Sunday, October 30, 2011

Von Limburg is not Dutch

I came across a family tree on that included General Lewis Cass. I was very much interested in this tree as Lewis Cass' daughter, Matilda was married to a very distant cousin of mine, Henry Ledyard. When I say very distant, he is my 6th cousin 4 times removed.

General Cass was the governor of the Michigan Territory, which at that time included the current states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and parts of North and South Dakota. While researching my family, I found family in Cass County, in most of these states. My grandparents are buried in Cass County, Minnesota. I hadn't connected why so many of these states had a Cass County until I learned about Lewis Cass.

I generally don't spend much time on the ancestors of people who marry into my family. Typically, I try to find out birth, death and marriage dates for the parents of a person who married a relative. When I searched for Lewis Cass, I was surprised how much was written about him. I was also surprised at some of the things written about him or his family that were not correct.

Then I came across another tree that sent a red flag up the pole when I saw it. Lewis Cass had another daughter, Isabella. This tree claimed that she married Baron Theodorus Marinus Roest Von Linburg who was the Dutch Foreign Minister to the United States. The words baron and von were the triggers.

The word Von is German, not Dutch. It translate to the English word of just as the Dutch word van would translate. However, the German word "Von" signifies a person of the nobility of that place whereas the Dutch word "van" simply means of or from. Baron is a title used in the regions that today comprise Germany. It is not a Dutch title.

I came across an inventory of letters and documents relating to the family Roest van Limburg from 1604 to 1978 at the Archives of the Netherlands. Theodorus Marinus Roest van Limburg is addressed in letters as Mr. not as Baron. So where did the author of the tree get this idea that Theodorus was a baron?

So I decided to search further. I found a book that was printed in 1922, "The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922 Volume II." There it was, big as life! But that same search found another book. Only this book is recent (1996). It is entitled "Lewis Cass and Politics of Moderation" by Willard Carl Klunder at Kent State University. To me it looks like Mr. Klunder lifted the text from the 1922 book.

Since it was published by Kent State University, I can hardly blame someone researching Lewis Cass and his descendants for incorporating this junk into their tree.

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