joanvanark

 Joan Van Ark

s_bukley/Shutterstock
Joan Van Ark descends from Gradus van Ark, a successful builder who immigrated to America from the Netherlands in 1866.




 

The Dutch-American Roots of
Joan Van Ark


By James Pylant

COPYRIGHT © 2006, 2015—ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
DO NOT POST OR PUBLISH WITHOUT PERMISSION
Revised 25 March 2015


Actress Joan Van Ark is best-known for her role of Valene Ewing on the long-running CBS nighttime soap Knots Landing. Joan Van Ark, the fourth generation Van Ark in America, was the second youngest enrollee of the Yale School of Drama on a scholarship. Coincidentally, the youngest was actress Julie Harris, who played her mother in Knots Landing.1 On 1 February 1966, Joan Van Ark married John Marshall. They have one child, Vanessa Jeanne Marshall,2 a Princeton graduate who is now a voice-over actress.3

Joan Van Ark was born 16 June 1946 in New York City,4 to Carroll Van Ark and the former Dorothy Jean Hemenway.5 A native of Holland, Michigan, Carroll Van Ark worked in advertising and public relations. On a business trip to Colorado, Van Ark had the chance to see Boulder and decided that he and his wife and their four children would relocate to that city.6

The Social Security Death Index shows Carroll Van Ark was born on 14 August 1897 and died September of 1972, his last residence being Boulder.7 The same birth date for Carroll C. Van Ark, in the city of Holland, as registered in Ottawa County, Michigan, shows he was the son of Henry Van Ark and wife Alice. His father's occupation was bookkeeper.8

By 1910, Henry Van Ark's occupation had changed from bookkeeper to "retail merchant, furniture," according to the federal census enumeration for that year. He was 39, born in Michigan, and both of his parents were native of the Netherlands. Wife Alice, age 33, was born in Michigan, as were his parents. The Van Arks had been married 13, and Mrs. Van Ark had given birth to two children, both of whom were living. Sons were Carrol C., age twelve, and Gordon H., age three months, both born in Michigan.9 Six years later, a local directory shows Henry Van Ark, a furniture dealer, and wife Alice had three children and lived at a Holland rural route. Here, they owned thirteen acres. Carroll Van Ark's occupation is given as newspaper reporter.10

By the next decade, Carroll Van Ark was no longer living with his parents. Henry Van Ark is shown on the 1920 census, at age 47, now in Fillimore Township, Allegan County. His birth and occupational information as matches with what is found in 1910. Wife Alice, age 42, and son Gordon H., age ten, are also found, but the family with two younger children: Isabel, age six, and Edna May, age three years and three months.11

Based on the 1910 census, the Van Arks had been married thirteen years as of 27 April. Their fourteenth anniversary fell later that year, for Henry Van Ark, age 24, and Alice M. Miller, age 19, were married 28 September 1896 in Holland, Ottawa County. The groom, a bookkeeper, the son of Gradus Van Ark and the former Alice Oldenhof, was born in Holland, Michigan. The bride, the daughter of Christopher Miller, was born in Fillimore, Michigan.12 Alice Mae Miller Van Ark was born on 1 April 1877 in Michigan died at age 53 on 2 March 1931 in Holland. Her death certificate, however, identifies her parents as John Miller and Alberta Eskes. Christopher Miller and Alberta Escus are listed as parents on the marriage license for Alice’s sister, Lucy Miller, in 1902.14

Henry Van Ark, who attended Hope College, was an elder in the Reformed church. He survived his wife by more than two decades, having died at age 81 on 16 October 1952 in Cutlerville, Kent County, Michigan.15

Henry is the Americanized form of the Dutch name Hendrik, just as Alice is for the Dutch Aaltje. The birth record of Hendrik Van Ark shows he was born 4 May 1873 in Ottawa County to carpenter Gerardus Van Ark and wife, Aaltje, both natives of the Netherlands.16 Seven years later, the Van Arks were enumerated on the rolls of the 1880 federal census in Holland, Ottawa County, Michigan, with Gerardus Van Ark, age 46, "Proprietor of Planning Mill," and wife Aaltje, age 50, keeping house; son Herman, age 21, working at planning mill; daughter Aaltje, age 16, at home; daughter Johanna, age 12; at home; Frank, age 10; son Hendrik, age eight; and son Bertus, age five. The Van Arks and their two older children were born in Holland; the remaining members of the family were born in Michigan.17

