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The Van Borculo Project
The Van Borculo Project started in 1978, barely a year after the tracing of my Bartlow roots began. Teaching at the time, my open summer freed me to begin ancestral research in earnest. It quickly became apparent I'd stumbled into something so intriguing and engrossing, yet highly personal and academic, I'd probably be devoting all my spare time for the rest of my life pursuing this never-ending process known as genealogy. That this history-based, thought-provoking, library-oriented activity doesn't capture most people's attention until they're retired must simply result from too little exposure, because it has by its nature, in my opinion, more potential to promote and maintain kinship contact with extended family members than just our increasingly vague and fading affiliations with the former ethnic identities of our immigrant ancestors. It is all of those without the constraints and prejudices our forefathers often endured,. . .or imposed on others. I can also appreciate that knowing one's ancestry well has to be the first step towards understanding and appreciating who we are today.
The Project gained real momentum when my research diverged from a direct line ancestral quest to a survey with a much broader scope, the result of frustration at having encountered too many James Barkelows in New Jersey tax records and too few probate records to separate them easily. To make matters worse, the surname during that period seemed to have more spelling variations than Congress has members, several hundred found at last count, with thousands possible, mathematically. Driven as much by the frustration in the beginning, it quickly became academic passion to resolve each successive lineal mystery, and eventually determine the origin of this most incredibly alliterated and Anglicized surname.
Of course, we now know our surname/s actually originated here in America, albeit from the name of a Dutch village. Specifically, it was the result of a provincial edict to attach a surname to a patronym shortly after the arrival of our two Dutch Lubberdinck brothers "from Borculo".
· Dave Bartlow ·