19 February 2008

Did Van Dorts' emigrate to Singapore?

Having set up the Van Dort Genealogy over the past three consecutive days, there were two Van Dort persons on record who left Ceylon and reached Singapore. Unfortunately the mention of them being in Singapore does not give enough "meat" to work on further.

The two persons who were connected to Singapore are:

1. Claude Vivian Van Dort

He married Eveleen Murial Jansz at St. Andrew's Cathedral on May 26, 1922. Now that's really
not in ancient times. 

Claude Vivian comes from the same root of Dr. William Gregory Van Dort. Claude It is the same family tree of Lewellyn Van Dort who is the third immigrant to British Malaya.
There is no record of Mr. & Mrs Claude V. Van Dort having children.

2. Arthur Henry Van Dort

There is no mention of him marrying. He was born on Sept23, 1847. The records merely states, "Died in Singapore."

What is interesting is that Arthur Henry comes from the root of Adriaan Van Dort. It is the same family tree of Richard William Van Dort who is the newly discovered fourth immigrant to British Malaya.

There is no record of Arthur Henry's marriage.

We have a lot to thank TribalPages for without their powerful Genealogy Program, it would have demanded a lot of time to arrive at these relationship connections.

IF there ever comes a time that the Van Dorts' were to emigrate to Outer Space, please Van Dorts' all, leave full and complete family data in their new Outer Space Colony. As it is on Earth, even though there are records, the records however fall short of one thing or another.

E & OE
post signature

18 February 2008

Who are the Burghers?

With the passage of time, the term "Burgher" has disappeared. It is regarded as something of the past and by now it is almost forgotten. Transnational migration of the Burghers have eclipsed this ethnic minority.

The Van Dort families in Malaysia are of Dutch Burgher origins. It is well over 300 years since their Dutch Burgher commune began. Today, the remaining Dutch Burghers are few and ageing on the island of Sri Lanka. In fact, the Burghers in Sri Lanka are an endangered minority of 

However, beyond the shores of Sri Lanka, the term Burgher is largely unknown, even amongst the younger generation of Burgher families. It would most certainly be greeted with a puzzled look if the matter of Burgher is mentioned.
Who are the Burghers?

Here is a recommended reading material on "Who are the Burghers" The website link is:

In a book titled "Burghers" authored by J.B. MULLER, there is this description:

The Burghers have given Sri Lanka some of its finest intellectuals, poets, painters, writers, musicians, engineers, judges, doctors, police and armed services officers and public administrators and legislators, apart from being naturally gifted artisans, technicians and mechanics. They remain a proud people with a great feel for life and an abiding love for their country.

E & OE

Mr. Paul Murray

I had a conversation with Mr. Paul Murray who is a cousin of mine. He is back at his Dad's home in Mersing which is located on the south eastern coastline of Penisula Malaysia. I learned that his Dad is not in good health and that Paul has requested the Catholic Priest to administer the Last Rites for his Dad.

I know his Dad, Mr. Francis Murray. He married Fay Van Dort who is my Aunt. Theirs is a large family of over 10 children. Paul Murray will meet me soon to discuss old times and during which time I shall be able to get more data on his family to update the Genealogy Charts.

Mr. Francis Murray must be nearing 100 years old by now if not slightly past 100. He used to write me letters until it was no longer possible for him. I have driven to meet him in Mersing. Such a kind and soft spoken man who is a devout Catholic.

During his better health years Mr. Francis Murray never failed to invite me to join his family reunion for Christmas eve in Mersing. Unfortunately, I was never able to make the long journey to share the moment with him and his family.

I look forward now to meeting Mr. Paul Murray.

God speed to you Mr. Francis Murray in what ails your physical condition.

15 February 2008

Dutch Coat of Arms for Van Dort

The Dutch Coat of Arms for family Van Dort

Listed at this website is over a million Coat of Arms for Dutch family names. URL reference :

It took a long while to download the full page of all the Coat of Arms, with "V" being at the rear end of the Alphabetical order. Dutch Family Coats of Arms or  Dutch Crests or Heralds as one may wish to address them, it is obviously clear that to the Dutch it is a very significant aspect of their family tradition.

The Coat of Arms bears similarity to what the monogram means to the Chinese for their family name. The Chinese monogram which is a calligraphic stamp of the Chinese name is not as colorful and artistic as the Coat of Arms.

E & OE

Did Willem Van Dort marry a Kandian Princess?

There is no records that would conclusively prove there being any truth in what my Grandfather, Aelian Van Dort mentioned about his parents background. His father, Willem Van Dort is said to have married the daughter of a deposed King of Kandy. Her name is Christine Botaju.

