Review: The Van Slyke Family in America

As a descendant of Cornelis Antonissen Van Slyke (my 11th great-grandfather), I’ve always been interested in the Van Slyke family story as well as intrigued by the accounts of Ots-Toch, his Mohawk wife. Author and genealogist Lorine McGinnis Schulze has recently published a revised and updated edition of The Van Slyke Family in America: A Genealogy of Cornelise Antonissen Van Slyke, 1604-1676 and his Mohawk Wife Ots-Toch, including the story of Jacques Hertel, 1603-1651, Father of Ots-Toch and Interpreter to Samuel de Champlain which has helped me gain a better understanding of my Van Slykes as well as their place in New York history.

The Dutch in New York

Schulze’s book contains important research information not only for those related to the Van Slyke family, but also for those who seek a better understanding of Dutch ancestry in New York. My family has long roots in New York including Huguenots in New Paltz and the Dutch in Schenectady. What I appreciate most about Schulze’s work is how she provides a basic introduction to the history of the New Netherlands colony before detailing how the Van Slyke family played a role in its history. Placing my family in the context of history is what enables me to gain a “three-dimensional” perspective of their lives, going beyond the usual dimension of just names and dates.

Cornelis Van Slyke

In the revised edition of The Van Slyke Family in America, Schulze relates in detail the story of Cornelis Van Slyke, “a Dutchman who came to the New World as a carpenter at the age of 30, who became an interpreter for the Mohawk nation, was adopted into the tribe, and who met and married a French-Mohawk woman (Ots-Toch) who never left her native village. Their children, all raised at Canajoharie, one of the Mohawk castles or villages, became well-known and respected in the Dutch community. All except one left the village and married Dutch settlers.”

I found the book to be fascinating reading not just as a genealogist since it is filled with records and sources (as well as over 1,300 footnotes) but also as a history geek.  Schulze has a wonderful way of telling the history of Van Slyke and his immediate family and how they fit in with New York State history.

Format

In the spiral-bound 278 page book, Schulze provides plenty of background on how the Dutch settled New York as well as the Mohawk tribe. An extensive genealogy report entitled Descendants of Jacques Van Slyke (son of Cornelis) takes up almost 130 pages and contains detailed source citations for various facts. Schulze rounds out The Van Slyke Family in America with detailed maps as well as copies of documents including marriage settlements for the early Van Slyke ancestors.

Conclusion

The Van Slyke Family in America is a book that I will be working with during the upcoming winter season as I updated my genealogy database and records. I can’t wait to see what pieces of the puzzle author Schulze has found for me and how they fit into my overall family history!

Learn more about The Van Slyke Family in America and the Van Slykes at http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/nn/surnames/vslyke.shtml.  Order your copy at http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/books/purchasevs.shtml.

Disclosure:  Upon request, I received a complimentary copy of The Van Slyke Family in America from the author for review purposes. Please see Disclosure Statements (http://www.geneabloggers.com/disclosure-statements/) for more information on my material connection with genealogy vendors and organizations.

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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