Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Interesting Phenomena in our family trees–coincidence? Part 2, the Voorhees Family


Voorhees family, Linda and siblings!

The Voorhees Family of Maryland, with Linda Voorhees in the center (in dark blue) of her siblings. Thanks to Linda for permission to use this photograph.


Time Travel? Six Degrees of Separation? Reincarnation and traveling through life with your tribe? God’s miracle? In this mini-series of blog posts, I am exploring connections I found, especially with my neighbors, as I researched my family tree. Can you imagine what my neighbors thought as I began to say to more and more of them, “I think we might be kin to each other!” LOL Once maybe, but five times!? There are many other connections that coincide with these. It raises questions, makes me think of things I’ve only read about before!
The VanVoorhees family was originally from the Netherlands. They came to this country of America by at least 1660– when Steven Coerte VanVoorhees, born in Hees, Drenthe, Holland in 1600, came to New Amsterdam, New York. The name was shortened to Voorhees in America, with some families changing it to Voorus, Vorhis, and other spellings.
My introduction to the Voorhees family came in 2004, when I moved into a new neighborhood in North Carolina, USA, and Linda Voorhees and her husband Jerry McLaughlin lived across the street from me. They had retired and moved from the Washington DC area, Maryland to be specific. The day we first saw our perspective new house, we met Jerry McLaughlin. He was in his yard working, and we asked him a few questions about the neighborhood. His warm welcome, best wishes and most of all, his incredibly charming laugh…stayed with me and made me feel like we had found the place we were supposed to be. Little did I know how much at “home” this neighborhood would become.
Linda and I became good friends, she is one of the smartest, most giving, kind, and friendly people you could ever meet! Besides that, her past was so very interesting in that she had worked with congressmen, for the World Bank, and had an office in the White House when Bill and Hillary Clinton were there! We became good gardening friends as well and she was President of our local gardening club. We became Red Hatters together also, and had so much shared fun! I was struck by the fact that she had six sisters and one brother! My mother had been one of six sisters and one brother as well, it intrigued me how close to each other both families were.
It wasn’t until 2011 that I began to explore the world of genealogy and develop my family tree. I was truly a newbie, and knew very little about my ancestors when I started. First, I began to see the name McLaughlin crisscrossing my family tree! I even asked Jerry to let me develop a family tree for him so that I could tell if we connected! He already had a lot of family information, but said “sure”. That exploration connected with my Hogue family of Scottish descent, although Jerry was Irish. A lot of Scots of course, settled in Ireland for a period of time before coming to America.
I was exploring and cataloging my Hogue family who came to Pennsylvania in 1747 with some moving to Ohio shortly after 1800. I came across the most wonderful book titled The Story of the Dining Fork, by Joseph T. Harrison, copyright, 1927. The Dining Fork was a valley near a branch of the Tuscarawas River in the southern part of Carroll County and northern part of Harrison County, Ohio. Harrison writes this story in such a way that it covers many historical events of the nineteenth century, at the same time, he writes so personally of the citizens and neighbors that you feel you get to know them a bit! I was intrigued and read most of the book, available from the card catalog on ancestry.com. Imagine my shock and surprise when I discovered that he wrote about neighbors there, Hogues and Voorhees! Wow! Not only were they neighbors, but they were teachers and more at the brand new Scio College built in the town, later to become a Methodist college. Linda and I are both Methodists. It took some work to link these Voorhees to Linda’s family and those particular Hogues to mine! Thanks to Linda’s helping me develop a tree of her family, and many Hogue relatives helping me with my research,  we were able to determine, that the Jacob Voorhees who moved to Ohio from New Jersey, was Linda’s third cousin! Robert S. Hogue who also taught at Scio College, was not my 4th great uncle as I had first thought , but my own cousin as well! They lived and worked together in the late 1860’s, at least 155 years ago! Now Linda and I are friends in 2015. But that was just the first time I found our families in close proximity!
Continuing to work closely with a group of family researchers, I met a woman named Dorothy Hogg Moore from Pennsylvania. In studying her family tree, and how our Hoggs/Hogues were related, I made a startling discovery–several in fact. She was a Voorhees descendant! Another connection! Her family had changed the spelling to Voorus, but her line tracked right back to Garret Voorhees, born 10 April, 1761 in Monmouth, New Jersey, USA, Linda’s fourth great grandfather! That made Linda and Dorothy fifth cousins!

