Saturday, September 14, 2013

Surname Saturday: TON

Since I missed posting my Surname Saturday post last week, I am posting two today.

The Dutch word ton can be translated as "barrel" or "buoy." It is possible that this was an occupational surname for someone who was a barrel-maker or buoy-maker. If so, TON would be similar to the English occupational name, Cooper, although the Dutch kuiper is a more common surname related to that. Another possibility is that TON was a descriptive surname, indicating an individual who was barrel-chested, or very large. My TON ancestors were using this surname over 30 years before Napoleon required the Dutch citizens under his rule to choose and register a surname with the local officials, so the origins of why they chose it are lost at this time. The early users that I've been able to trace simply listed "laborer" as their occupations, so it's not known for certain if TON was an occupational surname.

Stories and History:

Ahnentafel #232 - Geert TON (c. 1746 - 1812) - born in Heerewaarden, Gelderland, the Nethelands, Geert left his hometown in 1770, at the age of 24, probably to live in the neighboring province of Zeeland. Ten years later, he married Adriaantje KNOKAERT (c. 1753 - 1817) in Nieuwerkerk, Zeeland (her surname is found in some records as KLOKAERT). Geert's occupation was listed as a laborer at the time of one of his sons' births, but as a journalier (journeyman) by the time of his death in 1812 in Nieuwerkerk. Geert was originally my brick wall on this line. However, my recent discovery of the whereabouts of his birth gives me hope that records in Gelderland will allow me to trace back more generations.

Ahnentafel #116 - Adrian TON (1792 - 1860) - born in Nieuwerkerk, Zeeland, the Netherlands, he was christened at six days old "during the service of Reverend F. van Gogh" (no apparent relation to the famed artist). He spent his entire life in Nieuwerkerk, and his occupation was always listed as a laborer. His first wife was Jacomijntje LOGMANS (c. 1799 - 1820), whom he married in 1817. They had one son, who did not survive infancy. Two years after her death, he married my ancestor, Neltje POOT (c. 1793 - 1850), with whom he had nine children. Unfortunately, only two of these children, Pieter and Suzanna, survived childhood, and both immigrated to the United States with their spouses after their parents' deaths.

Ahnentafel #58 - Pieter Adriaanse TON (1823 - 1874) - born in Nieuwerkerk, Zeeland, the Netherlands. He married Maria Marina van KLINKEN (1827 - 1878) in Nieuwerkerk in 1856. They apparently had a daughter in 1851, Cornelia. Her father's name was not listed on her birth record where she is listed with her mother's surname, but her surname is shown as TON when she immigrated with Pieter and Maria in 1857. Having children before marriage was not uncommon in the nineteenth century in the Netherlands, especially amongst the poor, as the state-run church required a hefty marriage fee. Often a couple began their household and had several children before they could afford to be officially married.
     Our Family Record book authored by Pieter and Maria's grandson and his wife state that they had four sons (one named Louis) and four daughters, Kate, Nell, Mary, and Jennie. One son has been identified in Zeeland vital records as Adriaan, who was born and died the same year and shortly before the family immigrated. Nell is not the same person as Cornelia, as her birth was in 1860. Kate is the only daughter for whom no record can be found; whether or not she is the same individual as Cornelia remains to be seen. No death record has been found for Cornelia and she disappears after her immigration in 1857. The lack of records can be attributed to the fact that Cincinnati, Ohio where the family first settled after arriving in the United States, did not keep vital records until 1865. These early records appear to have gaps, as well.
     From city directories, we can determine that Pieter worked in Cincinnati at several factories where he was exposed to toxic chemicals such as sulfuric acid. When the family relocated around 1872 to Grand Rapids, Kent Co., Michigan, he continued his factory work. It's no wonder that he died at the young age of 51 from consumption. Likely he was buried in the paupers' section of Valley City (now Oakhill) Cemetery, where Maria was interred four years later.

