Van Buren Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Van Buren Meaning
Buren is a Dutch-origin surname meaning “of Buren,” Buren being a small
city in the Dutch province of Gelderland. The name has a certain
prominence in Holland because Anna van Egmond en Buren was the first
wife of William of Orange, the founder of the Dutch royal family.
The Dutch royals have been known to use the name van Buren in
situations that require anonymity.
The van Buren name has a greater prominence in America because Martin
van Buren was the 8th President of the United States. There are
also van Vuurens in South Africa.

Van Buren
Resources on

Van Buren Ancestry

In 1613 the first Dutch settlers arrived and founded a number of
villages and a town called New Amsterdam in what was to become the
state and city of New York. Some of the Dutch families who came to New York
in the 1600’s, such as the Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, van Burens,
Schuylers and van Dykes were later through their descendants to have
important parts to play in American history.

From the town of Buren in Holland came Cornelis Maessen in 1631.
His family farmed in the Hudson valley at Rensselaerwick and, from the
1690’s, at Kinderhook. As the 1790 New York state census
showed, they were still farming there a hundred years later. Martin van Buren,
a protege of Andrew Jackson who was to become President in 1836, was
born in Kinderhook
and later retired there. As the Kinderhook
reported in May

“After the lapse of a long series of
years spent in the service of his country, President van Buren has
returned to the home of his youth, probably to spend the evening of his
days among those who have long appreciated the splendor of his genius
and admired his virtues.”

There are few direct descendants of
Martin van Buren as none of his grandchildren ever married. One
line comes from Martin’s second cousin, Barent van Buren. And the
strip illustrator Raeburn van Buren may be a distant
relative. The overall family history has been recorded in Harriet
Peckham’s 1913 book History of
Cornelis Maessen van Buren

Also from Buren in Holland came Gerrit Cornellissen in 1660. His
son Martin is thought to have adopted the van Buren name and settled in
Kingston, New York.

Dr. Johannes
van Beuren
, who arrived around 1700, was one of the leading
physicians of New York in his time. His two sons Beekman and
Henry followed him in his profession, Beekman in New York and Henry in
Brooklyn. They mixed with other notable Dutch families of
colonial New York. Beekman’s son Michael became a merchant in New
York, as did the next two of this line. Beekman’s grandson
William became a surgeon.

Some van Burens did move in later years. Cornelius van Buren left
the Hudson valley in the early 1800’s and, following the course of the
Mohawk valley, made his home in Glen, Montgomery county. Peter
and Isabella van Buren departed Otsego county, New York for Wisconsin
in 1844, settling in Vernon township. And Charles van Buren, also
from Otsego county, moved to Michigan in 1882. He settled in the
Clearweater township in Kalkaska county.

South Africa. The name in
South Africa came to be spelt van Vuuren. Gerrit Jansen van
Vuuren was born in Gelderland and came to the Cape colony in
1687. He has a large number of descendants today scattered around
South Africa. His original farm of Bellenchamp in Drakenstein is
now part of the Bellingham wine estate.


Van Buren Miscellany

Cornelis Maessen van Buren.  Cornelis Maessen either originated in the town of Buren in Gelderland
or was a native of that place.  He did not at that time bear the
van Buren name.  It was not the custom at the time he came to
America for Dutchmen to have a family name, except in very rare cases.

Cornelis arrived on the Dutch ship Rensselaerwyck
with his wife Catalyntje in the summer of 1631 and they settled to farm
Ransselaerwick in what is now Albany county, New York.  Both
Cornelis and his
wife died in 1648.

Their grandson Martin assumed the van Buren
surname.  The Dutch of New Amsterdam, after the succession of the
English in 1664, had begun to adopt family surnames, generally taking
the name of the place in Holland from which they or their parents had

Dutch New York Families.  A number of Dutch families who came to New York in the 1600’s achieved a later prominence in American history.  The table below lists these family names, their immigrant forebear and arrival date, and approximate numbers in America today.

