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and Christina: The Van Raalte Family,
Karen Schakel reports
Early in September the manuscript for the Van Raalte family genealogy project was turned over to our publisher, Wm. B. Eerdmans of Grand Rapids, for publication. It was a day to celebrate, as we have been working towards it for about four years. Co-authors of the book are Elton J. Bruins, Sara Fredrickson Simmons, Marie N. Zingle, and myself.
The book grew to be more than what we had at first planned. We anticipated at the beginning that we would write a definitive genealogy of the Van Raalte family. We did that, and much more. The book includes a narrative of the life of Albertus and Christina (de Moen) Van Raalte, fleshing out the dates and facts given in the genealogy. Two separate chapters give the full story of what happened to the Van Raalte papers and to the Van Raalte house from A. C. Van Raalte’s death until it was demolished in 1961. Van Raalte and de Moen ancestors are traced back to 1650. Ancestral charts are included to make it easier to follow and visualize the different collateral lines coming together in the family history of Albertus and Christina. All of the text is fully documented.
The book includes seventy-four photographs. There are three pictures of Albertus taken at different times in his life, one of Christina, one of each of Albertus and Christina’s children and their spouses, and one of nearly all their grandchildren. Christina’s brother and one of Albertus’s sisters are pictured. There are photographs of the Van Raalte house, interior and exterior, and of people and places that were important in the life of the Van Raaltes. It was a major effort to contact family members and to search the Joint Archives of Holland and the Calvin College Archives to find the various photos, but an effort well worth doing since they make the story come alive and the people in it more real.
One of the interesting side stories of the book is of the involvement of the father of our publisher, Wm. B. Eerdmans, in the attempt to preserve historic Van Raalte materials. He purchased the Van Raalte house in 1947 and gave it to Hope College later that year. He bought the Van Raalte papers and owned them from 1948 until 1962 when he decided to donate them to Calvin College, where they are now, in their archives. When we contacted Bill Eerdmans about publishing our book, he was delighted to learn that it included information and photographs of his father.
A precise publication date is not available at this time, but we expect it will be released by the end of the year. Information about its availability and where you can buy a copy will be posted on our website as soon as it is known.