Notes on Frederick Janss

aka Jansen.

Frederick Janss, native of Flensburg. The first half of the 17th century was a chaotic time for the Kingdom of Denmark. The Hanseatic League, which had controlled commerce in Northern Europe for four centuries, was breaking up. Shortly after 1620 the Danes became involved in the Thirty Years War which several years earlier, had plunged Europe into religious strife. It was at about this time in the town of Flensborg, a son was born to a man names Jan (John) and his wife. This child was named Frederick Janss (Freederick, son of Jan).

Flensborg was a seaport, with a long heritage of commerce and trade. It was probably founded in the 12th century and became a municipality in 1284. Late in The Thirty Years War, Flensborg was frequently pillaged by the Swedes. This turmoil probably caused young Frederick to seek his fortune elsewhere. It appears he joined the Dutch West India Co. and came to the New World.

The first mention of Frederick Jansen appears in the New Amsterdam records of the Dutch West India Co. on May 1641. On that date he sued Claes Sybrantsen Veringh for wages earned in making a canoe which had been delivered to Veringh. Other records confirm that Frederick was a "ship carpenter" and that he was from "Flensborch." In the mid 1640's Frederick Janss transfered from New Amsterdam to the Dutch colony of Pemambuco (now Reclife) on the coast of Brazil. At about that time he married Grietien Janss, and their first child, Anna was baptized at the Dutch Reform Church of Pernambuco on Dec. 16, 1646. Two more children, Jan and Aeltje, were baptized there in Aug. 1649. (they do not appear to be twins)

The Dutch ruled Pernambuco until 1654. Two years earlier, Frederick's family returned to New Amsterdam, for later records indicate that Jan Frederickse (John son of Frederick) arrived in the colony in 1652. Frederick Janss died before 1653 for in that year his widow married Jan Pieterse Staats in New Amsterdam. 253