Hi Paul. Thanks for your observations. We need a two-pronged approach in order to substantially advance our knowledge of Dutch-American connections: 1. Extensive research in the archives of North Limburg, Gelderland, North Holland, and Utrecht. 2. DNA research.
To your knowledge, has anyone actually looked in these archives? For example, Roelof Martens Schenck (pg. 21, “The Van Voorhees Family in America”) is said in various places to have been born in 1620 in Amersfoort, Utrecht Province. What do the Utrecht archives show? Online data from the archives may not show everything that they have, e.g. family folders. I have had substantial successes in archives in Switzerland, Sweden, and West Yorkshire.
Large and public Schenck-surname yDNA databases need to be developed for the U.S. and an area centered at North Limburg (aristocratic-Schenck ground-zero for centuries). Such databases might take a few years to get to helpful levels, provided some enthusiasm for such a project could be generated. A big “if”. I have had rather limited success in beating the bushes for people’s DNA contributions, but with a few very interesting results. We need dozens of yDNA samples from Schenck-surnamed males whose Dutch ancestry seems known or suspected (with genetic double-checks for unknown Non-Paternal Events). Existing projects for other surnames have been able to form groupings by common ancestry down from each “progenitor”, and to give estimates of number of generations back to Most Recent Common Ancestor for any two guys. To date, the Family Tree DNA database has 8 Schenck samples. These are not now public. FTDNA told me that if I would volunteer to be a Schenck project coordinator, they would invite those 8 people to send their results to me. I am researching too many other lines to take on this job for one surname. Any volunteers?I could give some limited guidance.
In a search for common ancestry with others, I recommend a high-resolution test, at least a 67-STR markers yDNA test. For a Schenck-surnamed male cousin at my generational level, we are looking at about 10 generations back to Roelof or his brother Jan. That is too many generations for an autosomal DNA test (e.g. FTDNA’s “Family Finder” test) to be helpful. I do, in fact, know a Schenck descendant currently living in North Limburg, but it was his grandmother who was a Schenck, so his DNA would not necessarily help our quest in a direct manner. This correspondent has visited Nydeggen Castle in Germany.
The online Gelderland archives at www.geldersarchief.nl show some persons even as late as the mid-1800s calling themselves Schenck van Nijdeggen & living in Nijmegen, although the direct aristocratic line reportedly became extinct in 1827. Perhaps some living descendants of these remaining Schenck van Nijdeggen persons could be tracked down. Best regards, GaryMuffley@hotmail.com