The (Faulty) Legend of Jannetje Van Meter

The name of the wife of the immigrants Hance Hendrick’ appears in only one record.  His patent of 25 April 1701 for land in King William County, Virginia was for transportation of himself, “his wife Jane”, and ten other persons.1

Jane’s identity is unknown.  Her use as a headright tells us that she immigrated into Virginia, probably at the same time as her husband.  But whether she was still alive in 1701 is not known, thanks largely to the destruction of records for King William County.  The only other mention of a Jane Hendrick is in a debt suit against her in adjacent Carolina County in 1738.2  Whether that was Hance Hendrick’s widow or a daughter or a daughter-in-law is unknowable.

It is widely reported in compiled genealogies that Jane Hendrick was Jannetje Van Meter, daughter of Jon Joosten van Meteren (or van Meter) and his wife Macyken Hendrickson, who immigrated to New Amsterdam in 1662.  Several dozen Ancestry and other published family trees make this claim — none of which offer a shred of evidence to support it.  How this legend got started is unknown, but there is no documentation to support it.

In fact, the evidence tells us that it can’t possibly be true.

Jan Joost van Meteren and Macyken Hendrickson, with five children, came to America in 1662.  Three of the children were Macyken’s by her first husband Willem Crom. The passenger list of the ship D’Vos (The Fox) includes Jan Joosten and “wife and five children 15, 12, 9, 6 and 2 1/2 years old.”3  and see also the passenger list in the Yearbook of the Historical Society of New York (1896), pp53.))  They almost immediately made their home near Kingston, New York in Ulster County but a few decades later moved to New Jersey.

The five children — two Van Meteren sons and three Crom daughters — are clearly identified in numerous records, including a 1681 joint “testamentary disposition” by Jan Joost and Macyken that divided their estates among their sons Joost Jans and Gysbert, her daughter Geertje, and the children of her deceased daughter Lysbeth.

  1. Joost Jans van Meteren (c1656 – by 1706) husband of Sarah Du Bois.
  2. Gysbert Jans van Meteren (c1660 – ?)

The three children by Macyken’s prior marriage were:

    1. Elizabeth Willemsen Crom (c1647 – by 1681) wife of Joost Adriaensen
    2. Catherine Crom (c1650 – ?) wife of (1) Ari van Etten and (2) Hendrick Cortregt
    3. Geertje Crom (c1653 – ?) wife of Jan Hamell

The life of Jan Joost van Meteren has been extensively studied and there is no hint of a daughter named Jane, much less a daughter who married Hance Hendricks or who moved to Virginia.  Nor is there any evidence of such a granddaughter.4 5 6

A handful of internet family trees claim that Jane Hendrick was the granddaughter of Jan Joost van Meteren, the daughter of his eldest son Joost Jans van Meteren.  This theory also suffers from the same lack of evidence, and the same sources of his life and family omit any mention of a daughter named Jane or any association with Hance Hendrick.


  1. Virginia Patent Book 9, p362. []
  2. Caroline County Court Orders 2, p499 and p514. []
  3. Carl Boyer, ed., Ship Passenger Lists, New York and New Jersey, 1600-1825, page 128. []
  4. See, for instance, Amelia Clay Lewis Van Meter Rogers, The van Meterens of Holland and America, pp551-557, and the numerous references therein. []
  5. See also articles on the Jan Joost van Meteren family and the family of Macyken Hendrickson, both by William G. Scroggins in The Leaves of a Stunted Shrub, Vol. 2 (2009), pp184 and Vol. 5 (2009), pp66. []
  6. Also see Samuel Gordon Smyth. ed., A Genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre Family (1909). []