Feature Story – Edward van Aartsen

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, having had only a brief conversation with him to schedule a day to hear about his family research.  As it turns out, my anxiety was all for not, as I was presently surprised to see Edward van Aartsen arrive with a binder in hand and quite eager to share his story.

Edward-van-AartsenEdward was named after his grandfather and spent most of his life among family members in Holland. His 40 year career as an airline ticket agent afforded him travel opportunities to visit every continent.  He admits to a love of history from as far back as he can remember, always reading anything history related.  Then in 1998 perhaps upon closing the cover of yet another history book, came the idea of ‘why not look into my own family history?‘  And so began Edward’s quest to discover the story of his ancestors. Click below to hear his introduction to researching ancestors.

His initial research began in Holland without the help of the internet.  Instead, Edward gathered family information from verbal histories of elder family members. He also researched what remained of the archives in Middelburg, (southwest Holland) and Amsterdam to obtain historical family records.  He explained that in Holland, birth, death and marriage records were maintained by churches throughout the 18th century. Then in 1811, Popular Registration (‘vital records’) came into existence.  Today, records in Holland are being digitized and gradually becoming available on the internet.  As a result, Edward has successfully traced his line back to 1744.  Along the way however, he has come upon two brick walls presenting major challenges for his continued family research efforts.  In 1800 a massive fire in Middleburg destroyed many of the archival records.  Additionally, much of the church records prior to the 18th century require translation (from Latin) to English.

In 2002, Edward moved to the United States and began researching Pedigree-chart-Kelloghis spouse’s family (Kellogg).  His sister-in-law (former Siuslaw Genealogy Society member Karen Brown) shared her family research with him and passed on a pedigree chart she had compiled.  Edward learned the Nicholas Kellogg (born in 1488) family originated from England and lived in Essex, north east of London.  In about 1650, his great-great-grandson Joseph Kellogg arrived in Boston.  Thereafter, the Kellogg family members and succeeding generations migrated to various states including Connecticut, New York, Michigan, California, and Oregon.


With a keen interest in history, Edward wondered where the Kellogg family members were at the time of the American Revolution.  Could any of the family members have participated in the Revolution?  He discovered one such descendant – Thomas Kellogg, born in 1755, in New York (7 generations back) was about 20 years old and a member of George Washington’s Continental army.  Last year, fellow Siuslaw Genealogy Society member Jacquie Beveridge was instrumental in assisting Edward with locating a document describing Thomas Kellogg’s military service.  Edward is currently making efforts to have Thomas Kellogg officially recognized as a Son of the American Revolution.

He continues to update the Kellogg family tree (going back to 1488) using Archives.com, and shares his research results with nieces and nephews.  Paging through his family history binder, Edward is pleased to have established a connection with the lives of both his and his spouse’s ancestors.  Click below to hear more.

Edward van Aartsen has been a member of the Siuslaw Genealogy Society (SGS) since 2011, and is currently the Society’s Vice-President.  He credits fellow SGS members Diane Biltz, Jacquie Beveridge, and Kevin Mittge for their timeless efforts in assisting him with the Kellogg family historical research.

About siuslawgenealogy

The Siuslaw Genealogical Society of Florence, Oregon is a member supported, non profit organization. Researching genealogy and family history is our passion.
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