The Ryerson Family of Bergen County

The Ryersons are the most numerous to-day of any family in the western part of Bergen County. The original surname of the family was “Reyertzoon.” The family were numerous in Amsterdam, Holland, as early as 1390, in which year one William Reyertzoon was Burgomaster of the city. Another member of the family filled the same office in 1414 and 1418. Members of this family held prominent positions in Amsterdam up to 1585. Many of them took an active part in the expulsion of the Spaniards from Holland, for which two of them were banished by the Spanish king, and another, Albert Reyertzoon, was beheaded April 12, 1537. The family coat-of-arms, as registered in Amsterdam, is described as follows: “Eradicated arz; 1 and 4 Sa. a tree withered and eradicated Arz; 2 and 3 Arz; three halberts bend ways and in bend sinister, the middle oen longer than the others, sa. the blades vert; Surtout, az., a martlet, or, Crest, a swan roussant. Motto Voor God en Faderland.” The fact that the family had a coat-or-arms, of course, indicates that some of them belonged to the nobility of Holland.

Martin Reyerson, with his brother, Adriaen Ryerson, emigrated from Amsterdam, Holland, in 1646, and settled at Brooklyn, where Martin married, May 14, 1663 Ann, daughter of Joris Jansen Rapeljea. He resided at Brooklyn until 1685. He joined the Dutch Church there in 1677, was elected a magistrate in 1679, and constable in 1682. In 1685 he removed to Flatbush, Long Island, where he was one of the patentees of that patent that year. His issue were Marritie, Joris (George), Ryer, Catalyntie, Sarah, Cornelius, Jacobus, Geertie, Helena, and Franz.

Joris (George), baptized September 19, 1666, married, August 11, 1691, Ann Schouten, widow of Theunis Dircksen Dey, of New York. In 1695 George, in company with Anthony Brockholst, Arent Schuyler, Colonel Nicholas Bayard, and John Meet, all of New York, and Samuel Berry, Henry McDonna, and David Mandeville, of New Jersey, purchased from the Governor and Council of East New Jersey, 4,000 acres of land in what was then Bergen County (now Passaic), extending northward from the junction of the Pompton River with the Passaic River. Of this large tract George Reyerson eventually became the owner of the greater part, on which he settled. His issue, baptized in New York, were Martin, 1698; Helena, 1701; George, 1703; Lucas, 1704; and Blandina, 1706. There were probably other children born in New Jersey. The descendants of these children are still numerous in Bergen and Hudson Counties. Many of them have held positions of trust and honor in the councils of the State.

Source: Harvey, Cornelius Burnham, Editor; Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey, New York: The New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Company, 1900.

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