Name Forebear and Arrival Date Numbers Today (000’s)
Vanderbilt Jan Aertszoon van der Bilt in
Roosevelt Claes Maartenszam van Rosenvelt
in 1649
Van Dyke Jan Thomasse van Dyke in 1652   2.4
Schuyler Philip Pieterse Schuyler in 1650   1.4
Van Buren Cornelis Maessen van Buren in

Other notable early Dutch families, but with few
descendants of their name in America today, are Rensselaer, Stuyvesant,
van Courtlandt, van Wyck, Beekman, Hasbrouck (a Huguenot family), and
(which probably became Bloomingdale).  

Van Burens in the 1790 New York State Census.  The table below shows where and how many van Burens and
their slaves were recorded in the 1790 New York state census.

County Town # persons # slaves
Albany Easton     25      4
Albany Hoosick      7      2
Albany Rensselaerwick    124     43
Columbia Hudson     11
Columbia Kinderhook     60     27
Columbia Livingston      7
Dutchess Rhineback      4
Montgomery Caughnawaga     13      9
Montgomery Mohawk      5
New York Manhattan     32
New York Brooklyn (King’s)     15      3
Ulster Kingston     14      3
Total    317     91

Rensselaerwick and Kinterhook are where the descendants
of Cornelis Maessen van Buren were to be found; Manhattan and Brooklyn
the descendants of Dr. Johannes van Beuren.

Kinderhook.  Kinderhook, the upstate New York home of America’s 8th President, is steeped in history.
Washington Irving wrote
the classic story The Legend of
Sleepy Hollow
while staying at Lindenwald, the home of Martin
Van Buren.  The Van Alen house, built in 1737, is just north of
Lindenwald.  The house is now a museum, along with the original
Ichabod Crane schoolhouse of Irving’s tale adjoining it.

Martin Van Buren is OK.  According to John Ciardi’s A
Browser’s Dictionary
, the expression “OK” first surfaced in the
1820’s and gained popularity during Martin van Buren’s bid for
re-election for President in 1840.  Van Buren, a native of
Kinderhook NY, was
popularly known as Old Kinderhook or O.K.  During the election
campaign the cry of “OK,” indicating enthusiastic approval of Old
Kinderhook, soon began to resound at rallies and the letters OK became
common on placards and in political cartoons.

Foreign coverage of the campaign, which included reproductions of the
cartoons, soon spread OK through Europe and Latin America as a formula
of approval.  When Van Buren was crushingly defeated by William
Henry Harrison, the Democrats let it be known that O.K. stood for
“Orful Kalamity” and “Orrible Katastrophe.”

Van Buren Physicians and Surgeons in New York.  Dr. Johannes Beuren had attended the lectures of Herman Boerhaave in
Leyden and immigrated from Beuren, near Amsterdam, to New York in
1700.  Soon after his arrival he was appointed physician to the
almshouse, a position to which his son, Beekman Van Buren, who died in 1812, succeeded him.

Beekman’s grandson, William Holme van Buren, was a surgeon and teaching
professor at New York’s new Bellevue hospital when it opened in 1847.

William was famed for his skill in amputations and other operations of
general surgery, but he particularly distinguished himself in the field
of diseases of the urogenital system on which he published several
valuable contributions.  His areas of specialty were the rectum,
bladder and kidney.  His lectures on syphilis were among the most
popular and best attended in New York.

He published an American edition of Charles Morel’s book on histology
and of Claude Bernard’s and Charles Huette’s operative surgery.
The latter was official guide to the military physicians during the
Civil War.  Every surgeon in the federal army received one copy.



Select Van Buren Names

  • Martin van Buren, the son of an upstate New York innkeeper, was the eighth President of the United States.
  • Raeburn van Buren was a noted magazine and comic strip illustrator of the early 20th century.
  • Abigail van Buren was the pen name of the Dear Abby
    newspaper advice columnist Pauline Phillips.

Select Van Buren Numbers Today

  • 1,000 in America (most numerous
    in New York)


Select Van Buren and Like Surnames.

These are Dutch-originated names, Dutch surnames that found their way in the 17th century to New York and to South Africa.  Here are some of the Dutch surnames that you can check out.

BeekmanHendricksKnickerbockerVan Buren



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