The Old Homestead

Contact me at

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

- Romans 5:8


    Jan Gerritsen Decker was born in Heerde in the Netherlands’ province of Gelderland, about 30 miles northeast of Arnhem.  He immigrated to America in the mid-1600s. (1)
    Married Grietjen Hendricks Westercamp on March 23, 1664, in what is now Kingston, N.Y.  She was born in New Amsterdam, which is now New York City, to Hendrick Jansz Westercamp and Femmetie Alberts.  She may have been the Margariet, daughter of Hendrick Westercamp Backer, who was baptized Oct. 19, 1642, in New Amsterdam’s Reformed Church.  Before her marriage to Jan, Grietjen gave birth to an illegitimate son, Pieter, who was baptized Oct. 1, 1662 in what is now Kingston.  She identified the father as Pieter Jacobsen but he denied it, as will be explained below. (2)
    Children: (3)
    Gerret, baptized Feb. 14, 1665.
    Hendrick, baptized Oct. 9, 1667.
    Jacob, baptized 22 May 22, 1671.
    It is uncertain when Jan emigrated from the Netherlands.  A number of Jan Gerritsens appear in the records of New Amsterdam during the mid-1600s so it is possible that Jan Gerritsen Decker lived there during the 1650s or early 1660s.  However, he cannot be identified with any degree of certainty until a Jan Gerritsen appears 1663 in the area around Wildwyck, which was renamed Kingston after the British acquired the colony from the Dutch.
    It seems very likely that Jan and his future wife were among the settlers captured when the Native Americans attacked the village of Wildwyck and a nearby “New Village” on June 7, 1663.  Dutch officials planned to renew their peace agreements with surrounding tribes but the arrangements had not been concluded before the settlements were attacked.  In Wildwyck, 18 settlers died and nine were taken prisoner, while a dozen homes were burned.  The “New Village” was “entirely destroyed except a new uncovered barn, one rick and a little stack of reed.”  Three men were listed as killed while one man, eight women and 26 children were taken prisoner.  The man who was captured was “Jan Gerritsen on Volckert’s bouwery.”  The women and children are tallied by household, but not specifically named.  The list includes one woman and three children from the household “of Grietje Westercamp.” (4)  It seems pretty certain that the captive man was Jan Gerritsen Decker.  While “Jan Gerritsen” was a popular name in New Amsterdam, Wildwyck’s church and court records seem to list only one man with that name during the early and mid-1660s.  Concerning the captive woman, it seems most likely that she was Grietjen herself.  However, it’s also possible that the captive was Grietjen’s mother, Femmetie Albers, who lived in the area at the time and may have been living with her daughter.  That could explain why three children are listed as being captured when it seems pretty certain that Grietjen had only one child in 1663.  It’s possible the other two were younger siblings since Gritjen herself was no more than 20 years old at the time.  If Jan and Grietjen were among the captives, it’s possible that Jan and Grietjen struck up their relationship while being held since their wedding occurred only nine months later.
    Jan next appears in the records on Sept. 18, 1663, when he was called to court by Wildwyck officials.  Jan did not appear in court that day so the exact nature of the case is not listed.  However, the case unfolded at the court’s next meeting on Oct. 9.  Following June’s devastating attack, the town restricted inhabitants from working in the fields without permission and an escort.  Jan and several others ran afoul of these restrictions when they were hired to work in the field of Juriaen Westphael.  Court records from Oct. 9 contain Westphael’s vague defense that “the promises given him were not fulfilled at mowing time.”  However, the court didn’t buy the argument and decided to fine Jan Gerritsen 75 guilders, Antoni Crupel 75, Henderick Hendericksen 75 and Jacob Stoutenborch 25.  It stated that Westphael’s “day had been extended through rain and other causes, and the next day, when the weather was favorable, no work was done, yet at a time when, under the general agreement of the community, he ought to have assisted other farmers with his people, he had, notwithstanding the ordinance, had the work continued without giving notice to the Council of War and this Court.”  It seems that the four laborers were paying for Westphael’s mistake.  Jan apparently saw this decision as unjust because he had not paid the fine by Oct. 30, when he was called into court again.  The records for that date states: “Defendant admits he worked in the field without permission and a convoy, but says he was working close by the guard house, and does not owe anything but intends to go higher up.”  However, the court ordered him to pay the full fine.  The case came up again on Dec. 27, when Westphael was called into court to answer for the violation.  The record form that date adds the names of additional workmen and notes that Jan Gerretsen, among others, had committed two violations of the ordinance.  The court ordered Westphael to pay 425 guilders to cover all of the fines. (5)
    Three months later Jan married Grietjen.  We know from the marriage records of the Dutch Reformed Church in Kingston that Jan was born in Heerde, Netherlands, and that he had never been married.  We also know that Grietjen was born in New Amsterdam and that we was “not a virgin, not a widow,” which is noted in Latin.
