Nov 10

I had my DNA tested a few months ago, using the Paternal Lineage Y-46 method through I compared my results to some info I found on the Frisian peoples and to a couple of other individuals who joined my Fonda DNA Group on There is not yet enough DNA data to find any direct relatives, and the test only applies to males using the Y-chromosome method. I know there is mitochondrial DNA testing which works with the female DNA components, but of course genealogy is based on male heredity.  Note: I have now entered my data in GeneTree, Y-Search, and SMGF which are all free access.

From what little I know so far it seems that it is a question of probabilities, because every geographic or ethnic area has a mix of different genetic types (haplogroups). If I were to make a strict interpretation of my (our) DNA profile, being Haplogroup I1, widely known as Anglo-Saxon… as opposed to the predominant Frisian DNA profile, being Haplogroup R1b, widely known as Basque… I would say that we were not indigenous to Northern Holland, at least not as far back as the main Frisian population.

Jan van Goyen - Landscape with Dunes, 1647

Jan van Goyen (Dutch, Leiden 1596 – 1656) – Landscape with Dunes, 1647

This is consistent with all that we have known, since tradition holds that the Fonda’s were not native Dutch… and lends support to the latest theory presented in the new book, “Famous Frisians in America” on pages 111-112, which states that:

“This means that the trail leading to the origins of the name Fonda ends in Eagum. In the Genealogysk Jierboek. (Genealogical Yearbook), the village historian D. F. van der Meer from Reduzum has suggested that Jilles Douwes could be the son of the Eagumer farmer Douwe Everts. This possibility presented itself after he had been informed by the author of the present contribution that there is a marriage certificate of Jilles Douwes and Hester Douwes in the Amsterdam Municipal Archives. However, there was no Jilles among the children of Douwe Everts originally tracked down by Van der Meer in the archives. In his publication in the Yearbook, he himself took the liberty of inserting the name of Jilles among those of Douwe Everts’ other children. In this way, the notion was created that the forefather of the Fondas came from Hornemastate in Eagum, Douwe Everts’ farm. In 1988 the same notion also found its way into the article ‘Amsterdam Records of the Fonda Family’ by Robert C. Cooney Jr. in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. However, that finding – that Jilles was the son of Douwe Everts – has been recorded with far too much certainty. A number of facts speak against this suggestion. Douwe Everts was a farmer with voting rights. This means that he was almost certainly a member of the Dutch Reformed Church. However, Jilles Douwes and Hester – given that they chose Old Testament names for two of their children (Abraham and Sarah) – may well have been members of a non-conformist denomination. In this connection, it is also striking that Hester does not appear in any of the church registers in New Amsterdam.”


Dutch Poldering Mills

“According to Van der Meer, Jelle Fonda (Jilles Douwes) must have been a son of Douwe Everts. Eagum was a very small village. But that is by no means proof that he descended from Douwe Everts. The oldest register of births, deaths and marriages, the Quotisatiekohier of 1749 (a century after Jilles Douwes), says there were 47 people living in or near the village, and 19 children under the age of 13. They included five farmers and one independent woman farmer, a widow with no profession, a schoolmaster, and three working-class families. The latter category is particularly difficult to place in a historical sense, especially when it comes to the archives dating from before the French era. There is much to be said for the suggestion that Jelle Fonda came from this group. The fact that on the occasion of his marriage he is registered as a ‘journeyman smithy’ indicates that he was a craftsman, and thus did not belong to the group made up of ’tillers of the soil’. Mention is also made of the fact that his parents gave their written consent to the marriage. This means that they could read and write. As could Jelle Fonda and his wife Hester, in view of the signatures which appear at the bottom of the document. In the period 1632-1633, eight years before he married in Diemen, the lake known as Wargastermeer was impoldered. The primary financier of this project was the Amsterdam merchant Paulus Jansz Kley (1582-1655). Obviously he required an army of diggers and other workmen, including craftsmen. It is quite possible that Jilles Douwes was one of them. Indeed, it may well have been through the mediation of Kley that Jilles moved to Amsterdam, and he may even have helped him to get a job there. He was literate and he had a trade. Moreover, he was anxious to get ahead in the world.

In conclusion, according to this account, here is what we know…  Jilles Fonda was a journeyman smithy, who hired on to a big earthworks project near Eagum in 1632-1633 (he would have been 16-17 years old)… he then moved to Amsterdam, got married in 1641 (age 25), started a family (he became an innkeeper and blacksmith)… and then took the voyage to America in 1651 (age 35) with his young family of five.

This still does not settle the question of the origin of Jilles Fonda, but at least it moves the ball forward a bit.

Albert Mark Fonda
November 2009

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