Replying to your post, Tom VS has said of the Gene Van Sickle stuff that, "Gene Van Sickle published about the family ties in Europe. A lot of interesting information around Ghent, Belgium, but hard to verify."
If I may, Tom is being kind to say that Gene's ruminations are "hard to verify". In truth, any connections of the family to Ghent are not verified and are almost certainly untrue.
In the mid-to-late 1980s I was in touch with Gene fairly often, trying among other things to get him to ease up on his fabulous claims for our ancestry. But he was, well, irrepressible. Among other things, Gene claimed for us Viking heritage and that the family is responsible for the name of the Italian island of Sicily.
In his later years, Gene had become convinced that the immigrant Zacharias Sickles was close kin to immigrant Ferdinandus Van Sickelen and subsequently began to publish all sorts of Sickles family info because of that erroneous assumption. My attempts, and I assume those of others who take documentation seriously, to dissuade him of this new excursion into the imagination also went unheeded.
In response to this specific thread, Linda has noted that the indenture signed by the first Ferdinandus Van Sickelen is available and has been published in the quarterly "New Netherland Connections" [Owner-editor Dorothy Koenig , a frequent and invaluable contributor to the Dutch-Colonies-L@rootsweb.com site. Contact her for subscription rates and past-issue price and availability]
From this we learn that Ferdinandus was in Amsterdam in 1653 (thus NOT here in 1652, as Ferd himself mistakenly declared), together with his mother Susannah, who also signed the agreement for him to go to New Netherland as a servant. This is absolutely the only record we have of his existence in Europe. Perhaps more will come to light in future.
But it is important to state unequivocally that Amsterdam is where the trail ends at present and that there is zero evidence of any connection to Ghent or Belgium, for him, his mother, or his unknown father. Tales of De Groot Sickle "castle" and blue-blooded origins of our ancestor are made of whole cloth and are borne of an era when such claims were the mother's milk of fraudulent genealogies purchased of unscrupulous "genealogists".
Further on the subject of Gene Van Sickle's work, its true value is not in the more ancient American genealogy, which is basically a rehash of the 1880 Van Sickle book, which itself does not approximate modern genealogical standards and takes much of its first American generational information from Teunis G. Bergen's "Early Settlers of Kings County", mistakes and all, but in the fact that his solicitations to purchase his booklets reached a wide audience of Van Si(c)kle(n) descendants, many of whom provided him with information on their specific lines. Thus, obtaining his work might be useful to others who are looking for relatives and branches of the family in more modern times. Too, his excursion into the unrelated Sickles family also produced some information on more recent generations that might be useful.
I do believe that I have read that Gene Van Sickle's booklets have been microfilmed by the LDS and should be available by request at any LDS FHC. And I think I had noticed at least portions of his writings available through Kindred Konnections. I also note that he was expecting one of his daughters, the one who was living in Connecticut as I recall, to pick up where he left off. Unfortunately I do not recall her married name, nor town of residence. Perhaps another GenForum contributor can help in this regard?