Cornelius (Cornelissen) Comegys (Comen-Ghysen), Sr.

Is your surname Comegys?

Research the Comegys family

Cornelius (Cornelissen) Comegys (Comen-Ghysen), Sr.'s Geni Profile

Records for Cornelius Comegys

21,213 Records

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Cornelius (Cornelissen) Comegys (Comen-Ghysen), Sr.

Birthdate: (77)
Birthplace: Lexmond, Land of Vianen, Holland, Netherlands
Death: June 22, 1708 (77)
Kent County, Maryland, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Cornelius Comen Ghysen and Jannegen Jans
Husband of Willemtje Comegys; Mary Comegys and Rebekah Smith
Father of Cornelius Parsons Comegys, II; Elizabeth Comegys; William Comegys, Sr.; Hannah Comegys; William Comegys and 8 others
Brother of Garrike Comen-Ghysen

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Cornelius (Cornelissen) Comegys (Comen-Ghysen), Sr.

birth name: Cornelis Cornelissen

marriage to Willimentje Gysbert recorded in New Amsterdam mar 29 1658

jul 1661 - admitted as a citizen of Maryland

1679 - Willimentje died

Cornelius married twice more, to Mary and to Rebecca

"Published by the Holland Society of New York 123 East 58th Street, New York, N.Y.

Cornelius Comegys (1630-1708): Young Man From Lexmond His Career and His Family by Robert G. Comegys

Dr. Robert G. Comegys is Professor Emeritus of History at California State University, Fresno.

On the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay in Kent County, Maryland. Comegys Creek drains into Comegys Bight, a small cove on the north shore of the Chester River. The names of the two waterways perpetuate the memory of an enterprising young Dutchman, Cornelius Comegys from "Lexmond in the land of Vianen" who came to the Eastern Shore in 1661 and who, during a busy lifetime, acquired some 4800 acres of land and held numerous offices of public trust. His last name is also retained by two well-known eighteenth century houses constructed by a son and grandson respectively. Comegys House put up in 1708 stands at a crossing of the Chester River near the town of Crumpton. Comegys Bight House built in 1768 stands on Utrick, a misspelled version of Utrecht, and a tract of land acquired and named by the Dutch immigrant.

A more important evidence of the vigorous Dutchman is provided by those who have his last name. Comegys was the father of five sons who in turn made him the grandfather of ten young men. By the time of the American Revolution in 1776 the Comegys were a family firmly established in Kent County. At least seven Comegys men enrolled in military units during the Revolution, and as the young republic grew and prospered in the nineteenth century members of the family participated in the general expansion. By 1988 possibly 500 individuals, sprinkled between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, claimed the name of the young Hollander who left Lexmond more than 300 years ago. Since the Comegys were initially a southern family and shared in the great American tragedy of slave holding, some of these people are Black. All in all, the Comegys are a representative American family of business and professional people, farmers, laborers, artists and clergymen whose lives reveal in small detail the major features of the American experience.

The origin and early history of this small but interesting family can be traced in broad outline through the records of Lexmond, New Amsterdam, the colony and state of Maryland. Above all, the archival records of Maryland and the judicial and land records of Kent County are remarkably complete for the seventeenth century.

There are gaps in the story. Papers of the Dutch West Indies Company that might have provided details of emigration and early settlement in America have been lost. Unfortunately the circumstances under which Comegys bought and then lost a farm on Manhattan Island are not completely known. Few church documents for seventeenth century Kent County have survived, but very little can be found concerning Comegys' three wives. Dutch naming practice in the years before surnames had been firmly established and the vagaries of early Dutch and English spelling challenge one's understanding. But thanks to the generous assistance of the historical society Het Land Van Brederode of Vianen and the diligent scholarship of Drs. J. Heniger who researched Lexmond records housed in the General State Archives, The Hague, the family background and many details of the early history of Cornelius Comegys are now known.

Documents from Maryland, New Amsterdam and Lexmond discussed in reverse chronological order prove that Cornelius Comegys, the Maryland planter, was born in year 1630, the son of a prominent Lexmond villager identified sometimes as Cornelis Comen Ghysen, at other times as Cornelis Gijsberts. But as the documents are reviewed one must keep in mind old Dutch naming practice and remember that in the years before family names had become common that men often identified themselves in two ways. Sometimes they combined their Christian name with the genitive form of the father's name. On other occasions they added the father's occupation or some other special Identifying description.

An Act of the Maryland Assembly dated October 10, 1671 links the Maryland planter to Lexmond. In that year, Cornelius Comegys "bome in Lexmond" and his wife "Millimente" (sic) of Barneveld received all the rights of "natureall borne people" in the province. Another link between the Dutchman and Lexmond can be found in the marriage records of New Amsterdam's Dutch Reformed Church. March 29, 1658 Cornelis Cornelissen of Lexmond in the land of Vianen married Williamentje Gysbert from Barneveld on the Veluwe. The similarities of names prove that Cornelius Comegys of Maryland was the Cornelis Cornelissen of New Amsterdam. Finally, the Baptismal Record of Lexmond's Reformed Church notes October 10, 1630 the baptism of Cornelis, the child of Cornelis Comen Ghysen.

