Trijntje Vanden Heuvel (usually van den Heuvel in Dutch), the first wife of Willem Van Wyk, left only a small historical record in the United States as she immigrated to Iowa in June of 1892 and died on her 40th birthday in December of 1893. Yet overall, Trijntje had far more extensive connections to the Pella area through her van den Heuvel roots than did her husband Willem through his van Wijk roots.
Trijntje van den Heuvel was born in Genderen, Noord Brabant, the Netherlands, on December 28, 1853. Her father was Dirk Jan van den Heuvel, the son of Cornelis Dirks van den Heuvel and Aletta Jans Branderhorst. Her mother was Hendrika Boll, the daughter of Jan Huibertse Boll and Trijntje Millenaar, with the latter being the namesake of Trijntje. Six children were born to the family of Dirk Jan and Hendrika, including two children that died very young and a set of twins born in 1856. In 1860, Hendrika died in the nearby village of Doeveren at the age of 33, leaving Dirk Jan with four children aged 8, 6, 3, and 3. At the time, Hendrika’s parents were living in Doeveren, and it is speculated that Hendrika died at their house. Hendrika’s father Jan Huibertse Boll was an Elder in the Dutch Reformed Church at Genderen, being the second person to sign that church’s “Act of Secession” that was sent to the King in He was also a carpenter and was fairly well-to-do. He and his wife Trijntje made a new will in 1861, leaving Hendrika’s share of the estate to her children, which would have included Trijntje.
Surprisingly, the Boll side of the family had an impact on Trijntje van den Heuvel’s family while in America. In 1901 Trijntje’s aunt, Trijntje Boll, who was married to Jacobus Van Os, passed away in the Netherlands, apparently leaving no children. As such, her estate went to her nephews and nieces, which would have included Trijntje van den Heuvel Van Wyk. But since Trijntje had already died, Trijntje’s children were entitled to this estate. Adding to the list of complications was the fact that seven of these children – Lambert, Jan Willem, Hendrikus, Willem, Alletenis, Casper Hendrik, and Cornelis (Neal) – were minors, and therefore by law were prohibited from directly receiving these estate funds. So in September of 1901 Willem Van Wyk filed a petition at the Marion County Clerk of Court’s office, requesting that the brother of these minor children, Dirk Jan Van Wyk, be appointed as guardian over them. This guardianship was approved by the court upon the issuance of a performance bond by him, with his father Willem Van Wyk and brothers John Van Wyk and Gysbert Van Wyk as sureties for the bond. It took nearly a year for these funds to work their way from the Netherlands to Iowa, and in August of 1902 Dirk Jan Van Wyk as guardian filed an inventory report with the Court. This report stated that $222.81 was received, with each of the seven minors being therefore entitled to $31.83. It is assumed that each of the older Van Wyk children who were of legal age received a similar amount directly.
Within a few years after his wife Hendrika’s death, Dirk Jan van den Heuvel followed the pattern of so many of his neighbors in the Genderen area: he moved his family to the newly drained lakebed known as the Haarlemmermeer Polder. While there, in 1864 he married a second time to Maria van Daalen with whom he may have been previously acquainted as she was born in Giessen, another village in the vicinity of Genderen. When he married this time, he was 45 years old; Maria was 26 and the daughter of Levinus van Dalen and Anna Kant van Andel. Together they had 11 more children, meaning that Dirk Jan van den Heuvel fathered 17 children in total. He died in Haarlemmermeer in 1903 at the age of 84 having out-lived eight of these children, including his daughter Trijntje who died in Iowa.
Dirk Jan van den Heuvel had an older brother named Jan Dirk van den Heuvel, who had two children immigrate to the Pella area, and as such would have been Trijntje’s first cousins. One was named Aletta Johanna van den Heuvel, who married Pieter Rus in Haarlemmermeer. This Rus family, consisting of seven children, came to the Peoria area in December of 1893. Later on in 1899, another child of this Jan Dirk, Johannes Cornelis van den Heuvel who married Aletta Antonetta van Wijk, also immigrated to Iowa and settled in the Leighton area.
But even closer relatives to Trijntje were her half-siblings, children of her father’s second marriage to Maria van Daalen—three of them came to the Pella area. One of them was Anna Kant van den Heuvel, who married Cornelis Edel. After coming to Iowa in either 1893 or 1894 and settling in Jasper County, this family moved on to Kansas about ten years later. Another half-sibling to settle in Pella was Johannes Cornelis van den Heuvel, who married Elizabeth Bennink and who died in Pella in 1956. But the one immigrating half-sibling who had the greatest influence was Aletta Cornelia van den Heuvel, who married Willem Huibert van’t Sant.
The van’t Sant family, consisting of the parents and three children, left Haarlemmermeer and arrived in New York in April of 1893, less than one year after the Van Wyks passed through the same doors in Ellis Island. They very coincidentally travelled on the same ship as the Van Wyks, the Veendam. Also on this ship were other distant relatives—the Cornelis and Maria van den Heuvel family and six children from Genderen who settled in Michigan, and the Dirk and Aletta van Wijk family and six children from Haarlemmermeer who would settle in Luctor, Kansas, although many of this family eventually emigrated from Kansas back to the Oskaloosa area. But the more important passenger to the immediate Van Wyk family was a single 23-year old man from Haarlemmermeer—his name was Willem Lanser and he would eventually become the husband of Hendrika Van Wyk.
The van’t Sant family name soon changed to Van Sant as the family settled in the Jasper County area, likely to be near the Willem and Trijntje Van Wyk family. By the 1895 State of Iowa census another baby had been born—Mary, named after Aletta Cornelia van den Heuvel’s mother, Maria van Daalen. But it appears that there was more than just the geographical closeness between the Van Sants and the Van Wyks—there was a close family relationship as well. When Trijntje Vanden Heuvel Van Wyk died at the age of 40, leaving 11 children plus the new baby Cornelius (Neal) who was just two months old, the Van Sant family took Neal into their household and raised him during those early years.
Willem Huibert and Aletta Cornelia (Vanden Heuvel) Van’t Sant
Trijntje and Aletta Cornelia were half-sisters.
An interesting tidbit in the Vanden Heuvel history involves the move of the widower Dirk Jan van den Heuvel and his four children from Genderen to the new farm in the Haarlernrnermeer Polder in the early 1860’s. County leaders required that each of these newly-created farms be given a name for identification purposes. The local paper, the Haarlemmermeer Weekblad, printed a two-page listing of these farm names. The farm of Dirk Jan van den Heuvel was located in Section Q, Lot 20. The name of his farm was “Door Gods Zegen dit Land Gekregen ” which translates to “This Land Received through God’s Blessing.”