Thursday, July 14, 2011

Voyage of (Re)Discovery

And baby makes three 1912
Elizabeth and Barend VandenBergh traveled by steamboat from Amsterdam to New York in 1911, shortly after their marriage. Family folklore says that two people got on the ship, and three got off; baby Jacob was born the following year.

The couple moved into an apartment in downtown Albany, New York, where they stayed for several years until purchasing a plot of land on the outskirts of the city. Over the years, Elizabeth gave birth to eight children, seven of whom lived to adulthood. Incidentally, I am named after last-born baby Helena, who died in infancy.

You can learn more about the VandenBerghs' early life in America in this article from the Albany Times Union, published in September 2009, during the quadricentennial year of Henry Hudson's historical trip up the river that now bears his name.

Over the years, my Mom and her siblings kept in touch with relatives in the Netherlands by means of light blue airmail one-page fold-ups. My siblings and I have tried to keep up the tradition, but now we communicate with second and third cousins in the Netherlands via email and Facebook. We recently had the wonderful opportunity to travel to the Netherlands and meet up with a dozen cousins from both sides of the family   --  the Daams and the VandenBerghs.

Watch this site for more coming soon about our centennial voyage to the homeland!


  1. "...two got on, three got off." I love that.
    Wow, only took me 60 years to learn your namesake; you've always known mine.
    Welcome home! I'll be watching...

  2. Dank je wel, Barend! I was told last week that I look like the Daams side of the family. I certainly see my Mom in this photo of Grandma.