This is a summary of the text that can be found in the "Provisional
Family Tree van Rij".
In there, the origins of the family name and the coat of arms - as shown on the left - are explained. You can order a copy of the cd here.
The family stems from an area named 'Hoekse waard' / 'Voorne Putten' / 'IJsselmonde' (20 miles south of Rotterdam), and is first mentioned in the 16th century
About twenty generations of the 'van Rij' family are documented.
There is a strong assumption that the family 'van Rij' is a continuation of
the family 'van Riede'.
Both names do not resemble each other much in modern Dutch but in the 16th century they were pronounced more or less the same. In those days the writing was not formalized yet. It merely reflected what was spoken.
Perhaps even more importantly: the name 'van Rij' emerged in the area at the very moment the name 'van Riede' disappeared. So, it could well be that 'van Rij' is the modernised notation of 'van Riede'.
It is all still quite hypothetical, but there are sound reasons to believe that 'van Rij' is a continuation of 'van Riede'.
Members of the 'van Rij' family who migrated to English speaking countries
often changed the spelling of their name because of the difficulties in the pronunciation of
'the real thing'. That's how the van Ry and Vanry family names came into being.
If you would like to know how 'the real thing' is pronounced, look here.
The coat of arms as shown at the top left-hand side of this page, stems from the family 'van Riede'. Now it is officially recorded for the name 'van Rij' so members of the family can bear it.
The name 'van Riede' is mentioned for the first time in 1105!!
The family owned substantial pieces of land in the area mentioned above. In that region there still is a place called 'Riederwaard' (a 'waard' is a piece of land). There's a village there named 'Ridderkerk' that used to be called 'Riederkerk'. The village was formed around the 'kerk' (=church) that was founded with money of the family 'van Riede'. Hence the 'Riede' church. map
In those days people had the habit of changing their family name in accordance with the property they owned. A 'riede' was a piece of wetland (in the old languages of the area).
So if you like: the family name means 'from the marshes'.
In the early days the van Riede family owned a lot of property. Enough to lease it and therefore the family had a lot of influence in the region.
Most probably the family lost their possessions because the afore mentioned
'Riederwaard' was flooded time after time (as well as the surrounding area) and
had to be reclaimed.
One of those 'wet' periods lasted for decades. It then happend that the liege at that time - Count William III - reclaimed the 'Riederwaard' on his own account. The feudal law at the time depicted that if a liegeman wasn't able to keep the land he held in fief, he lost his rights.
And if you do not have land to lease, you do have to work for a living.
Do you have any questions, remarks or additions? Please contact the research group.