Ahnentafel #29 - Jana "Jennie" TON (1867 - 1943) - born in Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., Ohio, she was youngest of three daughters that survived childhood. Her parents and siblings relocated to Grand Rapids, Kent Co., Michigan around 1872. After her father's death in 1874, her mother remarried to another widowed Dutch immigrant, Dirk BIJL, who had two children. When her mother died in 1878, Jennie was orphaned at the tender age of 11. Her step-father remarried yet another Dutch widow, and Jennie went to live with her maternal uncle and aunt, Johannes "John" van KLINKEN and Barendina LENDERINK. With only a third-grade education behind her, Jennie joined her older sisters as hired-out maids. She eventually worked as a laundress and likely met her future husband, Martin HOEKSTRA (1868 - 1944), who drove the laundry wagon for the American Steam Laundry company. They married in 1886 in Martin's hometown of Holland, Ottawa Co., Michigan, but set up their home in Grand Rapids, where they had four children. In the late 1930s or early 1940s, they moved to Allegan, Allegan Co., Michigan, where Jennie died.

Ahnentafel #14 - John Martin HOEKSTRA (1892 - 1975) - I have a few faint memories of my great-grandfather, whom I last saw when I was five. They have been recorded in my AnceStory of him here.

Ahnentafel #7 - Ruth Lillian HOEKSTRA - (1919 - 2001) - my dear maternal grandmother. You can read her AnceStory here.

Ahnentafel #3 - my mother (living)

Ahnentafel #1 - myself

More About the TON Family:

1. Online database (I update this at least once a month): TON ancestors and relatives (no info on living persons available)

2. Some TON obituaries

3. Posts about TON ancestors and relatives on this blog

4. Some scanned TON documents

My TON Immigration Trail:

Heerewaarden, Gelderland, the Nethelands > Nieuwerkerk, Zeeland, the Netherlands > Hamilton Co., OH > Kent Co., MI > Pierce Co., WA > Kent Co., MI > AK > Stevens Co., WA > Spokane Co., WA

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1 comment:

Rob Ton said...

I was curious if you have made any headway on identifying which Ton family your "Geert" belongs to?

I am also researching the Ton's of Heerewaarden so I took some time to see what I could find for Geert. Children from the Nieuwerkerk baptismal records that I would associate with Gerrit 'Geert' and his wife, include:

Henderina (b. 8 April 1782)
Jannetje (b. 12 Jun 1783)
Henderik (b. 12 Dec 1784)
Adriana (b. 20 Mar 1786)
Adriana (b. 21 Aug 1788)
Le[?]a (b. 2 Nov 1789)
Lieven (b. 11 Feb 1791)
Adriaan (b. 17 Dec 1792)
Jannetje (23 Apr 1794)
Ma[????] (b. 28 May 1797)

As bolded above the first identified male son is named Henderik which, given typical naming patterns, is a potentially useful clue.

As you already know Geert's April 1812 death register reports his age as 67 (soixante-sept) which gives a calculated birth of about 1745.

The December 1780 Marriage as well as many of the baptisms gives Geert's proper name as Gerrit, and his place of birth as Heerewaarden.

As it just so happens, taking these clues together we find a baptism at Heerewaarden, date 1 January 1745, for Gerrit, son of Hendrik Ton and (first wife) Ariaentje van Oort. Ref:

I would suggest this person is a strong contender as the next step in this line of ancestors. If you agree with this conclusion you may also be interested in the information another group of researchers has provided on Geneanet. Where their information comes from is not always given, and I have found some errors, but it is largely accurate and if nothing else provides some leads to follow up on. Ref:

I have not found evidence of the parents for my oldest known Ton ancestor (Aert Ton) but the website linked above suggests that he is likely a brother to the Hendrik I proposed as Geert/Gerrit's father. My own research is posted on Wikitree with the earliest known ancestor being found at:

Hope 5his help