertain):

  Ann Staats       1688-1724  m. Arent Praal
  Agnes Staats     1690-?     m. Michael Wesley
  Peter Staats	   1690       died young
  Lucretia Staats  1692-1784  m. Jacob Strickler
  Magdalene Staats 1700-1784  m. Thomas Morgan
  Abraham Staats   1702-1774  m. Elizabeth Jaudon
  Elizabeth Staats            m. Mark Overholt
  Edman Staats     1708-?
  Peter Staats     1714-1761  m. Maria Stone

Peter (1690) must have died in infancy as there is a baptismal record of a son baptized in 1714 with the memorial name, Peter. Elizabeth's dates are not known. However, she was born before 1706 as her name appears on the census of that year.

Peter's will is an extraordinary document since it lists all his children and their spouse by name. It also is illuminating in containing the inventory of his estate:

Will of Peter Staats of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1745

In the name of God Amen, I Peter Staats of the Township of Bensalem in the County of Bucks and Province of Pennsylvania Yeoman calling to mind the uncertainty of this Transitory Life and that it is appointed once for men to Die and after Death the Judgment Do make and Declare my Last Will and Testament in Manner following that is to Say Principally and first of all I commend my soul to God who gave it and my Body to Decent Burial at the Discretion of my Executors and as touching the Disposal of such worldly Estate as it hath pleased God to bestow upon me I give and Dispose thereof as followeth viz

First I will that my funeral Charges and other just Debts be well and duly paid and next I Give and Bequeath all my Messuage or Tract of Land and Plantation which I now possess in Bensalem aforesaid to my two Sons Abraham Staats and Peter Staats between them equally to be Divided and by each of them and the Heirs and Assigns of each of them in Severally possess and enjoy forever Willing & Appointing that the said Estate be so divided that each part or share shall be alike in clear Land and in Wood Land and that the part lying next to Edmund Dunkans Land shall be with the improvements thereon Abraham's share the part or [land?] lying next to Samuel Scott's Land shall be Peter's also willing and providing that they the said Abraham and Peter Staats or their Heirs Executors or Administrators shall pay in consideration thereof all and Singular the Several Legacies herein after mentioned in manner following:

That is to say the one half of each Legacy to be paid by the Said Abraham his Heirs Executors or Administrators and the other half by the said Peter or his Heirs Executors or Administrators and that in the following order, viz

First, I Give and Bequeath to my Daughter Agnes wife of Michael Weesley the Sum of Twenty pounds Lawful money of Pennsylvania to be paid to her or her Heirs at the Expiration of two Years after my Decease,

Next I Give to my Daughter Lucretia wife of Jacob Strickler the Sum of Seventeen pounds of like Lawful money as aforesaid and to her Eldest Daughter Susanna Lewis the Sum of Three pounds of like Lawful Money or a good Cow in Leiu theirof both to be paid to them or their respective Heirs Four Years after my Decease.

Further I Give to my Daughter Magdalen the wife of Thomas Morgan the Sum of Twenty pounds current money as aforesaid to be paid to her or her Heirs Six Years after my Decease.

Also I give to my Daughter Elizabeth, wife of Mark Overholt the like Sum of Twenty pounds Eight years after my Decease,

Also I give to the Son and three Daughters of my eldest Daughter Ann Praal Deceased the sum of Twenty Shillings between them equally to be divided,

And lastly I Give my Negro Man with all other my Moveable Goods and Chattels to my two Sons aforementioned and to their Heirs and Assigns.

Also I appoint my two sons Abraham and Peter Staats whole and Sole Executors of this My last Will and Testament in witness whereof I have hereto Set my hand and Seal this 28th day of the month called May in the year of our Lord 1745 Declaring this and none other to be my Last will and Testament.

		Peter Staats


Elizabeth Staats (abt. 1718-?)

Mark Overholt (1722-1754)

About 1740, Elizabeth Staats married Mark Overholt, believed to be a son of Samuel Overholt.

Mark and Elizabeth lived in Bedminster Township, Pennsylvania. He was involved in the movement to organize the township. In March, 1741, thirty-five inhabitants of Deep Run petitioned the Court of Quarter Sessions to form the territory into a township. Among the list of names are Mark Overhold and Martin Overhold, probably his uncle. The petition was granted in 1742.

In 1748, Elizabeth's father, Peter Staats died. As was customary, his will provided for the property going to his sons. As her share, Elizabeth received 20 Pounds Sterling, to be paid in eight years, 1756.

In 1754, in his early 30s, Mark died leaving Elizabeth with three young children and heavily in debt. The financial problems that beset the young widow suggest that Mark may have been in poor health and unable to work the farm for a long period of time prior to his death.

Custom was relentless and seemingly uncaring, as the thrifty Mennonite farmers were quite able to keep compassion separate from business. Shortly after Mark's death, the following petition was filed by one John Crawford:

THE PETITION of John Crawford, one of the Administrators of Mark Overholt, late of Tinicum, deceased, was read in these words following, to wit: Humbly sheweth that your petitioner dignified according to law with the Widow Overholt upon the estate of Mark Overholt, late of Tinicum, deceased. Your petitioner strongly alleges and other creditors that the said intestate widow hath kept back part of the intestate goods in order to deprive the creditors. Your petitioner prayeth that you would look into this a fair portion or to empower him to look into that affair that you would please to appoint men to settle the account of the said estate, and your petitioner shall ever pray.
John crawford

The court allowed the creditors to seize and auction off all assets. The creditors (the largest being Crawford) were paid off. Crawford and seven others received commissions of 16 Pounds.The net remainder for Elizabeth was 10 Pounds. Apparantly even Crawford relented a little since the following statement was added to the final accounting:

And we, finding that the widow has taken very little trouble about the affair we do judge her to have four Pounds out of the Sixteen examined and settled by [the administrators].

Elizabeth was left with 10 Pounds, the remainder value of their assets plus one fourth of the commissions taken by the creditors, or 14 Pounds in cash for her new life.

It is not known what happened then, or what became of Elizabeth and the children. Upon Mark's death, Magdalena was 13, Staats was 11 and Martin was 8 years old. She had brothers and sisters with farms, and it may be assumed that she went to live with one of them, bringing two strong young farmhands. It is very likely that Elizabeth remarried in due time as that was the accepted practice with widows and widowers.

The children of Mark and Elizabeth were:

   Magdalene Overholt 1741-1816	m. Christian Hunsberger
   Staats Overholt    1743-1820	m. Susannah Hunsberger
   Martin Overholt    1745-1817 m. Elizabeth Nash

It is to be noted that Magdalena and Staats married brother and sister, Christian (?-1814) and Susanna (1750-1834) Hunsberger.

The family structure is corroborated by the will of Christian filed in Bucks County in 1814 which identifies his siblings by name, including Susannah, and, second, by the 1817 will of Martin Oberholtzer (Staats' brother), which refers to a legacy from "my brother-in-law Christian Hunsbarg and his wife Magdalene."

For further information on this family, see the OVERHOLT chapter of this history.

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Updated 4-24-03

[1] Return to text.Valentine's Manual, New York, 1865, p. 705.

[2] Return to text.English Manuscripts, October 20, 1674; Patents under Gov. Entrees.

[3] Return to text.Similar in purpose to a cattle brand, an earmark was a distinctive notch pattern cut into an animal's ear.