first published compilation of Van Auken/Van Aken family records appears to have
been that of A. M. Ronk in 1900. As a portion of his series on ULSTER COUNTY
PIONEERS, he ran a series on “The Van Aulcen and Allied Families” in the
Newburgh Sunday Telegram in 1900. Others who have published such records were B.
N. Brink in the Olde Ulster Magazine of 1905 under the title “Index to the Van
Aachen and Allied Families”, R. R. Hoes “Genealogy of the Van Aken Family”
and, in 1966, “Descendants of Marinus Van Aken of Ulster County, New York”,
by Warren M. Packer.
In 1990, the present
compiler produced the “Index to Individuals and Families Named Van Auken and
Van Aken”. The 60 copies printed at that time were soon distributed to
interested persons and genealogical libraries. It prompted a flood of new data,
including many individuals, spouses, and children not previously listed, some
corrections, and birth, marriage, and death dates. It was soon evident that an
up dated version should be made. Hence the Revised Index which follows.
The Revised Index
serves as a reference source for those who seek genealogical information about
individuals and families of the Van Auken/Van Aken lineage in the United States.
It may be used in several ways; to learn about given individuals, to identify
their wives and children, to establish parental lines for both prior and
succeeding generations, and to detail the family membership of a given couple in
any generation. The degree to which these purposes are successfully met depends,
of course, on the completeness and accuracy of the data accumulated and here
The Index could be entitled by several spellings of the name. Originally, the
name was taken from the Dutch—German city of Aachen. Early records in this
country sometimes use the spelling Van Aaken, but this form was soon changed.
Most commonly it is spelled Van Auken and Van Aken. Some other forms of orthography
are ‘Ian Akin, Van Auker, Van Nocken, Vanaiken, and Van Ake. For convenience,
the symbol ‘VA’ will be used in this document to designate the family name
by whatever spelling.
Founders of the
Family in America The
originator of the name in America appears to have been Jan Koster Van Aaken, who
is listed on the records at Fort Orange (Albany, N.Y.) as early as 1652.
However, he returned
to Holland, where he died in Utrecht in 1691. He and his wife, who died in 1698,
seem to have had no children, as none are listed among their heirs.
represented in this Index are descended from Marinus Van Aaken, widower of
Pryntje Rents, who married Pieter—nelle de Pre in Cadzand, Holland in 1683.
Their first recorded child, Pieter, was born in Esopus (near present Kingston,
NY) in 1685. A second line seems to be Hendrick Jensen Van Aaken and wife Metjen
Kuerlings of Amsterdam. Metjen had received 5,000 acres of land in and around
Philadelphia and Germantown PA, from her step-father, Jan Strepes of Guelick Co.
Germany, who had purchased them from William Penn in 1682. At least three of
their children settled in America. Individuals thought to belong to this line
are designated in the Index by the symbol (H).
A few other families
of recent Dutch origin have been reported, such as that of Anton Van Aken who
was born and died in Holland. His widow, Marie Wissink, remarried to John
Jansen, and they came to America. She had children by both husbands. Those born
of Anton carried the Van Aken name and are therefore reported. Those born to
Jansen carried that name and are not listed herein.
Another such family
with verifiable Dutch roots is that of Wili.en Van Aken and wife Wii.helmjna
Flaadere, who came to the U.S. in 1908. They had two children born in Holland
and two more born in this country. They lived in West Albany N.Y., and, as they
carried the Van Aken surname, are listed herein.
Names in the Index
Individual VA family members are listed alphabetically by first names. Spellings
used are those given by some source as recorded by the present compiler. Some
would appear to be misspellings. They may, however, have been the names used by
the individuals themselves. In the early times many signed documents contain
‘His Mark’ as an identification. The spelling of some names may well have
been done phonetically. Other first names have multiple forms which seem to have
changed over the years. Examples are Henricus, Hendrick, and Henry; Pieter,
Petrus, and Peter.
Some first names
appear to be nicknames. Of necessity they are used here in absence of a proper
identifying name, or they may have been actual given names. Identification is
also made difficult when some individuals are known by a middle name, or when
the names are used interchangeably, so that such a person could be reported
unknowingly under each name.
All letters of the
alphabet are represented with the exception of the letters ‘Q’ and ‘X’
for which no names were found. In addition, there are also a number of
individuals about whom something is known, but not the first name. As an
example, a census record could list a Mrs. Van Auken with several children.
