The Van Keulen's of the New World are descended from Woelfaert Van Keulen “of Cologne”.
Once settled in New Netherland, the descendants elected to use a variety of surnames:
Descendants of Catryntje Matthysen Van Keulen and Jan Jansen Van Amesfoort changed their name to Van Steenbergen
Descendants of Matthys Matthysen Van Keulen modified the spelling to Van Keuren.
Descendants of Jan Matthysen Van Keulen adopted the surname of Jansen.
The Van Keulen's were wealthy Protestants who removed to Antwerp after Cologne fell to the Spanish in 1567; Matthys Wolfaertsen Van Keulen first appears in the records of Antwerp in 1570 and his son, Jan Matthysen Van Keulen was baptized there in 1580. Antwerp fell to the Spanish in 1585. Nothing further is known of Matthys Wolfaertsen Van Keulen but it is presumed that he moved with his family to Amsterdam; his brother Jacob appears in London records in the early 1590's. In 1601/2, Jan Matthysen Van Keulen is recorded in London as a merchant of Amsterdam.
MATTHYS JANSEN VAN KEULEN
Matthys Jansen Van Keulen was baptized in London, possibly while his father was conducting business there. Matthys became a lord-director of the Dutch West India Company in 1621 at the age of twenty. In 1630, with other investors, Matthys commissioned a new Colony called Zwaanendal (Swan's Dale or Swan's Valley) at what is now Lewes, Delaware. The inhabitants were massacred by the Indians one year later. In 1632, he led the Dutch in Brazil to oust the Portugese from the coast. By December 1633, his mission was accomplished and one of the forts was named Van Keulen's Fort in his honor. He returned to Amsterdam and in 1636 he was appointed to the Hooghen Secreten Raad (High and Secret Council). In that year, he returned to Brazil, making his first appearance in New Amsterdam in 1639 and ultimately settling at Fort Orange.
Matthys' brother Conraet was an accountant for the Dutch West India Company. In 1639, he purchased 100 morgens (about 200 acres) of land on the Harlem River, and it came to be known as Van Keulen's Hook. Matthys' brothers Cornelis and Klaes were sailors for the Company.
JAN MATTHYSEN VAN KEULEN
Jan was born at Fort Orange but had moved to Esopus by 1667, where he married Magdalena Blanchan and raised his family.
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