It was during one of the many Crusades that the Cornelius family earned its Coat of Arms. Considering the fact that history has shown that most Roman Corneliuses were soldiers, statesman and great leaders who helped in the conquest of and colonization of Europe, it is only natural to assume they would have inevitably been knights. In fact, in The History of The Cornelius Family in America, Volume 1 (1926) written by Charles S. Cornelius, he gives a picture of the Cornelius Family Crest & Coat of Arms in the posession of Dr. Elias Cornelius (1758-1823). Underneath this he describes the drawing:
"The Crest consists of a hand extended from a Cloud of Smoke and grasping a Battle Ax or Greek Cross, and resting on a Strand of Rope. This signifies martyrdom. The Coat of Arms consists of a shield on which is delineated the square and three balls, and surrounded by a scroll of leaves and surmounted by a Crusader's helmet with closed visor. This all rests on a scroll foundation containing the motto 'Verite Sans Peur' which translated means 'Truth Without Fear.' The square refers to Artisans, and the balls signify the practice of Medicine. The Shield surmounted by the Helmet with closed Visor refer to Military service and also indicates the time of the Crusaders. The Banner with the name 'Cornelius' is draped over the Crusader's sword. The Shield also has the Ermine indated, which denotes Royalty."
As old as the Cornelius family might be, my particular bloodline does not go that far back into recorded history. It can only trace back about four hundred and forty years which in itself is still very impressive when comparing it to most in the world today. We always thought that our ancestors came from England and although rumors persisted of a Dutch link, the Netherlands was simply believed to be where the family had moved prior to coming to America. However, this does not seem to be the case.
MY DIRECT 'BLOODLINE' IS ALWAYS IN RED
The oldest generation that we are aware of is that of Adriaan Cornelius [Sr ?]. He was born in Bernisse, Netherlands around 1565. He would inevitable marry a woman named Neeltje Ewout. They would have a son, named Adriaan [Jr ?] after his father, who was born in Streefkerk, Netherlands.
[Note: I am only giving them the 'Sr' & 'Jr' status simply as a means of distinguishing between them.]
1. Adriaan [Sr] and Neeltje Cornelius
1. Adriaan [Jr] born October 9, 1586 died ...
To put things in an historical perspective in regards to events occurring in North America, since this is the land where my family would inevitably move, in the same year that Adriann Cornelius [Sr] was born a Spanish leader named Pedro Menéndez de Avilés established the city of San Augustin on the Florida coast, which would later grow into Saint Augustine; the oldest city in North America. Although many had tried previously in other areas, this became the first permanent city in the United States.
As for his son Adriaan who was born 1586; the year before his birth an attempt was made by English colonists to establish their first settlement in the United States on Roanoke Island, off present day North Carolina. Three years elapsed before the settlement could be re-supplied due to conflicts with Spain but when ships returned in August of 1589 they found the settlement deserted. There was no trace of the colonist, of any struggle or where they might have gone; only the word ‘Croatoan’ carved into a post on the fort. It has gone down in history as ‘The Lost Colony.’
Also of interest: when Adriaan [Jr] was 20 years of age, across the Atlantic in America, on May 14th 1607 English settlers lead by Captain John Smith had arrived at a small peninsula along the James River and established a settlement which they would call Jamestown. Within the first few weeks the settlement was attacked by the Powhaten Indians who detested the whites due to treatment by earlier Europeans. The conflict continue until 1614 when the English captured Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatans, although other stories of the incident suggest that it was John Smith who was captured and saved by Pocahontas.
These are a few of the numerous historical events occurring while my ancestors were alive. These and probably hundreds of other stories being told throughout Europe most likely inspired Adriaan's children to come to the New World.