The Ancestors of Charity Dubois Porter

There is probably no more fascinating ancestry in my family tree than that of Charity Dubois Porter, my great-great Grandmother.
Her ancestry traces to two interesting episodes in American history: the Palatine emigration and the French-Huguenot emigration to the Hudson River valley of New York in the mid-17th and early 18th centuries.

For the descendants of Charity Dubois Porter click here.

Catharine Ham was NOT the mother of Jonathan Dubois' children.

Jonathan Dubois’ FamilySearch ID L4MV-C6J has two mothers for the same children. There are some 202 Ancestry Family Trees that use Jonathan, some with Elizabeth Ham as the mother of his children, some with Catherine Ham, some with both! What follows in the "Read more for evidences and proof" is a careful examination of christening records and wills, along with family records, which should put to rest the idea that Catherine was the mother of his children.

The confusion stems in large from an incorrect membership record in the East Greenbush Dutch Reformed Church: “28 Sept 1799: Conradt Ham, c. (certificate), and wife Christina Stryd, c., and their daughter Catharina Ham, c., wife of Jonathan DuBois.” (Footnote: Pockman, P. Theo.. History of the Reformed Church : at East Greenbush, Rensselaer County, New York. New Brunswick, N.J.: J. Heidingsfeld, printer, 1891.,
at History of the Reformed Church : at East Greenbush, Rensselaer County, New York [database on-line] - Image 246 )
Likely the most used reference that created the confusion is the 1969 Heidgerd work on the descendants of Chrétien Dubois which puts Catharine as the mother of the first four children and the last three the daughter of Elizabeth. (Footnote: Heidgerd, William, The American Descendants of Chretien DuBois of Wicres, France (Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, NY., 1969), page 257, E-1047. ) Christening records put Heidgerd's mistake to rest. And the church records establish the fact that Catharine, or “Caty”, and Elizabeth Ham were sisters.

Read more for evidences and proof.

Charity’s mother, Elizabeth Ham Dubois (1778-1862)

Charity’s mother, Elizabeth Ham, was of pure Palatine stock, tracing back to those refugees from the Palatinate region of Germany in the first decade of the 1700s.

The Palatines

Sometime in the spring of 1709 three young men, Peter, Conrad and Caspar Hamm, accompanied by their mother Gertrude (Footnote: Both Hank Jones and David Kendall Martin conclude that it is "most probable" that Gertrude Hammin was the mother of Peter, Conrad and Caspar Ham, or Hamen as they appear on the immigrant registers of 1716/1716. However, their European origins have escaped firm detection. What is known of the family is detailed by Hank Jones on pages 329 to 336 in his Palatine Families of New York. See the bibliography at the end. ), left their homeland in southern Germany for a 6-8-week journey down the Rhine river to Rotterdam and then to London seeking new life in the “new world.”

After decades of war and desolation, accompanied by crushing taxes, poverty was the primary reason for their becoming refugees. The final straw was the crushingly cold winter of 1708-1709. The British government had encouraged this emigration with leaflets offering a chance at a new life in America.

Eventually arriving in London with thousands of other refugees, they realized that the British had no organized plan to relocate them, but after what would be another agonizing winter in England, six ships loaded with refugees sailed for New York. Crowded and unsanitary conditions aboard resulted in a number of deaths on the two-month trip.

After being unloaded on what is today Governors Island, the plan was to relocate them up the Hudson river to harvest and process tar from the extensive pine forests north of New York. Tar was an essential material for the British navy and it had been reliant on the tar processed and sold by Sweden.

In October of 1710 the refugees were settled into two “camps” either side of the Hudson river some one-hundred miles north of New York: East Camp and West Camp. There, living on subsistence provided by the government, they began, in the midst of another brutal winter, killing trees to process the tar. Within two years the navy decided that the tar processed was not the right type and the Palatinates were abandoned to their own devices without support, supplies or subsistence help. Many fled west to Scholarie County where they were kept alive by gifts of food from local Indians.

The Hams’ stayed in the area of East Camp, in debt to Robert Livingston for the lands they rented from his manor. Peter and Conrad were also conscripted into a small army organized by Livingston for punitive raids against the Indians who were harassing the Manor from the north.

