My Dutch and Reformed Protestant Dutch Church roots extend back more than five centuries. In 1568, my Maternal 11th Great Grandfather, Jan de Pannebackker, was burned at the stake in Utrecht, the Netherlands, by the Spanish Inquisition for being Dutch Reformed; after his wife, Nancy, my 11th Great Grandmother, was drowned in a tub of water in front of him.
So you can imagine how interested I was after moving to Staten island in 2001, to discover in Port Richmond a Dutch Reformed Congregation that extended back to 1656, and continues today. But, it turned out, that was just the beginning of my family connection to this Church. After the execution of his parents, Jan and Nancy's son, Cornelius, fled to the Palatinate, where the family survived and later flourished in the town of Flamborn in present day Germany.
The Author Mary L. Bullock
I am further descended from Cornelius' descendant, my 6th Great Grandfather, Hendrick Pannebecker, who came to Philadelphia in 1698. In 1699 he married Eve Umstat, a Mennonite. Three of Eve and Hendrick's children were baptized Dutch Reformed. In 1730, Hendrick recruited the minister of the Port Richmond Dutch Reformed Church, Cornelius Van Santvoort, to establish a new Dutch Reformed congregation in Bensalem, PA, not far from Philadelphia.
But that is not all, a male direct descendant of one of Hendrick's sons, one of my 5th great uncles, married a female direct descendant of Cornelius Corsen. The Burial Place was the Corsen family graveyard. So the Corsens are also my Cousins, by marriage.
The Pennypackers directly supported George Washington. They contributed 148 men to the Civil War including Galusha Pennypacker, still the youngest-ever U.S. Army General, appointed at age 22. There are about 40 versions of the family name. Other cousins: 11th Marlon Brando-Actor, 7th Harry Truman-U.S. President, 3rd D.A. Pennebaker-Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker.
The family has two major "amateur" historians, Cousin Samuel Pennypacker, governor of Pennsylvania 1903-07 who discovered Jan and wrote several books on Family and Pennsylvania history, and his protege, Cousin Morton Pennypacker, who discovered the identities of Culper Sr. and Culper Jr. of the famous Revolutionary War Spy Ring based on Long Island. I, and several of my contemporary Cousins, are following in their footsteps.