ITWASSOOTED: George Bush has Flemish roots?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

George Bush has Flemish roots?

It sounds a little far-fetched, and might
even be defined as unpatriotic, but there
is a growing body of evidence that George
Bush has distant Flemish roots. It seems
that he is descended from a certain Willem
Baudaert (or Baudartius), born in Deinze,
west of Ghent, in 1560.
Baudartius came from a Protestant family
at a time of growing religious intolerance and
finally fled north to the Netherlands, where he
became a strict Dutch Reformed preacher. He
spoke fluent Hebrew and played a role in translating
the first Dutch edition of the Bible.

His daughter, Maria Baudartius, born in
1600, married a Dutchman called Hendrik
Beekman. They had a son called Willem, born
in 1623, who sailed with Pieter Stuyvesant
to America and settled in the colony of New
Amsterdam (later New York).

Willem Beekman became one of the most
prosperous citizens in Manhattan. Even today
his name strikes a vague resonance with
New Yorkers: just a couple of blocks from
the Brooklyn Bridge runs a Beekman Street,
named in honour of the Dutch immigrant.
But we’re still a bit of a way from the leader
of the free world. Cornelia Beekman, granddaughter
of Willem, married Gilbert Livingstone,
the son of a Scottish minister. And Cornelia’s
great-granddaughter, Judith Livingstone,
married a Samuel Herrick Butler. Their grandchild
married Robert Emmet Sheldon, a
wealthy arms dealer.
And his daughter Flora Sheldon married Presscott Bush, great-grandfather
of the president of the United States. So
there you have it.
George Bush has Flemish
roots. But, to quote a familiar Bushism, “I
think we all agree, the past is over.”
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