The Bradt Family Archive

A website in progress

Albert Andriessen Bradt

The Marriage Intention of Annetie Barents

And Albert Andriessen (Bratt)


A Marriage Intention was the equivalent of a modern-day marriage license.  This record from the year 1632 is one of the earliest known Bradt records. It marks the beginning of a great family saga.

The translation above states incorrectly that Annetie was from Oudenbrath.  A careful analysis of related records led to a correction; the place was actually Oudenbroek.  Altenbruch, as it appears on modern maps, was a village or parish about 100 miles east of Amsterdam on the North Sea. (This is the first known record of Albert, but Annetie and her mother likely appeared earlier as godparents at baptisms. This congregation (Lutheran) had many members with the same name, so these appearances cannot be easily substantiated.)

Albert's patronymic, Andriess, appears three other ways, Andriessen, Andriesse, and Andriesz. All four are pronounced the same, phonetically as "Andreesah." The Norwegian form of it is Anderson.

Annetje's Address in Amsterdam, the One Block Long Schapensteeg

Schappensteeg, or Schaepensteegje as it appears in the Marriage Intention above, literally means "Sheep Alley." This one block long street is within walking distance of the city center, the Oude Kerk, the West India Company headquarters, and many tourist sites.  It's easy to imagine that this district might have been a sheep market when Amsterdam was a younger and much smaller city.


Schapensteeg runs between the Flying Tiger and the Copenhagen Gift Shop

Albert's residence is given as Romboutsteegh, presumably the "Rombout Hogerbeetsstraat" that appears about a mile from Schapensteeg on modern maps.

The Mystery of Annetje Barents' Hometown


This article actually locates Annetje's home quite precisely.  Modern maps show that Altenbruch and Otterndorf are no more than four miles apart.  Possibly one was originally within the jurisdiction of the other.

Hereditary family names were probably in use in that area, so Rotmer(s) is a very important clue. "Van Rotmers" likely means "of the Rotmer family." The Dutch occasionally handled foreign surnames in that manner. Annetje was very likely related to the Rotmers who lived in the vicinity of Altenbruch.

Albert's Birth Year

"What can be determined with more or less certainty about the early life of Albert Bradt is that he was born about 1607..." --Peter R. Christoph, "Albert Andriessen Bradt, A Norwegian Settler in Rensselaerswyck", published by The Bradt Family Association, 1987, page 2.

Peter somewhat understates the case for 1607 as Albert's birth year. Two records, Albert's 1632 Marriage Intention (which Peter had not seen) and his 1636 contract with Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (below), pinpoint 1607 as his birth year by giving his age. Albert's exact date of birth is not known but if those two documents are precise, it was between March 28 and August 26, 1607.

Speculation on Albert's Hometown

Just when you have everything down pat, someone comes along and throws a monkey wrench into the works. (Only jesting.) In Albert's time there were already two Fredrikstads, one in Norway, the other in Denmark. The one in Norway was much older and larger. The one in Denmark had been founded in 1621, 14 years after Albert's birth. The Norwegian Fredrikstad was a center of sawmilling and shipping. The one in Denmark had been a swamp that needed draining. The Danish king had invited people from the Netherlands to settle there for their know-how in draining low country.

The consensus is that Albert was from Norway, but how certain is it? If he had been from Denmark, he would not likely have had an interest in sawmilling, would not likely have been a sailor in his younger years, would not likely have been Lutheran, and most likely would have been Dutch, Danish, or German, and occasionally designated as such, but he never was, only as "de Noorman." For these and other reasons, the odds in favor of Norway are maybe a thousand to one, or even higher. But in genealogy, there's always that shadow of a doubt!

In the interest of full disclosure, Albert's Y-DNA appears at this time to be more common in Germany and Central Europe than in Norway. But according to page 118 of "Scandinavian Immigrants in New York, 1630-1674", John Evjen's well-respected book published in 1916, the word Noorman always means Norwegian in the records of New Netherland. There was no doubt in Evjen's mind that Albert was Norwegian.

