Jans Family Uses Genealogy to Pursue 300-Year Land Claim

The family of Anneke Jans has been pursuing a genealogy project for over 300 years.

During all this time the family has been working hard to track down every single one of Jans’s descendants.

They are doing this not so much from a love for family history—but rather, to sort out the heirs to a contested land grant that was given to Jans by Britain’s Queen Anne in 1697!

collage of newspaper clippings about the 300-year land claim pursued by descendants of Anneke Jans

Collage of newspaper clippings about the 300-year land claim pursued by descendants of Anneke Jans

These three newspaper clippings from GenealogyBank’s historical newspaper archives help tell this unusual genealogy story.

The historical newspaper article on the right outlines the disputed property. It was published in the Cabinet (New York City, New York), 14 August 1833, page 3.

In 1888 the family intensified their efforts by organizing an unusually-named genealogical society, the “Anneke Jans Bogardus Literary Association,” which gathered all of the genealogical records of the family to help them properly document the descendents of the family.

The old newspaper article on the left reports on this incorporated genealogical association. It was published in the Evening Repository (Canton, Ohio), 20 June 1888, page 6.

Almost one hundred years later a descendant, William Brower Bogardus, placed a notice in a Texas newspaper announcing that he “has extensive collections” of records on the descendants of Anneka Jans Bogardus. That notice was published in the Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 20 October 1983, page 50-A.

Hmm…I wonder if William has all the records of the “Anneke Jans Bogardus Literary Association” since it started in 1888?

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Written by Thomas Jay Kemp

Thomas Jay Kemp

Thomas Jay Kemp is the Director of Genealogy Products at GenealogyBank. Tom Kemp is an internationally known librarian and archivist – he is the author of over 35 genealogy books and hundreds of articles about genealogy and family history.

He previously served as the Chair of the National Council of Library & Information Associations (Washington, DC) and as Library Director of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

An active genealogist, he has been working on his own family history for 47 years. With the rapidly growing online archives at GenealogyBank – it is a great day for genealogy!

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5 thoughts on “Jans Family Uses Genealogy to Pursue 300-Year Land Claim

  1. Willis Timothy Gridley is one of the lawyers who brought suit against the Trinity Church. For his troubles he got disbarred, but he did write a book about it "Trinity, Break Yes My Commandments" which is an interesting read. Two other lawyers had also brought suit, Spencer V. Gardner and Frank A. Travers. They eventually joined the suits together. My library holds a lot of their papers, including hundreds of affidavits showing lineage. They all have the link to Webber and royalty which has been disproven, but the lines up to Jans seem to be solid. If you go to my library website http://www.chaseyourtale.com and follow the links from Bogardus Papers to Frank A. Travers I have transcribed a small portion of the letters. A monumental task I really need to get back to someday. Often the lawyers are mentioned at making millions off the suit while the family got nothing. Reading the letters and looking at the account books, the family members only paid a few dollars each, and the lawyers were barely scraping by. This was definitely a David vs Goliath lawsuit.

  2. I am a direct descendent of Anneke Jane Bogartus. I am the 18th generation. My mother’s aunt had the genealogy trassed through the Dutch Reform Church and the DAR. If anyone is interested in these documents please email or Facebook me. Thank you Miss Judy beyrer

    • Judy-
      I recently discovered that I also may be a descendent of Anneke Jane Bogartus. I would love to have access to the information you have to help verify! Thank you!

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