Voorus sisters of Pennsylvania with Dorothy on left, namesake of Dorothy Hogg Moore

The Voorus sisters of Pennsylvania. Dorothy Voorus, fourth from left, is the one who imarried Calvin Hogg, and is the namesake for Dorothy Hogg Moore. thanks to Dorothy H. Moore for permission to use this photograph.

In Dorothy’s tree also, I discovered another amazing thing.  Now, the Hogues who are on my father’s side of the family, were the connection between the Voorhees and me, but here were the Spanglers from my mother’s family—German descent Spanglers, in the family with these Hoggs and Voorus/Voorhees families! Her Spanglers definitely traced back to my Spangler ancestors! We were kin through the Hogues and the Spanglers, and she and Linda through the Voorhees. The Spanglers joined the Voorus’s in the mid 1800’s, and the Voorus’s joined the Hoggs/Hogues around the turn of the century to 1900, so we’re talking interactions again about 100 to 150 years ago! All in one family tree with a neighbor.
But I wasn’t finished yet. My maiden name was Helen Spear Youngblood. I was tracking all my major lines back as far as I could, so the Spears of course were one of those lines. In the Spear/Spier line, I have surnames Banta, Vreeland, and VanSwol among others. It wasn’t long before I ran into the surname Voorhees again! This time it showed that my 8th great-grandfather, Henrich Jansen Spier, 1619-1679, and Linda’s 9th great-grandfather, Steven Coerte VanVoorhees, b,1600 in Hees, Drenthe, Holland, Death 16 Feb 1684 in Flatlands, Kings, New York, United States, were both in New Amsterdam together. In the mid 1600’s, it’s likely they knew each other!
As I explored this time era with this family further, I found more connections with Linda’s family! Look what I wrote her via email late one night as I was researching –this connection takes us back 250 years!
Hi Linda darlin,  As you may have seen, I just wrote a blog post yesterday on an ancestor from the Netherlands, Magdelina Van Swol who married one of my Spiers, my maiden name was Helen Spear Youngblood, same line of Spears/Spiers. Anyway, the Spiers, VanSwols, and Bantas are all contemporaries (in the mid 1600’s!) in my line, so imagine my surprise when I saw Magdalena VanVoorhees married to one of my Banta cousins! Wow! They both lived in Bergen, NJ, and went to the Dutch Reformed Church there. Magdalena (1739 – 1810)) is your 2nd cousin, 8x removed (8 generations removed). Her husband Albert Hendrickse Banta, 1728-1810, is my 2nd cousin, 7x removed! that makes their children our mutual 3rd cousins, removed 7x for you, and 6x for me! LOL We keep crossing paths in this life, we were meant to be friends and neighbors I think!
Awesome! Linda and I became neighbors in 2004, we had never met before. I had never heard the name Voorhees as far as I know. Then in 2011, I started doing genealogy and wow, Linda’s ancestors and mine certainly seem to have traveled through time together! How can we explain this?  How interesting that Linda was not my only neighbor with whom this happened! In the next couple posts, I’ll outline how I found that at least four more of my neighbors’ ancestors and my ancestors knew each other! I’m thinking of Linda’s sending me this definition of coincidence–“a miracle where God’s presence is invisible.” That idea speaks to me! We might also consider, Six Degrees of Separation, Reincarnation, and Serendipity!

LOL I love my neighbors, and my family, and isn’t genealogical research fun!




This gallery contains 2 photos


Magdaleen Helena Van Swol—52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #48



Artist is Granger, New Amsterdam, 1660. Governor Peter Stuyvesant and Dutch Settlers in New Amsterdam parlaying with Indians. Wood engraving, 1855.http://render.fineartamerica.com/displayartwork.html?id=4060758&width=249&height=248&domainid=1

Artist is Granger, New Amsterdam, 1660. Governor Peter Stuyvesant and Dutch Settlers in New Amsterdam parlaying with Indians. Wood engraving, 1855.http://render.fineartamerica.com/displayartwork.html?id=4060758&width=249&height=248&domainid=1

Magdaleen Helena Van Swol was my/our 8th great-grandmother, and the grandmother of almost everyone in my Youngblood facebook group which numbers about 40 people. Obviously, she has a lot more descendants than that, but considering she lived from 1630-1697,  to think that almost 400 years later, 40 of her descendants have gathered together to get to know each other and to research family history, is more than amazing! Can you imagine what she would have thought had she dreamed her descendants were thinking of her, looking into her life, in 2014! Our lives, our homes, our machines, would have amazed her to say the least.

