My current project is digitizing photos shot in the s and s by the Topographical Bureau in the Office of the Queens Borough President. While working through a box of 8x10 negatives, I came across numerous pictures of cemeteries. One photo in particular caught my eye. Brinckerhoff Cemetery, Queens, March 10, Reading 17th- and 18th-Century Dutch is a bit like reading early modern English.
Most of the differences are minor spelling changes, so, to my nerdy satisfaction, I found I could read the headstone. I continued to come across many other photographs of colonial-era graves. It was interesting that they bothered to photograph individual headstones and not just the broader views of the land. We like to dig, we like to find things, and more importantly we like to know that someone, somewhere, remembers the past and the people who lived it. Who were these people whose graves were photographed?
That question led me down the proverbial rabbit hole. Beginning in an engineer named Charles U. Powell conducted a survey of the private cemeteries of his native Queens. It documents some twenty-three burial grounds, including one Native American and two African-American cemeteries. The African American Cemeteries will be the subject of a future post.
Brinckerhoff Cemetery, Queens, ca. Aeltje was a descendant of Wolfert Gerritsz van Kouwenhoven, one of the first Dutch settlers in Brooklyn. The Brinckerhoffs were also an old Brooklyn Dutch family, having first come to New Netherland in After the English took over, the family moved to Newtown in Queens, where Dirck was born in and where his father, Abraham, served as the town magistrate. The family acquired land at Black Stump in , and portions of this were given to Dirck and Aeltje in and Deceased members of the neighboring families were also buried there, especially as, over the years, marriages interconnected families.
A few years after Aeltje died, Dirck remarried. Dirck and his new wife Elizabeth sold the farm in , and Dirck passed away the following year. The farm and its cemetery subsequently passed through a succession of owners. However, the cemetery was vandalized several times in the twentieth century, and it may have been destroyed.
Neighbors tried in the s to preserve the cemetery by having it declared a public park. The City declined the application, stating that it was not responsible for preserving private burial places.crititwressuf.gq
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Sarah died in March at age thirty-two. The cemetery, known as Rapelje Cemetery, where Sarah, George, and the unknown woman were laid to rest stood at the present-day corner of 21st Street and 21st Avenue in Astoria. A three-story brick apartment building was built on the site of Rapelje Cemetery in Rapalje Cemetery, Astoria, Queens, October 26, A mixture of the Dutch and English languages on the gravestones gives us an idea of the mixed identity of the area in colonial times. Still standing is the Dutch Reformed Church of Newtown, a beautiful wood-frame church established in , sixty-eight years after the Dutch town of Middenburgh became the English town of Newtown.
Though largely destroyed in the Revolutionary War, the church was rebuilt on the original cornerstone after the war, and a new bell was cast for it in the Netherlands in Preaching in Dutch continued at the church until Finally, Debevoise is a French surname.
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Most likely the family were Huguenots, or French Protestants. Many Huguenots emigrated from France to the Palatinate or the Netherlands during the Reformation, and many also came to colonize the New World. Here, as in the Netherlands, they often mixed with Dutch populations and came to identify as more or less Dutch.
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The colonies were often populated by persecuted religious sects. But this doesn't really matter - all they want to know is if you were born in the US when they ask those questions. Were you born in a hospital? If so, that's your exact place of birth and that's typically what's going to be on your birth certificate.
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Seconding JPD. When answering these sorts of problems I always ask myself why they want to know. Then I know how much detail they're really looking for. In this case they probably really want to know that you were born in the USA, but they don't want to be too obvious about it. So they ask where you were born, and a sufficiently-minimal answer to that is "New York, New York".
This part is often not true. So while "New York City" is technically correct, "Queens" is not. It's either LIC or Astoria. Which, I believe, are two distinct sections of Queens. I don't think could be wrong you could not have been born in both.
It'd be like being born in the East and West Village simultaneously. AFAIK, of course. Whatever your birth certificate says. So, yeah, in a manner of speaking you could be born in "both".
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I used to live in Sunnyside, but my mail said Long Island City. So I feel the OP's pain. My advice would be to just pick one or the other - it's very unlikely that it would make a difference. But legally all those names meaning nothing. The DMV mostly cares that when they send you mail it gets to you. Other than that they don't care. I was born in Booth Memorial Hospital in Flushing. If asked for something like a passport I use Flushing.
If asked by a woman in a bar I use NY City. For US government jobs that requires a background check, they pretty much don't care as long as the answer is somewhere in the US. If you were from a more obscure town, I'd say use the most generic answer to avoid confusion. But, the people doing the check likely have an office in New York City, so any of your choices are fine.
It doesn't have to be so complicated. But in reality, no one cares past New York City. If they're from there, too, they'll inquire further regarding borough. Not acceptable unless you were born in Manhattan. Regardless of why they want to know, JPD is right: postal service designations have no legal force. To illustrate: In most places that aren't NYC, cities are smaller than counties -- if you live in X County, outside of a city but near Y-ville, your mail will likely say Y-ville, and you could say you live in Y-ville or X County and nobody would bat an eye.
Legally speaking, though, your taxes would go to X County, and you have nothing to do with Y-ville. And when people forget that USPS place designations mean nothing, problems happen So here, I think any of your answers are OK, but legally speaking, New York, NY, seems the most correct to me because that's the city where you were born. And the neighborhoods are more specific still, but not really necessary. Try telling a Manhattanite that. They're wrong, but they're so persistent about it