Genealogie Bos

This is my English-language Genealogy & Ancestry Blog.
(Mijn Nederlandstalige blog is

17 Mar 2013

Anneke Jans and the Webber Controversy

For generations descendants of a Wolfert Webber claimed that property on Manhattan Island in New York had illegally been taken from their family by the Trinity Church.

Pieter Van Brugh (1666–1740), Mayor of Albany, New York, in the periods 1699-1700 and 1721-1723, was descended from Norwegian immigrants. His mother's parents were Anneke Jans (1605–1663) and Roelof Janse (1602–1637), who was born on a small island in Norway (that was ceded to Sweden in 1658). In New Amsterdam Roelof received a grant of 62 acres of land on the Hudson River on Manhattan Island in nowadays New York. After her husband's death in 1637, Anneke married in 1638 the Rev. Everardus Bogardus of the Trinity Dutch Reformed Church on Manhattan Island. 

Anneke Jans and Everardus Bogardus
Anneke Jans became famous through a long series of lawsuits initiated by her descendants, who claimed (1) ownership of real estate on Manhattan and (2) royal descent. 
F.A. Virkus writes in "The Compendium of American Genealogy":

"Anneke (Webber) Jans (1605-63), [..] dau. of Wolfert Webber (b 1565), 
said to have been son of William, 9th prince of Orange and later King of Holland".

It was even said that Anneke Jans, "daughter of Wolfert Webber, 4th King of Holland, whose father was William, Prince of Orange", was born in "the King's Mansion in Holland" in 1605.

The first and only person who held the title "King of Holland" was Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (1778-1846), who ruled The Netherlands in the period 1806-1810. The compendium probably refers to Prince William I "the Silent" of Orange (1533-1584), stadtholder of Holland. In 1565, the supposed birth date of Wolfert Webber, William was still married to his rich - but mad - 2nd wife, Anna of Saxony (1544-1577), while he was still married to his 4th wife when he was murdered. During his life William of Orange did recognise only one illegitimate son, Justinus (1559-1631). It wasn't until 1815 that one of William's descendants in the female line, Willem Frederik of Orange-Nassau (1772–1843), became the 1st King of The Netherlands

I have never seen any reference to a Wolfert Webber in Dutch sources. Over the years the legend has been questioned, thoroughly researched and disproved. In 1973 George Olin Zabriskie published an article about it in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, volume 104, p.p. 65-72 and 157-160 entitled "ANNEKE JANS FACT AND FICTION". 

Apparently, Anneke Jans was born on Flekkerøy, a Norwegian island, as a daughter of Tryntje Jonas, a midwife. In 1623 in Amsterdam, Holland, Anneke married Roelof Jansson, a fellow Norwegian. Together they arrived in the new world in 1630. As a widow she did marry the Dutch Domine Everardus Bogardus.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The commend above is a good example to illustrate this blog post. The Netherlands (including Holland) has had Queens only in the period 1890-2003.

  3. Not even a Prince Consort died in the period 1935-2001.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. The Quackenbush family may have been heirs of Anneke Jans estate, but - as stated above - Anneke Jans was born on Flekkerøy, a Norwegian island, as a daughter of Tryntje Jonas, a midwife. She has no relation to the Dutch Royal family.

    1. I have married into the Webber family and this family Matriarch has legitimate record of our family dating back to this situation I myself would like a little more info so I can pass it on to my son whom is very interested. Cannot get in touch with P Webber schad myself can anyone help me thanks

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3. My only interest in this topic is to debunk the myth claiming a Webber descend from Dutch national hero William of Orange, a claim that's utter nonsense.


I'd like to read your comments and/or additions to my articles!