Kuykendall / Neuffer Genealogy

Genealogy of the Kuykendall & Neuffer family

Theo & Sebron Kuykendall

Theo Wood Kuykendall 1926 - 2014

Sebron Kuykendall 1921 - 2004


The origin of the Kuykendall name is Dutch. Genealogists such as Dr. George Benson Kuykendall, author of ``History of the Kuykendall Family'' (1919), have traced the name to an area near Wageningen overlooking the Rhine river. Drawing from sources such as the Archives of the State of New York, the Holland Society, and records from 17th century Holland, Dr. Kuykendall explains that the name Kuykendall was not used as a surname in the modern sense until our Dutch ancestors had been in this country over fifty years. During the 17th century in Holland, only people of great prominence or social position used the family name as we do today; instead, they preferred the father's given name with the suffix ``sen'' attached. For example, our ancestor who immigrated from Holland to Fort Orange, New York, was called Jacob Luursen because his father was named Luur. Consequently, the name of Jacob's son was written as Luur Jacobsen in Dutch Reform Church records in 1650. When he arrived in the New World in 1640, Jacob signed his full name as Jacob Luursen Van Wageningen, the word ``van'' meaning ``from,'' thus establishing that he was from Wageningen, Holland, although some genealogists believe he was actually born in Land Van Kuyk, a county about 12 miles south of Wageningen. This area, probably known at the time as Kijk-in-t-dal, lies on a high bank above the Rhine river and it said to have a beautiful view of the Rhine valley. ``Kijk'' is an old Dutch word for ``view'' and it is pronounced as if it were spelled ``Kuyk'' or ``Kike.'' Mr. Van Laar, a New York State Archivist in 1919, maintained that in the Dutch dialect of the Wageningen area, ``Kijkinstdal'' may have been spelled ``Kuykendall'' or ``Kuukendal.'' Other genealogists familiar with Dutch names support this view. Our first American-born ancestor, Luur Jacobsen, was also the first to use the surname ``Van Kuykendall.'' My sources say that he added the name when he reached the age of 21, according to Dutch custom. However, he did not use ``Van Kuykendall'' except for some official documents such as baptism records of his children. From this point on, however, Luur Jacobsen's children used the surname ``Van Kuykendall'' as a last name, probably due to the influence of English customs after New Netherland became New York under British control in 1664. Luur's son Matthew is listed as ``Mattheus Van Kuykendaal'' in marriage records dated April 3, 1715. Also, another son named Cornelius appears to have dropped the Dutch ``Van'' at some point as he moved into Minisink County in what is now New Jersey, as all of his children were baptised with just the surname ``Kuykendall.'' It is widely believed that most Kuykendalls of the present are descendants of Matthew Van Kuykendaal and Cornelius Kuykendall, so our use of the name stems from them and their children who moved out of the Hudson and Delaware river valley south into various parts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and finally Alabama. Ths extensive research of the genealogists and archivists above convincingly dispells the popularly held belief that Kuykendall is of Scottish origin because of its resemblance to the old Scottish word ``kirk'' for church. It has been suggested by some that the name means ``church in the valley (dale)'' in old Scottish dialect, but there is no evidence that the name derived from that language. In light of genealogy studies mentioned above, it is likely that English-speaking neighbors anglicized the name as members of the family moved out of the traditionally Dutch New York area into colonies dominated by English and Scottish culture.

Louise & Bruce Neuffer

Louise Bull Neuffer 1922 - 1966

Bruce Neuffer 1923 - 1982