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John D. Van Dorn Research Notes

ContentsBackground  |  The Problem  |  The Doorn/Van Dorn Family Finding John D. Summary

Background  Most of the events mentioned occurred in two counties in New York State:

  • Saratoga Co. is on the western bank of the Hudson River, north of Albany.
  • Monroe Co. is in Western New York State's northern tier.  Its northern boundary is Lake Ontario.

According to his gravestone (Find-A-Grave), John D. Van Dorn was born 1 Dec 1809.  This is consistent with nine census records, where the estimate of his birth year ranges from 1806-1813.  According to the 1875 census, he was born in Saratoga Co.  No record of his birth has been found.

On 1 Apr 1836 he was of Sweden, Monroe Co., when he purchased land in Clarkson in Monroe Co. [Monroe44_103-104]  On 15 Jan 1837 he had already moved to Clarkson when he purchased another piece of the same lot in Clarkson [Monroe43_155].  The following day he and his wife Lovina sold or mortgaged the land in Clarkson [Monroe50_341].

John D. and Lovina moved from Clarkson to Parma in 1851 when they sold their land in Clarkson [Monroe169_488] and purchased land in Parma [Monroe93_527].  They remained in Parma for the rest of their lives.  (Lovina's family were early settlers in Parma.  It is probably her birthplace.)

The Problem  Who are John D.'s parents?  Because of the repeat of given names, I have added in brackets the phrases "senior" "the elder" and "the younger".  "The elder" refers to the sons of the senior Nicholas Doorn.  "The younger" refers to the sons of the "elders".

The Doorn/Van Dorn Family  Two sources provided background on the probable family of John D.

  • New Netherland Connections Vol.5 p.29-44+, Susan Amicucci, "Cornelius Doorn of Monmouth County, New Jersey: New Light on His Ancestors and Descendants":
    • p.33 Nicholas Doorn [senior] was probably the son [of Cornelius Doorn and Anne Goulder] baptized in the RDC [Reformed Dutch Congregation] of Middletown on 4 Mar 1722.  He obtained a license to marry Sarah Smith, the daughter of William and Mary Smith, on 27 Aug 1761. ... Nicholas [senior] and Sarah had four children: Nicholas [the elder] (bap 4 Apr 1762), William [the elder], John [the elder] (bap 22 Jan 1767), Cornelius [the elder]. ... Nicholas [senior] was both a weaver and a farmer.

    • p.34 ... Two of Nicholas' [senior] sons, Nicholas [the elder] and William [the elder], changed their surname to Van Dorn, after they moved to Saratoga County, NY between 1805 and 1810.  Their descendants have retained either "Van Dorn" or "Vandorn" as their surname to the present. ...

    • p.44 The heirs of Stephen Chasey ... from Saratoga, New York: William Van Dorn [the elder] and Mary, his wife; William is the son of Nicholas Dorn [senior] and Sarah Smith ... William [the elder] married Mary Chasey about 1782.  Their children are Sarah, William [the younger], John [Wms' the younger], Martha, ... William [the elder] Van Dorn, Mary Chasey, and Daniel Chasey moved to Saratoga between 1805 and 1810.  By 1814 the Van Dorns were living in Richland County. Ohio.

  • Honeyman, Van Doorn p.642: Nicholas [the elder] had at least four sons: Isaac, John, Lewis and Peter.

Finding John D.  Since John D. was born very late in 1809, it is reasonable to assume that he was still in Saratoga Co. in 1810.  The 1810 Census for Saratoga Co., New York includes only five Van Dorn households, all in the town of Northumberland:

  1. Nicholas [the elder], age 45 and over (born before 1766), household of 9
  2. William [the elder], age 45 and over (born before 1766), household of 8
  3. Isaac [the younger] age 26-44 (born 1766-1784), (wife same age, no children)
  4. John [the younger] age 26-44 (born 1766-1784), (wife same age, 2 children)
  5. William [the younger], age 16 thru 25 (born 1784-1795), (wife age 26-44 (born 1766-1784), 1 female child)

Who are these five people?

Isaac [the younger] in the 1810 census is presumably the son of Nicholas [the elder], since William [the elder] apparently had no son named Isaac.  Nicholas [the elder] apparently had no son named William, so the William [the younger] in the 1810 census is presumably the son of William [the elder].

The first two households listed are apparently the Nicholas [the elder] and William [the elder] referred to on p.34 above.  Nicholas [the elder] also had a wife, Sarah, surname unknown.  In their 1810 households, both fathers included a male of the right age to be the son John.  Neither household included a male under age 10.

John [the younger] is the only one in the 1810 census with a male child under age 10 in his household.  Assuming that John D.'s birth date in 1809 is correct, John [the younger] would apparently be the only one who could be his father.  Which John is he?  Nicholas [the elder] and William [the elder] both had sons named John.  William [the elder]'s son John lived in Ohio and died in 1847.

Thus John [the younger with his own household in 1810 is presumably the son of Nicholas, and the same John who died in 1813, when his widow, Lucy, was appointed administrator of his estate.

A land transaction supports this argument: On 14 Nov 1812, Nicholas Van Dorn and his wife Sarah of Northumberland sold 50 acres of land in Northumberland to John Van Dorn of Northumberland for $150 [SaratogaF_295-296].  The rate for other properties at that time in Saratoga County appears to be about $10 an acre.

The 1820 census for Northumberland did not include anyone with the surname Van Dorn.  The 1820 Census for Washington, Richland Co. Ohio includes 3 Vandorn households, apparently William [the elder] and his two sons William [the younger] and John [Wms' the younger].

The 1820 Census for Sweden, Genesee Co., New York includes 2 Vandorn households, Isaac, age 26-44 (born 1775-1795), his wife and one son (Peter b.1812); two lines below is his sister-in-law, Lucy Van Dorn, age 26-44 (born 1775-1795), now with 4 children, 1 male [John D.] and 1 female born before the 1810 census, and two females born after 1810.

The Beach Ridge Cemetery, Sweden, New York, has a burial in 1828 for Mary, wife of Isaac Van Dorn, in her 37th year (born 1891) (Burials in Beach Ridge Cemetery Sweden, NY and Tombstone records of Lakeview and Beach Ridge Cemeteries).

In the 1830 Census Isaac is still in Sweden, Genesee Co., New York, and Lucy is listed next, except that the household is now in John D.'s name, as he has reached an adult age [20-29 (born 1800-1810)].  Lucy is probably the Lucy Vandorn who died 17 Feb 1834, aged 52y [b.c.1782], and is buried in plot 52, Maple Grove Cemetery, Ogden Center, Monroe Co. (Find-A-Grave).

Summary  The question could use some more evidence, but tying together the census records for John, then Lucy, then John D., and Lucy's move to Sweden support John D.'s move from Saratoga Co. to Monroe Co.  That and the information from the Doorn sources quoted above indicate that John D. was the son of John and Lucy Van Dorn, grandson of Nicholas and Sarah ([--?--]) Doorn/Van Dorn and the great-grandson of Nicholas and Sarah (Smith) Doorn.

An added benefit, finding John D.'s parents also led to finding one of his sisters: Lucy Osborn; w/o Jeremiah C.; d/o John & Lucy Van Dorn b.Sep 16 1811, d.Apr 10 1892; buried [lot 40], Maple Grove Cemetery, Ogden Center, Monroe Co., New York (Find-A-Grave; Persons Buried in Ogden - 2014 edition).  According to her 1880 census record, her father was born in New Jersey, and her mother in New York.

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