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(Another different Herald)
Our Kingston, NY
DeWitt Lineage
to John Dewitt?

A 700 year Lineage of Some DeWitts?
(from Jan die Witte (born before 1295) to Joel S. DeWitt, Sr. (died 2 Apr 1987))
or maybe only
A 387 year Lineage of Some Other DeWitts?
(from Jan Dewitt (born before 1600) to Joel S. DeWitt, Sr. (died 2 Apr 1987))

or ...
A 375 year Lineage of Some Witts and DeWitts?
(from John Witt (born 1612) to Joel S. DeWitt, Sr. (died 2 Apr 1987))

Version 24 (11 / 15 / 13) by Don DeWitt (contact)
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different Herald)

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Did you know ... that DeWitt is the 1,446th most popular last name (surname)
in the United States with a frequency of 0.009%?

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Being a DeWitt means you have a zillion DeWitt relatives spread all over the world.  It seems that DeWitts loved children (to the extent of 10-12 children families) and loved to move about the world and the growing United States throughout its history. Unfortunately, many generations of DeWitts found more important things to do than write down who was related to who. So here we all are in 2003 trying to figure it all out, and of course one might expect controversy. This controversy does not seem to be the argumentative type.... just the "Where are the facts?" type.

After working on this family history for the last 30 years and posting what I have learned on the internet over the last 10 years and then meeting other crazed DeWitt-interested genealogists who have added a great deal of information and challenged one very important generational link, I have tried to organize all of this information that is pertinent to my immediate family into two areas: Wishful Thinking and Factual Thinking. (Sorry for the very long sentence!)

  • Factual Thinking Section
    • The factual area of this document deals with DeWitts born about 1758 (John Dewitt) through my grandfather Joel Swanger DeWitt, Sr. who died in 1987.  His children and grandchildren and great-granchildren are held as PRIVATE.  There is not much controversy here and everyone is happy.  But why did I stop going backward in time at John?
  • Wishful Thinking Section
    • This area is where we bald DeWitts lose even more hair. It deals with ALL the DeWitts prior to John Dewitt.  As you might have guessed, the first step back to John's parents is a big point of controversy, or at least conjecture.  The bottom line is: No one seems to have any proof who John's parents were.
The Kingston, NY DeWitts

The major theory that many of us have lived with for years mainly because we did not know of any other possibilities is that we descend from what I call the Kingston, NY DeWitts, with the major DeWitt being the famous Tjerck deWitt who was born in Holland about 1620 but lived most of his life in the Kingston, NY area until 1700. A great deal of information is available on Tjerck and his ancestors and that is why, if you want to believe that we are related to this clan, you can read all the way back to 1295 without only a controversial bump here and there on the road.

It is the moving forward from Tjerck that gives considerable grief, at least to we John-Dewitt-descendants.  One of Tjerck's sons was Lucas DeWitt who had a son Jan DeWitt who married Ariantje Osterhoudt.

Descendancy from Jan DeWitt and Ariantje Osterhoudt:

Son 1: Johannes DeWitt
According to the Rowley-King genealogy written by Ruth and Homer Rowley in the 1970s, three generations after Tjerck deWitt there was a Johannes DeWitt (b. 1739), (son of Jan DeWitt and Ariantje Osterhoudt) who they believed was the father of our John DeWitt (b. 1760).

My first hope regarding this issue came with the discovery of the Rowley-King Genealogy. I found their huge book by accident as I browsed through the genealogical section of the library in Ravenswood, WV which is near where John DeWitt lived.  I was floored!  Right in front of me was a family history that connected my family back several hundred years!  It was what everyone hopes for and hardly ever finds.  So, the Rowleys were the first people who I have encountered to suggest that John was a son of Johannes. However they admitted that this idea was unsubstantiated (p. 96).

