Child ofHendrik
Sibling ofCornelis, Hendrik, Jan, Nicholas, Anthony, Lucius, Ann, Theodorus Hermanus Hilbertus, Cornelia
Spouse ofMartha Keane Smithers
Parent ofJohn Lucius, Maria Anna, Sydney Silicae, Rosalie Virginia, Henrique, Eugene Celadon

Old family letters written to John Hughes Van Cooten in Australia from family in England (clearly in response to his questions of them) relate a variety of information regarding his family history.

In 1893 Elizabeth Gorsuch (John Lucius' daughter and John Hughes' older half-sister) wrote,:

His [Hendrik's] eldest son Jan or John Van Van Cooten (our grandfather) was sent to England and was educated in the then highest class schools and afterwards finished his studies at Oxford University . This I know for a fact as I have seen several of his books with the stamp of the College upon them.

He married a London merchant's daughter (rather to the disgust of his father & his royal mother). She his wife was a "Miss Martha Keane Smithers". Miss Smithers was considered a great beauty. I never saw my grandmother. She went out to the "West Indies" when Uncle Eugene was a baby and although she returned to England, she refused to return to her husband and children.

Her youngest sister Mrs Hannah Green, the widow of a Col. Green kept house for her. I should say for Grandpapa & the boys & girls. After a while Aunt Maria (fathers eldest sister) joined her mother, and never again returned to her Fathers house. I believe Grandmama had several very handsome brothers & sisters. The brothers were London and Colonial merchants and their offices were in the Minories. Anyway Uncle Henry Smithers were. I believe our grand parents had ten children, but I only knew the folowing, namely - Uncle Sydney Silicae Van Cooten, Eugene Hampden Van Cooten, Anna Maria Van Cooten, Rosalie Virginia Van Cooten.

and in 1903 Elizabeth writes

You ask your Grandfather's name? Well!! He was "Jan" or John Van, Van Cooten M.D. - formerly of "Brides Lust" , Demerrara - and eldest son of Mr Henrique Van, Van Cooten by his wife Dorothy of the same address. Your father was his eldest son (Dr Jan Van, Van Cooten's). He, your father and mine, was twice married first to Miss Frances Kent, eldest daughter of "Rudolphus Kent R.N." of Poole Reeve Co. Waterford, Ireland , and his second wife was a Miss Mary Hughes, "your mother", so that we own the same father & different mothers. Your brother Rudolphus or as he was always called Jack, "Jolly Old Jack", has left 10 children. of whom I have at previous times sent you word (from time to time).

An undated family summary, presumably sent with one of Elizabeth's letters, after 1889, says:

Henrique Van, Van Cooten married "Anna ----" of Madagascar and had issue Jan Van Van Cooten
Jan Van Van Cooten married Martha Keene Smithers *
issue of above
John Lucius V Van Cooten married Frances Mary Teresa Sarah Kent eldest daughter of R. Kent R.N. (M.D.)
Maria Anna Van Cooten died unmarried
Sydney Silicae Van Cooten died unmarried
Rosalie Virginia Van Cooten married a Mr Garnham (no issue)
Henrique Van Cooten twin brother died when a baby
Eugene Van Cooten married Emily Primrose of Ipswich, Suffolk, England

and another, presumably sent with one of Elizabeth's letters, after 1899, says:

Jan or John Van Van Cooten "Brides Lust &c &c Demerara" married Madagascian Lady - name unknown. I fancy it was Richardson - (English Father). By whom he had 22 children sons & daughters
Eldest son of above Dr Jan or John V. Van Cooten married Martha Keane Smithers - eldest daughter of Henry Keane Smithers - Merchant of London - residence Manor House, Wolworth (now the Police Station)
John Lucius V. Van Cooten - *(our father)
Sydney Silicae V. Van Cooten - died a bachelor Sept 1899
Rev Eugene Hampden V. Van Cooten - died West Coast of Africa - married a Miss E Primrose of Norwich England
Anna Maria V. Van Cooten died unmarried at Milton next Gravesend in or about the year 1875 or 6
Rosalie Virginia Van Cooten. Married a Mr L Garnham. Left no children she died 1889 in Guernsey
Henry twin brother of Rosalie died young
I believe there were four other children but they died when babies

The evidence from censuses is that John Van Cooten was born in Demerara. By inference from the censuses, and from his death certificate, he was born in about 1775-1781, most likely 1780.