It is from my 5th Great Grandfather, Conrad Ham, and Charity Dubois’ Great-Grandfather, that I am descended. His son Johann would have at least ten children with his wife Christina Streit, one of whom, Elizabeth, was born in Claverack in 1778 just north of East Camp. Both Conrad and his son Johann married women with roots in the Palatine immigration of 1710.

The Family Converges

While Charity Dubois married a Porter, her sister Margaret Dubois married a Ham, Peter A. Ham, who was Margaret’s first cousin AND her third cousin.
     Both were the grandchildren of Johan and Christina Ham making them first cousins.
     Both were great-grandchildren of two of the aforementioned immigrant brothers, Casper and Conrad, making them third cousins. Confused? I don’t blame you. I’ve included

As mentioned elsewhere on this genealogy website, Margaret and her husband Peter A. Ham were neighbors of Mayhew D. Mott in Ballston Spa, Saratoga county in 1850. Mayhew’s son Wesley would marry Charity’s daughter Harriet in 1871. (They were NOT cousins…whew!) Wesley Mott is my great-grandfather.

Peter Ham is buried in Ellington Cemetery in Stephensville, Outagamie County along with his son John Dubois Ham and his daughter-in-law Sarah. Margaret is buried with her sister Christina in Brooks Cemetery just north of Oshkosh, Winnebago County. Peter's Find-a-Grave Memorial
Margaret's Find-a-Grave Memorial.

For the descendants of Charity Dubois Porter see Charity and Medad Porter's Descendants.

For a 3 generation descendancy report on Johann Conrad Ham and Christina Streit see this report.

Charity’s father, Jonathan Dubois (1778-1851)

Charity’s father’s surname extends to the Huguenot ancestry of Chrétien Dubois who was born in France at the end of the 16th century. Jonathan’s mother, Charity Griffin, was a mix of English and Dutch; his father’s mother, Ariaatje Oosterhout, was of strong Dutch descent going back to the mid-1660s New York.


Much has been written on the history of the Huguenots, French protestants who embraced Calvinism and were at odds, sometimes violently, with the Catholic Church. If you are interested in that history a good place to start might simply be the Wikipedia article on the Huguenots.

Chrétien, whose ancestry has been traced, very circumstantially, to Charlemagne, had two sons, and a daughter, who emigrated and have been extensively studied and documented. Jacques Dubois followed his older brother to America in 1675 with his wife and children and settled near Esopus on the west bank of the Hudson some 75 miles north of New York City, then New Amsterdam.(Footnote: Esopus, on the river, is just a few miles from New Paltz where the Huguenot Society has created "Historic Huguenot Street," a ten acre historic district that includes the house of Louis Dubois. In 1995 I visited this wonderful location.


Jacques’ fourth son, Pierre (1674-1738), became one of the founders of the Dutch Reformed Church in Fishkill, across the river and some 15-20 miles south of Esopus. He also purchased a large tract of land that is now Beacon, New York and built a residence there. A descendant, another Peter, built in 1840 a brick Greek Revival home that still stands.

While Jonathan’s Great-Grandfather, Pierre, was a man of means – the whole family was fairly wealthy – time and dissipation of wealth led Jonathan’s father Cornelius to move his family north to Schodack, just south of Albany across the river, where his wife Charity Griffin was from.

Jonathan had been christened in Fishkill in his great-grandfather’s church. After his move at age 12 with his family to Schodack, he met and married Elizabeth Ham about 1801 and together they raised a family eventually in Saratoga County near Ballston Spa.


Charity Griffin, Jonathan’s mother, was of English descent. Her great-great grandfather, Edward Griffin, was long thought to be Welsh, but recent research holds that all that can be said is he came from Britain. Richard Griffin, (Footnote: His brother, Col Jacob Griffin, operated a Tavern in East Fishkill which was a rendezvous point for patriot generals and militia. The tavern is currently the focus of a restoration and preservation project. Check out their efforts on their Facebook page. Richard himself is on a 1780 list of subscribers who contributed money to the war effort. ) Charity’s father, the 3rd generation of Griffins in America, married a woman of Dutch descent, Catharine Vanderhoof.