Obviously, there had been a Mr. Van Auken. Such records are listed as ‘No
Name’ and follow the letter ‘Z’ with the hope that they will be identified
in the future.
listings are recorded in order of birth or baptism. In the absence of a known
birth year, the listing is by sequence of generations, followed by a random
listing of those for whom neither birth year nor generation is known.
The middle name or
initial, when known, follows that of the given name if space is available. If
the combined names require more than the available space, the middle name
appears immediately below the given name. Some names are recorded in parentheses
below the given name. This designation is used when the same person is found
under two dissimilar names, one of which may have been a nickname, as Jacobus (Cobus),
or Jennetje (Resyntie).
A word of caution
—— family names are frequently given as middle names. Thus, it would appear,
for example, as ‘Jeremiah Terpenning’. This Jeremiah was a VA whose middle
name was Terpenning. The VA patronymic is assumed after each such listing.
Some variations in
spellings have been combined in the listing of given names when it seemed
clear that they are different but similar forms of the same name, as in Elinor
and Eleanor; Fred and Frederick; Abram and Abraham.
Birth and Death
Years Years shown without
parentheses are either exact birth or death years. Those with parentheses are
usually taken from a source as ‘circa’ or ‘about’, or may have been
taken from census or death records where the age is given in years prior to a
particular event. The year of death, if known, is given immediately below that
of birth. Absence of any date in this column indicates that it is not known to
Names of Spouses
Some VA males had a succession of two or more wives. When this is known, the
name of the wife is preceded by a number, indicating the order of marriage.
There can again be several spellings of the same name, as Westvool, Westvall,
Westfall, and the like. All the female spouses of VAs were, of course, known
after marriage as Mrs. VA. For some, however, VA was a maiden name as well as a
married name as when distant cousins married. Being members of the family by
birth, they are also given individual listings. It is to be noted, however, that
the spelling of the name as used here may not be the spelling as actually used
by the person. Variations of the family name were not recorded in this study.
When it was required
to write out the family name, spelling became a problem. In working with family
records over many years it seemed to the compiler that in general the spelling
‘Van Aken’ was used more often by descendants of Marinus’ son Pieter. The
spelling ‘Van Auken’ was more often used for descendants of sons Cornelis,
Isaak, and Abraham. Arbitrarily, this distinction has been followed, but for
some individuals it is not the spelling they personally used.
If either the given or
family name of the spouse is not known, it is indicated by a ----. Some VA males
are known to have had children, but the name of the wife is not known. A symbol
is used to indicate that there was a wife, name unknown.
Some of the female
spouses had a prior marriage before that to the VA male. When some or all of the
name of the first marriage is known, it is enclosed by parentheses.
Dates of marriage enclosed by parentheses are approximations.
Listing of Children
Slightly indented and below many of the given names is the word ‘Children-’,
followed by one or more given names. Each of these is included again as
individual listings. The males carry the VA surname and as such are carried for
as many generations as there are supporting data. The females are not carried
beyond the first individual listing, because those who marry are henceforth
known by the surname of the spouse, as are their children.
Names of Parents
When known, the first name of the father plus the middle name or initial are
given. The family name of VA is not repeated for each male parent. The full name
of the mother is given. When some or all of the mother’s name is not known, a
mark of ———- so indicates. All males listed as parents are VAs unless so
specified. Again, caution ———- if a name such as ‘John Smith’ were to
appear as a parent, Smith is a middle name of the VA, not a family name in this
The symbol given for each individual as ‘Lineage Code’ can be most helpful
in making full use of the Index. Marinus had four Sons: Pieter, Cornelis,
Abraham, and Isaak. The code ‘M’ is used only once as it pertains to the
original Marinus. The other letters indicate which of the four sons the
particular line follows: P — Pieter; C - Cornelis; A - Abraham; I - Isaak.
Marinus is also known
to have had four daughters; Sara, Catrina, Rachel, and Neeltjen. As no attempt
is made to follow the distaff lines, these individuals appear only once in the
lineage code by their full names, for example, Sara - 2.
The symbol (H) is used
to designate individuals thought to be descendants of Hendrick VA and are thus
not of Marinus’ line.