Albert's Y-DNA supports the possibility that he and his brother were descendants of the Bergen Bratts. Bergen was a member of the Hanseatic (international trading) League, and Germans settled there to participate in this trade. In light of that, the Bergen Bratts may have originated in Germany. The probability of this may be low, but it certainly is a possibility.

The Contract of Kiliaen van Rensselaer with Albert Andriessen


This record and the Marriage Intention taken together put Albert's birth in 1607.  Van Rensselaer's original manuscript apparently addresses the sawmill in some detail, but the editor of the book chose to condense many of the documents, presumably to keep the length of it manageable.



Transcription: uary (January) Anno 1633, (page) 47

9 (January 9)

Affien: Va: (Vader) Alberdt Andriesen-

Test Barendt Barendts Jan

Hael Giesien Harmens Aeltien




Affie(n): Father: Alberdt Andriesen

Witnesses: Barendt Barendts, Jan

Hael, Giesie(n) Harmens, Aeltie(n)


Effie, the diminutive form of Eva in Dutch, was the first born of Albert and Annetie's children. She was most likely born just a few days before her baptism, as that was the customary practice. The baptismal record of Effie's brother, Barent, on 22 October 1734 is also available, but this complimentary website has only a small amount of space for images. With a little digging, both of these records can be found online in the Lutheran Church Register at this link.

Storm Vanderzee

Abstract and Dutch transcription of the birth record of Stoerm, later known as Storm Vanderzee.  Taken from the ship's log of the Rensselaerswyck.  On that day the ship was in a storm off the coast of Spain or Portugal:



On October 8, 1636, the ship Rensselaerswyck had set sail from Holland bound for America. After several weeks of rough weather, they turned back, intending to resupply and make repairs along the English Channel in Plymouth. But continuing bad weather forced them past the English Channel into the more dangerous Bristol Channel. There, the captain considered beaching the ship on a sandy shore because the chances of survival were better than wrecking on a rocky stretch of shoreline.

On November 14 the captain wrote, "We got aground (offshore) near the cape (Cornwall) and at twilight our foresail blew away... and our main sheet (sail) broke... it was no longer possible to carry any sail, as one thing or another would break." And the next day, "It seemed as if we would capsize or all our sails blow away." (We can imagine what Annetie was thinking of Albert's [harebrained?] scheme to move to the New World.) But their fortune changed. That night they were able to shelter off the downwind side of Lundy Island, and the following day they were able to make safe haven at the port of Ilfracombe in Devon. (Eleven years later, the ship Princess Amelia was bound for Holland with 107 passengers from New Netherland. She missed the English Channel and ended up in the Bristol Channel where she ran aground and broke up. Eighty-six passengers drowned.)

The "Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts" contain the entire ship's log of the voyage from Amsterdam to New Netherland, including the record of Storm's birth.



The following Sunday, Albert and Annetie took Stoerm to the Holy Trinity Church for baptism. His baptismal record, dated November 13 according to the Old Style calendar, was recently discovered on-line. Interviewing the parents or their interpreter, the priest understood that Albert Anreessa (Andriesse) and Anna wanted their son baptized "Storm." In a mixed writing style where the final "e" is sometimes silent and sometimes pronounced like a short "a",  he recorded the event as follows:


Storme Sonne of Albert Anrice and Anne his wife of Amsterdam -- 13

If the priest had read this record back to the Andriessens, it would have sounded like this: "Storm, son of Albert Anreessa and Anna his wife, of Amsterdam." The original record can be seen on an English genealogy website which grants member-only access:


The Location of Albert de noorman's Sawmill

The location of Albert's sawmill was long forgotten by the time of the first Bradt Family Association Reunion in 1987.  The site was known to be on the Normanskill, but erroneously thought to be two miles upstream from the Hudson River.  Unknown to the family, the "Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts" described the mill site very precisely in the following documents:


