Sorry to be so slow in responding to your letter of October 12. My time is quite limited, and I decided while answering your good questions I would also include the information regarding a possible ancestral lineage for Ferd back to the Van der (z)Sickeles/Sicklens and Van Sicklen/Sickles of Ghent and Zeeland (Holland) which I had promised to do on this bulletin board some time back. It was quite an effort to pull this information together from the various sources I have without rewriting it so please understand that it will be rather ungainly.
Just briefly, according to the historian David Nichols and researcher Jeanne Van Sickle, in circa 2302, Simon Van der Zicklen, a banker in Ghent, purchased the Groote Sikkelen (or The Achtersikkel) in Ghent, built in the 1200s. French historian Froissard details an account of Jean de Faucille as the brother of the above Simon and that he died in a dual in Lille, France in 1384. Froissard translates Van der Zickelen as "de la Faucille". The son of Simon I, also Simon, is listed in the obituarian of S. Jan's (or James) Church in Ghent. This Simon II Van der Zickelen married Elizabeth Ser Sanders and there is information in David Nichol's work on this family. There were also lawsuits between these two families and records still exist. Simon II also had a son named Nicholas and he had a son. There was a son named Phillip but there is no found record of what happened to his line.
Simon II had a son, Simon III, and he had several children. Among them was George, who was Abbot of St.Bavon in Ghent and Victor, who married Isable van Sloene and had two sons. There was Phillip (not the same Phillip as above) who inherited and passed the Grote Sikkelen, or the Achtersikkel, on to his son Jacob. Jacob died in 1523 and had no sons, thus ending the Van der Zicklen possession of the property. Jacob had a wife and three daughters and the Grote Sikkelen went to them and his son-in-laws. So we see there were several non-inheriting Van der Zicklen brothers and nephews other than the "castle" resident family who continued to have male heirs and the Van der Zicklen's didn't die out, only the inheritance of that specific property to a male Van der Zicklen did. There was also a Zeeuwse Van der Zicklen branch who used the three sickles in their coat of arms, as did the Grote Sikkelen family.
Correspondence between an attorney and one of the founders of The Holland Society in New York, Geroge W. Van Siclen and a Dutch archivist by the name of A. A. Vorstemann van Oyen Esp., The Hague, which took place in 1895 was recently retrieved from the Central Bureau Voor Genealogie. The ones from van Oyen are written in old Dutch and a source I know in The Netherlands has translated many of them for me. G. W. Van Sicelen ask van Oyen to find information on his Van Sickle ancestors, including Ferdinand van Sicklen who he wrote was also sometimes called Ferdinand Jansen and Ferdinand Jansen van Sicklen as written in his old records. In making the search van Oyen discovers a number of Van der Zichelens and van Sickles in the archive records.
The earliest date mentioned here for a Van der Zicklen to be a resident of the providence of Zeeland is 1502. In that year Victor Van der Zickele became a resident of Niew-Vlissingen. We do no know if this is the same Victor who was the son of Simon III in Ghent, but the date would accomodate his being the same person. In 1530 Jan Van der Zickele became a resident of Niew-Vlissingen. He was alderman from 1564 to 1571. Several other Van der Zickele's/Zickelen's held governmental positions in Vlissingen during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There were also Van Sickle's in Zeeland who may or may not have been connected to the Van der Zickelen's. George van Siclen says in one of his letters that the archives of Flushing (Vlissingen) were burned by the British early in the sixteenth century. This could explain why searching for any history of Van Sickle's there has been so difficult. My Netherland's contact says she has located a file on the Van der Zickele's in the Central Bureau Voor Genealogie. One most go there to see the file and she will try and do so when the time and opportunity permits. At the present time,she can find no one with the name of Van Sickle, Sickler Sickelen, Schelen Zickeler, etc.in The Netherlands. There is one family named Van Sickle who she believes is from the States. I tried to contact them but received no reply.
Of special interest is Antonius (Anthony) van der (Z)Sickelen who left Ghent in 1576, coming to the protestant Province of Zeeland, from which we might conclude Anthony was protestant. The Archivist wrote. G. Van Sicklen: "In October of 1576 there is a gathering in Ghent of deputies to negotiate with Holland-Zeeland. Deputies of Zeeland are Pieter de Rjck, Ballif of Vlissingen, Anthonie van Sickle, council of Zeeland and Andries, de Jonge, mayor of Middelburg (Capitol of Zeeland). According to van Oyen's letters, after Anthony came to Zeeland he and other Van der Zicklens dropped the "der" in their name and changed it to Van Sickelen. Some of them might have migrated to Zeeland during the religious wars.
Jeannie Van Sickle Elva did extensive research (circa 1943) on Anthony and his descendants. Here is a little background on Elva. She had a history degree and worked as a civilian for the US military in Germany.In her job she worked with records and knew how to do record searches. She did her investigations in Europe, mainly in Ghent and Holland during her vacations and other time off. This is some of the information she found.
Antonius (Anthony) van der (Z) Sickelen (parents not known) was born in Ghent, Flanders, probably between 1500-40. He signed the Pacification of Ghent with William of Orange and others in 1576 and removed to the United Provinces when Zeelend, North Brahant and Holland Province declared independence from Spain. This matches the same year van Oyen says Anthony went there. He is rumored to have represented Zeeland to the Staats General under William of Orange after separation from Spain of the northern provinces. Elva mentions that the family also lived in Rotterdam, South Holland, and in Hertogenbosh in North Brabant, as well as Jergogenbosh and Goes. These would be good places to research. He died circa 1600.
