Sunday, January 29, 2017

BOISSEVAIN | John Charles van Hall

Only photo online
for John van Hall.
The only way I know how to track a large family–after decades of trying–is to find out as much as possible about individuals who are of interest and then place them one by one in their family context.

A person of interest to me is John Charles van Hall. He was the son of Jan van Hall and Hester Boissevain, whom I knew in my childhood as "Tante Hessie" although she was not my aunt but my great-aunt (my grandmother's sister).

We visited the "Kolkhuis" in Hattem many times, starting in 1948 or 1949. My last visit there was in 1959.

Jan van Hall (L) and Hester
Boissevain van Hall (R–"Tante
Hessie" to the family).
There is very little about John Charles that I can find online, which piques my curiosity and prompts me to want to fill the gap.

Of all my mother's childhood friends, the ones she spoke about the most were her "twin" cousin Nella de Beaufort and her two van Hall playmates Eugen and André van Hall. 

My mother stayed with the van Halls for a while and she spoke of "Eugen-and-André" as if they were a single person, although only one of them proposed marriage to her (at, what, six years old?).
John Charles van Hall was a sibling of Eugen and André with an American connection–he was born in 1899 in Maryland (Baltimore, I believe) when Jan and Hester van Hall were visiting. 
Hester Boissevain van Hall's place
in the family.

Of his three other siblings, one was Frederik Maurits, known as Freddy, who died while a midshipman riding on the back of fellow Middy's motorcycle. It was a major family tragedy; Freddy was well loved. 

After Freddy's death, the Academy forbade taking riders on a motorcycle. John married Maria Fransina Gannett Böeseken, four years younger than him and born in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia.


  1. I don't know whether you will get this ! I have just read the rather interesting note about St John's,Sandymount. Just a couple of comments. Fr S.R.S.Colquhoun did not become a bishop, in fact he was prosecuted by the Church for High Church Practices. The Church of Ireland definitely did not want re-union with Rome. Many English Anglo-Catholics wanted this.St John's was a miniscule minority of High Church in a generally very low church protestant Church.

  2. Thank you, James Robinson. I am supposed to be notified automatically when a comment is made, but I was not. However, I noted a large number of people reading this post and I was curious why this was so and here I am. Thank you for your comment. I did not know what you have written. I am going to send this around to my five siblings ("The Mitchells"), all blessedly still alive aged 73-83, so we can be sure to preserve the facts and the interesting story. My mother did a portrait of Fr Colquhoun that makes him look like a bishop. I guess he was a Monsignor if there is such a title in the Church of Ireland. My grandmother's mother's family were the MacDonnells of Dalkey and Sligo and they were definitely of the Anglo-Catholic persuasion...