Remembering seventeenth century naming practice and the easy spelling of those times three pertinent bits of information can be drawn from the Lexmond baptismal record. First, the child's first name, Cornelis, when combined with the possessive form of the father's Christian name explains the Cornelis Cornelissen used in the New Amsterdam marriage record. Second, it clarifies the origin of the family name Comegys. This patronymic is derived from two good Dutch words---comen, sometimes spelled coman, meaning according to use trader, merchant or peddler, and Ghysbartus (Gilbert) shortened to Ghys and spelled variously Gis or Gvs. Obviously Comen Gvs reduced easily to Comegys. Third, the father's name tells us something about the grandfather of the little Marylander to be. The grandfather's name was Gijsbert, however spelled, and if comen describes his occupation then he was a trader. Lexmond's records support this conclusion. There are indeed references to a certain Gijsbert Janz in 1610 and 1611, further identified as kremer - a synonym for comen.

That the references in Lexmond's records to Cornelis Comen Ghysen refer to the father of Cornelius Comegys, the Maryland planter, there can be no doubt. But in those years of the seventeenth century Lexmond's records frequently refer to a prominent villager. Cornelis Gijsberts whose father's name, of course, was Gijsbert. Could Cornelis Gijsbert and Cornelis Comen Ghysen be the same man?

Two more records must be considered: the first, taken from a copy of the original Baptismal Book of Lexmond's church and housed in the Lexmond City Hall is the baptismal record dated "in Maitio" (May 6, 1626) of Garrike, the daughter of Cornelis Comen Ghijsen (sic). The second taken from Lexmond's judicial records is the attestation of Cornelis Gijsberts dated May 30, 1634 in which he refers to his deceased wife, Jannegen Jans, and names his five children including a youngest son, Cornelis, and a daughter, Gerrichgen. Gerrichgen is the diminutive form of Garrike. The Garrike of Cornelis Comen Ghijsen is the same young girl as Gerrichgen of Cornelis Gijsberts. In a little village of only a few hundred people Cornelis Gijsberis and Cornelis Comen Ghijsen have too much in common for the similarities to be a coincidence. Both men had a father, Gijsbert: a son, Cornelis, and a daughter, Garrike or Gerrichgen. The two names refer to the same man and therefore to the father of the young Lexmonder who made his way in Maryland.

Lexmond, the home village of the Comegys, lay on the south bank of the river Lek in a flat flood-plain called the Betuwe. Perpetual strife between the Counts of Holland, the Bishops of Utrecht and the various rulers of the Holy Roman Empire colors the early history of the region around Lexmond as each of the medieval rulers sought political and economic control of the land. By the thirteenth century the Count of Holland claimed the area and had given it in fief to the powerful Bishop of Utrecht who in turn sub-infeudated to local noblemen.

As early as 1133 Lexmond existed as a small fortified place, but in that year it was burned down in one of the wars between the Count of Holland and the Bishop of Utrecht. Thereafter it, was a little unwalled village of a few hundred people with houses grouped around the church. In these same years, or a little later, there are references to settlement at Vianen. This more important town was founded in 1335. It lay about three miles upstream near the castle of the local lord who sometime in the late 1200's acquired Lexmond. After 1415 and until 1684 the aristocratic Van Brederodes were lords of Vianen and therefore of little Lexmond. A typical medieval contest went on in these years with the Van Brederodes denying their dependence on the Bishop and the Chamber of Vianen demanding special privileges from the Van Brederodes such as sanctuary, safe conduct and freedom from tolls.

In 1630 when Cornelis was born Lexmond was part of Landen Van Vianen en Ameide, a tiny principality about 3000 acres in size. From their impressive town-castle, Batestein, in Vianen the Van Brederodes provided a leadership based on law and custom for the respectful inhabitants of Land of Vianen. In Lexmond political administration lay in the hands of a board of seven aldermen headed by a schout, an official who exercised administrative, judicial and police powers and whose closest English equivalent is mayor. All these officials received appointment from the lord.


view all 19

Cornelius (Cornelissen) Comegys (Comen-Ghysen), Sr.'s Timeline

October 10, 1630
Lexmond, Land of Vianen, Holland, Netherlands
October 10, 1630
Lexmond, Holland
Age 28
Jamestown, James City, Virginia Colony
Age 31
Kent County, Maryland, United States
Age 31
Kent County, Maryland Colony
Age 33
Kent County, Maryland, U.S.A.
Age 36
Kent County, Maryland Colony
Age 44