There is a great deal of Dutch ancestry in the family. Charity Griffin’s mother was a Vanderhoof, a descendant of Geertje van Vulpen and her husband, Cornelis Gijsbertsen van der Hoeven and they were the first family of Vanderhoof’s in America. There is so much on this family at the Vanderhoof Family History Project that it is even difficult to summarize here.

Jonathan’s grandfather, his namesake Jonathan, married into the Dutch family Oosterhout, marrying Ariaantje Oosterhout in the Dutch Reformed Church of Kingston in 1732.

To back up a bit, the aforementioned Pierre Dubois married into a Dutch family that in a way is the most fascinating. He married Jeannetje Burhans in 1697 in Kingston and she was the daughter of Helena Traphagen and Jan Burhans. While the Burhans genealogy is extensive, it is the Traphagen family that always fascinated and amused me.

Helena Traphagen’s father was Willem Jansen Traphagen by his first wife. Willem emigrated from Amsterdam sometime between 1651 and 1657 to New Netherland. Times were lean: he appears in the court records to plead his debts. In 1661 he was one of 23 men who applied for town rights in the newly chartered town of Bushwick, across the East river on Long Island. There he and a colleague got in trouble with the local magistrates in 1664. His friend wrote an insolent letter to the magistrates and Willem delivered it. Both of them were ordered banished after being tied to the stake and labeled “false accusers and defamers of the magistrates.” While he still appears on the records of Bushwick as late as 1666, he moved to Kingston sometime in the next few years. There he farmed a small piece of land until he died, likely shortly after he wrote a will in February of 1685.

While Jonathan has a Find-a-Grave Memorial, Elizabeth does not and I'm not sure if she is buried with her husband or not.

Ancestor Chart of my Great-Great Grandmother Charity Dubois. Columns are her parents / grandparents.

Charity Charity's Parents Charity's Grand-Parents Great Grand-Parents GG Grand-Parents GGG Grand-Parents GGGG Grand-Parents

My great-great-grandmother

Charity Dubois
b.4 Jun 1804
d.12 Sep 1877
Jonathan Dubois
{FGID: 38082426}
b.10 Apr 1778
d.27 Jul 1851
Cornelius Dubois
{FGID: 111776275}
b.26 Jul 1750
d.17 Apr 1834
 Jonathan Dubois
b.5 Jul 1704
d.5 Jan 1787
Pierre (Or Peter) Dubois
b.17 Mar 1674
d.23 Jan 1738
Jacques Dubois
d.Abt 1677
Chretien Dubois
b.Abt 1597
Pierronne Bentyn
b.Abt 1642
d.After 1698
Jeannetje Burhans
b.Abt 1676
d.After 1735
Jan Jacobsen Burhans
{FGID: 148242157}
b.Abt 1650
d.Oct 1708
Jacob Burhans
Helena Traphagen
{FGID: 148242226}
b.Abt 1650
d.May 1732
Willem Jansen Traphagen
{FGID: 148242714}
b.Abt 1616
d.Abt 1699
Jannetje Claesen Groevnis
b.Abt 1620
d.Bef 1 Jun 1658
Ariaantje Oosterhout
b.31 Jan 1712
d.3 Nov 1776
Pieter Jan Oosterhout
b.Cir 1671-1672
d.15 Feb 1751
Jan Jansen Van Oosterhout
Annetjen Jelles
Heyltjen Schut
c.25 Oct 1713
d.30 Jan 1752
Abraham Schut
Heyltjen Dekker
Charity Griffin
 {FGID: 111776176}
b.6 Oct 1753
d.31 May 1827
Richard Griffin
Joshua Griffin
b.Abt 1699
d.After 1772
Richard Griffin
b.Abt 1655
Edward Griffin
b.Abt 1602
b.Abt 1630
d.After 1700
Susanna Haight
b.Abt 1676
d.27 Nov 1760
Samuel Hoyt Haight
b.1 May 1647
d.12 Nov 1712
Sarah Noble
d.17 Sep 1712
Catharine Vanderhoof
b.Abt 1722
Cornelis Vanderhoof
d.28 May 1765
Jan Cornelis Vanderhoof
d.After 1705
Cornelis Vanderhoof
b.Abt 1624
d.Abt 1661
Geuertje Van Vulpen
b.Cir 1615
d.29 Dec 1684
Dorothy Jans
b.Abt 1657
d.After 1705
Jans Jacob Jans
Marytje Caljer
Elizabeth Louweryns

