I was due to return to the States in a few months and I thought I would go back one more time to see if I could find any information on our Vanover ancestors.
All I could find is that the name Vanover was originally of Flemish origin, and was spelled as Oever (Van Den), and has been changed by some over the years into its present spelling.
The family was from Flanders, Holland.
I found in dealing with proper names and especially with family names, it should always be remembered that up until the publication of the English dictionary about 1752 by Samuel Johnson, there was no such thing as exact spelling.
A person spelled a family name, a place name, and any other word as it suited his personal fancy, or as it sounded to him. Thus we find the names of brothers in early records are spelled in entirely different ways.
Sometimes a father and son would use different spellings, or several spellings each.
The Van in Holland and the Von in Germany (or what is Germany now, at an earlier time the many city-states made up the present-day German land) were used by the lesser nobility and in many instances, were incorporated into the name.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.