    Grietjen’s previous missteps were well documented in the records of Wildwyck.
    On Oct. 1, 1662, church records list the baptism of Pieter, son of Pieter Jacobsen, “miller here,” and Grietjen Hendricks Westercamp. (6)  A footnote on the transcript of the church records states: “This child was probably illegitimate.”  Court records leave no doubt.
    Three days after the baptism, Grietjen Westercamp sued Pieter Jacobsen.  Since Jacobsen did not show up, the Oct. 4 records do not state the nature of the case.  However, records from Oct. 17 provide plenty of details.  They read: “Grietjen Hendricks Westercamp, plaintiff, vs. Pieter Jacobsen, defendant.  Plaintiff demands of defendant why he denies his child.  Defendant answers, and says, ‘I have my doubts about it.’  Plaintiff says that defendant ruined her, and asks that he restore her to honor.  Defendant denies that her ruined her, and says ‘she must prove this to me,’ and also denies that he promised to marry her.  He asks her when she became pregnant, and when she was delivered.  Plaintiff says that defendant made her pregnant eight days before Christmas, 1661, and that she was delivered eight days before Kermis (the Fair), 1662.  Plaintiff says she conceived at the mill-house of Pieter Jacobsen.  Defendant requests two weeks’ time. The Schout and Commissaries grant the defendant two weeks’ time, and order plaintiff to prove at the next session that defendant ruined her.” (7)
    The pair appeared in court again on Nov. 1.  “Plaintiff exhibits to the Schout and Commissaries a certificate and deposition by seven women who certify and declare that they were present at the birth of Grietje Westerkamp’s child, and that she swore three times that Pieter Jacobse was the father of the child.  The Plaintiff asks for a vindication of her honor.  The defendant says plaintiff did not behave as a decent girl should, and produces a certificate of Juriaen Westvael and his wife who declare that Grietjen Westercamp lay under one blanket with Jan van Breemen, with his daughter between them.  Defendant, being interrogated, admits having conversed and lain with plaintiff, but did not promise marriage, and, besides, gave her no money for it, and asks if a woman can be thirteen months and four days in the family way.  The Schout and Commissaries order defendant to bring clearer proof at the Court’s next session.” 
    The case disappears from the records for two months, until Jacobsen turned the tables on Grietjen and sued her on Jan. 9, 1663, asking “to be released from defendant, so as to be a free man again and earn his living.”  The court granted Grietjen 14 days to prepare her case and “if she cannot bring proof, plaintiff shall receive the judgment of the Court which, upon request, will mete out justice.”  However, Grietjen failed to appear in court on Jan. 23.
    Two weeks later, the court finally heard the final testimony in the case and handed down a rather interesting decision.  On Feb. 6, Jacobsen asked  “that the Court grant him justice against defendant.  Defendant answers that plaintiff is the father of her child.  He denies this, says it is not his child, and offers to affirm upon oath.  Which he did before the Court, saying, ‘I am not the father of the child: So truly help me God Almighty!’  Therefore, the Court decides to allow plaintiff to marry any other person he pleases, and it has also thought it proper, in view of several certificates previously shown by both parties to the Court, that plaintiff shall, for the nonce, pay defendant two hundred gldrs., on a former acknowledgement made by him that he did not compensate her for lying with her, and he is therefore bound to pay her for that service.”