Laurents Ackerman
David Ackerman
b.Abt 1620
Elizabeth Bellier
b.24 Jan 1616
d.Abt 1668
Geertje Egberts
b.Abt 1650
Maternal Line

Elizabeth Ham
b.11 Aug 1778
d.28 Feb 1862
Johan Coenraet Ham
b.Abt 1726
d.Mar 1806-1808
Conrad Ham
b.Abt 1688
d.After 1758
Gertrud Hammin
Rachel Rohrbach
d.After 1758-1764
Johannes Rohrbach
Anna Apollonia Funk
Christina Streit
d.Abt 1800
Friederich Streit
b.Abt 1700-1701
Ludwig Streit
b.Abt 1667
d.Abt 1709-1710
Matthias Streit Jr.
d.21 Feb 1680
Anna Christina Leiber
Anna Catharina Maul Johann Friederich Maul
b.Abt 1677-1679
d.After 1742
Johann Martin Maul
d.2 Jun 1697
Anna Engen
d.18 Sep 1686
Anna Ursula Friess-Eltesten
d.After 1742
Jacob Friess-Eltesten


     Click to Enlarge
Major Settlements
1768 Map of the area of settlement
NYC to Albany today
Where Bushwick is today

A few photos taken in 1995 and 1997

The Louis DuBois house in New Paltz
Dutch Reformed church in Fishkill
Fishkill plaque to Peter Dubois
Jonathan Dubois' headstone - Rock City Cemetery, Saratoga

Acknowledgements and Bibliography

Ham and the Palatines:

About the year 2000 I was in touch with several very knowledgeable researchers and received valuable information about the Hams and their ancestors as well as descendants. I am indebted to them for what I know about this period and the families.

  1. Primary is the work of Hank Z. Jones, FASG, whose two volume The Palatine Families of New York is invaluable, finding those Palatine refugees among the records in Germany and then recording their genealogies. It can be found in many genealogy libraries but is completely sold out of bookstores and at Hank's website, as has the followup book, More Palatine Families. Hank has also written the popular Psychic Roots: Serendipity & Intuition in Genealogy. His daughter has the same name as a psychic in my family: Amanda Jones. Visit his website at
  2. An unpublished genealogy of the Ham family was sent to me by David Kendall Martin who had done extensive work on the family as well as other families.
  3. Another unpublished genealogy was sent to me by Warren Hamm, of Rockport, Texas.

Dubois, Dutch and English

  1. Vanderhoof - in the original Dutch the name was “van der Hoeven.”
    As mentioned above, the Vanderhoof Family History Project has articles on Cornelius as well as his wife Geertje van Vupen. Lots of information there.
  2. Burhans: The Burhans Genealogy by Samuel Burhans was privately printed in New York in 1894 and is available for free at It has been main source of information on this Dutch family. See especially pages 16-17 for the children of Janneke Burhans and Peter Dubois
  3. Griffin:
  4. Traphagen:
    • In 2000, Chris Brooks put together a website, “Traphagen Heritage”, that is very detailed as to Willem, his wives and children. It has since been archived from a mirrored site in 2009: "Traphagen Heritage"
    • I also have in my possession the first 150 some pages of the 567 page “Traphagen, 1616-19__: a family history of the traphagen family” compiled by Arthur C. Wardlow and Lilliam Wardlow about 1995. The full document is now digitized and available at (A free account is necessary to view.)

Map credits and map

  1. The full 1768 map, "The provinces of New York, and New Jersey; with part of Pensilvania, and the governments of Trois Rivières, and Montreal" can be found at the Library of Congress.
  2. There's an even earlier, 1656 Dutch map, at The New York Public Library Digital Collection.


Footnotes 4,5,and 6 are in the "Read more.." extended text. Open the "Read more" if it is not already open.


Page created August, 2020

© Text copyright: Steve Spicer

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