John Van Cooten leaves Demerara
John Van Cooten was possibly the eldest son, or the eldest legitimate son, of Hendrik Van Cooten. By inference from English censuses, and from his death certificate, he was born in about 1775-1781, most likely 1780, in Demerara. This is not that long after Hendrik arrived in the colony.
Ida Gorsuch says that John “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.”
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. Their children, according to census records, appear to have been born in the Newport and Bristol area until about 1820.
John is named in Hendrik’s will but not mentioned when apportioning extra responsibilites so this suggests that he is not in the colony at the time (1825).
I have found no record of John until the 1841 census where he is residing in Guernsey as a physician.
So… where was John educated – in London? or in Bristol? How did he get trained as a physician? Where did he practice?
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see: http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/search/label/Henry%20Keene%20Smithers for the wife; and for her father, see Wilkins, Charles. The South Wales Coal Trade and Its Allied Industries from the Earliest Days to the Present Time. United Kingdom: D. Owen and Company, Limited, 1888, p.164 Available in google books
Thanks for the pointer. Since I have posted this I have learnt a bit more about John Van Cooten, and the Smithers. Are you a descendant? Have you done a DNA test. Feel free to reply by email.