Origins of the Terwilliger Name


  What is known, there are descendants of two separate persons whose descendants used the Terwilliger name in the United States.

  The first person is Evert Dircksen.

  The second person is Janse Evert.  Janse was born about 1659 and lived in Albany N.Y. at the corner of Maiden Lane and Broadway in 1706.  There are living descendants today from Janse but no known male descendants using the Terwilliger name at this time.

  It was the American-born generations of these two persons that followed the naming requirements under English rule, adopted some form of the name that evolved into Terwilliger, e.g. ter Wilge, Terwilligen, and occasionally Van der Willigen. It is a place name meaning at, by or near the willows. Either in Holland or America, an ancestor of this family lived near some willow trees. Also willow trees are mostly found in the southern part of Holland.  In another generation or so, the name is found consistently in records as Terwilliger, although often badly misspelled. Minor variations are still found today, such as Terwilleger (Oregon), Terwillegar (Canada), and Terwilligar (SC/GA).

   If you are related to any of the descendants of these two, you are part of the Terwilligers in America, Inc.

  The beginnings of the Evert Dircksen “Terwilliger” lineage originate in Vianen, Holland, on the Lek River, a few miles south of Utrecht. The first three generations of the this family are known by their patronymic names - a naming method followed in Holland and other countries of northeastern Europe where each child used as a surname a name derived from that of his or her father's first name. The endings of patronymic names vary somewhat in spelling and may differ between males and females. With this necessary explanation, the Terwilliger family begins with:

1.) Dirck __?__ - According to published sources, he was born in Vianen, Holland probably around 1610. He lived in Vianen and probably died there. According to tradition, he belonged to the "farming class", i.e. he was a farmer or farm laborer. His son, the emigrant to America, was:

2.) Evert Dircksen - He arrived at New Netherland (present-day New York City) on 15 Mar 1663 with two children aged 13 and 6 years, on the ship "De Arent" (The Eagle) commanded by Capt. Peter Corneliez Bez. Also on the ship's passenger list were Annetje Dircx, a widow, and her four year old child. Evert Dircksen was a widower, and Annetje Dircx is believed to have been his widowed sister. Concerning Evert Dircksen's children, the 13 year old and the six year old were both sons. Little more is found on Evert Dircksen, who evidently did not remarry. In May 1686, he witnessed the baptism of his son's first child who was named for him. He is found on the 1711 tax rolls of Shawangunk, Ulster Co., New York. His youngest son was:

3.) Jan Evertsen - The progenitor of all the Terwilligers. Born 1656 or 1657, Vianen, Holland. He was married in Kingston, New York in 1685 (banns 4/23) to Sytie Jacobz VanEtten. She was born in Kingston and baptized there 25 Mar 1668, daughter of Jacob Janse VanEtten and Annetje Adrianse. Sytie's father was from Etten, Holland; her mother was born in Amsterdam. They lived in Marbleton (an area west of Kingston, now part of Ulster Township) at the time of their marriages.

Children of Jan Evertsen & Sytie VanEtten














23 May 1686



Mar 1717



Sara Freer




25 Nov 1688



10 Mar 1717



Annetjen Hornback




06 Nov 1692



17 May 1717



Annetjen Tack




09 June 1695



17 Jan 1717
09 Apr 1732



1st:Cornelius Cool
2nd:Henry Preschat




18 Apr 1697



died in infancy







30 Oct 1698



03 May 1732



Marytjen Oosterhout




01 Sep 1700



08 Jul 1720



Rachel Ostrander




31 May 1702






Jannetjen Decker




03 Sep 1704



29 Jun 1728



Margriet Kool




22 Sep 1706



ca. 1749



Grietjen Phoenix




18 Sep 1709



not married







10 Jun 1716



15 Dec 1741



Rebecca Phoenix


  On 13 September 1694, Jan Evertsen obtained a land patent in Shawangunk, an area south of Kingston, NY now a township of Ulster County. Most of his sons remained in Shawangunk. Several are among the initial suscribers to, or early members of, the Shawangunk Reformed Dutch Church (RDC).

Shawangunk is very much the homeland of the Terwilliger family. There the Shawangunk Church remains beautifully preserved, facing the scenic white stone panorama of the Shawangunk Mountains. In the well-kept cemetery surrounding the church are to be found the gravestones of many of our forebears.