Mr Wyckoff Van Derhoef was born in Brooklyn, New York on 13 May 1850.
He was the son of William J. Van Derhoef (b. 1819), a jeweller, and his wife Isabella 1 (1827-1908). Both his parents were born in New York, his father likely of Dutch ancestry whilst it is believed his mother was of Irish descent. He had two known siblings: William J. (b. 1848) and Minnie (b. 1854).
Wyckoff, known as Wynn, first appears on the 1850 census as an infant living in Brooklyn with his parents and when he appears on the following 1860 census he is still resident in Brooklyn with his mother and sister. The whereabouts of his father and brother is unknown. He had left home by the time of the 1870 census and the 1880 census shows him, still living in Brooklyn and working in the Williamsburgh Fire Insurance Company, a profession he would continue with for the rest of his life, rising from the role of a clerk to becoming the company secretary by 1910 and the largest shareholder in that institution.
He was married around 1888 to New York-born Laura Ellen Newell (b. September 1855), the couple soon having twin sons, Marshall and Newell (b. 29 March 1889) and the family remained living in Brooklyn; by 1912 they were living at 109 Joralemon Street.
Van Derhoef had travelled to Europe on 26 March for a brief business and pleasure trip abroad including a visit to his sister; a trip he took every three to four years. He is thought to have had some Irish Ancestry which might explain his presence in Belfast and the opportunity to be the Titanic's only paying passenger on the 2 April voyage between Belfast and Southampton, for what was otherwise, essentially a delivery trip.
As far as can be traced, by inquiries amongst the local shipping gents, there has been only one direct booking from Belfast by the Titanic, this being per Messrs. Whiting and Tedford, the passenger being a visitor from America named Mr. Wyckoff Vanderhoef. — Belfast Newsletter, 15 April 1912
The only passenger who booked from Belfast was Mr. Van der Hoef, who was returning to the United States, in which country he has his home. He was amongst the first-class passengers. — Belfast Newsletter, 17 April 1912
He boarded the Titanic again at Southampton on 10 April. The fare for his first-class cabin (B19) was £33, 10s (ticket number 111240).
Mr Van Derhoef died in the sinking and his body was recovered by the MacKay Bennett, being delivered to Mr Daniel Chauncey2 for forwarding to New York.
NO 245. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 60. - HAIR GREY; AND BEARD, BALD.
CLOTHING - Evening dress; "W. V." on drawers; black boots.
EFFECTS - Two false teeth (top); gold ring, marked "L. E. N. to V. W."; gold watch and fob with gold medallion; 5 studs; gold links; keys; knife; glasses; $62 in case.
NAME - WYCKOFF VAN DER HOEF.
He was buried at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
His widow Laura was never remarried and remained living in Brooklyn, latterly at 15 Clark Street, where she died on 17 March 1925. Both his sons became businessmen; Marshall died in New York 1954 and Newell in Los Angeles in 1959.