Why are there no van der Kleed's in
Every other dutch family I've
researched can still be found there.
I suspect if you're a VDK and you've searched the internet, you might
that the name was a mistake or mis-spelled. But I have a
the History of the Vanderkleed Family Here.
Searching for Hanstra, Haanstra
Recently, thanks to Kay DeYoung Post,
I've learned that The children
of Klaas Taekes Haanstra (1828-1913?) and Geiske Pieters Ijskamp
(1838-?) all came to Lafayette, Indiana and started families.
Later the children sent for Klaas and Geiske who also emmigrated.
I'm organizing a descendant tree, which might be quite large given the
number of children produced!
Torrenga (1866-1934) was not a Torrenga afterall. His birth name
was Jan Reinders Baarveld. He was the son of Reinder
Klasens Baarveld (b. 1842) and Foske Kwelder. He came to the US
with his parents and a grandfather Jan Kwelder. Reinder
mysteriously disappears and by the 1870 census, Foske, now Florence has
married Albert Torrenga. Jan Reinders becomes John
Torrenga. His daughter, my grandmother, Rebecca Torrenga once
my mother in passing that her father "was not really a
Torrenga". What happen to Reinder Baarveld?
The van der Wielen
coat of arms as painted in 1997 from a small shop in Vencie
Florida. Odds are that this coat was appicable to some of the VDW
families while others simply had no such placard.
Debildt (1819-1874) came
to America with her husband Jurjen
Willems DeJong (1820-?) and a small infant son in
1847. In 1848 they had Rebecca, my
great great grandmother. By 1853 Sijtske, now Sarah is the wife
of Peter Eppes Alderts. What happen to Willem and their
son? Did they die
in the cholera outbreak of 1849-1850? Jurgen
wrote a letter home to Friesland in 1847. Read it here.
Taekes Haanstra (1828-1912) and Geiske Pieters Ijskamp (1838-1919) are
the common ancestors of all Vanderwielen, Vanderveen, Plantenga and
Hanstra families from Lafayette, Indiana. Other descendants are
named Deyoung, Bergsma, Dexter, Hainje, Fultz, Brenner, Wierenga,
and Post and others. They are show here ca. 1910 at a farm in
Tippecanoe County, Indiana.
all dutch with the same last name are related:
On 18 August 1811 Napoleon Bonaparte
signed an imperial decree number
7178 in the Saint Cloud palace, of which the first article states that
in (different parts of) The Netherlands are obliged to pick a last
Article 5 of this decree stated that people who already had a last name
obliged to register that name. Most
of our ancestors had not adopted a
name. The exception might be the Heidanus
a theory that this family was from the descent of the famous
mathematician and reformer, Heidanus.
Prior to this date not many people in
the Netherlands had a last name. In
some parts of the Netherlands (often rich) people did have a last name,
but it was not always used. People used the name of their father, or
when the family of the mother was more important the name of the mother.
If you are a Vanderwielen, you may be
related to us. However, it would appear as though van der Wielen is a
name that has more than one origin in Holland. As of this date, I
believe that there were at least 11 families who took
the name in Friesland... which is where my family comes from,
the village of Stiens (Steens).
Another van der Wielen family appears
to be from Amsterdam and is Catholic. Van der Wielen's are
also in Belgium, but their ancestry is unknown. Even in America,
the religion seems to be the defining difference between the
The 3 of the 11 families are referred
The 'Cornelis' family, the
children of Cornelis Melchars (b: about 1727 in Kollum, that was living
in Kollum or Stiens, Friesland when they took the
name probably during the 1811 decree. This is my Family.
The 'Sjoerds van der Wielen' family,
the children of Sjoerd Gerrits (b: 1765 in Giekerk, Friesland)
that was living in Oenkerk or Tietjerk when
they took the name, also probably at the decree.
The 'Petrus van der Wielen'
(b:1767) perhaps near Appeltern.
This was contributed by Anton van der Wielen on 1/3/2001.
It's easy to understand why van der
Wielen could have unrelated origins. Blame Napoleon. In 1811, the
occupation army forced the people of Holland to register in response to
Napoleon's decree on family names. At that time more than 25,000 names
were registered. Prior to that, Hollander's typically named their
children using patronymic naming.
So coincidentally, van der Wielen was
selected by multiple families. a Wielen (vee'-lawn) is a pool of water
that remains in low areas of the sea when the
tide goes out. So our name means "from the Wielens". Wielen also means
in dutch, but I'm told that when it is used in the context of the last
that this definition is not correct.
