About Us

GOAL & MISSION:  We are descendants of the Low Dutch who settled New Amsterdam, moved to New Jersey, migrated to near Gettysburg, and made history when they later populated the Kentucky frontier. Our Dutch Cousins goal is to researh, share and preserve the genealogy and history of our common Low Dutch heritage, including but not limited to, the restoration and preservation of the Old Mud Meetinghouse near Harrodsburg, KY. Our mission is to honor the memory of these ancestors, and enjoy the friendship of cousins – both newly-discovered and long-loved.
2018-2019 Officers
President:  Charlie Westerfield, KY
Vice President: Tamara Fulkerson, Kentucky
Secetary: Denise M. Perry, Tennessee
Treasurer: Janice Cozine, Kentucky
Webmaster: Pam Ellingson, Asst: Jeremy Westerfield
Finance Chairman: Vince Akers, Indiana
Editor: Carolyn B. Leonard, Oklahoma

Board Members
Jim Cozine, Las Vegas
Malcolm Banta, Florida
Amalie Preston, Kentucky


Who are the Dutch Cousins of Kentucky?
by Carolyn B. Leonard

Our ancestors called themselves the “low dutch” because they came from the lowlands of the Netherlands and spoke a different dialect from the German groups who were also called Dutchmen. It was almost an unwritten law for the Holland Dutch group to marry within their circles up through the 19th century, so we are all cousins.

Immigration to the New World started in the early 1600s with the West Indies Company (WIC) offering farmland to European workers who would help settle the area that became known as New Amsterdam.  After the English took over in the late 1600s and renamed the infant settlement New York, our ancestors migrated across the Raritan river to “the Jerseys,” mostly around Somerset County. Later, this Dutch bunch moved on West in the 1700s, to near Gettysburg where they settled the Conewago Colony. Beginning shortly after the beginning of the Revolutionary War, they began to populate the Kentucky frontier.

Most of the present-day Dutch Cousins are allied through Dominee Cornelius Cozine, the Dutch Reformed minister at Conowago Colony, and his eleven children who married into other church families: Banta, Vanarsdale, Smock, Brewer, Westerfield, and List. Even if they claimed varied nativity, the in-laws had been “hanging around” for years with the Dutch pioneers. The Dutch groups that migrated to Kentucky in the 1780s continued intermarrying—at least those who survived the Indian attacks and starvation. Dominee Cozine was an “intend friend” of the Kentucky move, but he died before the land was ready. His children and church members followed the call of the wild west. They wanted to remain a separate people, to feel free to raise their families in their unique faith with a Dutch-speaking Dominee.  Their first settlement was in Mercer County. They built a Dutch Fort and the Old Mud Meetinghouse near Harrod’s Fort (later Harrodsburg) until they were able to get title to several thousand acres north of there with its center at Pleasureville. This area is still known as the “Low Dutch Tract.”

What started many years ago as a Westerfield family reunion expanded in 1998 to include Cozines, and in 2005 all Dutch Cousins were invited to Harrodsburg, KY, where we learned a little more about our history. We have returned every odd-numbered year since and obtained a charter in 2011. Attendance has been above 100 every year with almost a thousand addresses around the world on the mailing list. The Riker family, VanArsdale family, and Demaree family associations joined us in 2007, as well as the Darlands, Bantas, Brewers, Montforts, and Vorhees.

We are an all volunteer organization, non-profit registered in Kentucky, and do not require dues at this time. Our goal and mission statement is here:  We are descendants of the Low Dutch who settled New Amsterdam, moved to New Jersey, migrated to near Gettysburg, and made history when they later populated the Kentucky frontier. Our Dutch Cousins goal is to research, share and preserve the genealogy and history of our common Low Dutch heritage, including but not limited to the restoration and preservation of the Old Mud Meetinghouse near Harrodsburg, KY. Our mission is to honor the memory of these ancestors, and enjoy the friendship of cousins – both newly-discovered and long-loved.
Join our email list to stay updated on planned events. Send an email to Editor234@gmail.com and ask to be added to the Dutch Cousins list. Include your family tie with your contact info including  phone numbers, mailing address, and your email addresses. (If you have more than one email, send a second one in case the first one bounces.)