I can find no record of John being educated at Oxford or Cambridge. I have consulted "Alumni Oxonienses" ["Alumni Oxonienses : the members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886", Foster, Joseph, Oxford : Parker, 1891] and "Alumni Cantabrigiensis". It is possible that was educated elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

The transcripts of the parish registers for St Woolos (Newport), Monmouth, Wales covering the period 1754-1823 show a marriage of John Van-Cooten of Chelsea, Middlesex to Martha Smithers of St Woolas, Newport on 23-Jul-1808. The baptisms transcripts for 1769-1837 show no Van Cooten births. The burial transcripts for 1769-1843 contain no Van Cooten burials.

The UK Census 1841 for St Martins, Guernsey, (7 Jun 1841) lists residents of La Bouveé as:

Island of Guernsey, Parish of St Martin
Names Age Sex Profession Where Born
J. Van CootenMale66PhysicianDemerara
A. M. GreenFemale43England
E. V. GreenFemale22Guernsey
R. V. Van CootenFemale21Foreign
Charles A. GreenMale21Foreign

The UK Census 1851 for Island of Guernsey, Parish of St Martins, page 192 (30 March 1851) lists residents of Courte Falaise as:

Island of Guernsey, Parish of St Martin
Names Relationship to Head Condition Age Sex Profession Where Born
John Van CootenHeadWidowerMale70Physician retiredBritish Guiana
Sydney Van CootenSonUnmMale30GentlemanEngland
Rosalia V Van CootenDaughterUnmFemale26St Heliers
Ellen V GreenNieceUnmFemale28France British Subject
Boatswain GreenLet nephewUnmMale2Guernsey St Martins

I have located a death certificate for Martha Van Cooten:

Certified Copy of an Entry of Death given at the General Register Office
Registration District of St Giles in the Fields & St George Bloomsbury
1854 Death in the Sub-district of St George Bloomsbury in the County of Middlesex.
No. When and where died Name and surname Sex Age Occupation Cause of Death Signature, description and residence of informant When registered
265 eighth January 1854
3 Henrietta St
Martha Keene Van Cootanfemale64 yearsWife of a GentlemanPleuritis, 7 days, CertifiedW. E. Brooks
present at the death
3 Henrietta St, Bloomsbury
ninth January 1854

This implies a birth date of approximately 1790.

UK Census 1861 for St Martins, Guernsey, (7 Apr 1861) lists residents in Bouverfarm Rd as:
John Van Cooten, Head, Widow, Male, 80, Physician not in Practise, born in Demerara
Sydney Van Cooten, Son, Un, Male, 46, Sailor Late Master, born in England
Ellen Green, Niece, Un, Female, 38, , born in Jersey, St Helier
Alfred Green, Grandnephew, Un, Male, 12, apprentice, born in Guernsey, St Martins

UK Census 1871 for St Hubit, St Martins, Guernsey Source: Ancestry download PRO Ref: RG10 Piece: 5768 Folio: 51 Page:5
Mr Van Cooten, Head, Widr, M, 91, Physician, Demerara
Sydney Van Cooten,Son, Unm, M, 55, Gardener, London
Ellen C Green, Niece, Unm, F, 48, Seamstress, Jersey

Certified Copy of Entry of Death in the Island of Guernsey

No. Date and Hour of death Name and Surname Age Name of Father and Mother (Maiden name) Where Died Rank, or Profession and usual abode Where born Certified Cause of Death When Registered
9 1874 February 28th John Van-Cooten 96 Hendrick Van-Cooten
Hubits St. Martins "Platreur"
Hubits St Martins
- "decadence naturelle" 1875 March 5th

Extract from the Register of Burials of the Parish of St. Martin, in the Island of Guernsey.

No. and Name Entry
John Van Cooten.
John Van Cooten. son of Henderick died Feb 28th 1875 aged 96 and was buried March 5th.

The death notice in "The Comet" on 3-Mar-1875 reads "At his residence, St Martin's, February 28th, Dr Van Cooten, in his 97th year. His end was peace."

Child ofHendrik
Sibling ofCornelis, Hendrik, Jan, Nicholas, Anthony, Lucius, Ann, Theodorus Hermanus Hilbertus, Cornelia
Spouse ofMartha Keane Smithers
Parent ofJohn Lucius, Maria Anna, Sydney Silicae, Rosalie Virginie, Henrique, Eugene Celadon