I recently discovered some unknown-to-me van Raaphorsts on Facebook, and wondered if I am related to them, and if so, how. It’s a good bet that I am, since van Raaphorst is anything but a common surname, but I couldn’t be sure without some genealogical digging.
I started with my first cousins, who are the grandchildren of Chris van Raaphorst and Elisabeth Metsch van Raaphorst. There are 18 people in that group.
First born, in 1903 in Amsterdam, was my Tante Bets’ daughter Betty, with whom I was in close contact throughout my lifetime, until she died at age 95 in 1998.
Some of my other older cousins were also born in the Netherlands. Below is a picture of part of the van Raaphorst family after they arrived in North America. The child standing between her grandmother and my dad, Johan (John), is my cousin Christina, who was born in Amsterdam in 1906.
The rest of my first cousins were born either in Canada or Michigan.
I have always known I was the youngest of that generation of van Raaphorsts, but I have just confirmed that I am the only one left alive! My cousin Frances (pictured above, at the top), Christina’s younger sister, died in 1917 at age 101. As far as I know she is the longest lived van Raaphorst; she beat Tante Bets, who made it to 100.