The Gelderloos Family in the USA

Reconstructing the lives of our early family

Reconstructing the lives of our early family members is a difficult task. Much of the following information was provided by Hendrik (Henk) Gelderloos of Diepenveen, Netherlands. Thanks to the efforts of Harold J. Gelderloos Jr. it is possible to present a nearly complete branche of the United States family tree.

Early history

Because they were not wealthy land barrens or famous business owners, records of “ordinary” citizens were usually not kept. Only when citizens possessed something, like a farm or a store, were records initiated. When an individual married or died, a record would have been generated, but many of them are not available anymore. Sometimes one can find records of individuals in a church where they attended. Such was the case of Derk Cornelis, the oldest direct-line ancestor of our family that has been documented. He was an elder in his church and therefore a record of his existence can be found. Likewise for his son Hendrik, who was a deacon in the same church in Woltersum, Netherlands.

During the 1700’s, as mentioned before, most of our ancestors were farm helpers (servants). They did not acknowledge wedding acts at that time in the same manner as we do today; their marriages were mostly church acknowledged and not a civil recorded act. “Legal” marriages as we know them today came after the Napoleonic Period. Once marriages took on the civil dimension, much more data can be harvested from those early records, ie. names of parents, birthdates, occupations, etc.

Immigration to the U.S.A.

Jurjen (Jurgen) Jacobs Gelderloos married Hiltje Buikema in 1860, and eleven years after they were married, the family immigrated to the USA, a mere 4,000 miles west of where they had been living. The family departed from the Province of Groningen in 1872.
Regarding the United States Gelderloos families, there were four major immigrant couples who began the vast majority of the Gelderloos family members in the United States.

Meaning of the name

It is uncertain how the Gelderloos name actually came into existence, but it is widely accepted that the name means “Money Less”.

The “Gelder” portion of the name presumably came from the Dutch currency guilder, and the “loos” portion of the name means “less”, or without: thus “money less.”