Fonda Surname Genealogy

Fonda name came at first from Italy, from the Italian fondo
or fonda meaning “deep” and describing a deep valley
to be found near
the city of Genoa. An Italian by that
name was said to have fled to the Netherlands in the 16th century at
the time
of the Reformation. Jacob Harmense Fonda
was recorded in Holland around 1540.
The Fonda name in America is attributable
to Jellis Douwese Fonda who left Holland with his family in 1651 for
New York.

Fonda Resources on

Fonda Ancestry

not known why or exactly when Jellis Fonda
and his family left Holland for America.
There is no known record of the family on published ship
lists. A best guess, based on available information, indicates that
probably sailed on either the Bonte Koe
or the Prins Willem.

America. When Jellis arrived in
upstate New York in
1651, he was, according to a contemporary account, “accompanied by his
Hester Jans and three children – a son Douwe, aged about eleven years,
and two
daughters Geertien and Sara, aged around nine and seven.”

New York. Jellis
died in 1659 and it was his son Douwe who established his family, a
large one, at
Albany outside the town’s north gate.

Douwe’s sons spread a bit. Isaac remained
in Albany (his nephew Gysbert
prospered in business there and was one of its wealthiest citizens by
1760’s). Jellis, a gunstock maker, moved
to nearby Schenectady; while Jan settled in Rensselaerswyck.

In 1751 Douwe Fonda, a
farmer and merchant,
moved from Schenectady to the hamlet of Caughnawaga along the Mohawk
some 30 miles west of Albany. After he
was brutally scalped during an Indian raid in 1780, the settlement was
Fonda and Fondas remained there until the late 1960’s.
Douw Henry Fonda built the present farmhouse
in the 1840’s in which seven generations of the family have lived.

Some Fondas had
started moving away from New York. John
H. Fonda left for Wisconsin in 1825.

Fonda trekked to Prairie du Chien,
Wisconsin in 1825. He was an explorer,
trader, mail carrier, Indian agent and, later, a colonel in the Civil
War. There was a life-size painting of him
hung in
the Wisconsin Capital Building.”

Others went west – to Missouri, Illinois and
Kansas. Ten Eyck Fonda departed the New
York Fonda farm for Illinois in 1873 and then moved further west to
five years later in search of railroad work.

Abraham Fonda, born in Missouri, returned
to New York where he was
a cigar manufacturer. His first wife Mary
Alice was a
well-known music critic who died in 1897.
His second wife Rhoda apparently married him in 1919 for his

and Hollywood. Ten Eyck’s son
William was a printer in Omaha, Nebraska.
William’s son Henry Fonda,
born there, began acting and got his first break in films in 1935. He was to be a Hollywood star for the next
forty years.

Henry was also the patriarch of a family of famous actors,
including daughter Jane Fonda,
Peter Fonda, granddaughter Bridget Fonda, and grandson Troy Garity.

Fonda Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Fonda Names


from Holland who
arrived in New York in 1651 was the progenitor of the Fonda family in
Mary Alice Fonda
, writing under the
pen-name of Octavia Hensel, was an internationally-recognized music
critic of
the late 1800’s.
Henry Fonda
was an
American film and stage actor whose career extended from the 1930’s to
Jane Fonda
, a highly
acclaimed American film actress, has also been known for her political
during the Vietnam war and for her fitness videos

Select Fondas Today

  • 700 in America (most numerous in New York)





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