We don’t know a lot about her early life, but she was born in New Amsterdam, New York in 1630. Think about that, Plymouth was settled in 1620, and here is our ancestor born in New York in 1630! Hard to believe. Unfortunately, we do not even know her mother’s name, and we know her father, Hans Van Swol, died in 1633. So where was she from age 3 to age 22 when she married our 8th great- grandfather, Hendrick Jansen Spier, birth 1619 in Aschwaerde, Stift, Bremen, Germany, death 12 May 1679 in Pemperpogh, Bergen, New Jersey, United States? For now, that remains a mystery.

New Amsterdam

Museum of the City of New York – Peter Stuyvesant, the fourth and most famous of the Dutch Governor – Generals was appointed in 1647. It was his lot to be obliged to surrender New Netherland to the English in 1664. collections.mcny.org


If you are interested in some overall history of the settlement by the Dutch of New Amsterdam, this article in Wikipedia provides a good overview, some of which is reproduced for you here:

:  “New Amsterdam (DutchNieuw-Amsterdam) was a 17th-century Dutch settlement established at the southern tip ofManhattan Island, which served as the seat of the colonial government in New Netherland territory. It was renamed New York on September 8, 1664, in honor of the then Duke of York (later James II of England) after English forces seized control of Manhattan Island, along with the rest of the Dutch colony.

The settlement, outside of Fort Amsterdam on Manhattan Island, in the New Netherland (1614–1664), was a provincial extension of the Dutch Republic as of 1624. Situated on the strategic, fortifiable southern tip of the island of Manhattan, the fort was meant to defend the Dutch West India Company‘s fur trade operations in the North River (Hudson River). Fort Amsterdam was designated the capital of the province in 1625.

The 1625 date of the founding of New Amsterdam is now commemorated in the official Seal of New York City. (Formerly, the year on the seal was 1664, the year of the provisional Articles of Transfer, assuring New Netherlanders that they “shall keep and enjoy the liberty of their consciences in religion”, negotiated with the English by Pieter Stuyvesant and his council.)”

“The first recorded exploration by the Dutch of the area around what is now called New York Bay was in 1609 with the voyage of the ship Halve Maen (English: “Half Moon”), captained by Henry Hudson[2] in the service of the Dutch Republic, as the emissary of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, Holland’s stadholder. Hudson named the river the Mauritius River. He was covertly attempting to find the Northwest Passage for the Dutch East India Company. Instead, he brought back news about the possibility of exploitation of beaver pelts in the area, leading to private commercial interest by the Dutch who sent commercial, private missions to the area the following years.

At the time, beaver pelts were highly prized in Europe, because the fur could be felted to make waterproof hats. A by-product of the trade in beaver pelts was castoreum—the secretion of the animals’ anal glands—which was used for its medicinal properties and for perfumes. The expeditions by Adriaen Block and Hendrick Christiansz in 1611, 1612, 1613 and 1614 resulted in the surveying and charting of the region from the 38th parallel to the 45th parallel. On their 1614 map, which gave them a four-year trade monopoly under a patent of the States General, they named the newly discovered and mapped territory New Netherland for the first time. It also showed the first year-round trading presence in New Netherland, Fort Nassau, which would be replaced in 1624 by Fort Orange, which eventually grew into the town of Beverwyck, now Albany.

Dominican trader Juan Rodriguez (rendered in Dutch as Jan Rodrigues), born in Santo Domingo of Portuguese and African descent, arrived in Manhattan during the winter of 1613–1614, trapping for pelts and trading with the local population as a representative of the Dutch. He was the first recorded non-Native Americaninhabitant of what would eventually become New York City.[3][4]

The territory of New Netherland, containing the Northeast’s largest rivers with access to the beaver trade, was originally a private, profit-making commercial enterprise focusing on cementing alliances and conducting trade with the diverse Indian tribes. Surveying and exploration of the region was conducted as a prelude to an anticipated official settlement by the Dutch Republic, which occurred in 1624.

In 1620 the Pilgrims attempted to sail to the Hudson River from England. However, the Mayflower reached Cape Cod(now part of Massachusetts) on November 9, 1620, after a voyage of 64 days.[5] For a variety of reasons, primarily a shortage of supplies, the Mayflower could not proceed to the Hudson River and the colonists decided to settle somewhere on or near Cape Cod.[5]

The mouth of the Hudson River was selected as the ideal place for initial settlement as it had easy access to the ocean while also securing an ice-free lifeline to the beaver trading post near present day Albany, settled in 1614. Here American Indian hunters supplied them with pelts in exchange for European-made trade goods and wampum, which was soon being made by the Dutch on Long Island. In 1621 the Dutch West India Company was founded. Between 1621 and 1623, orders were given to the private, commercial traders to vacate the territory, thus opening up the territory to Dutch settlers and company traders. It also allowed the laws and ordinances of the states of Holland to apply. Previously, during the private, commercial period, only the law of the ship had applied.