In trying to establish a corresponding time chart to at the least see if at all, such a claim is possible, I have perused several accounts of the Kandian History that was contemporary of Willem Van Dort’s life period.

Willem's known biodata

Willem Van Dort was born on 14-Mar-1833, died: ? unspecified/unrecorded.

Willem's first child , William was born in 1856. Hence Willem fathered his first born at around the age of 23.

My Grandpa Aelian the last of his children was born on 13-Aug-1880. That would indicate that Willem was 47 years old at Grandpa's birth.

Kandian Kings

Kandy Independence from foreign rule (1591-1815)

Vimala Dharma Surya I (1591-1604)
Senarat (1604-1635)
Rajasinha (1635-1687)
Vimala Dharma Surya II (1687-1707)
Narendra Sinha (1707-1739)
Sri Vijaya Rajasinha (1739-1747)
Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1763)
To the Netherlands (1763)
Kirti Sri Rajasinha (restored) (1763-1782)
Rajadhi Rajasinha (1782-1798)
Sri Vikrama Rajasinha (1798-1815)

Brief Kandian Royal History

The Kandyan kingdom comprising the highlands of Lanka was ruled by a native king throughout its long period beginning from the Sinhalese dynasty namely from 543 BC up to 1815 AD exactly 2358 years.

On 15th February 1796 the British conquered the Maritime Provinces from the Dutch, who conceded power without much fighting.

On September, 20 1804 Capt. Johnston set out from Batticaloa with a military column of 200 troops and reached Kandy on 6th Oct. 1804. There he burned the Palace of Kundasale.

Governor North realised that although the British were well organised and well trained in the art of war the Kandyans were well fortified by their natural defences. The Kingdom was a country of forests, high mountains, rocks and rivers which barred attempts at invasion of the Kandyan Kingdom for centuries.

The jealousies and rivalries among Sinhalese Chiefs kept the Nayakkars in power. Pilimatalauwe, the most powerful Chief plotted against the cruel and despotic King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe and brought about a war between the British and the Kandyan Kingdom. The opportunity to declare war against the Kandyan Kingdom arose when a number of Muslim Traders from the Maritime provinces who had come to barter their ware were brutally treated as spies, beaten up and mutilated before they were sent back empty handed. At the same time Kandyan villagers had set fire to a village under the British.

The British started to make extensive preparations for the invasion of the King’s dominion with the assistance of Ehelepola. The principal reasons stated for the invasion were the alleged tyranny of the king and his unwillingness to enter into any terms with the British.

The king, finding the situation hopeless, abandoned the capital and fled to Medamaha-Nuwara, where he took refuge in a house of a peasant. King Sri Vikrama Raja Singha was captured and taken prisoner with his Queen Venkata angammal.

On Mar 2, 1815, Lanka was ceded to the British under a treaty called the Kandyan Convention. With Sri Vikrama Raja Singha ended, not only the last vestige of national freedom but also a civilization based on an entire and unique ethno-religious social philosophy, which our forefathers, with their toil, sweat, blood, and tears, had protected for 2,358 years. The downfall of the Sinhala Kingdom was mainly caused by the disunity of the people themselves. The Lion Flag which King Vijaya had planted in 544 BC was finally handed down.

The King was taken to Colombo on Mar 6, 1815, where he remained until Jan 24, 1816, when he and all his relatives, dependents, and adherents, amounting about 100 individuals, were transferred to India. They were first sent to Madras and finally to the fort of Vellore, where Sri Vikrama Raja Sinha died of dropsy on Jan 30, 1832, aged 52 years. The ex-king’s body was cremated and ashes were floated down the river. The king had ruled for seventeen years.

The fall of the Kandyan Kingdom on the signing of the Convention on 2nd March 1815 completely erased the last lingering vestiges of Sinhalese Sovereignty which the Kandyan chiefs never dreamt of taking place.

The only case of an indigenous kinglet was the fate of the (Ceylonese) King of Kandy: after British forces finally defeated him in 1815, he and his entourage were wisked off to Vellore, Tamil Nadu, where he basically lived out the rest of his life in relative obscurity on a government pension.

In another passage about King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, after he was captured, Sir John D'Oyly, who was appointed Resident of the newly acquired Kandyan Province on 2nd March 1815 had this to relate:  

After his capture king Sri Wickremarajasinghe had been greatly agitated fearing for his life and about the disgrace and abuse that may be caused to his queens and other young ladies of the royal family. This morning the king again desired to see me and formally presented to me his mother and his 4 queens, and successively placing their hands in mine, committed them to my charge and protection.

