The 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 reported.

Family Name 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.

Most persons 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.

The alphabetical 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 the compiler.

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.

Marriage Year 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 context.

Lineage Code 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 Code Designations 

              Marinus                M-1

Sons of Marinus             

Pieter              P-2 etc.
Abraham         A-2 etc.
Cornelis          C-2 etc.
Isaak              I -2 etc.

Daughters of Marinus             

Sara              Sara – 2
Catrina          Catrina — 2
Rachel           Rachel — 2
Neeltjen         Neeltjen —

Hendrick               (H)
Anton                   Anton
All other families
Unknown                U

Use 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.

Developing 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 present day.

Developing Family 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 had children.

Additional 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.

Appreciation 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 finished.

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.

Special appreciation 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
(440) 779-9825