Our knowledge of Jonas Bronck is growing. Currently, we are working on various theories on the questions that we have asked:
1. What about the name Buller alternatively Brunk? When and why was the mother’s name Brunk which later became Bronck?
2. How did Jonas Bronck put together their fortune to rent a boat, pay for travel and have the means of a significant land purchase in America?
Sweden had at this time a pretty strict patronymic system which made it natural for him in his childhood to call himself Buller. Buller can be a soldier’s name. We have birth records of the father that proves the he had been a rider, later a mill worker, or in any case, co-owner of the mill in Komstad just outside Sävsjö. The name does not have to be a soldier name but at least a farm name. In a society where every other had the same name was courtyard title is important to distinguish individuals. The farm was renamed after the owner, or vice versa. “If” Jonas was born out of wedlock and later legalized in marriage, this could be an explanation. It is likely, however, that Jonas Jonasson traveled to or with their uncles and some of the family came to Flensburg and in conjunction with that adopted the name Brunk. This seems most natural when he for many years worked and lived with them. It seems most convenient for all parties. It is following this theory we currently operate.
How he then became a wealthy sea captain is also an intriguing question that lies ahead. As a sailor, he could invest a portion of their pay in the actual freight. This was a gamble. Dangers lurked everywhere; pirates, storms, bad ships, reefs and cays are just a few of the things that can get in the way of profits. Also, he could die himself during the journey! However, if you managed to return home, profits were distributed after the freight auction and you could end up with a substantial profit. Where to now smart so you could split the profits on several ships. The idea was to minimize the risk of losing everything if the ship did not return home. One could perhaps spread the money on four freights and then traveled with one of them self. If three came back, it was now a wealthy man who could invest in some new freights and remain on the land or buy themselves a title such as navigation officer. They then would have major share in the profits. How did Jonas Bronck manage to hold on until he became captain of the Dutch East India Company? We know that he owned a house by the Brewers in Amsterdam and we are now searching in Amsterdam’s archive after just his house. What if it is still there! The fact that he owned a house in Amsterdam means we went from the theory that he was given money by his marriage with a middle daughter fell.
In 1637 a financial bomb explodes in Amsterdam. The Tulip Scandal is a fact. The first tulips were imported into Holland aroused amazement and admiration. Everyone wanted to own a tulip. It was rush hour and the price of a tulip bulb rose to horrific heights. People mortgaged their homes to invest in tulip bulbs in such a speed that it became a financial bubble that burst in in 1637. Ruin waited several former wealthy citizens. One theory from Holland is that they wanted to get rid of these ruined burghers and they wanted them to colonies and trading posts. The handlebar was additionally not happy with the way it handled the West Indies Company trading post “Niewe Amsterdam”. Jonas Bronck was among those who fared best. It may even be that he was one of the winners through their travels. Maybe he was not home when speculation was at its worst, maybe he was carrying an occasional tulip bulb itself which he sold in time. We do not know and may never know. In 1638 he married and a year later went to America. With him, was the Swedish family and several emigrants. Danes, Germans, Dutch belonged to the ranks. His niece Englander Månsdotter born in Komstad came with and the mysterious Peter Bronck which we believe was one of his uncle’s children, thus a cousin. It is said that he was born in Jönköping, which may be true.
Although Jonas Brunk departed Flensburg in contemporary Denmark to or with their uncles, it was still part of the family in Bäckaby located in Vetlanda Municipality. There they lived and according to genealogy as Bäcka Villagers done so there is a lot left in the area. In the U.S. there are many relatives to Peter Bronck, a probable cousin of Jonas Bronck. One of these relatives, operates a brewery in The Bronx, with the name “Jonas Bronck Brewery.” The Peter Bronck family were brewers in the 1660th, so here we can talk about old age!
Our thought is that it would be awesome if we could get some relatives from each side of the Atlantic to the Jonas Bronck Center inauguration end of August, 2014. What if a family line that divided them approximately 1611, reunites in 2014? It is mindboggling! ”
As you can imagine, we are busy with the “mystery Jonas Bronck.” I ‘m sure that in the future, he will surprise not only you, but also me.