Van Buren

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Van Buren is a Dutch-origin surname meaning "of Buren," Buren being a small city in the Dutch province of Gelderland.  The name has a certain prominence in Holland because Anna van Egmond en Buren was the first wife of William of Orange, the founder of the Dutch royal family.  The Dutch royals have been known to use the name van Buren in situations that require anonymity. 

The van Buren name has a greater prominence in America because Martin van Buren was the 8th President of the United States.  There are also van Vuurens in South Africa.

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America.  In 1613 the first Dutch settlers arrived and founded a number of villages and a town called New Amsterdam in what was to become the state and city of New York.  Some of the Dutch families who came to New York in the 1600's, such as the Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, van Burens, Schuylers and van Dykes were later through their descendants to have important parts to play in American history.

From the town of Buren in Holland came Cornelis Maessen in 1631.  His family farmed in the Hudson valley at Rensselaerwick and, from the 1690's, at Kinderhook.  As the 1790 New York state census showed, they were still farming there a hundred years later.  Martin van Buren, a protege of Andrew Jackson who was to become President in 1836, was born in Kinderhook and later retired there.  As the Kinderhook Sentinel reported in May 1841:

"After the lapse of a long series of years spent in the service of his country, President van Buren has returned to the home of his youth, probably to spend the evening of his days among those who have long appreciated the splendor of his genius and admired his virtues."
There are few direct descendants of Martin van Buren as none of his grandchildren ever married.  One line comes from Martin's second cousin, Barent van Buren.  And the comic strip illustrator Raeburn van Buren may be a distant relative.  The overall family history has been recorded in Harriet C. Peckham's 1913 book History of Cornelis Maessen van Buren.

Also from Buren in Holland came Gerrit Cornellissen in 1660.  His son Martin is thought to have adopted the van Buren name and settled in Kingston, New York. 

Dr. Johannes van Beuren, who arrived around 1700, was one of the leading physicians of New York in his time.  His two sons Beekman and Henry followed him in his profession, Beekman in New York and Henry in Brooklyn.  They mixed with other notable Dutch families of colonial New York.  Beekman's son Michael became a merchant in New York, as did the next two of this line.  Beekman's grandson William became a surgeon.   

Some van Burens did move in later years.  Cornelius van Buren left the Hudson valley in the early 1800's and, following the course of the Mohawk valley, made his home in Glen, Montgomery county.  Peter and Isabella van Buren departed Otsego county, New York for Wisconsin in 1844, settling in Vernon township.  And Charles van Buren, also from Otsego county, moved to Michigan in 1882.  He settled in the Clearweater township in Kalkaska county.  

South Africa.  The name in South Africa came to be spelt van Vuuren.  Gerrit Jansen van Vuuren was born in Gelderland and came to the Cape colony in 1687.  He has a large number of descendants today scattered around South Africa.  His original farm of Bellenchamp in Drakenstein is now part of the Bellingham wine estate.
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If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

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Martin van Buren, the son of an upstate New York innkeeper, was the eighth President of the United States.
Raeburn van Buren was a noted magazine and comic strip illustrator of the early 20th century.
Abigail van Buren was the pen name of the Dear Abby newspaper advice columnist Pauline Phillips.

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  • 1,000 in America (most numerous in New York)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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