In 1624 the first group of families arrived on Noten Eylant (Nut Island, now Governors Island) to take possession of the New Netherland territory and to operate various trading posts. They were spread out to Verhulsten Island (Burlington Island) in the South River (now the Delaware River), to Kievitshoek (now Old Saybrook, Connecticut) at the mouth of the Verse River (now the Connecticut River) and further north on the Mauritius or North River (now the Hudson River), near what is now Albany.

Upon first settlement on Noten Eylant in 1624, a fort and sawmill were built. The latter was constructed by Franchoys Fezard.

The New Amsterdam settlement had a population of approximately 270 people, including infants. In 1642 the new director-general Willem Kieft decided to build a stone church within the fort. The work was carried out by recent English immigrants, the brothers John and Richard Ogden. The church was finished in 1645 and stood until destroyed in the Slave Insurrection of 1741.


On August 27, 1664, while England and the Dutch Republic were at peace, four English frigates sailed into New Amsterdam’s harbor and demanded New Netherland’s surrender, whereupon New Netherland was provisionally ceded by director-general Peter Stuyvesant. On September 6 Stuyvesant sent lawyer Johannes De Decker and five other delegates to sign the official Articles of Capitulation. This was swiftly followed by the Second Anglo-Dutch War, between England and the Dutch Republic. In June 1665, New Amsterdam was reincorporated under English law as New York City, named after the Duke of York (later King James II). He was the brother of the English King Charles II, who had been granted the lands.[11]


Hopefully, further research will lead us to discover more about her childhood. However, she has an interesting adulthood for us to consider. She married our grandfather Hendrick Spier in 1652, and had her first of nine children in 1653, a son, Johannes Jan Spier, 1653-1724. Johannes becomes our 7th great grandfather. The others included:  

  • Tryntje SPIER, 1654 – 1657
  • Seytje Spier, 1655 –
  • Jacobus Spier, 1659 – 1670
  • Hans Hendrickszen Spier, 1663 – 1726
  • Willemtje Spier, 1665 –
  • Cathryntje SPIER, 1667 –
  • Abraham Spier, 1671 – 1679
  • Barent Spier, 1675 – 1742


Notice that Abraham Spier died at age 8. We can see that he was buried at the Bergen Protestant Reformed Church, in Bergen, New Jersey. So the family had certainly moved from New Amsterdam to New Jersey by then.  The record below is from the Holland Society, documenting records concerning Magdaleen Hans Spier, in the Bergen Records of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church. Notice, she lost her husband and her child the same year! Abraham, May 12, and Hendrick on June 12, wonder if they were connected?

Spier, Abraham, death at age 8 in 1679 in Bergen, NJ--Magdaleen Hans Spier,Bergen Records of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church

Documents death of Abraham Spier, age 8, in 1679, son of Magdaleen Van Swol and Hendrick Spier.



Their last child was born in 1675, and then, not Magdaleen, but Hendrick Jansen Spier her husband dies in 1679.  She has at least four, maybe five children still at home. Maybe that is why she remarried immediately, to keep her children well taken care of.  She married Harmen Edwards at her age 49, in 1679. Unfortunately, he died in 1681, when her youngest was only 6 years old, and Catheryn was just 14, and William 16. She married for a third time again immediately. This time she married a wealthy man, Jan Aertsen Van der Bilt. Even though she would have been 54 years old, we are told she and Jan Van der Bilt had one child together, Jan Janse Van Der Bilt, 1684-1737. He is our 7th great Uncle, just like all of  Magdaleen’s children,  but he gives us entry into the wealthy Vanderbilt family!  That alone is a noteworthy event, but one that always makes me stop and ponder my very middle class existence!

We can see that Jan Vanderbilt was active in his stepchildren’s lives, and even their children, his stepchildren, in this article from these sources:  “Bergen, T., “Early Settlers, Kings Co., Long Island, New York”, pp 319-321; Boyer, C., “Ancestral Lines,” p 230; Strong, T. M., “History of Flatbush,” p 60; Kip, F. E., “Kip Family,” p 89; Hoppin, C. A., “Washington Ancestry,” v. 3, p 64, Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, v 55, pp 1-3; Collections, Holland Society,” Records Dutch Reformed Church, Bergen, New Jersey, V 4.)

