I’m so excited! I bought a book: Banta Pioneers and Records of The Wives and Allied Families, by Elsa M. Banta, 1983. This is another gift of the internet. I would not have known about it if I hadn’t seen it on Family Search. I just can’t give enough thanks to the sites that make books available online. And having the digitalized version available does NOT mean the end of book sales! I’m a fine example. As soon as I had read enough to know that it was about Mom’s family and that it contained some valuable information, I had to have one for my own collection. I paid $35 for it- not a sum that I part with lightly, especially for a book.
The book is a treasure of information. It is 296 pages long and contains lots of stories, illustrations, photos, and maps. Here is a brief story I had heard mentioned briefly once before in another book, but had never seen in print:
On October 8, 1656 “Epke Jacobs, miller at Minnertsga, was arrested and caused to appear before the public prosecutor and fined for permitting a Roman Catholic priest in his house to baptize his child.” The child was probably Hendrick. The state religion was the Reformed Protestant Church. Although he appeared to have sympathy and a leaning toward the Catholic Church at this time, he and his immediate descendant were staunch supporters of the Dutch Reformed Church in New Netherland and New Jersey after their migration.
The book goes on to explain that Epke and his wife also had some financial problems at that time, as shown by court records, and the combination of financial and religious problems were most likely what sent them to the New World.
I want to read more about how Epke and his family became the “Banta” family. I know there were differences in how people were named in the Netherlands and the names they adopted here. Last names often referred to occupations or skills. The book has lots of early court and city records.
There are lengthy descriptions of early life in Friesland and New Jersey, where the Banta family settled. I found this item to be interesting since I had no knowledge of slaves in the East: “Bergen County was one of the slave centers of New Jersey and the east coast. Ships brought their human cargo to Bergen Point where slave auctions were held, and by 1737 negro slaves comprised one-fourth of the population. It was not until 1846 that slavery was declared illegal by the New Jersey legislature. Several of Epke’s descendents were slave owners, although records do not list him as such.”
So, that’s your history lesson for today. I’m anxious to read more, especially about the years in Kentucky. My other great-grandparents, on Dad’s side of the family, were also from Kentucky. Maybe I’ll find a link between the two families or find that they lived in the same area.
Remember, you can’t appreciate where you are going until you understand where you have been.