    On the face of it, Jacobsen won the case since the paternity claim was rejected and he gained his “freedom,” based on his oath.  However, it’s obvious that the court believed Grietjen since it awarded her 200 guilders to “compensate her for lying with her.”  Nevertheless, it hardly seems like the sort of verdict that would have satisfied Grietjen’s original intent to restore herself to honor.
     In any case, Jacobsen failed to pay the 200 guilders and, by Dec. 8, 1665, he was dead and Grietjen was back in court.  On that date, she sued Jacobsen’s partner Pieter Cornelissen seeking to collect the money from “Jacobsen’s goods and effects.”  Cornelissen replied that Grietjen should have pursued the suit while Jacobsen was still alive.  The court decided “whereas plaintiff has been negligent in attending to said business during Pieter Jacobsen’s life-time, therefore she is referred with her claim to the left own estate of the deceased Pieter Jacobsen.” (8)
   It appears likely that, at some point during this period, Grietjen spent five weeks living in the home of Willemtje Jacobs.  In October 1666, Jacobs sued Grietjen’s brother Pieter Hillebrants because he had not paid for his sister’s lodging for five weeks “before the last war with the savages,” probably a reference to the 1663 massacre.  It seems likely that this unnamed sister was Grietjen since she is Pieter’s only known sister. (8a)
    Jan and Grietjen appear repeatedly in the court records of Wildwyck.  Many cases involved debts.  Since coinage was relatively rare in the colony, debts were often collected in grain, beaver pelts or sewan, a form of currency made from strung beads.   For example, on Nov. 25, 1664, Willem Beeckman sued Jan demanding “from defendant 43 gldrs. 10 st. in sewan, and further 162 gldrs.15 st. in sewan or wheat, as per vendue of the effects of Frederick Claesen.”  Jan had already paid 50 guilders and asked for additional time to pay the remainder.  The court ordered Jan to pay, but didn’t state a time frame. (9)
    On Oct. 29, 1665, Jan Gerretsen Van Heerden and Matthew Blanchan, both residents of Wildwyck appeared before the town secretary, Mattheus Capito to record the sale of a cow.  Jan bought the cow for 190 guilders, to be paid by March 1666. (10)
    Just a few days later, Jan was in the town’s court, accused of stealing reeds. (11)  On Nov. 3, 1665, Thomas Chambers complained that Teunis Jacobsen and Andries Pietersen had “taken the reed off plaintiff’s land without his knowledge, and which he himself needed.”  The pair admitted taking the reed but said the “reed was mowed by Jan Gerretsen and Henderick Hendericks Van Wye, which these owed to defendants.”  Chambers then stated that “on the day before, he spoke to the aforenamed persons, Jan Gerretsen and Henderick Hendericksen about mowing the reed on the land for himself, which they refused him to do, saying that they had other work.”  Despite that refusal, the defendants then “asked plaintiff where they should mow the reed.”  Chambers then drove to Pisseman’s Corner, found some reed and returned to tell the defendants about it.  The defendants again refused to mow the reed for Chambers.  However, they “shortly afterward mowed the reed for themselves, and had it carted away by defendants.”  As a result, Chambers entered “a complaint against the aforesaid persons as thieves, and requests justice for the same.”
    The theft trial was held Dec. 1, with Willem Beeckman, the town schout, prosecuting.  After Chambers’ basic allegations were repeated, the defendants presented a rather weak defense.  “Defendants answer, saying not having stolen the reed, because Thomas Chambers had not fenced in the said piece of land where they mowed the reed, and also that Thomas Chambers had already had his reed mowed, before they mowed the reed for themselves.”  Chambers denied this, and said “that they, defendants, have knowingly and with intent to steal, mowed the reed from his land, because, forsooth, they knew he had put a mower on the said land for the purpose of mowing the reed for him, and while he needed said mower at home, they, defendants, in the meanwhile, took the liberty of mowing the reed off his land and to have it removed.”  Beeckman then said that “because it is plain the defendants as per Thomas Chambers’ complaint, have thievishly taken the reed off his land … they shall be obliged to indemnify Thomas Chambers for the damage or injury caused on account of said reed, and [be sentenced to pay] a fine of 100 gldrs. each.”  The court then ordered the defendants to return the reed and pay a fine of 25 guilders each.