In 1900 Joan Van Ark's great-grandmother —Alice—is found twice on the federal census: in the household of husband in Ottawa County, and also in the household of her son-in-law in Kent County. The Ottawa County schedule shows Gravis Van Ark, no age of year of birth given (only that he was born in November), a native of the Netherlands, had arrived in the U.S. in 1862 at the age of 38. Alice, age 70, born in May of 1830 in the Netherlands, had also arrived in America in 1862 at age 38.18 Alice Van Ark, as she appears in Marten Blok's household, indicates she came to America in 1865, at age 35.19

Gradus Van Ark, age 73, born in Holland, was retired by the enumeration of the 1910 census. He and Altje, age 79, born in Holland, a housekeeper, were living in Holland, Ottawa County. The year 1866 is recorded for the year of immigration for both, though only Mr. Van Ark was naturalized.20 Around the time of the census enumeration, Gradus and sons Henry and Frank built a three-story furniture store, which would become the largest retailer in town.21

The Van Arks constructed some of the largest wooden structures in the city of Holland and operated the Holland Furniture Company plant.22 Gradus Van Ark also built the Third Dutch Reformed Church.23 He was, however, best-known for making wine, which was used for the church communion services. Carroll Van Ark visited his paternal grandfather's home for family dinners on Sundays and remembered when wine did not involve the ritual of communion. As the story goes, Mr. Van Ark "would take the men down into the basement to inspect the vats. Sometime later, they would come back upstairs with flushed faces and jolly spirits."24 The immigrant left the Third Reformed Church after it merged with another congregation and Americanized its services, choosing instead to join a Dutch-speaking church.25

The 1910 census indicated recorded 1866 as the year of immigration for Gradus and wife Alice, though only Mr. Van Ark was naturalized.26 Reportedly, Gradus Van Ark was a part of the Van Raalje colony that came from the Netherlands in 1847 and settled in Michigan;27 however, another source explains that Van Ark chose to immigrate in the 1860s after hearing talks given by Dr. A. C. Van Raalje in the Netherland about Dutch settlement in Michigan.28 G. Van Ark, a 30-year-old farmer, and wife Aaltje, age 36, with their three children—nine-year-old son Harmen, five-year-old son Jacobus, and three-year-old daughter Aaltje—appeared on a list of passengers arriving in New York on 29 December 1866 aboard the Caroline, which had sailed from London, England. The manifest states that the family intended to become residents of Michigan.29

After becoming a Michigander, Van Ark organized and built a planing mill, Werkman, Van Ark & Co. He would later sell his interest in that firm and become a general contractor.30

According to family tradition, Gradus Van Ark outlived his wife, and "well into his eighties," married a younger woman.31 At age 84, he married 69-year-old housekeeper Aagjie Rozel, also a native of the Netherlands, on 26 September 1921 in Holland. The marriage license identifies the groom's parents as H. Van Ark and Jacoba Bosch.32 According to his death certificate, Gradus Van Ark was born in the Netherlands on 3 November 1836 and died at age 88 on 28 December 1924,33 three years into his second marriage.

The names of Gradus Van Ark's parents, as found in the 1921 marriage record, surfaces in Dutch records searched by John Nauta. "Hattem, Heere, and Epe are three towns in the Province of Gelderland, the Netherlands, were the van Ark family lived and died for many years," explains Mr. Nauta. At Hattem, a marriage certificate states Gradus van Ark, a 22-year-old carpenter, and Aaltje Oldenhof, age 29, were married on 26 October 1859.34 The document stated that the groom's parents were Harmen van Ark, bread baker, and Jacoba Bosch, while the bride's parents were named as Jan Oldenhof and Antonia Veerman.35

"Today, there are still numerous van Ark families in Heerde and Epe but none in Hattem," adds John Nauta.36

 


