In the 1500s, Spain was engaged in a "spiritual cleansing" known as the "Inquisition". To non-Catholics, this usually meant Imprisonment, torture, and/or execution. As the Spanish began conquering Western Europe, many were forced to flee to the safety of the Dutch States. Such is the case of Cologne, which fell to Spain in 1559. As a matter of identification, wealthy classes from Cologne often attached the suffix "van Ceulen"(aka van Keulen) to their names, which literally means "of Cologne". Eventually, "van" names became recognized as surnames, and thus, the van Keulen/van Ceulen family was created.
Mathijs Jansen Van Ceulen, @1600-1648,
arrived in North America(New York) @ 1639. By late 1641 Mathijs (Van Keuren progenitor) had made Fort Orange(aka Albany, NY) his permanent home. In 1646 he purchased a land Patens of 50 Morgens (100 acres) in Manhattan. Also around this time, he purchased lands in the Esopus.
The Dutch colonies at New Netherlandt proved to be a dismal failure and were eventually taken over by the British in 1664, at which time it was renamed New York. Mathijs' estate and lands were confirmed to his heirs in 1667, including a parcel of 50 Morgens of land in the Pappermemmins (Manhats - Manhattan) known as Van Keulen's Bouwerie. His lands in Esopus were held by a guardian until his children came of age. His son, Matthys Matthyssen, is the progenitor of the Van Keuren/ Van Curen family in America. Mathijs' children all used the patronymic "Matthyssen", but in 1715, his grandsons decided to abandon the patronymic and begin using the "Van" name, adopting the spelling "Van Keuren". It is thought that the long time period between the death of Mathijs Jansen van Ceulen in 1648 and the attempt to revive the name in 1715 is likely the cause of the spelling variation.
Old Dutch surnames are different from surnames as we know them. "Van" names were simply suffixes identifying the families point of origin. Surnames were derived from the first name of the father (Father Matthys, children were Matthyssen), and so changed with each generation. (see Patronymics link below). Actual family surnames, as we know them today, starting gaining popularity in the 16th century. By the 18th century, the practice of patronymics was nearly nonexistent, being replaced with the modern day surname method of naming.
The English didn't care much for the Dutch way of surname changing, as it made record keeping very difficult. Estates, especially, were difficult to establish heirs for. As a result of British influence, American Dutch began abandoning Patronymic practice in the late 1600s and adopting the British surname method, creating true surnames and passing them on to their children. From the children of Mathijs Van Keulen, we get the surnames of Matthyssen, Jansen, Peersen, Van Steenberghen, and Van Keuren, along with variations for all of those.
There are many theories as to the 'why' of the name variations(spelling changes), but the most logicical is a combination of illiteracy (couldn't spell his own name) and unknowing record keepers making an educated guess, based on sound.
Early Netherland research is difficult because
Government records are largely incomplete, or lost
and private records are difficult to find and search.
Old Dutch Church records prove to be one of the best sources of information, but the switching back and forth between suffix names (begin with "de" or "van" and patronymic names confuses and complicates research efforts.
Several Van Keuren families began using the Van Curen surname around 1800, as they began emmigrating into the wilderness. As to family history, many word of mouth errors were passed down, as written histories were virtually non-existent. Example:
From an article on the Van Curen Family in the Northern Indianan Republican, dtd 9 Sep, 1909, the parents of Henry Van Curen (b. Hendricus Van Keuren, Hurley, NY, 1783) were born in Holland, came to America, and raised a large family. That article has proven to be false, as Dutch Reformed Church Records show that his father was born in Shawagunk, N Y, a descendant of Mathijs.(see Mathij(s) link below) His parents used the Van Keuren spelling, and that has almost exclusively been tied to Matthys, as it was a corrupution of the origanal name, Keulen, or Ceulen(as it often appears).
Sometime before 1830, Henry established himself as Van Curen, as he is listed in the 1830 NY census under that name. It was noted in the 1850 Indiana census that Henry could neither read nor write. That, with the fact that many Van Keurens were mistakenly identified as 'Van Curen' (including Henry's Father) in the 1790 N Y Census, possibly explains the name change.
Visit often, for we will continue to add information, as it becomes available
VAN CUREN GENEAOLOGY LINKS
*NEW* Ancestors of Orange County, New York
MATHIJS JANSEN VAN CEULEN
London Baptism, 2 Feb, 1602, of MATHIJS VAN CEULEN
FAMILY FILE INDEX(click on User Home Page Report)
DESCENDANTS OF MATHIJS VAN CEULEN, BOOK ORDER PAGE
Letters by Mathijs van Ceulen, 1638-1640
VAN KEULEN CHARTMAKERS OF AMSTERDAM
LUDOLPH VAN CEULEN, MATHEMATICIAN
DUTCH SOLDIERS ON SKATES
VAN STEENBERGHEN FAMILY
HENRY VAN CUREN
PETER HOVER VAN CUREN
VAN CUREN/VAN KEUREN PHOTO ALBUM
Cornelius Van Keuren's Photo Album
Chalania Alvira Van Keuren McDowell
FAMILY OF THE AUTHOR
VAN KEUREN CORNERS, SULLIVAN COUNTY, NEW YORK
ISABEL IONE ROYSE
FAMILY OBITUARIES A - VC
FAMILY OBITUARIES VK - Z
EARLY VAN CUREN NEWS AND ARTICLES
Van Keulen Baptisms/Marriages at Amsterdam, 1574-1670
Van Keulen Baptisms/Marriages at Haerlem, Noord-Holland, 1574-1800
Van Keulen Baptisms/Marriages at Utrecht, Dordrecht, and Amersfoort, 1580-1680
1603 MAP OF THE NETHERLANDS
VAN KEURENS AND RELATED FAMILIES by Lisa Stitt
ANCESTORS OF CAROLYN ANN HEMMELGARN
ANCESTORS OF CONNIE VAN CUREN
VAN KEUREN ANCESTORS of Cathe Gordon
Deb Peterson's Searchable Genealogy Database
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