    Later that month, Grietje was mentioned in a court case that seems to indicate a degree of discord with her mother.  On Dec. 29, Femmetie Alberts sued Willemtie Alberts to recover a hood.  Apparently, Femmetie had purchased the hood from her daughter, Grietje.  However, Grietje then turn around and sold he hood to Willemtje Alberts and gave it to her.  Willemtie Alberts offered to pay the balance of the hood’s price but Femmetie replied she was not satisfied but “desires to have said hood for herself because she bought it first.”  The court denied Femmetie’s claim and told her to talk to her daughter about securing the hood.  (12)
    Over the next two years, the Deckers appeared in court for several cases involving debts.  On March 16, 1666, Grietje sued Arent Jacobsen, demanding three schepels of wheat, “on account of assigned money of the smith, and costs.”  Jacobsen admitted the debt and the court ordered him to pay.  On the session for Feb. 26/March 8, 1667, Reyndert Pietersen sued Jan for 101 guilders “for receiving goods, as per obligation” and, in turn, Jan sued Juriaen Westphael for 25 schepels of wheat and one schepel of oats “for wages, and costs.”  In both cases, the defendant was ordered to pay.  On the session for Feb. 4/14, 1667/8, Roelof Kierste sued Jan demanding “three sch. of wheat for services rendered as surgeon.”  The court granted Jan additional time to pay.  On March 22, 1668/9, Jan brought a suit against Aert Otterspoor.  However, the defendant was in default and the case was not brought up again so its cause cannot be determined. (13)
    Aside from a lawsuit filed by Jacob Jansen over a disputed debt on March 20, 1671/2, Jan managed to stay out of court for the next few years.  However, his name still appears in official records.  In 1670, Kingston residents “whose lands are situated across the great kil” hired a group of men to a bridge and maintain it for six years.  Jan Gerritsz put his mark on the document, which was dated Dec. 13, 1670.  In addition to the land on the other side of the kil, Jan owned land inside the walls of Kingston.  A list of inhabitants dated May 15, 1671, indicates that Jan Gerridtsen among residents with “Their Portion in the Curtains.” (14)
    In 1672, war was brewing again and Kingston’s fort was in need of repair.  On July 27, Thoomas de LaVall requested voluntary contributions toward the repair, stating that “there is war, and the vessels have been attached in Holland, and on account there is a great scarcity of money.”  Jan Gerritsen contributed 8 schepels of grain toward the repairs. (15)
    That fall, Grietie was dragged into court following an altercation with Barbara Jans.  The court record for Sept. 21, 1672, states: “Barbara Jans says that Grietie Westercamp has attacked her and took hold of her skirt, and said, ‘Let me go, your attack will cost you dear.’  Whereupon Grietie Westercamp called her a ‘Carouje’ or ‘Caronje.’”  “Caronje” means “whore,” a term that was flung about quite a bit by the settlers, according to various court records.  Jan then got caught up in the fracas.  “Grietie Westercamp says that her husband, coming on the land, found some pigs in the corn and told his wife about it and said some words in a passion, whereupon Barbara Jans said, ‘Let your thieving boy come here on the land.’  Then Grietie Westercamp came and asked Barbara Jans what she had to say against her boy, whereupon Barbara Jans said, ‘Your boy has taken a knife of me,’ whereupon she answered that she would have to prove her accusation, whereupon Barbara Jans said, ‘Fatted pig.’  Then Grietie said, ‘Black devil’ and more other words, and they commenced to fight.”  The record doesn’t indicate which of Gritje’s sons was accused of stealing Barbara’s knife.  In any case, the court apparently found both women at fault because both were ordered to pay the schout – probably an unstated fine. (16)