NOTES AND REFERENCES

  1. "Joan Van Ark," Internet Movie Database, online, www.imdb.com/names/nm0005521/bio : accessed 19 August 2006.
  2. Helen L. Tiger, ed., Who's Who in America, 51st Edition, Vol. 2 (L-Z), p. 4366.
  3. "Vanessa Marshall," online, Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0551223/, downloaded 19 August 2006.
  4. Susan L. Stetler, ed., Biography Almanac (Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1987), Vol. 2 (L-Z), p. 1638.
  5. Who's Who in America (New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who's Who, 1996), 51st Edition, Vol. 2 (L-Z), p. 4366.
  6. "The Celebrity Collector: Joan van Ark," online (www.go-star.com/antiquing/vanark.htm : accessed 1 December 2005).
  7. Carroll Van Ark entry, no. 085-05-5945, Social Security Death Index, online (http://ssdi.rootsweb.com/ : accessed 1 December 2005); now accessible via www.search.ancestry.com.
  8. Carroll Van Ark entry, no. 382, Birth Records, Vol. 6, p. 202, Ottawa County, Michigan.
  9. Henry Van Ark household, 1910 U.S. census, Ottawa County, Michigan, population schedule, Holland, enumeration district [ED] 162, supervisor's district [SD] 5, p. 78, sheet 21A, dwelling 545, family 352; National Archives [NA] microfilm T624-670.
  10. [Anonymous], The Farm Journal Illustrated Directory of Allegan County, Michigan (Philadelphia: Wilmer Atkinson Co., 1916), p. 247.
  11. Henry Van Ark household, 1920 U.S. census, Ottawa County, Michigan, population schedule, Fillemore, ED 13, SD 4, p. 118, sheet 6A, dwelling 102, family 107; NA microfilm T625-753.
  12. Henry Van Ark /Alice Miller license, no. 207 (1896), Marriage Records, Vol. 7, p. 172, Ottawa County, Michigan,
  13. Alice Mae Van Ark death certificate, no. 270-1290 (1931), Michigan Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, Lansing.
  14. Frank G. Hopeman/Lucy Miller entry (1902), "Michigan, Marriages, 1822—1995,"" index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FCFW-F1F : accessed 4 March 2015), citing reference CN 4858; FHL microfilm 1,017,877.
  15. "Henry Van Ark, 81, Former Furniture Retailer, Succumbs," The Holland Evening Sentinel (Holland, Mich.), 17 Oct. 1952, p. 1.
  16. Hendrik Van Ark entry, no. 388, Birth Records, Vol. 2, p. 26, Ottawa County, Michigan.
  17. Gerardus Van Ark [sic] household, 1880 U.S. census, Ottawa County, Michigan, population schedule, Holland, ED 244, SD 2, p. 465, dwelling 31, family 41; NA microfilm T9-0601.
  18. Gravis Van Ark [sic] household, 1900 U.S. census, Ottawa County, Michigan, population schedule, Holland, ED 126, SD 126, dwelling 545, family 352, p. 181, sheet 18A; NA microfilm T623-738.
  19. Marten Blok household, 1900 U.S. census, Kent County, Michigan, Walker township, population schedule, ED 66, SD 66, p. 217, sheet 1B, dwelling 18, family 19; NA microfilm T623-722.
  20. Gradus Van Ark household, 1910 census, Ottawa County, Michigan, population schedule, Holland, ED 163, SD 5, p. 112, sheet 29A; dwelling 679, family 639; NA microfilm T624-670.
  21. The Holland Evening Sentinel, 17 October 1952, p. 1.
  22. Ibid.
  23. Gradus Van Ark obituary (1926), "Michigan Obituaries, 1820—2006," online images and database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVPK-18SG : accessed 4 March 2015), citing Herrick Public Library Collection.
  24. Ibid.
  25. "Michigan Obituaries, 1820—2006," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/WVPK-18SG).
  26. Gradus Van Ark household, 1910 census, Ottawa County, Michigan, population schedule, Holland, ED 163, SD 5, p. 112, sheet 29A; dwelling 679, family 639; NA microfilm T624-670.
  27. The Holland Evening Sentinel, 17 Octber 1952, p. 1.
  28. "Michigan Obituaries, 1820—2006," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/WVPK-18SG).
  29. G. Van Ark entry, SS Caroline Passenger Manifest, 29 December 1866, page 3, line 11; in Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, 1820—1897, NARS microfilm M237-274.
  30. "Michigan Obituaries, 1820—2006," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/WVPK-18SG).
  31. "DAHEF—Hall of Fame—1996, Joan van Ark," online (http://www.dahef.org/HallOfFame/1996-van_Ark.html : accessed 1 December 2005).
  32. Gradus Van Ark/Aagjie Rozel license, no. 337 (1921), Holland County, Michigan, "Michigan Marriage Records, 1867—1952," online images and database (www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 March 2015), citing Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.
  33. Gradus Van Ark death certificate, no. 270-481 (1924), Michigan Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, Lansing.
  34. John Nauta to James Pylant, 24 November 2007.
  35. Gradus van Ark/Aatlje Oldenhof marriage certificate, record no. 27 (1859), registration no. 4366, Hattem, Gelderland, The Netherlands, online images and database (https://www.wiewaswie.nl/en/search/search-results/record-details/a2apersonid/513000507/srcid/18175837/oid/33 : accessed 25 March 2015), citing Gelders Archief, Arnhem, Gelderland.
  36. John Nauta to James Pylant, 24 November 2007.