Simon Jansen ROMEYN
1. Symon Jansen ROMEYN
He married Sophia Jans Westerhout, January 01, 1671 in New York. He died, probably in New York, between 30 Oct. 1702, when he wrote his will, and 21 Nov. 1702, when the will was approved for probate. From the evidence of his will and that of his wife, Sophia Jans Westerhout, it would appear that the couple had no children. Simon apparently made his living as a New York shopkeeper and as an attorney. The earliest reference so far found places him in the Dutch Colonies in 1657.
Beyond that, any discussion of his life quickly becomes a discussion the reliability and accuracy of the sources. All the primary and secondary sources that have so far been located by this researcher have been included here so that the reader may more easily follow the discussion. Their inclusion DOES NOT indicate that they are accurate.
This warning cannot be emphasized strongly enough as the first source concerning Simon that most researchers are likely to come across is that of Teunis Bergen. Little has been found that confirms the dates and information given by Bergen and some of it is probably in error. The easiest entry point into Bergen's confusion is with the 1680 deed which he uses as his basis for believing that Simon ROMEYN removed to Bergen Co., NJ. Bergen states "In 1680, he bought land in Bergen County, New Jersey, as per page 69 of Winfield's Land Titles of Hudson Co., to which he probably removed." This researcher has not yet located a copy of Winfield to double check the reference. However, another secondary source, included below, makes a mention of the same source entry. Albert L. Stokes, in discussing Jan Williamszen Van der Loosdrect, states that "[Jan Williamszen Van der Loosdrect] sold his tract at Pembrepogh to Simon Jansen ROMEYN, attorney for Poulesse Corneliesen, Dec. 14, 1680. (WLTH:68-69)". From this, which appears to be speaking of the same reference, it would appear that Bergen has misinterpreted Winfield and that Simon never actually bought the land for himself and thus never moved to New Jersey.
This calls into doubt some of the other deed references in both Bergen and Herbert S. Ackerman, who may have been relying on Bergen. If Simon was acting as an attorney for Poulesse Corneliesen in 1680, than he may have been acting as an attorney in the transaction of 1680-81 when a house and lot in Flatland were sold to Adriaen Van Laer. This would appear to call into doubt Bergen's statement that Simon Jansen ROMEYN appears on the assessment rolls in Flatland and that it was he who made the affidavit in 1664 concerning Capt. Scott's raid. These reference to a Simon Jansen in Flatland may be where Bergen has confused Simon Jansen ROMEYN with Simon Jansen VAN ARDSDALEN.
That Bergen had made such an error at least once is demonstrated by the "Flatlands Church Bell Subscription List of 1686". This list was found among Bergen's unpublished papers and was published by Fred Sisser III in New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 120:148-149. The list includes the names "Symen Jansen [ROMEYN] Sons Cornelius & Jan". The brackets are to indicate that the original gives just the name Simon Jansen. Bergen included the ROMEYN because he thought that this was a reference to him. He was mistaken. In actuality, it refers to Simon Jansen Van Ardsdalen, who is known to have been living in the area and, most importantly, is known to have had sons named Cornelius and Jan.
From this discussion, it can be seen that much of Bergen's statements concerning a Simon Jansen on Long Island can be called into doubt and each one will have to be checked to see if the reference is actually to a Simon Jansen ROMEYN or simply to a Simon Jansen, in which case it is more likely to refer to Van Ardsdalen or even one of the other Simon Jansens of New Amsterdam area since we have nothing that firmly places a Simon Jansen ROMEYN as a resident in the area.
It may have been a just this confusion with Simon VAN ARSDALEN which gave Bergen the birth year estimate of 1629 for Simon Jansen ROMEYN. Little has been found that does give an indication of his age. He is shown to have been in New Amsterdam by 1657 and from the court reports seems to have been well established in his business by that date.
One of the reasons for thinking that the birthdate
for Simon given by Bergen is too early, is the date of his marriage to
Sophia Jansen WESTERHOUT in 1671 If he had been born in 1629,
he would have been 41, roughly, at the time of his marriage. This
is rather old for the time and place for a first marriage. However,
there is no evidence at this time that he may have had a previous marriage.
