Sunday, August 25, 2013

Willard was displeased

This is Willard, born on 11 Nov 1918.

In celebration of the day on which he was born, Armistice Day, he was given the middle name Peace.

I have no idea why he was given the first name Willard. 

All of Willard's grandparents were born in the Netherlands and came to America. His father's family came in 1887 and his mother's in 1890.  His parents were born in the United States.

According to this article on Dutch naming traditions, sons were usually named after their grandfathers.  The first son gets the name of the father's father and the second son gets the name of the mother's father.  Both of Willard's grandfathers were named Jacob.  Both of the fathers of Willard's grandfathers were named Jacob. Willard's own father was named Jacob.

I did not find out until Willard had passed away, but he was quite displeased that he didn't get named Jacob. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013


There are a few items that I would be devastated to lose in a fire.  This is one of them:

Back in 1997, my grandfather received a letter from a researcher in the Netherlands tracing our family tree.  He had determined that one of his ancestor's brothers had emigrated to the United States and he decided to track all his descendants down.  This was the results of his work. 

I can honestly say that without this book, I probably would have never gotten anywhere researching in the Netherlands despite their fantastic online records.  You see, my maiden name was spelled Van Gee.  I knew it was Dutch.  What I didn't know was it was spelled completely wrong.  My third great-grandfather who emigrated to the United States in 1890, Jacobus Johannis' last name was spelled Vinjé.
The Vinjé family arrived 29 Sep 1890 on the S.S. Spaarndam

On the census records, it is spelled Van Gee, and Vangee and Vingee.  Even on his headstone, it's spelled Vinja! I doubt that I could've figured it out myself.  It doesn't sound Dutch to me and maybe it didn't to the other people of Wayne County, New York, where there are lots of Dutch names, and that's how it evolved to Van Gee.  Thanks to the author of this book, my third cousin, twice removed, Jo Vinjé, I can now look up lots of records in the Netherlands without frustration.  He compiled this book, which my father was kind to secure a copy of for me.  My father traveled to the Netherlands several years ago and got to meet Jo in person.

It was with extreme sadness that I discovered a few days ago, that he had passed away.  He had been on my mind lately, I was wondering if he had ever decided if Vinjé was a French of Norwegian name.  I even emailed him at the address in the book and didn't get a response.  This prompted me to do some online searching and found a death notice online for him.  He passed away on 10 Apr 2013.