Jan Aertsen Vanderbilt (b. 1627, d. 02 Feb 1704/05)

Jan Aertsen Vanderbilt was born 1627 in Holland, and died 02 Feb 1704/05 in Bergen,(Jersey City),NJ. He married Anneken Hendricks on 06 Feb 1649/50 in DRC New Amsterdam,New Netherlands.

 Notes for Jan Aertsen Vanderbilt:
Jan Aertsen Vanderbilt was born about 1627 in Holland. Jean M. Rand, in her book “Some Descendants of Jan Aertsen Vanderbilt” speculates that Jan’s father was named Aert (because of the use of patronymics by the Dutch). She also speculates that he came from Bilt, 3 miles east of Utrecht, Holland. He was about 13 when he emigrated to New Amsterdam. He was indentured, 12 Oct 1640, to Peter Wholfertsen Van Couvenhoven for three years. At age 16, in 1643, he participated in Indian fighting in the area. Jan had no money, this is why he was indentured as a servant for three years. Jan was very industrious, he was a prosperous farmer and owned land in a variety of places. Dorothy Kelly MacDowell in her book “Commodore Vanderbilt and His Family” places Jan Aertsen’s birth date at about 1620. Since he died in 1705, his age would be between 78 and 85.

Jan married his first wife at the Dutch Reformed Church at New Amsterdam on February 6, 1650 to Anneken Hendricks. Jan was about 23. Jan and Anneken had three children. Anneken died about 1655. Jan was 28. 

Jan married his second wife between 1655 and 1660. Jan was between 28 and 33. She was Dieber (Divertje) Cornelis, the widow of Lubbert Gysbertsen. Jan become the stepfather of five children. Jan and Dieber had one child. Dieber died before 1680.

Jan Aertsen owned a farm in 1661the location of which was described in the “The Social History of Flatbush” by Gertrude Lefferts Vanderbilt, published in 1881, in pages 221 and 229 as “From the south corner of Clarkson Street to the South corner of Winthrop Street… The original farm is now enclosed within Prospect Park.”

Jan lived in New Amsterdam in 1663. On February 5, 1667, Jan mortgaged a bouwery of his in Flushing, Queens, New York, to Nicholas de Meyer

Jan married his third wife on December 10, 1681 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York. Jan was 54. She was Magdalena Hanse/Jans Van Swol, the widow of Hendrick Jansen Spier and Harmen Edwards. Jan became the stepfather of nine more children. Jan and Magdalena had one child. 

Jan Aertsen Vanderbilt had joined the Bergen, NJ Dutch Reformed Church by 1682. He sponsered the baptism of Frans Spier, his step grandchild, born 2 April 1683, and of Hendrick Spier, his step grandchild, born in 1685. Jan was on the Rate List of Flatbush in 1683. In the same year he and his son Aris Janse were named Overseers. Jan owned land in Bergen New Jersey in 1694. Jan died there in 1705 at age 78. –this article was originally shared on Ancestry’s website by W. _VanCleave originally shared this to Van Cleave Family


Magdaleen Van Swol, my/our 8th great grandmother, was a courageous pioneer, a mother of ten, and took us through the Spear family as well as connecting us to the Vanderbilts! What an interesting woman she was, and what  an interesting surname to add to our collection of names. Magadaleen enriches our Dutch ancestry as well. 

Magdaleen Hans VanSwol (1630 – 1697)

is your 8th great grandmother

Johannes Jan Spier (1653 – 1724)

son of Magdaleen Hans VanSwol

Frans Johannisse Spier (1683 – 1771)

son of Johannes Jan Spier

Jacobus Spier (1714 – 1797)

son of Frans Johannisse Spier

Hendrick Jansen Spier (1760 – 1850)

son of Jacobus Spier

Jacob Speer (1788 – 1858)

son of Hendrick Jansen Spier

Edwin Speer (1822 – 1861)

son of Jacob Speer

Clara B. Spear (1851 – 1931)

daughter of Edwin Speer

Edwin Spear Youngblood (1882 – 1943)

son of Clara B. Spear

Cecil Hogue Youngblood (1910 – 1988)

son of Edwin Spear Youngblood

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Cecil Hogue Youngblood – (