Mrs Anna Hogeboom

Hello there,

I’ve a question about about Mrs John Clinton Hogeboom. There’s a Dutch newspaper from 1912 here right for me and the enormous Titanic article contains a very confusing sentence:

“Onder de geredden behooren ook de dames De Villiers en Hogeboom..”

(“Among the saved are also the ladies De Villiers and Hogeboom”)

With this sentence the article is referring to Dutch and Belgian passengers aboard Titanic. They mentioned the name of the Dutch nobleman Jonkheer Reuchlin too. Berthe De Villiers (Mayné) was from Belgium, but I can’t find any source that gives information about certain connections between Mrs Hogeboom and the Netherlands or Belgium. Though I know things about all the people from the Netherlands and most of the Belgians aboard.

Maybe the journalists of the Dutch paper thought that Mrs Hogeboom was Dutch or Belgian, because of her name which is Dutch (“Hogeboom” means “high tree”).

Could anyone give me some more information?

Greetings Rollie
Hi Rollie,
I think the newspaper must have just launched off on the name as it obviously was Dutch. Anna was a native New Yorker as were her parents and John C. Hogeboom was her second husband. Her children were by a previous marriage to Percival Cadby. It is said that she was a strange and eccentric woman--and I have to say that having had some limited contact with her descendants, the eccentricity may reside in the genes :).

Hi Phil,

Thanks for your information about the Hogeboom family. It seems the journalists didn't checked the sources for their comment!

Thanks again,

I don't know if this applies in the Hogeboom case, but there were a lot of mistakes made in the initial urge to publish something, anything (sounds a lot like the press here in Florida in the months of November and December), especially if it had a local connection .

Here's a few mistakes from the famous April 20, 1912 Daily Graphic special 'Titanic In Memoriam' issue:

Passenger J.J. Borebank is listed as a well-known California horticulturist. The picture accompanying it is of famous botanist Luther Burbank. The Titanic passenger who died was John James Borebank.

Margaret Graham is identified as a well-known California actress. As far as I know, she was never in California, nor was she an actress.

Mrs. F.M. Hoyt is identified as the wife of the ex-governor of Washington.

George Eastman, of Eastman Kodak fame, was pictured and identified as a notable passenger. He wasn't.

A Colonel May is pictured. There were a lot of Colonels on the Titanic, Astor, Gracie, Weir, but nobody named May was aboard.

There was a Dutch connection also. There is a picture of Mr. W. Van der Hoef, a prominent citizen of Minneapolis. He was from New York. With a name like that, it's surprising he wasn't listed in your article with Hogeboom.
Hi Mike,

Wow, what a strange examples of false information after the disaster. It must be sure that there were journalists with less knowledge of the situation and the passengers.

I like to add something to your list! Not that this are very hughe faults, but they are incorrect.

The "Provinciale Noordbrabantsche en 's-Hertogenbossche Courant" mentioned on thursday 18th of april some names of important victims including the two American financiers Astor and Hays. Though Hays was Canadian.

A strange point is the appearance of the name Mrs Rottschild (Rothschild) between names like Lady Duffoordon (Duff Gordon), and the countes of Rotes (Rothes). Was Mrs Rothschild an important passenger? Of course every person is important, but she had not the same status as Mrs Astor, Carter, Straus etc.?

I have another point. From the same source as my question about Mrs Hogeboom:

"Volgens een telegram uit Londen aan den "Berliner Lokal Anzeiger" bevonden zich onder de passagiers der eerste en tweede klasse Nederlandsche diamanthandelaars,..."

("According to a telegram from London to the "Berliner Lokal Anzeiger" there were Dutch diamond dealers among the first and second class passengers...")

I found this very strange. I know there were only three Dutch people aboard Titanic. They are first class passenger Jonkheer Reuchlin and the two crewmembers Hendrik Bolhuis and Wessel Adrianus van der Brugge. The source told that first class passenger Mr E.G. Lewy could be one of those diamond dealers as he had done business in Amsterdam.

I wonder how they get the thought that there were more Dutch people aboard Titanic and that Mr Lewy was one of them!

Greetings Rollie
Hi Mike,

I forgot to tell you about Mr van der Hoef. I agree with you that the absent of Mr van der Hoef's name is strange. Not only because of the Dutch origin, but he also must have been a well-known person by the Holland America Line. Maybe the Holland America Line who had a great contact with H&W or other lines gave the Dutch journalists information about the nationality of Mr van der Hoef and that would be the reason why he isn't mentioned in several sources.
It's only a thought, cause I haven't evidence for it.

Although this could also be an even greater reason to mention the name of Mr van der Hoef. Jonkheer Reuchlin, who boarded Titanic as a business relation from the Holland America Line, must have know Mr van der Hoef.

I don't now in how far the information for the papers at that time came from thirds. Like the sample in the topic above said: "According to the Berliner Lokal Anzeiger..". This means that a part or maybe all the information came via Berlin.

Any thoughts about this?

