Janet, my name is Lawrence De Graw, and I was formerly from the Bronx, NY, however, my grandmother, Grace Mary, said that she was from the Havestraw/Nanuet/Clarkstown area, and OFTEN spoke of a Jacob, a Sarah and a Benjamin DeGraw (I assume all from that area).
I have been able to trace all the way back to 1574 to one, Arent De Grauw in Amsterdam, Noord Holland, Netherlands. He in turn had a son named Lendert Arentszen De Graw. I can then even move forward from there all the way down to "1856" -- then it stops. I cannot confirm a viable (solid) connection between my Grandma and this Jacob, Sarah, or Benjamin DeGraw, but sincerely believe there MUST be one somewhere. I firmly believe that this is my only remaining obstacle to solving the De Graw family name puzzle.
My Mom, Catherine Theresa, told me as a child that DeGraw Street in Brooklyn was named after one of our DeGraw ancestors who had been the Captain of a three-masted schooner somewhere right in the area where the Brooklyn Navy Yard used to be. This would seem to be borne out by the very "location" of the street, terminating as it does down by the waterfront. Is any of this information correct and confirmable? Just curious.
I have already compiled a full geneology going back to about 1574 and placed in a Microsoft Word doc and Visio flow diagram. If anyone is interested in a copy, please just let me know.
Final advisory for anyone seeking info on the DeGraws -- remember the the initial spelling of the name may have been "DeGrauw"; "DeGrau" "De Graw (w/space) and even just "Degraw" (no second cap on the G). I hope some of this can help folks.
Lawrence A. De Graw Senior Project Technical Writer/DCA (Now) Ocala, FL