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The ALEX VAN STARREX Website
I'm doing what I can to get more information for this page - but it's difficult. I've few remaining relatives that I keep in touch with and, though I've asked my parents for more information, very little has been forthcoming so far. This, then, is what I know about where I came from and how I got here. I apologise for any inaccuracies or other expressions of ignorance.
PATERNAL INFORMATION - VAN STARREX
My father's (Bryan Richard Godwell van Starrex b. 5 April 1919) family comes from Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Before that, some hundreds of years ago, they came from Holland when it was joined with Belgium. The 'van Starrex' name (the small 'v' is the correct way to write it) is an abbreviation and anglicisation of an earlier hyphenated name - derived from two surnames: "van (unknown)" and "Starck" (exact spelling unknown).
The family settled in Ceylon hundred of years ago because an ancestor was a captain in the Dutch East India Company. Other distant information is unclear - though I have been told, at times, that I am descended from Martin Luther and that my great (great?) grandfather Alexander invented the red waxy-coating that goes around so many Dutch cheeses. I don't place a great deal of reliance on either assertion.
My paternal relatives are/were Ceylonese 'burghers' (town people) - dark-skinned, with thick Indian-like accents (as an avowed Anglophile, my father was the sole exception to the latter). My father's maternal side has some German and Indonesian in the lineage. The family's genealogical records (as with most of the country's records) are said to have been eaten away by the heat, humidity and silverfish several decades ago.
I never know my paternal grandfather. His father, I am told, arguably ran the country's first (travelling) cinema in Ceylon around the turn of the century. His wife, Gertrude and her sister, 'Aunt Philly' both came to settle in Australia with my aunt Myrtle (dad's sister) and her husband, Eric. An uncle, Aubrey Alexander, was a jazz buff who went to live in the USA, and resides in Jersey City, not far from New York.
Myrtle married an Englishman, Eric Percival Holden, and they arrived in Australia some years before my parents came out. They had no children - Myrtle died in the mid-1980's. Aubrey ('Al' in the States) married a Polish-American woman, my 'Aunt Mary' in the 1970's - they divorced some years later and, again, there were no children. My father has a cousin (or similar) in Sri Lanka named Tony van Starrex, who is in the gem-trade.
Our family/relatives owned a tea estate in Ceylon, prior to its independence. My immediate family still has a claim to certain land there - but this would be difficult to contest, so little has been done about it.
MATERNAL INFORMATION - WIGGERS
My mother (b. Adrian Wiggers 16 June 1923) is of pure Dutch descent. Her mother's maiden name was Reitbroek, however I know little of her heritage otherwise. Mum had an elder brother, Willem, a navy pilot who was shot down by the Japanese in WW2 over Indonesia. Their father, Hans, was a successful architect (apparently from a long line of architects) who used to travel the world designing towns for a globally-expanding oil company. Mum travelled with him his family to projects in Indonesia (where she was raised for some years) and Timbuktu/Africa, but not to America.
My maternal grandmother was apparently a strict, unloving and overly-religious person. Household life, when it eventually settled back to normalcy in Holland (in the Hague) was disrupted by the outbreak of WW2, and the German occupation. The family risked both starvation and discovery for harbouring escaping Jews. My uncle was, I think, then still in Indonesia, and I am unclear as to when my grandfather went there. In any event, my uncle was killed when his plane was shot down, while my grandfather went officially missing, and only returned after the war - paralysed from Japanese torture. He died some time afterwards. Mum had, meanwhile, enlisted in the Dutch navy in an effort to find him.
My parents met in London, England where they were both living. My maternal grandmother apparently disapproved of the union, so they married in secret in a civil registry, before honeymooning in Paris. Some time later they went to live in Columbo (the capital of Ceylon). Mum was unhappy there, however (for a variety of reasons), and left for a short time, back to Europe until Dad came to get her back. Atfer my eldest brother Rudi (Willem Rudolf - b. 12 November 1956) was born, and some months before the birth of a second son Johan (Johan Bryan - b. 29 October 1958), they moved to Australia. I was born later (Alexander Adrian - b. 14 February, 1960).
MY IMMEDIATE FAMILY
My parents have stayed in Sydney ever since, though mum has been back to Holland once for a holiday. My parents also accompanied me to America in 1994 to visit and stay with my uncle. Rudi has lived, on and off, in Japan since 1984 and married a Japanese woman, Mao - they now have a baby daughter, Tara. Johan has occasionally lived in Japan and Korea. Uncle Eric still officially lives in Sydney, but sometimes moves to the northern cost of New South Wales to be with his godchildren and their parents.
Beyond that, I have some relatives in Brisbane, Australia, though have never (from memory) met them. Some relatives of my father live in Sri Lanka. I don't know of any close surviving relatives on my mother's side.
Genealogical information on the internet is a godsend - unless, like me, most of your paternal relatives live in a third world country that rarely even keeps such records safely.
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