    On Nov. 25, 1673, Jan and Grietje appeared in court in separate cases.  Jan was sued by Robberdt Biggerstaf.  The court records state: “Plaintiff says that defendant has run over a pig of his. Defendant says that when passing with his wagon he heard a pig squeal.  His wife going to the spot found no pig.  Requests proof, and if he had done so, the pig ought to have been right away appraised.  The hon. court orders plaintiff to prove his assertion.”  However, the case does not appear in the court records again. (17)
    The other case involved another altercation, involving much more than a few insults.  Apparently Grietje was injured in a scuffle between Jan and Hendrick Van Wyen.  The facts of the case dribbled out over several court dates.  On Nov. 25, court records state: “Grietie Westercamp, Plaintiff, vs. Hendrick Van Wyen, Defendant.  Plaintiff says that defendant cut her head when she separated him and her husband.  Defendant denies having done so and requests proof.  The hon. court orders plaintiff to prove her assertion.”  Grietje apparently rounded up her witnesses quickly because the court records then state: “Grietie Wistercam appeared at the session and requested that the witnesses between her and Hendrick Van Wyen shall be heard. Aerdt Otterspoor declares that at evening he heard the cry of ‘murder’ in the barn of Jan Gerritsen.  When arriving there, he found that Jan Gerritsen and Hendrick Van Wyen were fighting and saw that Grietie Westercamp separated them and that she had a hole in the head, but says not having seen a knife.  Grietie Westercamp requests that Hendrick Van Wyen shall declare under oath that he has not cut her, or else she offers to affirm the same under oath.  Defendant refuses to clear himself under oath.  Plaintiff is ready to affirm it under oath. The hon. Schout ex officio demands of defendant Van Wyen for his committed offence a fine of 300 gldrs. as per the decree. The hon. court sentences defendant to pay a fine of 100 gldrs. to be applied as follows: one-fourth for the poor, one-fourth for the village, and one-half for the officer, and besides to pay the doctor’s fee and expenses.”  Three days, later, Jan was called in to court to answer for his part in the brawl.  The court records for Nov. 28 state that “Schout Grevenraedt … demands of defendant a fine of 25 gldrs. because he, defendant, has been fighting with Hendrick Van Wyen. Defendant says that Hendrick Van Wyen beat him first. He agrees to prove the same under oath.” (18)
    A few months later, Jan was called in to court concerning transactions made through court-ordered sales.  The court records of Feb 27, 1673/4, state: “Schout Grevenraedt, Plaintiff vs. Jan Gerritsen, Defendant.  Plaintiff demands of defendant a sum of 23 gldrs. for the purchase of a bed at vendue, still a balance, an obligation of 46 gldrs. and the costs of the present.  Defendant admits the debt except three gldrs. which he earned for carting freight.  He also says that he has sold the horse of Barendt the Negro by execution.  Requests payment for feeding it.  The hon. court decides that Jan Gerritsen shall receive payment for feeding the horse since the time of the execution against Barendt the Negro.  But the judgement of the hon. court must first be satisfied and all the expenses of Barendt the Negro’s execution must first be paid.  And Jan Gerritsen ought to have nothing to do with anybody else’s slave without the knowledge of his master.”  Jan had not paid the schout by May 21, 1674, because the court authorized “the officer to judicially enforce the judgment against Jan Gerritsen in behalf of the Schout” on that date. (19)
    On Jan. 12, 1674/5, Jacob Elbertsen sued Jan demanding “of defendant seven sch. of wheat for taking care of his cows.  Defendant demands of plaintiff 28 lbs. of butter because his cows stayed out 28 days.  Plaintiff says that he delivered the cows in the fort.  The hon. court orders defendant to pay five sch. of wheat.”  Jan had not paid by March 8 because the court authorized “the officer to execute the judgment against Jan Gerritsen in favor of Jacob Elbersen.”  (20)
    By 1685, the Deckers were living in nearby Mombaccus because their son Gerret listed that as his residence when he was married.  Their son Hendrick listed the same residence when he was married in 1696. (21)
