Search for content in message boards

Jellis (Gillis) Douwese Fonda Immigration Date

Jellis (Gillis) Douwese Fonda Immigration Date

Posted: 1058629560000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1164725538000
I have always heard that the first Fonda (Gillis Dowese) immigrated to America in 1642… but I have never seen the exact calendar date or the name of the ship he was on. Gillis had just married, so he would have had his wife Hester Douwese Jansz and several young children with him, the number depending on the actual transit date. Here is a timeline of the dates that seem certain:

1604 - Gillis Douwese Fonda born in Friesland, Netherlands.
1616 - Hester Douwese Jansz born in Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands.
10-Feb-1641 – Gillis and Hester married in Diemon, near Amsterdam, Noord, Netherlands.
24-Mar-1641 – birth of son Douw Jellise Fonda in Agum, Friesland, Netherlands.
??-Dec-1641 – birth of daughter Annetje Jellise in Agum, Friesland, Netherlands.
22-Sep-1642 – birth of daughter Geertie Jellise Fonda in Agum, Friesland, Netherlands (?).
18-Jun-1645 – birth of daughter Sarah Jellise Fonda in Rensselaerwyck (Troy), New York (?)
14-Apr-1647 – birth of son Abraham Jellise Fonda in Rensselaerwyck (Troy), New York (?)
??-???-1650 – birth of daughter Saertje Jellise Fonda in Rensselaerwyck (Troy), New York (?)

About 1646 – Pieter Hartgers advanced some money to Gillis, a boy in the service of Antony de Hooges, possibly Gillis Fonda. (Gillis would have been 42 years old, not a boy)

19-Oct-1651 - the court gave Gillis Fonda permission to distill liquor in Greenbush, New York.

10-Apr-1642 - Antony de Hooges arrived in Rensselaerwyck. He was engaged as underbookkeeper and assistant to Arent van Curler, and sailed from Texel, Netherlands on den Coninck David (King David), 30-Jul-1641. He reached New Amsterdam 29-Nov-1641, but apparently did not arrive in the colony till 10-Apr-1642.

Most records indicate the likely date of immigration as 1646-1651, apparently based on the two references shown above. On the premise that Gillis was, in fact, associated with Antony de Hooges, then it could be possible that Gillis and family arrived in Rensselaerwyck in April 1642. However, there is no record of Gillis Fonda on the King David passenger list. He would have had two very young children (one born in transit) with a third on the way. I find it doubtful that Hester would be willing (or able) to bear a child (Annetje) on the ship, and then have another (Geertie) just a few months after arrival in America. Further, the records all seem to indicate that Gillis was a whaler by profession, so why would he be working for a bookkeeper?

More information is needed to make any conclusions… any help is appreciated. :-)


Re: Jellis (Gillis) Douwese Fonda Immigration Date

Posted: 1065014704000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1154524614000
Surnames: Fonda/Van Arnhem/Conyn/Pietersz/Van Schaak/Jans/Teunis/Van Salsbergen/ Lucas/CornelisDavis/ Whiteley/Cook
Mark, have a question. Where do you come by Hester's last name? I have the exact wedding date with Jellis D.Fonda and a Hester PIETERSZ. This has to be the same people. My Uncle was in the Netherlands many moons ago and found church records and such.

Re: Jellis (Gillis) Douwese Fonda Immigration Date

Posted: 1065058026000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1164725538000
Good question, Sallie; I've seen that before, but I cannot substantiate where the surname Pietersz comes from (for Hester). The old Dutch use of given names as surnames can confuse anyone, so it could just be a mistake. The paragraph below is what I had pieced together for the website from various sources for Hester's name:

b. Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands; d. Albany, NY; after Jellis' death, Hester married 2nd Barent Gerritsen in 1660 who then died in 1666; then she married 3rd Theunis Dirckse Van Vechten in 1670; Hester's maiden name was Van Arentsvelt; a Dutch family tree lists her as Hester Douwedr, using her father's first name in Dutch tradition; another source lists her father as "Douwe Janzoon de Vries Van Arentsvelt". Another lists Jans as Hester's maiden name, which is from her mother, Maria Jans.

