Tracing my van Millingen family from Rotterdam #unitedkingdom #names


The earliest story of van Millingen family is that my direct ancestor, Samuel van Millingen’s brother, Michael van Millingen spent about 20 years in Batavia, East Indies where he later made a fortune. He returned to Holland in 1763 with his Batavian born wife Elisabeth Westplate Cool, of Dutch family, and they soon settled in London where they had five children, raised as Anglicans. This family was known as the Anglican branch whilst my ancestor’s family was the Jewish branch. We have early family records that evidence that Michael was born a Jew.  His brother, Samuel settled in London long before Michael’s arrival in London in 1764.

Dutch East India Company (VOC) records show that Michiel van Millingen became a free citizen and private merchant in Batavia in 1753. I then discovered that Michiel went to Batavia as a soldier from Rotterdam in 1744 under the name of Michiel van Meijningen – the same and one person as Michiel van Millingen. I learnt that the place name of Millingen in Holland listed for other VOC employees was also spelled by the VOC clerk at that time as Meijningen.

According to Hambro (London) Synagogue records Samuel van Millingen (diamond merchant) and family were named either as Millingen or Millingham. The Hebrew name variants are Millingham, Millenheim, Millinheim, Milingheim and Melingham. The Hebrew name for Samuel van Millingen’s father is Natan Millingham (or Millinheim). The burial record (1820) is the only record that show Samuel’s father’s Hebrew name as Natan.  Michael van Millingen died in Paris in 1806; it is not known if he was buried with Jewish rites there.

After many years of extensively researching  I have come to a complete dead end on van Millingen origins that remain elusive.

Is Natan also a patronymic name? Would we be related to Nathan family in Holland? There is no virtual record found of any Jewish van Millingen/Meijningen families in Holland (or even Germany).  The question is this. Were Jewish VOC employees forced to adopt a surname after their placename when they started to work for the VOC?

One story is that there is a family connection with Castle Millingen in Germany. 
It is also said that we are descended from Count Heinrich Hendrikson van Millingen who died in 1643 in Defthaven near Rotterdam, originally from Overjissel where there were van Millingen chieftains in the 15th century, whose coat of arms are a raised hand in gauntlet, holding a sword – in the coat of arms of Michael van Millingen’s descendants in London. So far, there is no definite link found between these early Dutch van Millingen families and us. Attached is a copy of Hambro Synagogue burial record that shows the Hebrew name for Natan Millingham. Can anyone check if Natan is the correct name

Brian Johnston, Sydney, Australia

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