    Jan and Grietje lived at least until July 25, 1697, when they served as witnesses at the baptism of Witte, child of Jurie Lootman and Annetje Tyssen. (22)
    (1) “Baptismal and Marriage Registers of the Old Dutch Church of Kingston, Ulster County, New York, 1660-1809,” transcribed and edited by Roswell R. Hoes, 1891, page 501.  Under Dutch naming conventions of the time, children used their father’s first name as their surname.  This means that Jan’s father was named Garrit.  (2) The marriage record appears in “Old Dutch Church,” page 501.  It states her place of birth and, because of the Dutch naming system, her name indicates that she was the daughter of Hendrick Westercamp.  Margeriet’s baptism is recorded in “Baptisms at the Reformed Dutch Church of New Amsterdam (1639-1730),” available at, entered by Theodore Brassard.  Although this was probably the correct daughter, it’s possible that this child died soon thereafter and our Grietjen/Margeriet was born a bit later.  However, the fact that our Grietjen gave birth in 1662 would seem to argue against a date much later than this.  Pieter’s baptism is recorded in “Baptismal and Marriage Registers of the Old Dutch Church of Kingston, Ulster County, New York, 1660-1809,” transcribed and edited by Roswell R. Hoes, 1891, page 2.  (3) The baptisms of Gerret and Hendrick appear in “Old Dutch Church,” on pages 4 and 6, respectively.  Jacob’s baptism appears in “Baptisms at the Reformed Dutch Church of New Amsterdam (1639-1730),” available at, entered by Theodore Brassard.  I have found no record that specifically states that Hermanus was Jan and Grietjen’s son.  However, the circumstantial evidence leaves no serious doubt.  For a detailed explanation, see footnote 1 for Hermanus.  In brief, there were only two Decker families in the area during this time.  Members of Jan Gerritsen’s family lived in Mombaccus, gave their children one set of names and appear as sponsors in relatives’ baptisms.  Members of the other Decker family, that of Jan Broersen, lived in Marbletown, gave their children another set of names and appear as sponsors in their own relatives’ baptisms.  The only overlap occurs in the one case of intermarriage between the two families.  Hermanus fits perfectly in Jan Gerritsen’s family and doesn’t fit at all in Jan Broersen’s family.  (4) “The Documentary History of the State of New York,” by E.B. O’Callaghan, 1849, vol. 4, “Journal of the Second Esopus War,” pages 39-44.  (5) “New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch; Kingston Papers,” translated by Dingman Versteeg, edited by Peter R. Christoph, Kenneith Scott and Kenn Stryker-Rodda.  Vol. 1, page 73 for Sept. 18; 77 for Oct. 9; 96-97 for Oct. 30; 113 for Dec. 27.  (6) “Old Dutch Church,” page 2.  (7) “Kingston Papers,” pages 35 for Oct. 4; 36-37 for Oct. 17; 39-40 for Nov. 1; 52 for Jan. 9; 55 for Jan. 23; 57 for Feb. 5.  (8) “Kingston Papers,” Vol. 1, pages 267-268.  (8a) “Kingston Paper,” Vol. 1, pages 303 and 305.  (9) “Kingston Papers,” Vol. 1, page 179.  (10) “Kingston Papers,” Vol. 2, page 577.  (11) “Kingston Papers,” Vol. 1, page 258 for Nov. 3; page 261 for Dec. 1.  (12) “Kingston Papers,” Vol. 1, page 268.  (13) “Kingston Papers,” Vol. 1, pages 285, 337 and 340 and Vol. 2 , pages 390 and 429. (14) “Kingston Papers,” Vol. 2, page 480 for the debt, 690 for the bridge contract and 461-462 for the list of inhabitants.  (15) “Kingston Papers,” Vol. 2, page 483.  (16) “Kingston Papers,” Vol. 2, pages 485-486.  (17) “Kingston Papers,” Vol. 2, page 503. (18) “Kingston Papers,” Vol. 2, page 503-504.  (19) “Kingston Papers,” Vol. 2, pages 509-510 and 516.  (20) “Kingston Papers,” Vol. 2, pages 523 and 527.  (21) “Old Dutch Church,” pages 508 and 511, respectively.  (22) “Old Dutch Church,” page 50.

    Hermanus Decker was the son of Jan Gerritsen Decker and his wife, Grietje Westercamp.  He lived in the Kingston, N.Y., area during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. (1)
    Married Rachel de la Montagne on Sept. 2, 1695.  Rachel was the daughter of Willem de la Montagne and Leonora de Hooges.  She was baptized July21, 1674, at Kingston, N.Y. (2)  
    Children: (3)
    Margriet, baptized March 8, 1696.