If you really want to get into it, here is about half of an article I scanned from The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record on the Fonda Family. There is no mention of the name Pieter(sz). So you be the judge... :-) Mark

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record
VOL. 119 - JANUARY 1988 - NUMBER 1
Contributed By Robert G. Cooney, Jr.
In 1962 the late Dr. Simon Hart of the Amsterdam Municipal Archives was asked to conduct an investigation into the origins of the Fonda family. The result was the discovery of the marriage record of the New Netherland immigrant Jillis/Gillis/Jellis/Jelle Douwes Fonda, the baptisms of his children, and also some notarial records of interest.
The late Mrs. John Spell in her 1964 article “A Career Woman in 17th Century New York” (REC. 95:129f.) stated that “Gillis (Jillis) Douwes Fonda, a native of Friesland in the Netherlands, arrived in Fort Orange (present Albany, N.Y.) in 1651. He was accompanied by his wife Hester Jans [sic] and three children . . .“ Mrs. Spell identified four children of the couple and gave “birthdates” for three of them from unspecified “records in Amsterdam”; this suggests that she saw the same baptisms found by Dr. Hart, but she did not mention the marriage or notarial records.
The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, Volume 48 (1981—1984), page 17, contains an article “The Fonda Family” prepared by Howard A. McConville. This article describes the marriage record and gives the children’s baptismal dates and sponsors, but does not credit anyone for discovering these records, cite precisely where the records were found, or quote any of them in their original form. The article does not mention the notarial records.
Some accounts of the Fondas have claimed a noble Italian origin for the family, prior to its residence in Friesland. Such a claim was made by the Reverend William A. Williams in his Early American Families (Philadelphia, 1916, pages 24—25), and was apparently favored by the late actor Henry Fonda (De Halve Maen 36:4 [Jan. 1962]:17). Dr. Hart, although finding no reference to the surname Fonda in Netherlands records, noted that many Frisian names were similar in form, and he expressed the opinion that “the conclusion that the name Fonda of Jelle Douwes would be of Italian origin . . . is a story.”
All of the following records were found at the Amsterdam Municipal Archives (Gemeente Archief Amsterdam) and translated by Dr. Hart. The first is the marriage of the immigrant, from Doop, Trouw en Begrafregisters [Baptismal, Marriage and Burial Registers, hereafter DTB] No. 454 [Kerkelijk Huwelijks Intekenregister or Church Marriage Intentions Register] page 651:
19 January 1641.
Appeared as before Jelle Douwess from Agum, journeyman blacksmith, living on Bickers Island, assisted by [no name given], having no parents, 25 years old; and Hester Douwess from Amsterdam, living on the Keysergracht, 24 years old, having no parents, assisted by Elsge Douwes, her stepmother.
Wilhelmi pred[ikan]t aldaer.
Producing a deed of their parents’ consent, these people were married on the 10th of February 1641 in Diemen by Prudentius Wilhelmi, minister there.
Whoever made this entry first wrote that the groom was assisted by Elsge Douwes, but this was erased. A note in the margin haer behoutmoed[e]r (her mother-in-law), presumably intended to replace “stepmother,” was also erased. The clerk apparently was confused as to Elsge Douwes’ role and relationship. Since the couple were able to obtain “their parents’ consent” the phrase “having no parents” may mean that no parents (other than Elsge) were present in Amsterdam to assist in the proceedings, rather than that all the other parents were deceased.
According to Dr. Hart, the actual church marriage record at Diemen, near Amsterdam, does not survive. The above marriage intention was of particular interest because it revealed Jillis Douwes’ place of origin, “Agum.” Specialists at the Friesland State Archives at Leeuwarden were of the opinion that this referred to the small village variously written “Agum,” “Egum,” “Aegum,” and “Eagum,” located near the center of their province. The only early 17th century records for Agum which Dr. Hart found were those of the court of Idaarderadeel, a jurisdiction in which the village was located. He found references to inhabitants of “Agum” in these records, but none to a Jillis Douwes. A Douwe Jelles showed up in the inventory of Jetse Roberts 25 June 1639, owing his estate five guilders, but there was nothing to link him to Jillis Douwes. Dr. Hart also found no mention of the name Fonda. Beyond the reference to Agum in the Amsterdam marriage intention the origin of the immigrant could not be resolved (but see Postscript, below).
The children of Jillis and Hester were baptized in Amsterdam as follows:
Douwe, of Jelle Douwesz and Ester Douwes, 24 November 1641 by Rev. Wachtendorp at the Nieuwe Kerk, witness Annetje Jans (DTB 42:282).
Giertje, of Jelle Douwesz and Ester Douwes, 22 September 1643 by Rev. Holbeeck at the Nieuwe Kerk, witness Maritje Willems (DTB 42:375).
Sara, of Jelle Douwesz and Hester Douwes, Sunday 18 June 1645 at the Oude Kerk, witnesses Hille Claes and Witsche Diercx (DTB 8:55).
Abraham, of Jelis Douwesz and Hester Hester (sic) Douwesz, Sunday 14 April 1647 at the Oude Kerk, witnesses Hille Claes and Marij Douwes (DTB 8:123).

