Events Heritage Trips

Valkenburg and its family

A while ago I was a speaker at the annual reunion of the Van Valkenburg family. Members of this family – with branches in the United States and in Canada – have united in The National Association of the Van Valkenburg Family. This association started in 1970 and has since organized many activities for its members. The annual highlight is the reunion, which until 2019 was an in-person gathering of family members. In 2020 and 2021 the association saw no other alternative than to set up a zoom meeting. I was a special guest at the 2021 reunion.

What did I talk about?

Amsterdam marriage

First I discussed the record that the family considered to be the marriage record of the family’s immigrant ancestors. Lambert and Annetje married in Amsterdam in 1643, shortly before they sailed to New Netherland. I explained that the record is the registration of their marriage intentions, not a record of the actual marriage. I also showed a picture of the Noorderkerk (North Church) in Amsterdam, with the passage to the Boomstraat. This is the street where Lambert and Annetje lived.

Belgian roots

I then spent some time on Millen, a small place in the Belgian province of Limburg. This is where Lambert was born, and where at least two more generations of the Van Valkenburg family lived. Parish registers and records of the college of aldermen are available and although genealogists saw these records in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a new look might reveal additional information about the family.

Photograph of the market near Noorderkerk (North Church) in Amsterdam, in the middle the passage to Boomstraat, ca. 1900. (credits: Amsterdam City Archives)

Valkenburg Castle

The Van Valkenburg name most likely comes from Valkenburg, a very famous town in the south of the Dutch province of Limburg. (Yes, there is a province with that name in Belgium as well as in the Netherlands!) Although the family name indicates origins in or near the town of Valkenburg, until now no record actually points in that direction. However, the town and its castle ruins appeal to everyone’s imagination. I talked about the history of the area, and how the residents had to deal with the consequences of the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648). Perhaps it was because of the turmoil that the family decided to move from Valkenburg to Millen. Again, records need to shed some light on these hypotheses.

Future Research

At the end of my talk I discussed the options for future research, but also the idea of visiting the places in Amsterdam, Millen and Valkenburg. This could be a very interesting heritage trip for those who want to see where their ancestors once lived. I have been to Valkenburg and the immediate vicinity before and I can say that it is one of the most beautiful parts of our county.