These female relatives who have no participation in his crimes, are certainly deserving of our commiseration and particularly the aged mother who appears inconsolable, and I hear she has been almost constantly in tears since the captivity of her son.

They had been alarmed by idle reports amongst other things that violent measures would be adopted against the king and his relatives subjected to disgrace and ill-treatment.

I ventured to assure them of their personal protection under Your Excellency's government and that no outrage would be committed against the life or person of the king.

The last King of Kandy was removed of all his power in 1815. Willem Van Dort was born in 1833. That denotes an interval of 18 years from the last King till the time that Willem was born.

At the age of 23 in 1856, Willem had his first child. The difference in years between 1856 and 1815 is 41 years.

The time frame supports the probability that the last Kandian King, Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, although he was deposed and exiled by the British in 1815, he could have fathered more children preceding Willem's year of birth in 1833 or soon after 1833. There could possibly have been a girl child from his Royal family at a marriagble age for Willem.

Understandably, all the above is mere conjecture and there is no evidence to support. It may be argued that whatever my Grandfather about his mother being a Princess could be mere coincidence against history's time frame.

Separately, I have held discussions with Sri Lankan friends about this. They inform me that the name Boteju/Botaju is not a Royal Ceylonese name. It is possible that she
could have changed her royal family name in order to avoid being identified with her 
despotic and cruel King father amongst the natives as well as the British colonial masters.

Furthermore, they also advised me that in lieu of the protracted ethnic strife in Sri Lanka, no Sri Lankan would support anyone making claims or enquiring into the past Royal connections simply because towards the end of the Sri Lankan History of Kings and Queens, they were not of Ceylon citizenry but were from Southern India who wrested control in Ceylon and rose from regional chieftains to become Kings or Queens.

E & OE

About my Grand Uncle, Augustus Van Dort

I know very little about my Grand Uncle Agustus who was the elder brother to my Grandpa. Agustus was married to Daisy VanderWalle (sp!) and they had four children. Two daughters, Mavis and Joan. And two sons, Frederick and Llyod. Mavis died at an early age from a ruptured appendix.

Aunt Daisy was a most wonderful person. Soft spoken and a marvellous cook. She would often be humming Church hymns and even whistled on occasion. Aunt Daisy loved to tell short stories and was a truly kind hearted woman. She told me that the family lost their father during the Japanese Occupation of Malaya.

On that fateful day, Japanese soldiers appeared at their home in Taiping which is situated in the northern state of Perak in Malaysia. They left the house with Agustus Van Dort and he never returned home ever. What was his fate is based on a few eye witnesses at that particular period. It is said that along with several other male prisoners, the Japanese soldiers escorted them into the hill jungles and killed them in cold blood.

It is most unfortunate that I never had the opportunity to meet Grand Uncle Augustus. Aunt Daisy used to relate that he was a very strict person with a thunderous voice. I have seen photographs of him. He had a good body build and even the manner in which he sat to pose for the photograph matched the description given by his wife.

O & OE

About my Grandfather Aelian Van Dort

I recall a few of the stories that my grandfather, Aelian Van Dort related to me about his family and the years that he lived in Ceylon. He was born in Badulla in 1880. His father Willem Van Dort married a princess of a deposed King of Kandy. Her name was Christine Botaju.

They had a large family of 14 children. Grandpa did mention that there were infant mortality at child birth in his family. I am unable to say with any certainty whether the 14 children included or excluded those child birth mortalities and how many.

His father Willem Van Dort was of a large physical build and was fair skinned. Grandpa once showed me a photograph taken of him posing for a snap shot as he sat on the grass. Indeed he looked physically big. Unfortunately, I was not given that photograph of gread grand dad Willem.
Grandpa said that his father worked as a Judge at the Court of Justice in Kandy.

His mother Christine Botaju was described as a very temperemental woman who struck fear within the family. It probably had something to do with her royal background.

He often reminisced about the beauty of Badulla where he was born. Badulla is nestled in the central hills of Ceylon where tea plantations abound. The climate must have been great. Perhaps grandpa's chronic ailment of Asthma was due to cool and damp hilly Badullan climate; just a guess.

It is interesting to see from the map where Patriarch Cornelius Jansz Van Dort first arrived in Ceylon at Galle in 1700. In a span of 180 years later, grandpa was born further inland at Badulla. The Van Dorts are very nomadic.

I am unsure who came first to British Malaya. Was it his brother Augustus or grandpa? Or did they emigrate together? They also had two of their sisters who came to British Malaya. Their sisters were Eva and Augusta.

