The book “The Van Voorhees Family in America” tracks my ancestry back to Roelof Martense Schenck (b. 1620, Amersfoort). Multiple online entries state that his grandfather was Pieter Schenck Van Nydeggen (b. 1547, Goch). Pieter reportedly married Johanna Van Scherpenzeel on May 17, 1580, in Doesburg, Gelderland. It is also reported that Pieter died in Doesburg. I do not find records of Pieter’s marriage & death in the online Gelders Archief www.geldersarchief.nlbut this may be incomplete. I did not have time to look at family folders at the Arnhem archives during my recent visit to The Netherlands & Germany.
Rengert van Kesteren of Doesburg is writing a book on burials at the Martinikerk in Doesburg. He said that a 1937 inventory of church burials does not show anything for the Schenck surname. Rengert said that there was in Doesburg a Judge Van Scherpenzeel. It is reported in a history that Johanna Van Scherpenzeel Schenck’s father was Judge Johann Van Scherpenzeel. That is encouraging.
Tombstones inside the church at Doesburg suffered terrible damage when German troops blew up the church the day before the end of WWII. Restoration has been a long process. Rengert gave me a private tour of the church during my April, 2012, visit to ancestral sites in Nederland & Germany. I have put some photos of Doesburg, including the church, on one of my Ancestry.com trees at http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/39601901/person/19583255547http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/39601901/person/19583255547
Pieter’s colorful brother Maarten gets some photos on his page at http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/39601901/person/19397544717http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/39601901/person/19397544717 Included is my photo of a genuine Maarten Schenck Van Nydeggen doll (not available in stores), on display in a glass box at the site of Maarten’s Schenckenschans fortress, north of Kleve, Germany. How odd it is to see a doll of a person whom I’m researching.
While my daughter & I were at St. Steven’s Church in Nijmegen, one guide pointed out the unmarked alleged grave of Maarten (his remains were reportedly buried at St. Steven’s a couple of years after Spaniards beheaded & quartered his drowned body). Another guide said that this stone was in fact an altar stone, not a grave stone. A third guide told the second guide that “maybe” Maarten was buried there. This stone bears the number 886, used to identify bodies buried there, but the reference books at the church had no listing for this number.
Ancestral sites on this trip also included the Schenck Van Nydeggen castles Bleijenbeek and Walbeck, plus the site of the Gaesdonck Monastery, which received land and money from the Schenck family. In addition to my Ancestry.com tree, there may be a blog at some point discussing findings from this trip. There was not time for archives research. I did visit Amersfoort.
While at St. Stevenskerk in Nijmegen, we got a private undercroft viewing of the grave of Catharine of Bourbon. Her son Charles II, Duke of Guelders, was the guy who forcibly chucked my Schenck kin out of Bleijenbeek. Maarten’s quest to regain that castle seems to explain some of his actions, and I have tried to feature these in a timeline for Maarten on my Ancestry.com tree. Bleijenbeek Castle held up well over the centuries, but WWII RAF bombing turned it into today’s ruin. Walbeck Castle is in good shape, and is owned by a private youth organization. A correspondent has visited Nydeggen Castle & he was impressed. I hope that Schenck cousins will be inspired to visit these places, and perhaps further advance the ancestral knowledge base.
Also, development of a sizable Schenck yDNA project would likely be very helpful. The few Schenck samples now in the Family Tree DNA database are not yet public, and belong to no organized project, as of this writing. Anyone who could see fit to become a project coordinator would do Schenck researchers a great favor.