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The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record
Devoted To The Interests Of American Genealogy And Biography
Issued Quarterly
Published By The New York Genealogical And Biographical Society,
226 West 58th Street, New York.
THE KNICKERBOCKER FAMILY
By William B. Van Alstyne, M.D.
Chapter 1
(Published January 1908)
NYG&BR, January 1908 Page 33
The Knickerbocker family of New York, rendered famous by the genius of Washington Irving, has never to our
knowledge been printed in genealogical form. This we now endeavor to do for the first four or five generations.
Pains have been taken to secure accuracy and authorities are given for most statements. Traditions are current in
the family concerning its origin and history in Holland, but these the writer, not finding leisure to verify them, has
omitted. He has encountered many early spellings of the name of the family, such as Knikkerbakker,
Knikkelbakker, and Knikkenbakker, but has adhered to the present spellings, Knickerbacker and Knickerbocker.
Authorities differ as to the origin of the name Knickerbocker. William Arthur (Derivation of Family Names, p.177)
derives it from knacker, a cracker, and backer, a baker; while Edward M. Smith (History of Rhinebeck, N.Y., p. 174)
derives it from knikker, a marble, and bakker, a baker. Consensus of opinion favors the latter explanation.
Harmen Jansen Knickerbocker, the ancestor of the family, came to this country from Holland prior to 1683 and
settled at Albany, N.Y. Occasionally he added the termination Van Wie to his name indicating that he came from
Wie, the present Wyhe, a few miles south of Zwolle, in the Province of Overyssel, Holland.
In 1683, Harman Jansz Knickelbacker and Lysbet Harmensz were members of the Dutch Reformed Church at
Albany (Year Book, 1904, of the Holland Society of New York, p. 5).
On 6 May, 1684, Harmen Jansen Knickerbocker deeded land in Albany to Mews Hogeboom (Book 531, Public
Records of Albany Co). On 2 June, 1688, Peter Schuyler received a grant of land in Dutchess County near Red Hook