The problem is that no one else can confirm that Johannes had a son named John who married Nancy Culbertson in Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania about 1790, migrated to Virginia around 1807 and settled down to start OUR clan.  I have not been able to find any other source that helps in this matter.  (Note: In 1807, what is now Jackson Co, WV was parts of Kanawha, Mason and Wood Counties, Virginia.   West Virginia became a state in 1831 and at that time Jackson County was formed. So if you find someone living in Mason Co., VA check the date because it now may be Jackson Co. WV.)
Son 2: Ezekial DeWitt
Another suggestion has been made that OUR John Dewitt is the son Johannes' brother Ezekial DeWitt, (also son of Jan DeWitt and Ariantje Osterhoudt).  After posting this website for several years, on March 19th 2004, Jackilyn Turner wrote to me about her collection of information that suggested that OUR John Dewitt was the son of Ezekiel.  When I checked my data and a reference online, I rediscovered that Ezekiel appears to have had a son John DeWitt who could have been born in the correct time period.  Ezekiel started out in the Kingston area of New York, but had moved to Confluence, Pennsylvania by 1768 and was also living in Buffalo Creek, PA in 1776. "Ezekiel had a license for keeping an ordinary (tavern) in Washington Co., PA. 1781. Census, Hopewell Twp lists 400 acres of land, 2 horses, 4 cows, 2 slaves. Land grant for 400 acres dated 24 feb 1782."  Also Crumrine's Hist of Washington Co., PA: p.210, Jan 16, 1776, Ezekiel DeWit appointed Constable. p.258, Nov 26, 1782, Ezekiel DeWit, Hopewell Twp, 2 slaves.  This information was taken from McCoy Family Tree.

So if you want to WISH we are related to the
Kingston, NY DeWitts, then visit my webpage on the Kingston DeWitts.

However, if you are open to other conjectures, then read about the
Long Island, NY DeWitts below.

The Long Island, NY DeWitts

In another correspondence, with Cheryl Gallagher, who corresponded with Katherine DeWitt Gazaway and Betty Briggs, a suggestion was made by Kathryn that perhaps we descend from the line from Pieter Jansen DeWitt of Long Island, NY which has several Johns in their line who could be our ancestor.  (Kathryn wrote in the DeWitt Family Genealogy Forum in 2000 to a query posted by Cheryl Gallagher in 1998 (ref) and suggested that we take a look at the Long Island DeWitt's (ref).)  Unfortunately, Kathryn has since died on February 15, 2001.

In the summer of 2003, I did some research into the Long Island DeWitts using Kathryn's genealogy and have found a John Dewitt born around 1760 in Pennsylvania who could be our John Dewitt...maybe.  The only "proof" I have is that he was born in Pennsylvania around the same time as our John Dewitt (who is rumored to have migrated from Pennsylvania) and who was born in the 1760-1765 era. He was born in Northumberland Co., PA which is further east than Westmoreland Co., but we only need him in Westmoreland Co., around 1790... and of course "everyone was heading west in those days."
So if you want to WISH we are related to the Long Island, NY DeWitts, then visit my webpage on the Long Island DeWitts.

Somewhere Else DeWitts

It certainly is possible that we are descendants of DeWitts who migrated to these United States from a different family and / or a different time.  If I am wrong with the Long Island clan as well as the Kingston clan, then hopefully, some of their descendants will find useful information within this website.  Family papers passed down from one generation to another have claimed a French connection, but I have never found any confirmation.  Perhaps we descend from a French Dewitt after all? 
So if you want to WISH we are related to the French DeWitts, then visit my webpage on the French DeWitts.

Another DeWitt clan descends from a Jacob DeWitt born in the Netherlands around 1600. He died in Henrico Virginia in 1674 and produced a clan that lived in eastern Virginia and South Carolina.  (I have not been able to find a John DeWitt in Jacob's descendants who was born in Pennsylvania around 1760.)

Is DNA the answer?

In September 2008, I embarked on a 21st century exploration of my genes via the DeWitt Surname DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA.

Click icon above to visit the DeWitt DNA website.

You may read about this adventure at: English DeWitts

So now you have the essence of our family's BIG genealogical question.  You can now decide where you want to go using the Main Menu below.

The DeWitt Ancestry

 John DeWitt
and Afterwards
John DeWitt
Wishful Thinking
PA, VA, WV to MO

Kingston, NY

Long Island, NY


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