The Remsen family of Brooklyn dates back to Rem Jansen Vanderbeek (d. 1681) who settled in the Wallabout area prior to 1643. Following the custom of their culture and time, Mr. Vanderbeek’s 15 children all took the name Remsen (literally meaning “son of Rem”). The Vanderbeek lineage from that point became known as the Remsen family. One of the earliest families in the Brooklyn area on record, the Remsens spread throughout the various local townships.
Although historians agree that Rem Jansen Vanderbeek immigrated to Albany, New York, they are not sure if he originated in Ieveren, Westphalia, or Drenthe, Netherlands. Vanderbeek employed himself as a blacksmith during his stay in Albany, and several of his 15 children were born there. Vanderbeek sold his residence and land in 1660 and moved with his wife, Jannetje Jansen Rapalie, to a plantation adjacent to his father-in-law in the Wallabout area in what became the City of Brooklyn.