Spelled and referenced variously, the Beekmans were a prolific New Netherland era family that would thrive in colonial New York and Beyond. The eighteenth century Beekmans were particularly prominent in commerce and trade. They also were substantial landholders in many parts of New York. The Albany history of the Beekman family probably begins with the children of the New Netherland pioneers known as Marte and Susanna Beekman.
Their son Johannes Martense Beekman settled in during the last quarter of the seventeenth century. His family prospered in its Albany setting while other branches became prominent in New York, Schenectady, and notably in the development of farming in the mid and lower Hudson Valley. Daughter "Metie" Vanderhoeven raised her family in Albany but left following the death of her husband in 1689.
By 1790, four Beekman households were noted in the city (including that of butcher/businessman Christopher Beeckman - probably a different family) with two more in surrounding Watervliet. A decade later, four Beeckman-named households were configured on the city census. In 1813, the first city directory listed but two "Beeckman" addresses. By 1820, the name no longer appeared in the city directory.
Today, the Beekman name is recalled by place names in the Hudson and Champlain Valleys. The Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck is a legendary stopping place. Beekman Street in Albany is named for Mayor Johannes James Beekman.
Sources: We have adopted "Beekman" as the "standard" spelling of a name that appears often in a variety of forms. Our work on the Beekman family is based on family and community-based resources. The standard printed work on the family, Distinguished families in America, descended from Wilhelmus Beekman and Jan Thomasse Van Dyke by William B. Aitken (1912), has been digitized and is now online. General Beekman family website. Jonathan Pearson's genealogical work on the family appears online. Generally useful "Early Bergen"; The voluminous family-based work of Philip L. White mostly focuses on the Beekmans beyond Albany. Family bible information: Jacob Beekman.
first posted 3/20/04; last revised 3/21/16