As a boy, I met grand aunt Augusta several times. She was fair skinned and was very talented in oil painting. She loved eating preserved ginger. Both sisters remained spinsters till their end. Grand aunt Augusta lived together with Michael Spittel who is related to the Van Dorts. I never met Grand aunt Eva.

Grandpa Aelian was an amazing mathematician. During his working years in British Malaya, he self taught himself and became an Architect. He self studied from books that he bought by mail order from England.

During his service with the British, he designed and built several landmark buildings and bridges throughout the country. He became a convert to the Roman Catholic Church and did several charities for the Catholic Missionaries, particularly for the Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus. He was the Architect for several Convent Schools for these Sisters. The Convent School in Johor Bahru 
and in Singapore were designed by grandpa. The last charity that he did was to draw the building plans for the new Church of Saint Anne in Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

I remember grandpa telling me that he designed a bridge in Morib, Selangor, the main platform of the Railway Station in Kuala Lumpur and the Railway Station in Johor Bahru, Johor.

Grandpa always loved handing candy to children even though he was a stern looking man and he probably took after his mother because he had such a fiery temper. Such was his no nonsense attitude that made him walk to the Catholic priest's office immediately after Church service to speak his mind about something that he found not acceptable in the priest's sermon from the pulpit.

Grandpa passed away at 87. His zest for life motivated him to undergo cataract operation which was the cause of his death. The operation took its toll over his weakened body and he died at the General Hospital while still recuperating. I tried to dissuade him from that surgery but grandpa insisted - he said to me that it is useless for him to live without having sight as his cataract was rapidly worsening.

Abba (that was his home name), I miss you very much. You were everything to me and you were everything that I had. I love you dearly.

E & OE

A New Malaysian Van Dort family addition

With my random research, mostly through the Internet, I cam across a Post submitted by David Stanislaus Van Dort at Ms. Mascha's Guest Book. David is from Kuala Lumputer and fortunately he left his email address and some particulars about his family background.

Two weeks ago, I found his daughter, Marie-Jeanne's "Friendship Blog" listed on the Internet but I could not go further as Marie-Jeanne has secured her Blog for only her friends.

I have sent David an email providing him the details of his ancestry. It is not surprising that he is a descendant of the Patriarch, Cornelius Jansz Van Dort. I still need David to provide me with more details.

At the moment, David's forefathers is explained as follows:

1. David's father Richard Van Dort is the son of Richard Alexander Van Dort.

2. Richard Alexander Van Dort had 12 children by
marriage. He is the son of John William Van Dort.

3. John William Van Dort had 3 children. He is the son
of Justinan Arnoldus Van Dort.

4. Justinan Arnoldus Van Dort had 6 children. He is
the son of Adriaan Van Dort.

5. Adriaan Van Dort had 10 childen. He is the son of
Petrus Van Dort.

6. Petrus Van Dort had 11 children. He is the son of
the Patriarch, Cornelius Jansz Van Dort who emigrated
from the Netherland to Ceylon in 1700.

This means tat there are "unknown" and unrecorded Dutch Burgher Van Dorts from Ceylon
who have emigrated to British Malaya. If the research that I did with the help of David's Post
and Mr. Fazli Sameer's detailed Van Dort Genealogy, proves to be correct, it is tenable that Richard William Van Dort is the fourth and new addition to the other three known Dutch Burgher emigrants to Malaysia. The other three being Augustus, Aelian and Lewellyn Van Dort.

How am I related to David Stanislaus Van Dort?

I traced the roots and the Genealogy records point to the following:

1. David Stanislaus Van Dort is a 6th generation (inclusive) from the family house of Adriaan
Van Dort, the son of Petrus Van Dort.

2. I am also a 6th generation (inclusive) from the family house of Leonard 
Van Dort, the son of Petrus Van Dort.

And Petrus Van Dort was one of 5 children of the Patriarch, Cornelius Jansz Van Dort.

Honestly, the geometric progression that affects genealogy makes it next to impossible to
classify in what mode is David and I related. Definitely we are cousins by family blood.

While I am still on this new discovery, I wish to add another separate discovery. It concerns a
Ms. Suzanne Van Dort who lectures Art at the International School in Kuala Lumpur. I sent an email to the School's Head, requesting him to notify Ms. Suzanne about this Blog and my
intentions to get her family background. The Head has confirmed that he would notify
Ms. Suzanne and that it is up to her if she wished to pursue further with me.

I hope to hear from Ms. Suzanne.

E & OE