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“VAN BECK”
by Donald L. Van Beck

 Ever since my son Ted started the web site vanbeck.com he has received numerous inquiries regarding our name, history, etc.  I hope this will give you some of the information you have been seeking and won’t be to boring…..

 My grandparents, Louis and Emily Van Glabeke immigrated from Ecklo, Belgium in 1900 and settled in the west side of St. Charles, Illinois, a town of 4000, in an area called “Belgium Town”.  All of the men worked at the local foundry which was affectionately called “the Belgium College”.  They had a daughter Madelain and a son August, who was my father.  My father “Gus” also worked at the foundry and with my grandfather made a little bathtub gin during the prohibition.  He married my mother Doris Howard who had immigrated from England and decided that since prohibition was abolished he would open a tavern.  “Gus’s” became the home of Belgium “Rolle Bolle” in the Midwest and  tournaments were held there each year with contestants coming from the surrounding area.  Dad sold the tavern in 1946 and moved to Florida. 

  I was born in 1928 during the great depression, my brother John six years later and my sister Beverly twelve years later.  We all had trouble with people being able to pronounce our name and had joked about some day changing it to something everyone could pronounce.  I joined the Army in 1946 and went to Japan where my name saved me from going to Hokkaido, the Siberia of Japan.  When our troop ship landed in Tokyo we were all sent to Zama for assignment.  We started with 7000 troops in the field the first morning and names were called for shipment to various bases.  After 32 days I was the last man standing and I went up and identified myself.  They indicated that I had been called 25 days before and had been marked AWOL. There are many more stories connected with the mispronunciation of our family name but to make a long story short after my return to the USA I told my parents and siblings that I was going to change my name.  They all thought it was a good idea and so the family name was changed to Van Beck. 

 Having been to Belgium I could not find any more “Van Becks” and it wasn’t until the Internet that other Van Becks began to appear on the scene.  My personal opinion is that most “Van Becks” were once know by a more complicated name and it was changed as many other immigrants did when coming to the USA.  There were several other areas with a large Belgium population including Paterson, NJ.  

My wife’s Julia’s father came from Holland and his name was Johannas Vander Waal know as Hans or later John.  His father was Joseph Vander Waal and he settled with his wife Henritta first in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and then in Mosinee.  With five sons and three daughters, he has many descendants in the Wisconsin/Illinois area. 

My three sons live in Atlanta, San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale.  However my only Van Beck grandson lives in Atlanta and so the Van Beck name may not carry on if he doesn’t have sons. 
 Would appreciate hearing your story and any history of your name…..

 
 

About Us

We tied the knot on March 25, 2000, and it's been an amazing year an a half of marriage as you can see in our photos.  We’ve decided to spend our  “Honeymoon Period” traveling as much as possible.  So far we’ve honeymooned in Ireland and celebrated our one year anniversary in Hong Kong.

I'm a contractor for NASA doing systems administration work for SAIC, and Cindy has left her job as an Investigator for the US Department of Labor.  To take up a more rewarding job of raising our son Chad.

Click here to see pictures of Chad!

Don & Julia

2004 was an eventful year for the senior Van Becks…. Donald retired after a five year stint as Commodore of the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club.   He and Julia decided to give up their home in the Bahamas, sell their home in Savannah, Georgia and move to central Florida.   They found the “perfect spot” in Tavares….8 miles west of Mt. Dora, 35 miles north of Orlando and 35 miles south of Ocala.  They live on a canal that is connected to the Harris Chain of Lakes.  The second Seafari boat was sold and a nice, easy to care for pontoon boat was purchased.  They are currently building Julia a studio so she has space to produce her handmade jewelry, plus paint, quilt, and make lamp work beads.  Donald is a counselor for SCORE ….the Service Corp of Retired Executives.  Both Donald and Julia belong to the Triangle Boat Club and the Mt. Dora Lawn Bowling Club.  They are thoroughly enjoying retirement, their three grandchildren and their special little dog Chica.

Peter & Anne

Peter has retired! April of 2012.  Congratulations! 

 

Jenna