Monday, February 13, 2012

Born in Brazil – Christoffel Probasco

B. about 1649 in Brazil (probably Recife)
M. before 1675 in New York
Wife: Eytie Stryker
D. Unknown

Christoffel Probasco started life not in Europe or North America, but in South America. He was born about 1649 in the 17th century Dutch colony in Brazil, probably in Recife, to Juriaen Probasco and Heyltien Aertss. His baptism took place there on June 13, 1649. When the Portugese took over control of the Brazilian colony in January 1654, the Dutch were forced to leave. Christoffel’s family returned to the Netherlands briefly, and then moved to the New Netherlands colony in North America in June 1654, arriving on the ship Pereboom.

The Dutch colony in Brazil where Christoffel was born

The earliest mention of Christoffel in New Netherland was in 1662 when he was listed as a member of a catechism class in Brooklyn. In 1671 at the age of 22, he bought land in Flatbush north of Jan Stryker. On the deed, he signed his name “Stoffel Probasky.” He was assessed in 1675 as owning one horse, three cows, one hog and about 34 acres of land, for a total worth of £93. He bought more land in 1676 from Auke Van Nuys.

By 1675, Christoffel married Eytie Stryker, the daughter of Jan Stryker. Between 1675 and 1695, they had ten children. The census of 1698 showed that six children were living with him and he owned two slaves.

Christoffel was magistrate of Brooklyn in 1678 and 1686, and Justice of the Peace in 1693 and 1702. He was also an elder in his church, and in 1690 “opposed the administration of Governor Leisler.” He took the oath of allegiance to the English crown in 1687. In 1701, he joined with four others to buy 10,000 acres of land in Somerset County, New Jersey. Some of this land was used by Christoffel’s grown children.

Christoffel made a joint will with his wife in 1687. He named sons Jurian and Jan to each receive a small sum of money and a musket. Also each of his children were to receive a cow when they reached 20 years of age. There may have been another will written in 1724. It is not known when or where he died.

1. Lammertje Probasco – B. about 1675, Flatbush, New York; D. after 1736; M. Jan Van Arsdalen (1676-1756), 1695

2. Heyltie Probasco – B. about 1677, Flatbush, New York; D. 27 Sep 1727; M. Jeremias Van der Beeck (1675-1757)

3. Jurrian Probasco – B. about 1678, Flatbush, New York; D. before 1695

4. Jan Probasco – B. about 1680, Flatbush, New York; D. about 1649, Jamaica, New York; M. Adriantje Van Hengel (~1682-?), about 1702

5. Jakob Probasco – B. about 1682, Flatbush, New York; M. Mary Van Loew

6. Abraham Probasco – B. about 1685, Flatbush, New York; M. Geertje Lubbertse

7. Aeltje Probasco – B. about 1687, Flatbush, New York

8. Sara Probasco – B. about 1693, New Lotts, New York; M. Samuel Groenendyk

9. Jurian Probasco – B. about 1695, Flatbush, New York; D. about 1732, Flatbush, New York; M. Catalyntie Remsen

10. Christoffel Probasco – M. Catelina Schenk

"American Origin of the Probasco Family," William B. Alstyne, Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, 1927
Register of the Early Settlers of Kings County, Long Island, New York, Teunis Bergen, 1881
"The Probasco Origins," Bryce Henderson Stevens, The Vanguard – The Newsletter of the van Aersdalen Family Association, Vol. 1, No. 2, December 1998
"Juriaen (Probasco) Probatski, The Immigrant Ancestor," Nora J. Probasco, 1999


  1. Wow, I can't believe so many distant relatives have history that I share. Through DNA, we have been connected to Jurriaen, Stoffel, George, 3 Jacobs, Peter, Sylvester, Frank, Roy, Laurence...I would love to know how Peter (b1797) ended up in Michigan.
    L. Probasco

  2. Thanks for the comment. The great thing about 17th and early 18th century ancestors is that they have lots of descendants, so a lot of people can connect to each other. The people who populated the Dutch colony were an interesting group because they included so many nationalities. New York was a melting pot from the very beginning!