Marsalis/Marselis- Background



Marcelis, Marsalis, Marselis


Our Marsalis/Marselis family began in the U. S. on May 9, 1661 with the arrival into New Amsterdam (New York)the ship DE BEVER (The Beaver)
Passenger list : "Pieter Marselis, from Beesd, with wife, 4 children, 13, 6, 4, and 2 years old and 2 servants" --Holland Year Book 1902
According to the Holland Society Yearbook 1915 Pieter settled at Bergen, N.J. and died there with his burial recorded in the Bergen Dutch Church on September 4, 1682. Pieter van Marselis (anglicized) and his wife Elizabeth along with 4 children and two servants boarded Tne Beaver for the long journey to New Amsterdam after paying 232 florins for their passage.

Regarding the name Marsalis/Marselis/Marseilles :
In early records the Dutch name of the current " Marsalis/Marsalis" was spelled many various ways:
Marselis, Merselis, Marselissen, Marselisen, Merseles (often with "Van" added) among many others.

A bit about Dutch Surnames:
The system of naming was adopted during the 16th Century in Holland The terminations s, se, sen, or gen were added and became for the time being the Patronymic; thus indicating the line of descent.
These different suffixes are identical in meaning, signifying child of, thus Jacob Garretson would indicate Jacob the son of Garret; his son Jacob would become Jacob Jacobse. Michael Cornelisen would signify Michael the son of Cornelius, while his son George or Joris, would become George or Joris Michaelse.

Dutch naming customs usually meant that the first-born son was named after his paternal grandfather, the next after the father, while the third was named after the maternal grandfather. Other sons were named after uncles on the father's side and then on the mother's side. Females were named in the same manner but usually began with the maternal side.

Females usually had no middle name although exceptions existed. In the early generations feminine names ended with je. This suffix had the same general meaning as the male counterpart but was gender specific, meaning daughter of.
The use of certain names even came to be associated with certain families.

In Dutch custom a married female was known by her maiden name in all religious and legal records for life. This custom has been very helpful to historians in researching early Dutch records. A first born son's name would usually be the reverse of his father's but the constancy of the wife's maiden name during her lifetime has made genealogy research much easier.

Many of these customs began to change as certain names became more common and popular and, especially, as the English influence began to be felt in society and law.

The branches that remained in New Jersey tended to spell the name as Marselis. Then there was the change to Marseilles/Marselis in the 1700s by our John and Peter. John was the father of Peter H. MARSALIS the progenitor of our Southern line.