Re: Jellis (Gillis) Douwese Fonda Immigration Date

Posted: 1065110570000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1154524614000
Surnames: Fonda/Van Arnhem/Conyn/Pietersz/Van Schaak/Jans/Teunis/Van Salsbergen/ Lucas/CornelisDavis/ Whiteley/Cook
HI Mark,
Very interesting reading...., I have Hesters parents as being Douwe Pietersz b: 1578 Koudom Friesland Netherlands and her mother being Marritje Gerrits b: 1579 Amsterdam Netherlands. I wonder from reading the passage from the book, if those names were excluded because the kids did not want their parents involved or if they were dead at the time they wanted to wed. Maybe since she was about 24 when they married she had been married before and her real madien name was never mentioned. I have even run into that senerio looking up folks in the 1800's. LMK what you think.
I had also heard that story about the Fonda name meaning "money bags" and being from Italy. I read Henry's bio to find insite but nothing new was there either. So at this point we dont know where the Fondas originated. Have you ever looked up the Italian theory?
Cousin Sal in VA

Re: Jellis (Gillis) Douwese Fonda Immigration Date

Posted: 1065168848000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1076671204000
Surnames: Fonda
Hello Sallie,

Surname FONDA (first mentioned in year 1230 - Dominicus FONDA the prominent of Piran) has an Italian roots and originate from the town Piran. Most of its history Piran depended to Venetian Republic. Today is a part of Slovenia. It seems, that Piran is the only center from all FONDA's originate.

There are many inaccurates about Fonda surname origin appears in this forum:

1. FONDA isn't a noble family and never have been. It's talk, that a source to which Rev.Williams,1916 refered ("Roland's Rietstap ...") include Coat of Arms made by orders around year 1900. All story about this is ... only story.

Maybe, the only valid FONDA Coat of Arm depend to a bishop of Trogir Hieronymus FONDA, who lived in 18.century.

2. It's believe that surname FONDA got its end form in the 12.century furthest in Piran. It depended to an Old Roman (plebeian !!) Clan called FUNDANIUS -> FUNDANI. This clan settled in an area south to Rome (today Lazio) already in the begining of Roman Republic (6.century b.c.).

3. Dutch FONDA origin is regular only for an American branch.

I don't know much about American FONDA branch (Dutch Ancestors). I believe that this branch history is clear.

More about FONDA surname origin you can see at Web site bottom:

Unfortunately, it's only in Slovenian, but there are many statistical data which should be understand without of language knowledge.

Best Regards,

Robert Fonda

Re: Jellis (Gillis) Douwese Fonda Immigration Date

Posted: 1065171547000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1164725538000
There is much to read on the website which will fill in some facts for you. There is no doubt about the parents of either Jellis or Hester:

parents of Jellis Douw Fonda (1614-1659):
Douwe Evertse Fonda (1580-1669)
Hilletgen Claesdr (1582-1652) m.1602 Aegum, Friesland, Netherlands

parents of Hester Douwese Jansz (1615-1690):
Douwe Janzoon VanArentsvelt (1580-1653)
Maria Jans (1589-1622) m. 1609 Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

After Jellis died in 1659, Hester married 2nd Barent Gerritsen in 1660 who died in 1663 (killed by Indians); then she married 3rd Theunis Dirckse Van Vechten in 1670; she outlived him too. I don't see any evidence of a husband before Jellis.

