Here is part of the 1880 Census for Joseph Van Cleeff. Note that he is listed as Voncleve, and his occupation is 'Wks in Tannery.'
Joseph's entry from the 1880 Cincinnati City Directory:
According to these early census reports, the family apparently originates in Germany, not Holland as most currently believe. Joseph lists his, and his parents birthplace as Hannover. Barbara claims to be from Baden.
Further research has turned up a Van Cleeff family in Emden in the early 1800's. This family contains an additional 4 generations. Joseph's parents were Benjamin "Wulf" Elkanah Van Cleeff and Rebekah L?/font>wenstein. They were married before 1830, in Emden (Ostfriesland), Hannover, Prussia.
Benjamin and Rebekah had 5 children between 1831 and 1841. Their first child was born in Emden on July 30, 1831, but the name was not recorded. (Note the empty spot on the right side.)
Since the birth date matches what we know for Joseph, it can be assumed that this is his record of birth.
Benjamin was born between 1800 and 1805, the son of Elkanah Van Cleeff and Trientje Model. Elkanah lived from about 1700 to 15 February 1840, and died in Emden. His parents were Jacob ben Isaac Van Cleeff, ca. 1740 to ca. 1811, and Beile Posener.
Isaac's father was Isaac ben Jonas, who was born about 1710. Finally, the farthest back we can go, is Jonas. Jonas would have been born around 1680.
The discovery of this family can be traced back to the immigration and passenger lists for Hyman Van Cleeff. These records reported Emden as his place of birth, and therefore the Van Cleeff family was found.
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