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Van Curen Surname Origin

(Origin Dutch) Locality. From the territory of an elector in Germany. Keur, German, an elector.

Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake, Bleeker & CO., 1857.

Surname Origin:
Mathijs Jansen van Ceulen(aka van Keulen) first set foot in America in 1631(Lewes Delaware). After his death, Oct 13, 1648, Albany, NY, the surname was not used by the family for 68 years. When Mathijs' grandsons attempted to reclaim the name of nobility in 1716, they were unsure of the spelling. Van Keuren is what they ended up with.

"Van Keuren" has no direct Dutch/German meaning, as it is a corruption of the original name, meaning "Of Cologne". The family left Cologne in the 1540s, and added the van suffix at that time. Virtually all Van Curens, Van Kurens, Van Kurins, Van Kurans, Van Curons, and Van Keurens in America are direct descendants of Mathijs van Ceulen.

Mathijs Jansen van Ceulen received a land Patens in Harlem, NY on Aug 12, 1646. Said land was confirmed to his heirs, including Matthys Mathyssen, in 1667. It was Matthys' sons who adopted the name Van Keuren in 1716.

"Jul 2, 1667 - (page 665, Court records of New Netherlandt) Land valuation and division of the patromonial estate of Mathijs Jansen van Keulen to his children. Case identifies land in the Esopus belonging to this estate, suggesting Mathijs had a land patens in the Esopus prior to his death in 1648. Matthys(Van Keuren Progenitor) received: 20 Morgens of land(@ 40 acres), previously owned by Evert Pels, with house, barn and outbuildings, valued at 900 sch. Also, a horse identified as a grey stallionand a plow valued at 180 guilders. Matthys to pay his sister Anna 167sch, 60 guilders, and 267sch, 60 guilders to brother Jan, to equalize the shares. Notes the undivided land in the pappermemmins(Man Hats, Manhattan)"

Further reference, Records of the Dutch Reformed Church of Kingston, 1660-1809.

As an added note, the name "Van Steinburgh" is also a corruption. These are likewise descendants of Mathijs van Ceulen, through his daughter Catryn. She married Jan Jansen van Amersfoort in 1660. Jan had numerous appearances in court(theft, spouse abuse, drunkenness, etc) and was exiled from the colony in 1667. In 1684, their children adopted the surname Van Steenberghen, which eventually became Van Steenbergh, Van Steenburgh, and Van Steinburgh. The Van Keulen/Van Keuren family history also contains the first 5 generations of this family.

Source: D G Van Curen
Author of "Van Keulen/Van Keuren/Van Kuren/Van Curen, A Family History(Gateway Press, 1998)
Reprinted with permission
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