In other words, the mill was located on the second property over from Castle Island Creek, a narrow branch of the Hudson River. This link goes to the original Dutch manuscript that specifies the precise location of Wemp's rental property adjacent to Albert's property.  Albert is named on the fourth line. Castle Island Creek and the Meulen Kill (Mill Creek, the Norman's Kill) are named on the fifth and sixth lines: [SAWMILL-SITE-MANUSCRIPT]

Four years later (1751), the "Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts" describe the Jan Barentse (Wemp) farm and Albert Noorman's sawmill in an inventory of Rensselaerswyck properties:


To summarize, the mill was located on a "powerful waterfall" on land one farm away from the Hudson, an exact description of the Normanskill falls.

The map below shows the mill site on Widow Slingerland's farm as the property lines appeared about 100 years after Albert's time, just as described above. The site is about half a mile from the Hudson, well situated for shipping lumber to all parts of New Netherland and beyond.


Albert's Sawmill on Widow Slingerland's 205 Acres



Albert's Farm in about 1873

A view of Albert's farm about 200 years after his time. He occupied the land in the left third of the picture. His mill and additional farmland were located beyond the left edge of the scene. The Normanskill Creek is at the foot of the hill and Albany is in the background. The pumpkin patch in the foreground was probably unoccupied forest land in Albert's time.

Albert Andriessen's Godmother in Amsterdam

Albert had a godmother in Amsterdam.  The only (known) record of her appears in a 1640 letter to him and his brother Arent.  Excerpts from this letter appear at the top of the "Arent" page.  Could she have been the wife of the Lourens Pieters mentioned in the marriage intention above? Or one of the godparents of Effie or Barent?

Albert Andriesz Bratt "Obituary"


This image comes from a footnote in the "Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts," p. 676. (The often quoted historian, E. B. O'Callaghan, believed that Albert came to New Netherland seven years earlier than he actually did, apparently from misinterpreting this "obituary." O'Callaghan's mistake appears on the website, among other places. No wonder that perfect genealogy is hard to come by! Despite this, the great majority of Bradt genealogies have it right, 1637.)  Does anyone have an image of the original manuscript source of this statement?  I assume that it's with the legal documents settling Albert's estate.  Presumably the original source of Albert's death date, 7 June 1686, is also in his estate papers. Or were these records destroyed in the 1911 Fire at the New York State Library?

The transition FROM Brat to Bratt and Bradt

The most common spelling of the family name in the early years was Brat, but it gradually evolved into Bratt and Bradt. The documents on the linked page demonstrate the gradual transition over the years.  At the top of the list Brat is common, but at the bottom it has gone out of use. It probably didn't make a good first impression on the English:

From Albert "de Noorman" Bratt to Lily Brott, Dutch Woman

Over time, Bradts in upstate New York came to identify as Dutch rather than Norwegian. The following Certificate of Death shows the persistence of this self-image into the 20th century. Box 4, "Racial origin," shows that the family of Lily Brott, 17831.471 in the "Bradt Book," described her as Dutch and English (her mother was English.) My grandfather, Lillie's nephew, did not seem to be aware of his Dutch ancestry.



The Family of Maria POST Bradt in BraziL and New Netherland

Maria Post, a daughter-in-law of Albert, is a little outside the scope of this website, but her story is too "exotic" to leave out.  All families have unusual stories of some kind and we're lucky enough to have this one, even luckier to know about it.  As this article concludes, she is the ancestor of a large part of the Bradt family.



Baptism of Maria Post in Recife, Brazil, in 1649 - Archived in AmsterdamMARIA POST BAPTISM IMAGE

The format of this record from left to right is date, children, parents, and witnesses. It reads that Maria was baptized on June 6 and that her parents were Adriaen Crijnen Post and Clara Mookers. The witnesses were Christoffel (patronymic uncertain), Rudolfina Caron, and Dorothea Montanier. Caron and Montanier are surnames, used presumably because their ancestries were French.