The Houghtaling families in America stem from two immigrants to New Yor k State in the mid-seventeenth century, both of Dutch origin, but probab ly unrelated: Jan Willemsen Houghtaling, of Kingston, Ulster County, and Mathys Coenradt Houghtaling of Coxsackie, Greene County. Although thi s genealogy is concerned only with the descendants of Mathys, some resea rch was necessary on Jan Willemsen's descendants in order to sort out th e lines. No instance was found wherein descendants of either of these m en witnessed or sponsored baptisms of each other's children, even though they attended the same churches. Descendants of Jan Willemsen were som etimes recorded with the prefix "van" before the surname, indicating tha t Houghtaling is a place name. Cursory research in Holland by the autho r shows the name appearing in the seventeenth century records of the pro vince of Zuid-Holland as "van Hoogteijlingen," and unknown in other prov inces. Mathys Coenradt and his descendants never used the "van." It is believed that he did not have a surname in Holland, but that he adopted the name Houghtaling about 1675, possibly. Twenty years after his arriva l in America. In 1667 at Wiltwyck [Kingston] he was exposed to this sur name when he appeared in court before Jan Willemsen Houghtaling, one of its magistrates, who had been using the surname as early as 1661. It wo uld appear then that Sylvester's History of Ulster County, which suggest s that the two were brothers, is in error. [The given names of the immig rants' fathers were obviously Willem and Coenradt respectively. ED.]
The fifty or more variations in spelling, ranging from Hogdielen to Huf tailen to Hoochtelink, represent a good example of phonetic recordings b y Dutch, German, and English clerks and ministers as this name became An glicized and evolved into the present forms of Houghtaling, Hotaling, an d Hotelling.
The first mention of Mathys Coenradtsen is the appearance of his name o n a list of boys and girls from the almshouse in Amsterdam, Holland, who were being sent to the New World to work for the Dutch West India Compa ny and to "increase the population of New Netherlands." The letter of tr ansmittal to Peter Stuyvesant from the Burgomasters of Mathys Coenratsen Houghtaling Family Amsterdam, noting the names and ages of the children , is dated 27 May 1655 and includes "Mathys Coenratsen, 16 years of age" (CDNY 14:3250. The late William J. Hoffman, an authority on early Dutc h immigrants, states, in a manuscript in the New York Genealogical and B iographical Society library, "On account of the unusual combination of n ames, Mathys Coenraets (the almshouse child) is probably identical with Mathys Coenraets of Albany." He notes the apparent discrepancy in their ages (the almshouse child having been born about 1639, and the Albany se ttler about 1644), but adds, "Ages as given in records were notoriously incorrect and these are not far apart."'
No record of him has been found from 1655, the assumed date of his arri val in America, until 8 November 1667, when he appears in court at Kings ton in a suit for wages due him from Reynr Van Coelen. Before he left t he Kingston area, he was brought into court in 1668 for ostensibly decla ring, "Damn the King and the Devil fetch the King " while chopping wood on a Sunday morning. From 1668 onward he lived in the Albany area (CMA 3:473f). Testimony given by him at Albany in 1684 reveals his age then as "about 40," putting his birth date about 1644, a date corroborated. r ated by testimony of 1675/6, at which time he told the Court he was abou t 32" (ERA 3:342). In the previously cited record he stated that in 166 9 he "went across the Fonteyn Vlakte to the Fonteyn kill" with Jan Bronk , Jan Roothaer, and two Indians (Sathemoes and Shermerhoorn) and "there marked a birch tree and made the survey," which may be the basis for som e historians' calling him "engineer and surveyor." While he may have bee n a surveyor's helper, it is u