Elva records that Johannes, Simon, Zacharias, Isaac, Antonius and Lambrecht Van Sickelen were either sons or nephews of Antonius van (der)Sickelen. Johannes, diagrammed in her paper as the father of Fernandus, was probably born in Ghent between 1555 and 1570. The name of the mother is not known. In Gene Van Sickle's add-on book, he states in a stand-alone line:"In 1608 Ferd's father, Johannes, took the Oath of Allegiance in Holland." Ferd named his son Johannes which suggests his father's name might well have been Johannes. Another stand-alone line in Gene's book states: "Note from an old Bible: 'Ferdinandus (1634-1712)is a descendant of Victor'".This could be a reference to Simon III's son or the Victor who arrived in Vlissingen in 1502 if they are not one and the same. Elva writes about the Van der Sicklen family and it is obvious that it is the same renowned Van der Zickelen family of Ghent that held various government offices. We do not know which ancestor Anthony was directly descended from. Elva lists the sons of Fernandus in her diagram as Johann, Reynier and Fernandus, putting Johannas first born whereas it is believed by most researchers that Reynier is the first born.
There is a second generation Zacharias (per Elva) that was born circa 1640 in Ghent, about five years later than Ferd. From the book "Colonial and Revolutionary Lineages of America", I offer this quote: "Ferdinandus Van Sicklen, born in 1635, settled near Coney Island. It is believed that he was the ancestor of all with this or similar spelling in America. There was, however, one Zachariah Van Sickle, born in Ghent, Belgium, and lived in Vienna, a town of Utrech Province of Holland. Zachariah, undoubtedly a cousin of Ferdinandus, was a cadet with the Dutch West India Co. and came to America as a guard and orderly of Peter Stuyvesant who was to become Governor of New Amsterdam............After some of his nine children were born, Zach dropped the Van and spelled his name SICKLES, however, at least one of his sons retained the name Van Sickle. A number of families living today, both Sickles and Van Sickle are descendants of Zachariah who was obviously unknown to Prof. John W. Van Sickle as this branch was not mentioned in the 1880 book (The Ancestral Lineage of the Van Sickle Family in America)." If this information is correct, it would call into question the claim that Ferd was the only progenitor of all the Van Sickle's in America. Elva lists the names of five sons, Lambert, Johann, Isaac, Zachariah and Anthony born to Zachariah in the Dutch Colony at Fort Orange (Albany). In Gene Van Sickle's add-on book, there is an article on page 38 about a Zachariah (I believe Zachariah the III)Van Sickle family in New Jersey and Maryland during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was evidently written for a newspaper by Charles E. Hoye. Two of the six sons Elva mentioned was named Zachariah and Isaac,names given to several members of these descendants. There is also a mention of a Mary Sickel, spelled without the Van. On page 37, the lineage shows a Polly Littll, married to a Zachariah Sickle and their five children are all named Sickle. It is amusing that someone later took a pen and inserted "Van" above all the Sickle names. Evidently they didn't know the name was really suposed to be Sickle and assumed an error had been made. The author of the story declares that he tried without success to find previous history on this Van Sickle family. Evidently Zachariah III took the name Van Sickle and the author didn't know he should have been looking for Sickles. So it would seem there were two Van Sickle (Sickles) families, Ferd's and Zachariah's who may or may not have known of each other being in the Dutch colony although, according to Elva, they were related. Anyone with the surname of Sickles in the United States is probably a descendant of Zachariah. This area needs more research.
Here is a note of interest on the name of Ferdinand/Ferdinandus. My Dutch contact found that Ferdinandus was the name of several Spanish kings. The name spread at the end of the 15th century via Germany over west Europe because of the Habsburg dynasty. In the 16th century, the name became popular in the southern Netherlands. On one of the discussion group links, a contributor told of "another" Dutch family (1600) with the name Ferninand (his spelling)as a given name and they were from Zeeland. There was also a Ferdinandus family (surname) in Zeeland from the 1700s (via the Zeeland Genealogy group). So, even though Ferdinand is an uncommon name, it is not so unusual that there couldn't be two or more men with that name in the colony.
Supporting information: This material was given to me by a Van Sickle researcher whom I respect and with whom I correspond. In 1982 Jenne je Faucille (France) wrote a letter to the Times Herald which was published and sent to Gene Van Sickle. She was responding to an article in that paper about man's inhumanity to man, and wanted to tell her family story of the fighting and killing that went on in northern France, the southern Netherlands, Belgium, and eastern Germany in the middle ages before these were separate countries. She mentioned that history was her hobby, and that her family, the deFaucilles, had been in Picardy for centuries. During the said wars, a branch of the family fled to Ghent and changed their name to Van der Sicklen and a branch of that branch came to the Dutch colonies in America and settled in what now is New York City.
We can make no real claims about whether or not Ferd is a descendant of the Ghent-Vlissingen Van der Sicklen families. More concrete sources and connections would be needed to do that. It would be most helpful if we had a list of the sources Jennie Van Sickle Elva used which no doubt are in Ghent and Holland. If there are any of her family or friends who might be in possession of her research work and are readers of this message board, I would love to hear from them. Linking up Anthony Van der Zicklen/Van Sicklen to his direct ancestor and to which descendant would link him to Johannes is of course critical for this path to stand up. I believe there is enough significant information here to continue with a working hypothesis.
It doesn't really matter who Ferd's ancestors are, we would just like to know who they really are, and be as sure as it is possible to be, that we are honoring our right forefather.