The court case, included on the Records page for Simon, of Annetje Minnew and "Neeltje Pieters, wife of ROMEYN, the carman", is rather confusing and raises more questions than it answers. Neeltje Pieters' husband is referred to as "ROMEYN, the carman", ROMEYN SERVYN, carman" and simply as "ROMEYN" throughout the narrative. This man has not yet been identified and almost nothing is known of him. In the statement of Merritje, wife of Cornelis Longevelt, Merritje is asked if she had lost a napkin and salt celler. She replies "Yes, but [she knew] not who took them and that they were brought back by ROMEYN's wife, believing that they were taken from her." The reference here is probably to Neeltje as "ROMEYN's wife" and the underlying meaning of the entire passage is that Neeltje herself returned the items, pretending that she had found them or obtained from someone whom she claimed she thought had stolen them. However, it would be very easy to misread and to think that Neelje is referring to Symon's wife. Thus we would end up creating an otherwise fictious wife for Simon.
From this discussion and the following pages, it
can be seen that while we can document a great deal of Simon's life in
New York and in Albany, we still do not know the names of his parents.
There is a tantalizing clue in the Ft. Orange Minutes which refers to a
court case in 1662 in which Simon sues Willem STOLL for a debt due
to Claes HENDRICKSEN, who is called Simon's "forefather".
It is not known if this means that Claes was his grandfather or his step-father.
The passage gives no surname for Claes HENDRICKSEN and it is not
clear from the passage whether or not the man the passage refers to even
lived in New Netherland. The debt referred to was owed by Marcus
Hendricks VOGELSANG, for whom Symon Romeyn was an attorney in the
courts of New Amsterdam in 1660. The debt was for a bottomry bond.
In another court case, Willem Stoll and his wife, Cornelia FREDRICKSE,
the widow of Claes Hendricksen Van Schoonhoven, were also sued for debts
due on another bottomry bond make by Cornelia's former husband.
Similarly, no proof has yet been found for the supposition that Simon was a brother to Christofel Jansen ROMEYN or Claes Jansen ROMEYN. No references have yet been found by this researcher which would link Simon to either of the other two. There is one reference, in the 1660 court case of Grietje Pierters and Jan Eraat which mentions Simon Jansen ROMEYN and a Stoffel Jansen, carpenter, but since there is no surname given for Stoffel Jansen, it is probable that the reference is not to Stoffell Jansen ROMEYN but to another of the same Christian name and patronymic but different surname, the most likely canidate being Stoffell Janse ABEEL, who was a carpenter and ship builder. Simon's possible brother of that name would probably have been too young to be the individual named in the court records.
In the one record which exists which seems to refer to the family of Claes Jansen ROMEYN and Christofel Jansen ROMEYN, there is no mention of Symon while there is a mention of a sister, Lysbet JANSEN and a half-brother named Johannes CHRISTOFELS. This record is a sort of promisory note in which the mother of the Claes, Christofel, Lysbet and Johannes promises that they will receive their inheritances if they have not already received it.
If there is a relationship at all between them, if may be that Simon is the half-brother of Claes Jansen ROMEYN and Stoffell Jansen ROMEYN and that they had a common father in Jan CLAES. They apparently do not share a mother.
Earliest record and possible birthdate
The earliest record which may refer to Simon Jansen ROMEYN is the subscription list of 1655 in New Amsterdam. The list does not give a surname so it is possible that it refers to another. The same comment applies to the footnote reference to a power of attorney made by Albert Gerretsen to Symon Jansen in 1657. Thus the earliest reference to him so far found is the power of attorney made by Peter Jansen van Stockholm at Ft. Orange or Beverwyck in 1658.
This power of attorney refers to Simon as a trader so Simon has by then established himself in business in New Amsterdam. In light of this, it seems rather likely that Simon is the one referred to in the subscription list of 1655 and that he is then in the process of starting his business as he is boarding with Aert Willemzen and does not yet have a house of his own. This would indicate that he was probably between the ages of 21 and 25 in 1655. The older age gives him a birthdate in line with that estimated by Bergen. The other would make his birthdate in about 1634.
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Symon Janse Romeyn Time Line and Notes
Symon Janse Romeyn Records
This page created by Renee L. Dauven with information submitted by friends and relatives. It was last updated 22 Aug 2001.