Jacob Van Lear, my 6xgreat-grandfather, is the earliest of my Van Lear ancestors that I know about. I believe that he was born between 1700 – 1710 in America, possibly in New York. Records suggest that he lived for some years in Lancaster county Pennsylvania, before joining the great migration to Augusta county Virginia in the 1750’s.
I recently received a comment from fellow blogger Peter Miebies about the likely Dutch origin of my Van Lear surname. He suggested that earlier spellings may have been Van Leer, or Van Lier. Peter has an ongoing project at his blog, bringing together researchers with Dutch ancestry. See his May 2012 blog posting, Dutch Ancestors.
I have not worked on connecting my Van Lear family back over the ocean, but I have located on the internet, the efforts of other researchers. Consider:
Gerrett Stoffelse (Gerrit Soffelsz Van Laer); baptized 1606, Amsterdam Holland; died 1661; married Baeyke Ardiaens, 1630; their son –
Christoffel Gerritszen VanLaer (Stoffel Gerritsz Van Laer); baptized 1639 Amsterdam Holland; married Catharyntie Jans Boots (Catharyntie Jans), 1660; their son –
Abraham VanLaer (Abraham Stoffelse Van Laer); baptized 1678 New Amsterdam (New York); married Hester David Christians (Hester Christianense Davids), 1697 New Amsterdam (New York); their son –
Jacobus (Jacob) VanLaer; born 1704 New Amsterdam (New York); died 1783 Augusta county Virginia; married Margaret.
There is a wealth of information available on this Van Lear (VanLaer) family. Unfortunately, interpretations of the Dutch spellings creates challenges in locating the information. To get started in the New York records, I would suggest putting “Stoffel van Laer” into your favorite search engine. Also, try some of the spellings given in the account above. There are several genealogical databases at World Connect that try to interpret this family. I found the notes at Barbara Pumyea’s World Connect database helpful.
Jacob Van Lear’s Will is of record in Augusta county Virginia, probated 18 November 1783. He mentions his wife Margaret, gives his son Jacob all lands, his son John f15, his daughter Gartry Robinson 50 shillings, and his daughter Isabel Abney 50 shillings. Executors are Jacob VanLear and John Christian. Patrick Christian and John Christian are witnesses. Jacob Van Lear qualifies as executor. I find the connection to the Christian family intriguing in light of the mention above of Jacob Van Lear’s possible mother, Hester David Christians.
For more details on Jacob Van Lear, visit his page at Family Stories, pamgarrett.com.
Moving back in time: Albert Luther Clarkson 1901 > Samuel Edwin Clarkson 1875 > Elizabeth Jane Robinson 1848 > Preston Mcgrady Robinson 1820 > Jane Van Lear 1795 > John Van Lear 1747 > Jacob Van Lear 1710.
Photo: Fall of New Amsterdam; by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863 – 1930); United States Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division; Print shows Peter Stuyvesant, in 1664, standing on shore among residents of New Amsterdam who are pleading with him not to open fire on the British who have arrived in warships waiting in the harbor to claim the territory for England.