Following the code
letter, except for ‘U’ and ‘(H)’ is a code number. This represents the
generation of the individual, starting with Marinus as ‘1’. Thus, the four
Sons and daughters of Marinus each have a number ‘2’, indicating the second
generation, as P-2, C-2, A-2. 1-2. Their children, being of the third
generation, will each have a code number of ‘3’, and so forth as far as the
known line can be extended
Other unrelated lines,
such as that of Anton or Willem, are designated by the code
Summary of Lineage
Sons of Marinus
Abraham A-2 etc.
Cornelis C-2 etc.
Isaak I -2 etc.
Daughters of Marinus
Sara – 2
Catrina Catrina — 2
Rachel Rachel — 2
Neeltjen Neeltjen —
All other families
of the Lineage Code It is
possible to develop the known lineage of any individual VA listed herein, both
for prior and for succeeding generations. For many of the VAs listed who do not
have a complete lineage (designated as U), there may be several generations
represented even though the line cannot be carried as far back as Marinus or one
of his Sons.
The listing of the
individual in itself can give much information as to the lineage of that
person. As an example, Aaron VA ~(first page of the alphabetical listings) was
born 1779, died 1850 and was also known as Aerent. He married Delena Sperbeck
(also called Lena Spaarbeck). Aaron’s father is shown as Johannes, his mother
as Maria Masten. There were nine known children born to Aaron and Delena. They
were John Masten, Daniel, Henry, Maria, Delena L., Margritta, plus 3 unnamed.
Aaron’s lineage code is P—5. It
is immediately known that part of his line is:
1) Marinus, 2) Pieter,
3) ————, 4) Johannes, 5) Aaron.
Individual Lines To find the
full lineage of an individual, as in the example of Aaron (above), note the
names of the parents. The father (in this case Johannes), being of a prior
generation, has a code number one less than that of his son, as P-4 for
Johannes. It is now possible to look up the father’s name in the alphabetical
listing, checking the name of the spouse to be sure it is the correct family.
A search for Johannes
who married Maria Masten shows that he was born in 1746. Among his six children
was one whose name was spelled Aart (another form of Aaron), and whose father
was Gideon and mother was Maria Ploeg. The entire line of Aaron is thus known.
The children of Aaron
each have a lineage code one number higher than that of Aaron, showing that they
are of the following generation, P—6. They are also listed individually in the
Index, with their personal data. No further record is made of the females. The
line is carried forward for the males through their Sons, in many cases to the
Listings Some researchers may
wish to know as much as possible about a given family. This can be obtained from
the individual listings. Note first the data given for the male VA of the family
of interest. Note then the data for each of the listed children. The line will
carry forward as long as there are known male heirs who married and who in turn
Information Once a family or
line has been determined, it is often possible to obtain additional information
from other sources. However, this may be much more difficult for individuals for
whom no extended lineage is available (those with the lineage code ‘U’). If
there are data in the compiler’s records that could help identify these
persons, these data are listed below the names of the known children.
Names of Spouses
The Index concludes with an alphabetical listing of names of those who married
VAs. If one were interested in Deborah Minderhout, as an example, it will be
seen that she married David 3. VA. In the listing of the Davids one is found who
was married to Deborah Minderhout. It is now possible to develop the line of
David and Deborah both backward and forward. The data in the Index are thus
available both through the name of a VA family member and also through the name
of his or her spouse.
This document is and always will be incomplete, because it is a ‘working’
document. Although one is tempted to withhold release of such information until
all the facts are in and all questionable relationships resolved, this is not
possible. Also, new generations are being born which should also be included in
the family record.
For example, while the
following pages were being printed, information was received that clearly
identified Charles VA, listed as having been born in 1850, lineage unknown. The
name should have been Charles L., born 1854, son of George W. and Adaline
Humphrey. His lineage code is C-7 and his nine children should have been listed
as C—8. Much other new information will be received from time to time. One
must stop before one has finished; otherwise, one will never stop and never be
This Index is not a
termination; it is a pause in the unfolding record of one family carried on by
many compilers over the years. Some of these published extensively; others were
kind enough to share information from family Bibles, census data, gravestone
markings, and the like. To them all we extend our appreciation and beg
forgiveness for our own omissions and errors.
is extended to Ann Croston, founder and editor of the Van Aken/Van Auken
Newsletter, published quarterly. Its contributors have furnished a vast amount
of information on the family and have sparked a continuing interest of a group
of individuals related both by heredity and by heritage.
The current address of
the compiler is given below. All inquiries, corrections, and additions relating
to present or former VA family members are welcome.
Robert A. Van Auken
5149 Berkshire Drive
North Olmsted, Ohio 44070