Geertje Cornelis van Vulpen, widow of Cornelis Gijsbertsen van der Hoeven was the mother of the first of the van der Hoeven(Vanderhoof) family in America. She travelled aboard 'De Bever' from the Netherlands to Manhattan in the Summer of 1661. Geertje Cornelis van Vulpen was the granddaughter of Dirck Joosten van Vulpen, a farmer of Marienwaerdt, near Beesd Gelderland. She was probably born on the family farm at Marienwaerdt around 1615. Read article about the van Vulpen family of Beesd.
The van Vulpen family were well-established in the area southeast of Utrecht by the fifteenth century and hereditary family landholdings in this area are well documented as they passed down through succeeding generations. This distinctive aftername was usually written as 'van Velpen' in earlier times but examples of the 'van Vulpen' spelling became more common in later centuries. The most significant work on the early genealogy of this family is an article by MSF Kemp from Gens Nostra 1971. (No 4 p154-162 and No5 p253-260) . Further research was commissioned by HC van Vulpen in the 1960's and carried out by an unknown researcher. The report can be read here.
Kemp suggests that the van Velpens were originally a branch of the de Kruijff family on the basis that some of the family used the same emblem of three lilies as the de Kruijffs. However, the most commonly used emblem was the 'geschakeerde kruis', a chequered cross of black and yellow squares on a silver background which was used by many branches of the van Velpen family, including the van Vulpen family of Beesd as late as the 18th century. Kemp cites several examples of the same chequered cross emblem used by the van Velpen family and an image of a seal used by a Jan van Wijk van Velpen in 1443 appears in his article.
Seal of Jan van Wijk Van Velpen 1443
The origin of the surname is unclear. Early families seem to have a connection with an area between Doorn and Driebergen called 'Velperengh' (Now named Vossenstein), but whether the area gave rise to the name or the area was named for a family who farmed there is not known. Kemp suggests a link with the van Broeckhuijsen family of Doorn who have a similar coat-of-arms and a further theory is that the family were originally from Velp (Near Arnhem) and the nearby town of Vorden which has a similar chequered cross emblem. However, it is clear that, by early modern times, the van Velpen/Vulpen family were substantial hereditary tenants in an area which included Doorn, Cothen, Langbroek, Leersum and Wijk bij Duurstede. Many references to the family appear in contemporary land records (see endnote) and a useful online source is the book, 'Overlangbroek op de kaart gezet' by C. van Schaik (Uitgeverij Verloren 2008)
By the 1580's, a Dirck Joosten van Vulpen had become a tenant of land previously owned by abbey of Marienwaerdt but the exact origin of Dirck Joosten is a matter of speculation. A Mathijs Pieters van Velpen was schout of Buurmalsen and Tricht in 1560 and 1578 (De Drie Steden' 1999 p51.) - about the time the abbey lands passed into the ownership of the Gelderland authorities. A closer link is through Dirck Joosten's wife, Elizabeth Cornelis Wouters de Cruijff, whose father Cornelis Woutersz de Cruyff was a schepen of Beesd 1575-1582. Cornelis Woutersz was the son of Wouter Willemsz de Cruijff of Darthuijsen who had several close connections with the van Velpen family.
Summary of the van Vulpen Family of Marienwaerdt
Geertje van Vulpen the daughter of Cornelis Dircksen van Vulpen, a farmer of Marienwaerdt, Beesd and was probably born at Marienwaerdt around 1615.
Her immediate descent was:
I. Dirck Joosten van Velpen, possibly born about 1550/60. He is mentioned 1586-1602 in local records as a farmer and tenant of the Abbey of Marienwaerdt and alderman of Beesd and Rhenoij 1586-1590. He died after 2 December 1633. Married Elizabeth Wouters Cornelisdr de Cruijff. He is known to have had at least six children but only the two below (IIa and IIb) are documented.
IIa. Cornelis Dircksen van Velpen, possibly born around 1590 mentioned 1621-1631, farmer and tenant of the Abbey of Mariënweerd, alderman of Beesd and Rhenoij 1631. Died after 25 July 1625. Wife unknown.
2. Joost Cornelissen van Velpen, mentioned 1641.
3. Anthonis (Thonis) Cornelissen van Velpen, mentioned 1648-1664, farmer and tenant of the Abbey of Mariënweerd.
4. Ariaentgen Cornelis van Velpen, mentioned 1651; married Mercus Leenaertsen Schuers. Migrated to America with one daughter aboard De Bever 1661.
5. Geurtgen Cornelis van Velpen, mentioned 1651-1656; married Cornelis Gijsbertsen (van der Hoeven), alderman of Beesd and Rhenoij 1637-1651, who died 1651/1656. Migrated to America with six children aboard De Bever 1661.