Another version of the last name was offered by Kees van der Wielen of
"Holland (the Netherlands) is a
country that is
situated very low concerning the water level of the sea and the rivers
that cross the
fields. Therefore the Dutch had build dikes that
the rivers from flooding the land. In some cases, the dikes were not
enough or even broke. The outburst or (river) water over the fields
caused big pools of water (often the size of a big lake), just
behind the original
dike body. You can still notice these pools (lakes) in the area between
rivers in Holland (Maas, Rhine and Waal).
named as “Wielen”. A “wiel” is thus the same pool of
water you mentioned, but not at sea.
The Van der
inner provinces of Holland must have
because of the Wielen as I
explained, caused by dike bursts, because they were not originated in
place near the sea side. Besides that, they have already their names
The family of Klaas Heeres van der
Wielen (1835-1917) taken after 1902. Klaas and
Johanneske are my great-great grandparents.
Patronymic Naming Conventions:
Our Ancestors in Holland used a patronymic system involving the
name as a suffix. This system worked this way: when a child was born,
father’s first name became the child’s last name.
Our most ancient known ancestor is Jan
Melchers. His first son was then Melcher Jans. The second son was
Folkert Jans. All children took Jans as their
Surnames gained prevalence during
1600, but rather informally. Many times
the person beginning the family surname kept his own patronymic and
that patronymic as the surname for his children. For instance, Jan, son
Hendrick, would be known as Jan Hendricksen. However, instead of naming
son Cornelius Jansen, he might name the boy Cornelius Hendricksen.
However, the ever-independent Dutch
didn’t agree on a single system. A single
family of 10 children might have several different surnames though all
the same father. One of Jan Hendricksen’s sons might use the surname
Hendricksen, but another might take the surname Jansen, from the more
traditional use of
the father’s first name. Still another son might take the surname Van
("from Ghent"). And finally, because another tradition was to use one’s
in one’s name, yet another son might be called Pieter Jans Hendricksen
Lintweaver because he is the son of Jan Hendricks and is a lint
Our family is fortunate. We used very
standard patronymic naming without
the use of the occupation as part of the name.
However, women didn’t change their
names upon marriage. Where recorded, most
kept their maiden names. In the United States, most records
assumed that the wife used the husband’s last name, regardless of her
birth, citizenship, and death records frequently show the husband’s
Our family was consistent in the use
of the Patronymic naming system using the following rules:
Most Dutch families followed certain
customs of child naming. The two eldest sons were named for the
grandfathers, the paternal one first unless the maternal
one had some distinctive social position, had more money or was
The two eldest daughters were named for the grandmothers. Some families
with the first son being named after the paternal grandfather, the
daughter after the maternal grandmother, but this is not as common. If
child died, almost always the next child of the same sex was given the
name. You'll see this through out my genealogy.
My Vanderwielen's in the US:
In 1889, my great grandfather Jan (John) and his new wife Grietje
(Margaret) came the US on their honeymoon. John was tall about 6'1"
tall while Margaret was only 4'9" tall, quite unusual considering that
the Dutch are the tallest race in the world for unknown reasons. John
had been in the military and within
weeks of his discharge he receive permission to marry Margaret. She was
minor at 20 and needed the permission of her parents to marry.
was 24. I have the original dutch documents of their permission,
marriage and military papers of John.
It is unknown if they came directly to
Lafayette, Indiana or whether they first went elsewhere. Lafayette was
home to a large dutch population who had
founded the Christian Reformed Church there (formerly the Dutch
They had 5 children. The first born shortly after their marriage was
The second was Nicholas. At age 20 he fell from a tree during a church
broke his back and died. Interestingly, we have a chest made by Nick
he died with the initials NV painted in gold on the top. Third was my
Charles. My great uncles Harry and Art came much later and recently
John's occupation was listed as Oil
Deliveryman and later as a Janitor. He
died in 1940 having never become a US citizen even though he made
application and had renounced the King of Holland. Margaret died in
1950 and had become a US citizen shortly after John's death in
Unfortunately with Nick's death and
the fact that Harry and Art had no male
children, all third generation males where my uncles John, Charles Jr.
my father Cecil. Charles Jr had no children. So the Fourth Generation
males are my cousin Larry son of John, my brother Jim and myself
The Fifth generation has 5 Vandwielen's and the Sixth is coming
The Vanderwielen family, sometimes
spelled VanderWielen and van der Wielen, that was originally settled in
Wisconsin in the 1920's is not related...perhaps descended from the
Catholic family from Amsterdam.
However, one van der Wielen in Texas,
Jentje is related. In fact, he's my
grandfather's first cousin and they had never met. He'd be my first
twice removed. That also makes him John's nephew.
In Austria are cousins Joop and Carla
van der Wielen parents of Petra and in Germany are Sjoerd and Richtje
van der Wielen.
officials at Ellis Island DID NOT change your ancestor's name.
Your ancestor did!
In my research, I've read many
many assumptions that the dutch immigrants had their name changed by
the officials at Ellis Island or some other port of entry.