    Wilhelmus, baptized Aug. 21, 1698.  Possibly died young.
    Elenora, baptized Aug. 13, 1699.  Married Hendrik van Garden.
    Jan, baptized Aug. 24, 1701.
    Willem, baptized May 30, 1703.  Died young.
    Johanna, baptized Sept. 22, 1705.
    Hermanus, baptized Nov. 3, 1706.
    Willem, baptized Oct. 31, 1708.
    Maria, baptized Jan. 20, 1712.
    Rachel, baptized June 20, 1714.
    Hendrik, baptized Nov. 4, 1716.
    Benjamin, baptized Feb. 8, 1719.
    Hermanus and Rachel both lived in Mombaccus at the time of their wedding.
    They worshipped at the Dutch Reformed Church in Kingston, where they were married and their children were baptized.
    (1) While no document has turned up that specifically states that Jan Gerritsen Decker was Hermanus’ father, the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming.  In analyzing this situation, we must be aware that there were two Decker families in the Kingston area during the late 1600s – the families of Jan Gerritsen Decker and Jan Broersen Decker.  In sorting them out, it’s helpful to know that the Dutch were relatively dependable in their naming patterns.  The first son was generally named after the father’s father and the second after the mother’s father, with the appropriate person serving as the baptismal sponsor if he were still alive.  A perfect example of this tradition occurs within Jan Gerretsen’s own family.  Jan Gerithse Decker served as a sponsor of his grandson Jan, son of Gerith Decker and Grithje Decker, on July 28, 1688.  The baptism appears on page 31 of “Baptismal and Marriage Registers of the Old Dutch Church of Kingston, Ulster County, New York, 1660-1809,” transcribed and edited by Roswell R. Hoes, 1891.  In the case of Hermanus’ family, the naming convention was reversed but is still a good indication of parentage.  Hermanus’ named his first son Wilhelmus after his wife’s father, Willem de la Montagne, secretary of the town and sometimes an officer in the church – seemingly prominent enough to prompt bending the naming “rules” a bit.  The baptism is recorded on page 54.  Hermanus’ second son was named Jan and his sponsors were Jan Gerritsen Decker and Grietje Westercamp.  The baptism is recorded on page 63.  The same naming pattern applied to girls.  Hermanus’ first daughter was named Margriet – probably the more formal version of Hermanus’ mother’s name, usually listed as Grietjen.  Grietjen was a common nickname for women named Margriet.  Grietjen Hendricks Westercamp was the daughter of the baker Hendrick Jansz Westercamp, and was probably the Margariet, daughter of Hendrick Westercamp Backer, who was baptized in New Amsterdam on Oct. 19, 1642.  Hermanus’ second daughter was named Elenora, after Rachel’s mother.  The baptisms are recorded on pages 47 and 56, respectively.  These names don’t correspond with members of Jan Broersen’s family.  It should be noted that at roughly the same time, Jan Broersen’s sons were naming their own children after people in their own family – with Jan himself serving as sponsor of his grandson Jan, son of Broer Jansen, as recorded on page 30.  In addition to the naming convention, it appears that the families lived in two different places, even though they both lived in the Kingston area.  This can be determined from the record of the marriage of Gerard Janz Decker and Margriet Janz Decker.  Gerard – or Gerret, as he’s usually identified – was the son of Jan Gerritsen and was residing in Mombaccus.  His wife was living in Marbletown and was the daughter of Jan Broersen.  In fact, each of the Decker men linked to Jan Gerritsen are listed as living in Mombaccus in their marriage records.  These include Gerret on page 508, Hermanus and Jacob on 511 and Hendrick on 513.  Significantly, Hermanus and Jacob were married on the same day, almost certainly an indication of a double wedding involving brothers.  In addition, Jan Broersen and most of his children are listed as living in Marbletown in their marriage records.  (2) The marriage is recorded in “Old Dutch Church,” page 511, and Rachel’s baptism is listed on page 9.  (3) “Old Dutch Church,” pages 47, 54, 56, 63, 69, 74, 78, 85, 97, 107, 116 and 125.  Elenora’s marriage is recorded in “Old Dutch Church,” page 538.