As far as the family origins, here is an excerpt from Early American Families (Williams, 1916), which has been posted here on this board before, and is shown in full on my website:

The Rensselaer-Bowier papers say that (1) Douw Fonda was a Frisian. and Tacitus says that the Frisians dwelt along the coast of the North sea. They were converted to Christianity before A.D. 800. The family of Fonda was originally from the Republic of Genoa, Italy. The Marquis de Fonda was one of the leaders of a revolution in Genoa, having for its object the overturning of the aristocratic government, and putting the election of the Doge and Senate, into the hands of the people at large. The Doge (=duke) was the duke, or chief magistrate. Our ancestor was an early republican, and must have lived there, between 1339, when the first Doge was elected, and 1528 when the Dogate ceased. Baron de Fonda was unsuccessful in his attempt, and fled from the country, taking refuge in Amsterdam, Holland, whence his descendant, Jellis Douwese Fonda, emigrated to America in 1642, and had grants of land from the Dutch government, settling in or near the present city of Albany, N. Y. There is a perhaps less credible tradition also, that the Fondas were Huguenots. and fled from France to Holland after the massacre of St. Bartholomew’s night, Aug. 25, 1572. There is another tradition that they fled from Spain en account of persecution or followed the Duke of Alva to Holland. It is also said that they belonged to the royal house of Spain, fled to Italy, because of religious persecution, and came later to Holland. Possibly they fled from Italy to France, and from France to Holland. The form of the family name is Latin and therefore similar in French, Italian, and Spanish, indicating the Latin origin of the family, probably In Italy.
The Fondas were Dutch Reformed Protestants when they emigrated to America, and must have been among the first converts of the Reformation. Their descendants are widely scattered throughout the Union, though many are still living near the old home In Eastern N.Y.,
The family name is taken from a deep valley in the Apennines, about 12 mi. from the city of Genoa, called Fonda, a name which means bottom, deep, foundation, etc. It is said that, in the early part of the last century, the estate was still in the possession of a branch of the family, the Count de Fonda, and there are many of the name, in the various parts of the Genoese territories.” Some of the family may have known Columbus in Genoa.

Some of this is obviously speculation, or even wishful thinking... and as Robert points out in the previous message, the family origin may have originally been in Northeast Italy, centered around Trieste, which borders on Slovenia. However the name itself may have come from the town Fondi, which is between Rome and Naples... so there are three areas in Italy which have Fonda roots... Genoa, Trieste and Fondi... the largest population of Fonda's, according to some figures posted here before, is in Trieste, Italy.

Mark Fonda

Re: Jellis (Gillis) Douwese Fonda Immigration Date

Posted: 1065178925000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1076671204000
Surnames: Fonda
Hello Mark,

The reason why in Trieste today live more than 250 families FONDA is WWII. After 2nd World War, when Piran (as Italian town, with Italian population) depended to former Yugoslavia, almost all FONDA families from Piran move to Trieste, the city in the neighbourghood. In year 1945 in Piran lived 67 (of all 1690) families and this surname was the most frequently surname (after Ruzzier with 70f.) in Piran in that time.

First FONDA in Trieste (found in local church book) was Pietro FONDA from the end of 18.century. In year 1903 only 20 FONDA persons registrated in Trieste, and in year 1945 abt.40 families Fonda lived there. It also known that in year 1990 in Rome lived 9 families FONDA, which originate from Piran, in Genova in year 1990 lived 5 FONDA familes and in Venezia 25 families (12 <- Trieste, 5<-Piran, 2<-Pula, 6<-other towns in Istria).

I already saw your web page about Fonda family in USA and it's realy great job. I decided, that you made correction on Jellis birthyear in GED file, but on your main page as year of his birth is still 1604. I remember that in the past found on the internet note how old Jellis and Hester were when they married, but can't find that source now. I have a printout of this. I remember that Jellis was only 1 year older than his wife.

Robert Fonda

Re: Jellis (Gillis) Douwese Fonda Immigration Date

Posted: 1065297968000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1164725538000
Robert; thanks for spotting the error on my webpage. I have looked at the webpages you listed and although I can pick out a few details, it sure would be nice if there was an English translation. Not to be a lazy American, but (for good or bad), English is becoming the default world language and it would give better exposure if we could get some of your good work translated. :-)

I see one of the pages is in Italian, which I might be able to get done myself, and I don't think it is your's anyway:

The other appears to be in Slovenian, and although there is no name given, I believe it is yours, Robert:

I also just obtained a copy of a five-page article in Dutch from Genealogysk Jierboekje 1986, Number 662, published by Genealogysk Wurkferban fan de Fryske Akademy, entitled "De Fryske Ofstaming Fan Myn Fiere Efternicht Jane Fonda". I believe this is the study that Jane Fonda had done after her visit to Fonda, New York in 1980 and the death of her father, Henry, in 1982. I'm going to try and get that translated.

Maybe we can hit this from all angles and get to the bottom of the real story.
per page

Find a board about a specific topic