After all, why would Greitje become Margaret, or why would the
Wassenaar family become Washner? The answer is quite
simple. To fit in. The dutch themselves made the
change. The US was inhabited by predominately english
speaking descendants of England. In my family the Torringas
first rewrote the spelling of their last name to Torrenga to get
the pronunciation correctly then within 15 years of emigration changed
it to Tanco. Derk Torringa became Richard Tanco. Later,
half of the family changed it back to Torrenga while others kept the
This causes confusion when attempting to research genealogy.
Until you can get the dutch name, you can't research the many dutch
The Dutch Migration
to Lafayette, Indiana:
Our ancestors came to the U.S. in various periods between 1847
and 1900 spurred by conditions in the Netherlands. The
earliest dutch settlers came through New York and traveled a
route that included Cleveland, Toledo and Chicago. Some followed
canals that eventually merged with the Wabash and thus found
Lafayette. By 1890, many dutch left Chicago and joined the
growing Christian Reformed Church and found work at the Monon Shops.
In my church the common belief was that all dutch emigrated for
religious freedom. As much as this sounds politically correct,
it's inaccurate. They came to find prosperity. Most were
either destitute or were seeking economic improvement. Most
couldn't afford passage to the US without help from family
members who would send money back home. A few did escape
religious persecution by leaving the Netherlands.
How to research your
There are many, many on-line
archives and subscription services that will easily trace your dutch
heritage back to 1811. But starting the process is the
biggest obstacle. Here's my process:
Family Records and Oral Histories. Alas, this
resource may be quickly disappearing. The children of the
original emigrants are probably gone. Their children are in their
retirement years. Compounding the dissemination of family
histories is the fact that dutch didn't talk much about the old country
or their lives there. Odds are that you know your
dutch great grandfather's name. That's the starting point.
The 1900 US Census Records. They are available on-line for
a subscription fee. Probably by 1900, your ancestor is using his
'americanized' name. Jan is now John. Klaas is now
Nicholas. Plantinge has been respelled as Plantenga and so
on. The census will list the month and year of the
births, the year of emigration, the number of years married,
birth countries, occupation, residence and those living with the
primary adults. The 1870 and 1880 census records are
searchable and available for earlier settlers. Unfortunately, the
1890 records for the Indiana census were lost in a fire.
Armed with the knowledge of birth, emigration and marriage dates you
can find the records of emigration. They are common.
Much research was done by Robert Swierenga that has been computerized
and are searchable. Family Treemaker sells a CD that contains
10's of thousands of these records. These records vary
based upon the decade of arrival. Hopefully, you will learn their
departure town (gemeente) or province (deel) and their
destination. They might state the number of women and children,
profession, destination and financial disposition. Adjacent
records might show the names of the children, wife or
siblings. Computerized searching of these records using
wildcards (*) is absolutely mandatory. Remember, you might be
looking John, not Jan or Johannes. Perhaps the lastname was
spelled different then. My GG grandfather Klaas Taekes (Nicholas)
Hanstra was found as Haanstra:
Head of household
In adjacent records, I find his wife and her maiden name and the dutch
first name of his daughter.
4th: The dutch were
very very detailed in recording births, marriages, and deaths after
1811. You can search
www.gen-lias.nl for a holland wide search or www.ryksargyf.org for a search
within Friesland. Most of the emigrants to Lafayette were
from the Provinces of Friesland and Groningen. It helps to read
dutch, but you might be able to figure out some parts. Gen-Lias
has an English section. So what did I learn about Klaas
Hanstra? First his birth:
Aangiftedatum 3 juni 1828, blad nr. 47
Klaas Haanstra, geboren 2 juni 1828
zoon van Taeke Jans Haanstra en Trijntje Wybes van der Plaats
(birth certificate from Leeuwarderadeel
affidavit dated June 3, 1828 book 47
Klaas Haanstra born June 2, 1828
son of Taeke Jans Haanstra and Trijntje Wybes van der Plaats)
So, I discovered my GGG grandparents. I also found the records of
the birth of other siblings, Klaas marriage the deaths of Taeke and
Trijnte and much much more.
findings concerning dutch migration:
1. Often, siblings came to the US with their families and then
later sent for aging parents.
2. Dutch changed their first names within the first few years in
3. First generation dutch almost always married other dutch
emigrants or children of emigrants.
4. Dutch Patronymic naming conventions continued with the
first american born generation then disappear.
5. The dutch often lied about birthdate years for reasons
including illegitimacy. Some dutch records indicate a
single mother listing a father who had died 2 years prior to the birth
of a child.
research links for dutch information:
has the 1880 US census on line for free. It is searchable.
One field is 'country of birth' . Family search also has many
other records of researchers for individuals and families, although I
have found errors.