My latest project has been to find the maiden name of my 3xgreat-grandmother Gertrude A. Adelbush. I think I have found it and made a very exciting discovery as a result.
The facts I have to work from were that she was born 18 May 1818 in New York. This came from her grave marker and various US Census records. In the 1840 US Census, she was living with her husband, John Jacob Adelbush, in Red Hook, Dutchess, Co. NY. I have her daughter, Julia Ann (Adelbush) Herren's death record, but for Mother's Maiden Name, it states "not known." Not much help there.
After exhausting everything I could think of on ancestry.com, I decided to try familysearch.org. I added her known information to my tree and up popped info from two other trees giving her parent's names: Mathias Fonda and Elisabeth Segendorf. The source given for this was a record from a database "New York, Births and Christenings, 1640-1962." It lists the 30 Dec 1818 baptism of a Kitti Fonda, born 18 May 1818 in Reformed Church, Germantown, Columbia Co., NY. Her parents are listed as Mathaeas Fonda and Elisabeth Saegendorf. Is Kitti Fonda my Gertrude A.? It's the same birth date and the same area in upstate New York. Some people seem to think it's a match.
My first thought of course was "Am I related to Henry Fonda?" I checked out his wikipedia.org page and learned "The Fonda surname originated with immigrants from Genoa, Italy, to the Netherlands, in the 15th century. In 1642, a branch of the Fonda family immigrated to the Dutch colony of New Netherland, on the East Coast of North America. They were among the first Dutch population to settle in what is now upstate New York, establishing the town of Fonda, New York. By 1888, many of their descendants had relocated to Nebraska." A relationship between his ancestors and mine was looking possible.
I did some googling of the Dutch colonial Fondas of upstate New York and came across the website "Fonda Family Genealogy: Descendants of Jellis Douw Fonda (1615-1659), immigrant from Friesland, Netherlands to Beverwyck (now Albany), New York in 1651." The site is maintained by Albert Mark Fonda. That site lists Gertrude Fonda as the daughter of Matthias Lawrence and Elisabeth (Segendorf) Fonda. So another source that made that connection. The entry for Gertrude lists the same baptism record and it also has a link to an entry for Kitti C. Fonda with that baptism date and place, but a different birth date. Very confusing.
Using the information on this wonderful Fonda site, I've determined that if my Gertrude is really the child of Mattias and Elisabeth Fonda, then yes, I am related to Henry Fonda--he is my seventh cousin twice removed. He is my grandfather, Emery Ogden's seventh cousin because they both share a set of 6xgreat-grandparents: Douw Jellis and Rebecca (Janse) Fonda. This also means my mother and her siblings are eighth cousins of Jane and Peter Fonda and I am a ninth cousin of Bridget Fonda.
Here are the two paths back to Douw and Rebecca:
Kevin Joseph Huigens, Shirley Ann Ogden, Emery Julius Ogden, Mary Elizabeth Herren, Julia Ann Adelbush, Gertrude Fonda, Matthias Lawrence Fonda, Lawrence Abraham Fonda, Abraham Janse Fonda, Jan Douw Fonda, Douw Jellis and Rebecca (Janse) Fonda.
Henry Jaynse Fonda, William Brace Fonda, TenEyck Hilton Fonda, Garret T.B. Fonda, Douw Adam Fonda, Adam Douw Fonda, Douw Jellis Fonda, Jellis Adam Fonda, Douw Jellis and Rebecca (Janse) Fonda.
Obviously this is going to require some more research to verify Fonda as Gertrude's maiden name. I am excited about a possible link to the famous acting Fondas and to having Dutch heritage on my mom's side as well as my dad's. As they say, "If you ain't Dutch, you ain't much."