Monday, October 10, 2011

Military Monday: Can You Hear Me Major Tom?

Military Monday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites. Military Monday is an ongoing series by Cindy at Everything’s Relative.

Three years ago my brother posted about Major Tom Clark, a pilot MIA in Viet Nam.  Tom was well-known to our family because of his friendship with one of our uncles.  My brother recently posted a follow-up.  He also posted a link to another blog (Solomon's words for the wisewith Tom's complete story which I have included, in part, here.

On February 8, 1969 Captain Clark was flying an F-100D Super Sabre, of 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 37th Tactical Fight Wing, in a flight of four mission over Laos. The flight controlled by an F-4 Forward Air Controller, engaged a 23mm Anti-Aircraft Artillery battery. Captain Clark's aircraft was hit by rounds from the artillery battery, burst into flames, and crashed. No parachute was observed. Aircraft in the area conducted visual and electronic searches, with negative results. Subsequent to the incident, the U.S. Air Force determined Captain Clark to be Killed in Action (KIA), Body not Recovered (BNR). The Air Force posthumously promoted Tom to the rank of Major.
On February 12, 1991, a joint U.S./Lao People's Democratic Republic team investigated the crash of Thomas E. Clark's F-100. In late 1991, a Thai citizen turned over to U.S. Officials in Thailand human remains as well as military identification tag and a partial military identification tag bearing Major Clark's name. The remains were identified as other than Captain Clark's. In February of 1992 a team worked to excavate the suspected crash site of Thomas E. Clark in the Savannakhet Province with no apparent results. In October of 2005 a joint team re-investigated the crash site excavated in 1992. Another bone fragment was found but later identified as not part of a human. In October of 2009 another joint team re-excavated portions of the crash site and recovered human remains. After extensive examination, including isotope testing, the human remains were identified as the remains of Thomas E. Clark.
The Clark family was notified in June 2011 that the remains of Thomas E. Clark would be returned to the family.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Going Dutch

I’ve written about some of my Colonial American Dutch ancestry (Ditmars and Voorhees) and it took me back to the early 1600s in New Amsterdam.  It seems probable, at a certain point, that my New Amsterdam history involves exclusively Dutch ancestry.  It wasn’t until the 1800s that the first of my original New Amsterdam lines married outside the Dutch community.  So, no matter how many more surnames I uncovered, they probably weren’t going to lead me much further than the Netherlands.

I found tracing the Dutch names to be a bit overwhelming—the Dutch names were often transcribed with inconsistent English spelling (plus, even the first names didn’t roll off my tongue), naming patterns meant there were people of the same name floating around at the same time, and, worst of all, a lot of really bad research had found it’s way into the viral internet genealogy world.  Fortunately, there are a lot of dedicated researchers working on my lines.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to match their efforts and, frankly, I just can’t motivate myself to do the work to uncover every Dutch surname.  In fact, the various families intermarried so much, I suspected many lines would actually merge.  I’m indebted to earlier researchers who provided much of the information on the various Ditmarsen-connected spouses.  
So, starting with a 4x great-grandmother Jannetje (Jane) Vandeveer, who married Isaac Voorhees, I found no documented sources about her parents, but several places indicated her parents were Jan Vanderveer and Seytje Vanderveer (see intermarriage comment above) and led back to Cornelius Janse VanDerVeer, the emigrant from Holland.  But no proof going back even one generation from Jane.

And then there’s Aeltje Suydam, a 5x great-grandmother who married Douwes Ditmar.  Her line probably leads back to, well, hmm…I dunno yet.  Not comfortable even speculating here, though names are out there in family trees.

Jannetje Remsen, a 6x great-grandmother won’t fare any better.  Hard to believe, but I turned up more than one Jannetje Remsen, but not one married to the right Johannes Van Ditmarsen (yes, more than one of him, too).

I had more success with my 7x great-grandmother, Catryntje Lott.  She was the daughter of Peter Lott and Gertrude Lambert.  She married Douwe Jansz Van Ditmarsen in 1688.  Peter emigrated in 1652 from Holland and became a landowner in Flatbush, NY and was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church there. 

That leads me to Catryntje’s mother, Gertrude Lambert, my 8x great-grandmother.  I’ve seen her first name written as Gerritje, leading me to believe she is of Dutch heritage, but I found nothing about her parents.  I found trees with her birth in 1632 in Flatbush, but no sources.  Recently I found this, which made me wonder:

The next of the Ditmarsen wives, another 8x great-grandmother, Ariantje Lollensz, or something like that.  Her surname has been found in only one New Amstredam record, where her name was written Adryaenyen Lollenckx.  She had immigrated to America with her first husband (who died shortly after arrival) and son in 1664 and married Jan Jansz Van Ditmarsen junior in 1665.  It is possible she was not Dutch, but that her name was later changed to the Dutch version.

The genealgocal trail for Aeltje Douwesz, married to Jan Jansz Van Ditmarsen senior, has some clues, including a 1635 Amsterdam marriage intention for Jan Janss and Aeltje Douwens, but there is nothing that definitively links this couple to my ancestors.  It is known that she arrived in America in 1639, possibly via Bermuda.

The final Dutch ancestor, a 9x great-grandmother, included in this post was not connected to the Ditmarsen line.  Mary Deurcant married Lion Gardiner, an officer in the British army, when he was in Holland.  She was born in 1601 in Woerden, Hoolland to Derike Derocant and Hachin Bastians.  She and her husband arrived in America in 1635.

And so here I find myself at the end of my first pass at uncovering my first immigrant ancestors in America.  I found out my family arrived much earlier than I ever anticipated and that they participated in some famous and infamous historic events.  I solved a few mysteries, including one I didn't even know existed, and discovered some new ones.

Now I’m going go back to the beginning to fill in the gaps as best I can.  I’ll be doing more research and less posting because of the nature of the work that will be required.  I’ll definitely need to spend some time at the Library of Congress.  I will probably need to hire a researcher for at least one line where I think the answers will be found in local records I can’t access online.