finding your roots

The Mohawk Princess

Linda L Van Slyke May 31, 2012

My auny often spoke about an Indian Princess in our family history .She was not taken seriously by anybody since she was prone to tell tales . My father tended to be vary secretive about his family. After his death I decided to look up his family. After some research I tracked down a couple of second cousins that had been working on the family tree. Low and behold I find out there was a Mohawk Indian Princess Ots-Toch Hertel of Canajoharie Castle about 1622. Her mothers title was Queen of the Islands. We have been able to track our immediate family back to 1794 Martin Richard Van Slyke. I am now in the process of making the final connection to Ots-Toch. I have so injoyed this journey through the history of not only my family but of our country and the role my family has played in it.

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  • Garth Tuttle

    June 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    You’re gonna hate me: there’s no such thing as a Mohawk queen, Stop, pick up a book on the Iroquois, learn a bit … even that name looks suspiscious: A whole paragraph of Mohawk, from the Iroquois Book of Rites – not one word like that is given . Sorry.

  • Laura Kane

    July 5, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Garth – you are being harsh. Even the Schenectady County Historical Society refers to Mohawk Queens.

    “Major Harmanes Van Slyck was a son of Captain Harmanus Van Slyck of Schenectady, who settled in Palatine township close to the Mohawk River, where he built a house and mill, following the granting of the Van Slyck patent of 1716. Major Van Slyck was a great-grandson of Cornelis Antonsen Van Slyck, the famous Dutch trader among the Mohawks, and Indian interpreter, who married Ots-toch, the Mohawk Indian “Queen of Hog Island,” (in the river opposite Schenectady). Harmanes Van Slyck was a member of the Palatine District Committee of the Tryon County Committee of Safety and major in the Palatine Regiment of the Tryon County Militia. He was killed at the battle of Oriskany.”

    You need to do more research and broaden your horizons. Sorry.

  • Peggy Fletcher

    October 19, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I too am descended from Ots Toch. From her son, Jacques Van Slyck/Slyke. I am trying to prove my Mohawk ancestry. So if you can point me to areas where I can get documentation, I’d really appreciate it! I am proud of my Mohawk ancestry and hope to join the BIA once I have gotten all my documentations.

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The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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