Walvoord History.com

The website dedicated to Walvoord/Walvoort Family History

Traditions

 Bridging Generations

Scott Walvoord 2009

Scott Walvoord aboard the Eurodam 2009

I’m Scott Anthony Walvoord. As most households do, my family would gather together to celebrate family members’ birthdays. We would celebrate these events with cake and ice cream and the traditional singing of the “Birthday Song.”

Our family sings a second verse to that well-known song.  I’ve never known anyone but our family that sings this second verse to the “Happy Birthday” Song.

Happy Birthday to you…
Happy Birthday to you…
Happy Birthday dear … Grandpa…
Happy Birthday to you!

`tis love brings us here…
`tis love brings us here…
`tis love brings us … Grandpa…
`tis love brings us here!

The origin of the second verse comes from about 1898.  It was published in a book for educators called Western Journal of Education, Volume 3 by Harr Wagner showing the original lyrics, “Good Morning to All.”   Since my great-grandfather John Garrett Walvoord was an educator as was his sister Louise Walvoord,  it is assumed that this song’s second verse was adapted for our family at that time.

After bringing out the lighted birthday cake and singing this song, the birthday boy (or girl) would make a wish and blow out the candles. Our family’s tradition required that once that person began eating his/her cake and ice cream they weren’t allowed to talk until they finished every bite or their wish wouldn’t come true. At that moment everyone would try to make the birthday person talk before they could finish their cake and ice cream to keep that person from getting their wish. It was lots of fun and sometimes trickery and deception was used to get someone to talk.

My grandfather, Randall Henry Walvoord, was a master at getting people to talk. Sometimes he would make up new rules trying to exploit the vague ones in place.

Randall Henry Walvoord about 1957

Randall Henry Walvoord c. 1957

For instance, Grandpa would try to convince someone that they were required to finish only their cake and not their ice cream before they could talk (they were). Or he would insist that if someone had made a sound or a gesture to communicate they would lose their wish (they wouldn’t). Or to goad them into any argument over the rules. When, of course, the birthday person would talk to defend why they were faultless, Grandpa would say, “Gotcha!” and laugh like the mischievous kid-at-heart that he was.

Grandpa always prided himself as someone who had never gotten “got.” No matter how hard we would try, we could never get him to talk once he began eating his birthday cake. One time we were celebrating Grandpa’s birthday dinner at our house. My brother Kit and I were on a mission to get him just once. We knew that Grandpa always expected and received a long distance phone call on his birthday from his son in Florida, my uncle Randy. Back then you could pick up the telephone, dial 410-411, hang up, and in a couple of seconds the phone would begin to ring. Kit and I did this from our parents bedroom and when Mom answered the phone in the kitchen, we picked up and asked her to get Grandpa to the phone. Mom, wanting no part of this prank, reluctantly went into the dining room and told Grandpa that, “The phone is for you.” He had just started eating his cake.

Grandpa assumed it was Randy (as we hoped he would). My Dad said later that Grandpa tried to eat as fast as he could but obviously didn’t want his “son” to pay too much in long distance charges. He gave up his attempt to finish his cake and came to the phone and said, “Hello?”

On the other end I said, “Gotcha!” Kit and I and everyone else burst out laughing. Grandpa was furious. He didn’t speak the rest of the night (at least not to me). He didn’t think it was funny when we brought it up every time someone had a birthday in the years to come. Even today, the story is still told and young Walvoords who weren’t even present or even born yet, love the tale of “The time we got Grandpa.”

It was at one of these family gatherings that I remember my grandfather telling us about how one of our ancestors in Holland was royalty – a nobleman. According to my granddad, this ancestor later married a peasant girl and as a result was banished from the Netherlands. Grandpa was known to exaggerate on occasion (a Walvoord trait) so I was somewhat skeptical of this story yet I was intrigued by it and never forgot it.

Other family members I shared this with (even those who were there) don’t remember it the way I did.  They seemed to think that there was some sort of “adoption” way back when.

Many years later, after my grandfather’s death in 1978, I asked Grandpa’s younger brother (my great-uncle John Flipse Walvoord) if he had ever heard this story. He had never heard the tale and I was never able to confirm this legend, but it began my interest in Walvoord family history.

My great-uncle John did, however, have a typed copy of his Aunt Louise’s family history notebook. The content of her diary had been typed by Betty Rodger Carpenter (daughter of Ada Walvoord Rodger) with extra information from Evelyn Walvoord Beyer (daughter of Frederick Walvoord). This chronicle had been photo-copied many times and was becoming difficult to read. So I set out to edit it for clarity and continuity, to correct some of the errors, remove the redundant and somewhat puzzling information, and then combine it with my own family research and data.

For many years the location of this diary remained elusive. Several of my grandfather’s cousins claimed to have possession at one time or another. I even have a letter from my great-grandfather to his sister Louise, dated in the 1940s, stating he was looking for it too. In 2009, I received a large envelope in the mail from my 3rd cousin in Colorado.  Inside was a copy of Louise’s diary that had been left to the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. You can read more about that here.

Great-grand-aunt Louise’s notes suggested that Walvoords married Walvoords to keep the family wealth intact. In addition to Janna Dina “Jane” Walvoord’s marriage to her cousin Dirk Antonia Walvoord, in another instance J. D. Walvoord married his first cousin Johanna Gesina Walvoord. Not only were their fathers, brothers, but their mothers were also sisters! J. D. and Gesina were not only husband and wife but were also considered double-cousins! They had the same paternal grandparents and the same maternal grandparents.

The following history deals primarily with only the descendants of Hendrik Walvoord (originally spelled Walvoort). My goal in this website is to include as much information as I have on most of the known Walvoord immigrants and their families.

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