Much greetings Rollie
ROLLIE: According to Judith Gellar's book, Austin Van Billiard, an American who had been living and diamond mining in South Africa, had been in Amsterdam to have stones cut shortly before the sinking. Perhaps that might have been a part of what the Dutch papers were referring to when they mentioned diamond dealers. JIM
They might have considered Jakob Birnbaum to be a Dutch diamond dealer (he is buried in Holland). He was a diamond dealer, and it seems like every dealer in diamonds, even today, has to have a Dutch connection.
Hi there,

Jim: What you said could be true, but it stays a guess why they mentioned a Dutch passenger in second class. The (none-Dutch) Van Billiards were in third class and when I look at the fact that most diamond dealers were quit rich..!

Mike: Yes, I agree with your point. It's very likely that one of the unknown "Dutch diamond dealers" refers to Mr Birnbaum. He is called in a Dutch source about all the Belgian and Dutch passengers aboard and it says he was a Belgian with American connections.

But like I said, also Mr E.G. Lewy was thought to be a Dutch diamond dealer. He had done business in Amsterdam and was returning to America with a big som of diamonds. I don't know if Mr Lewy was Jewish like Mr Birnbaum, but among the big Dutch Jewish community there were many diamond dealers. I'm sure there must have been a Mr Lewy among them. That could have been the reason for false interpretations.

BTW: Isn't it strange that there's nothing mentioned about the Belgian third class passengers with a Dutch name like De Mulder, De Pelsmaeker, Scheerlinkx, Sap, Lievens, Wittevrongel etc and all the passengers with Van (der)....?

Anyone who has some thoughts or comments?

Much greetings Rollie
He Rollie,

Another passenger with a Dutch connection, second later first class passenger Alfred Nourney. He was born in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.


Hey Hildo,

I didn't know he was born in Nijmegen! That's not far from me.

Thanks for adding this to the list! Can you give some other information about Dutch Titanic connections too?

I look forward to hear from you.

Greetings Rollie
If you haven't tried this already, here's a way to learn of some interesting Dutch connections. Type in holland or dutch in the advanced search box on the home page.

Thomas Holland and Joeph Holland Loring don't really count, but some of the others might be news to you, especially 3rd officer Groves from the Californian.
ROLLIE: One way that Austin Van Billiard might have become one of the dealers in question was through sloppy reporting, of the same sort that identified Margaret Graham (of Greenwich Connecticut) as a prominent Californian actress, and mistook J.J. Borebank for Luther Burbank. He had recently been to Amsterdam to have diamonds cut, had come from South Africa, and had a last name that was not immediately American sounding. If the outline of his story was given to a hurried reporter it would be relatively easy to make that mistake. Judith Geller reports with evident skepticism (which I share) that it was rumored he placed $100,000.00 worth of diamonds in the purser's safe. I have not been able to find a record of how much the 12 uncut stones recovered from his body were worth, but if they were of the same quality as the 2 diamonds he had sent to Pennslyvania as collateral on a loan (sold for $1372.18) he could have established himself quite nicely with the proceeds. It would have been a logical assumption for a reporter that someone of such means WOULD travel in Second or First Class. Which raises the issue, why WERE the Van Billiards in Third Class? I also wonder, given how restrictive the Diamond Trade was, is there an export record in South Africa for diamonds he took with him which can be used to verify, or negate, the rumors? But that's subject for another posting.....JIM
Hi Jim,

you're story is interesting! I do agree about the point that a hurried reporter wouldn't checked the sources. Like I allready said above, it could be possible that the information changed after it was get from thirds who get if from seconds who got it from... etc. You know the story about the names of Titanic survivors being telegraphed to New York. Many of them missed characters. So, particullar amputated information.

The van Billiards question is very interesting. I must confess that I don't know anything more about the van Billards than is mentioned here at ET. Maybe there's someone else with more information. I would find it very interesting.

BTW, the Dutch paper told the right information about Mr Vanderbilt (Also from Dutch lineage?) when they said that the Vanderbilts were in London and not aboard Titanic.

Much greetings Rollie
Hi James,

There is uncertainty as to why Austin Van Billiard purchased three third class tickets for himself and his two sons. The Van Billiard family was fairly prominent, and were well off. Austin's father was the burgess of North Wales, Pennsylvania, and prior to that, the family had made much of their money in the monument business in Pennsylvania.

The Van Billiard family believes that Austin travelled third class because he was going to pay a surprise visit to his parents in North Wales. It is believed that the names of first-class passengers arriving in New York might make it to the newspapers and Austin didn't want his parents to know of his intended visit. In addition, Austin's sons had never met their grandparents so it was to be a bigger surprise for the elderly couple. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a tragic decision.

One historian in Pennsylvania believes that Austin and his sons upgraded their passage once they boarded in Southampton but their is no evidence, in my opinion, to support this belief.

Mrs. Van Billiard and her remaining children relocated to North Wales, Pennsylvania following the Titanic disaster. Austin's body was recovered and buried in the family plot in North Wales. The body of the youngest boy, Walter, was also buried with his father. There is speculation that the boy's body may not have been Walter Van Billiard at all - but that is another soon to be told story....

If you have any other questions about the Van Billiards, please let me know. Several descendants still reside in Pennsylvania and are interested in their family history.


Mike Findlay