Thursday, October 6, 2016

Volkje Juriaens van Noorstrant

Not much is written about mothers in a family line. To use the tired line about children, they are seen and not heard from. One would say, they watch over their families. They watch like a hawk, keeping their brood safe in the nest when young, feeding them, and instructing them in the important lessons in life.



For the most part, name calling in Western culture is patronymic, The son takes the father's name. Thus, in England we have Johnson, Peterson, Smithson, Davidson, Wilson, and so on, and so on. We are also familiar with the Scottish and Irish practice of adding "Mac" and "Mc" to form a family line. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Mothers didn't always get the same legal respect, although there are some exceptions. Therefore, I thought it would be nice to say a word or two about Volkje Juriaens van Noorstrant.



Anyone in the United States with the last name of Van Huss, or Van Hoesen will recognize her as the wife of Jan Fransse van Hoesen, whose last name is spelled a variety of ways that include, Hooser, Hoosen, Husem, Husum, and Huss, usually with the "Van" in front, but sometimes without.

They came from Amsterdam to America in 1642 and settled on the Hudson River in a place that would come be called Claverack. And the land that Jan and his wife acquired would include what is now Albany, capital of New York. They produced a family of twelve children who in turn produced families and spread across the United States.

Joyce Lindstrom wrote about the family history, so, if you are interested, I direct you to her.

Volkje's name, Volkje Juriaens van Noorstrant, tells us a little about her. According to custom, her middle name Juriaens was that of her father. Juriaens in all its forms - Jurrian, Jurian, Yuri, etc. is nothing more than "George". The family came from the island of Noostrant. Today a peninsula, it is a former island in North Frisia on the North Sea coast of Germany and part of Schleswig-Holstein's Nordfriesland. In 1634, a flood struck the entire north cost and washed away all the buildings on the island with the resulting loss of tens of thousands, including Volkje parents and sparing her sister.

"Ershreckliche Wasser-fluth" the horrible flood of 1634


Volkje's first name fascinates me. Likely, it is a diminutive of "valk" the Dutch word for falcon or hawk. Sometimes, the suffix is translated as "dear little one". So, I picture little Volkje with the round brown-grey eyes of a hawk, always on the watch for an oncoming storm. We have no picture of Volkje, or of her husband Jan for that matter. 

So, one is at liberty to imagine Volkje. One could cull through images of Rembrandt for a vision of a young girl. He was a contemporary and lived in Amsterdam at the same time. They lived streets apart, and surely must have crossed paths. 

Nevertheless, I picture her as Johannes Vermeer saw an ordinary Dutch girl of the 17th century in the Girl with the Pearl Earring.


Girl with the Pearl Earring