Van Wagenen's are named after a historic town in the central part of the Netherlands known as Wageningen. In the Dutch language, "van" preceeds many last names and typically links a family to the home town from whence they originate. Van means "from" and Wageningen was the home town of the family. Wageningen was a difficult spell for Americans and the name logically evolved to a far simpler version "Wagenen." The original city Wageningen is still around today and as of 2017 has a population of 38,405. Thousands of the town residents are students from over 150 countries attending Wageningen University.
The Van Wagenen family is one of the oldest of early Dutch families who settled in the Hudson Valley of New York when they arrived from Holland. The original Van Wagenen family left the Netherlands around 1637 and moved to Kingston on the shores of the Hudson River about 1650 excited for the new life ahead. One of the early Van Wagenen families settled in the area of Bergen County, New Jersey about 1660. That group, containing my ancestors, made the long trek westward with the Mormons to Utah. They ended in both Winter Quarters and Salt Lake City, Utah. The members of this family generally used two alternate spellings of the last name, Van Wagenen and Van Wagoner.
The Van Wagenen’s are ancient Stonemasons and part of the Haplogroup I, which is approximately 30,000 years old. The Stonemasons are known for crafting pointed stone blades for hunting bison, horse, reindeer and mammoths. Stone played both a functional and religious role for the Stonemasons, who crafted voluptuous Venus figurines out of steatite, calcite, limestone and other soft stone. Although the exact significance is not known, the figurines may represent fertility or the Earth Mother goddess, a concept which prevails in many cultural mythologies. The Stonemasons could have regarded Mother Earth as a symbol of security or as deity who enabled plentiful harvests and numerous offspring.