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See Also: Van Vranken Family Genealogy

Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Van Vranken

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 695-696 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

Two brothers of this name, Ryckert Claase and Gerrit Claase, early settled in Niskayuna.

(I) Ryckert Claase Van Vranken owned a lot on North Pearl street, Albany, which he purchased in 1672. In 1684 he sold it to Johannes Wendell. He married Hillegonda ————, and had Maas, Gerrit, Evert, Isaac and Margaret. Isaac made an escape from Indian captivity, arriving at Schenectady, July 9, 1690. Maas and Gerrit owned farms on the north side of the Mohawk in what is now Clifton Park, then a part of Niskayuna. In addition they had a patent for one mile of land extending north. In 1704 Maas built a fort at Niskayuna, probably on or near his own farm.

(II) Gerrit, son of Ryckert and Hillegonda Van Vranken, lived on his farm in Niskayuna lying north of the Mohawk. He was buried January 13, 1748, his wife, December 21, 1747. He married, September 27, 1696, Barber Janse. Children: Ryckert, Alida, Anna, Margarita, married Johannes Bratt; Johannes, Hillegonda, Andries.

(III) Ryckert (2), son of Gerrit and Barber (Janse) Van Vranken, married, February 9, 1723, in Schenectady, Maria Bratt. Children: Alida, Barber, Anna, Abraham, Gerrit, Ryckert.

(IV) Ryckert (3), son of Ryckert (2) and Maria (Bratt) Van Vranken, died September 11, 1805. In 1755 he bought of Tobias Ryckman, Jr., the land on the south side of Union street between Centre and Yates streets, Schenectady, and at his death gave it in equal portions to his daughters Mary and Sarah. He married, April 26, 1760, Maria, born December 4, 1734, died February 5, 1813, daughter of Johannes Marselis. Children: Maria, Richard, Sarah, married Rudolph Van Huysen; John, Mary, Nicholas.

(V) Mary, daughter of Ryckert (3) and Maria (Marselis) Van Vranken, was born August 9, 1775, died October 29, 1845. She inherited one half of the city lots in Schenectady, and lived in the old homestead on the property, where she was also married and died. During the winter of 1797, a young man from New Jersey, Gerrit Bensen, was snow-bound for several weeks in Schenectady, and becoming acquainted with Mary Van Van Vranken they were married the following April.

(The Bensen Line)

Gerrit Bensen was a lineal descendant of Dirck Bensen, who was originally from Groningen. He resided for a time in Amsterdam, where he married Calatyne, daughter of Samson Berck. He came to America about 1648. In 1649 he was of New Amsterdam. He died in Albany, January 6, 1659.

(II) Captain Johannes, son of Dirck and Calatyne (Berck) Bensen, was born February 8, 1655. In 1689 he resided at Claverack, and was appointed in March of that year captain of a company of militia when an attack was expected from the French and Indians. In 1690 he removed to Harlem, where he died. He married, February 2, 1680, Lysbeth, daughter of Teuwes (Matthew) and Helena Van Deusen.

(III) Johannes (2), son of Captain Johannes (1) and Lysbeth (Van Deusen) Bensen, was born May 29, 1701. He settled in Bergen county, New Jersey, after his marriage. He married, May 24, 1724, Elizabeth, daughter of Gerrit Lydecker, of Bergen county, New Jersey.

(IV) John, son of Johannes (2) and Elizabeth (Lydecker) Bensen, was born January 29, 1730. He married, June 1, 1753, Rebecca Demarest.

(V) Gerrit, son of John and Rebecca (Demarest) Bensen, was born March 20, 1770, died April 27, 1861. His brother Daniel died aged ninety years, and his brother David died in Paterson, New Jersey, aged ninety-eight years. During the war of the revolution, his parents lived at Tappan, New York, and the lad Gerrit there witnessed the execution of Major Andre. Gerrit was a carpenter and builder. He married, April 15, 1797, Mary Van Vranken, of Schenectady, where he ever afterward resided. Children: four sons and four daughters.

