BY ROBERT KNIGHT
Noted historian and genealogist Ralph Blauvelt will be holding a book-signing and reception for his new book on the history of the Blauvelt family and the Orangetown hamlet named in their honor this Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives at the Depew House at 196 Chief Bill Harris Way (formerly Blaisdel Road) in Orangeburg.
Guests Sunday will learn how Ralph discovered his roots among the pioneer settlers of the Tappan patent (later to become Orange and then in 1798 Rockland County) and the first families of Dutch New Amsterdam, now known as New York City. The event is free and includes a reception with refreshments. Visitors will also be able to peruse the museum’s current exhibit, “Past/Forward,” about historical artifacts and architectural elements from some of Orangetown’s earliest homes.
Among other tidbits of information, Ralph will share what he learned through decades of research why the Blauvelt family in America claims their ancestor was a Dutch colonist named Gerrit Hendricksen.
And how he became so well placed in New Amsterdam society that he could marry the daughter of the foremost ship builder, and receive a substantial land grant making him the next-door neighbor of Peter Stuyvesant. And what his relationship was to Captain Willem Blauvelt, the only man carrying the name in the Dutch colony of New Netherland.
Ralph Blauvelt takes these questions and more in “A Blauvelt Descendant, Researching Family History,” his latest book on the topic which has just been published and will be available for sale at Sunday’s event, complete with his autograph. Advance copies are available at major bookstores and via the internet at CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com.
In his talk Sunday Blauvelt, who lives in Spring Valley, will trace his heritage to the community of interrelated families who first settled in Tappan and the surrounding areas.
He presents some of the individuals he discovered, including Major Fredericus Blauvelt at the DeWint House, where George Washington made his headquarters during the American Revolution; the 19th century spiritualists Kate and Maggie Fox, and the 20th century American artist Edward Hopper.
The Blauvelts were so numerous in Orangetown by the early 19th century that the unnamed land between Tappan and West Nyack was actually named in their honor, and continues as the Hamlet of Blauvelt today, with nearly a dozen early Blauvelt homes still intact.