(VI) Richard Van Vranken, son of Gerrit and Mary (Van Vranken) Bensen, was born in Schenectady, November 12, 1807, on the premises now occupied and ever since owned by his descendants. He died there April 17, 1889. He married, in Albany, November, 1841, Mary A. Becker, born in Orleans county, New York, September 15, 1811, died in Schenectady, November 28, 1890, daughter of John and Alida (Van De Kar) Becker, of Schoharie county, later of Orleans, where they died, he in 1870, she in 1854. Richard V. V. and Mary A. (Becker) Bensen had two children: Albert Van Voast and Annie.

(VII) Albert Van Voast, only son of Richard Van Vranken and Mary A. (Becker) Bensen, was born in Schenectady, New York, August 16, 1842. He was educated in the public schools of Schenectady and graduated from the Union school of that city. In 1860 he located in Albany, New York, which has ever since been his home. He established a tea and coffee business in that city, which he developed to large proportions and to which he devoted himself with all the energy of his nature until 1908, when he retired. During these years he acquired other and varied business interests. For thirty-four years he was secretary of the Albany County Savings Bank and trustee of that well known, solid and conservative institution. He is president of the Diamond Paste Company; vice-president of the Albany County Bank, director of the Albany Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and trustee of the Albany Homeopathic Hospital. Through his Van Vranken ancestry he gains admission to the Holland Society and belongs to the Holland Society of the City of New York. He is a member of Mt. Vernon Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, Fort Orange Club of Albany, and attends St. Peter's Church, of Albany. He married, February 14, 1878, Harriet Allen, of Albany. Children, all born in Albany:

  1. Albert Van Voast, educated at the Boys Academy; graduated at Williams College, class of 1901; member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity; he is a merchant of New York City.
  2. William Wendell, educated at Boys Academy of Albany; now engaged in business in Albany.
  3. Louise Allen.

(VII) Annie, only daughter of Richard V. V. and Mary A. (Becker) Bensen, was born in the homestead in Schenectady, where she now lives and which she owns. She was educated at the Schenectady schools. She married, September 11, 1872, Edward W. Van Vranken, born February 26, 1845, died April 29, 1909. He was a graduate of Union College, 1866; Harvard Law School, LL.B., 1868. He was admitted to the New York bar in 1868 and practiced his profession in Brooklyn, New York, for many years. He was prominent in the Masonic order. He was a Knight of De Witt Commandery, No. 27, Kismet Temple, Mystic Shrine, and of the Masonic Veterans Association. Edward W. Van Vranken was a son of Richard and Nancy (Swan) Van Vranken, grandson of Gerrit Van Vranken, born October 12, 1788, and great-grandson of Ryckert (2) and Maria (Marselis) Van Vranken, who was the common ancestor of both himself and wife. Richard Van Vranken, father of Edward W., was born in Schenectady, New York, November 5, 1812, died 1889. Nancy Swan, his wife, was born September 25, 1814. Edward W. and Annie (Bensen) Van Vranken have a son, Dr. Albert Bensen Van Vranken, born in Schenectady, New York, March 27, 1874. He is a graduate of Union University, Ph.B., 1896; A. M., 1899; graduate College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City, M. D., 1900; post-graduate course Manhattan Hospital, New York City. He began private practice in Schenectady in 1901, where he has established himself solidly in public favor as a skillful physician. He is a member of Psi Chi fraternity; Union University Chapter; State and County Medical associations; St. George's Lodge, Chapter, Commandery and Oriental Shrine of the Masonic order. He married, June 12, 1907, upon her graduation day, Edith Miller, of Brooklyn, New York, a graduate LL.B. from law department of Syracuse University, class 1907. Mother, son and daughter are members of St. George's Episcopal Church, Schenectady.

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