The heritage part is that there's tons of people in the Netherlands with van as part of their last name. It means from, as in from Egmond. It's like the German von or the French de or the Irish O'. As is typical with such linguistic crud in names, it doesn't merit a capital letter, except here in North America, where we don't know any better. In fact, in the Netherlands it's so common that I would be listed in the phone book under E, as in Egmond, Stephen van.
The experiment part took place on Usenet and mailing lists; I wanted to know how long it would take for people to start using the new spelling of my name compared to the old one. I wouldn't offer any corrections or insist on either spelling. It turned out to be 6 months.
Anyway. You're here to get some genaological documents.
LineagesFor my father's side, there's the paternal lineage beginning in 1456 going back 16 generations, and another document with more detail, the descendants of Nicolaas van Egmond, which picks up 5 generations ago. For my mother's side, we have the Wichmann-Ruhe lineage. Or, what the hell, the list of us all by state of residence or province.
All of the above documents are either translations or transformations of the original documents, which tend to be Microsoft Word for some reason. And why would I destroy the original documents when the Internet can archive them for me?
Epilogue, Sep 9 2012: Today I went back to Archive.org and rescued most of these documents, though some were lost. These people do amazing work.
Additions and corrections and inquiries
I'm an idiot when it comes to family. I have trouble remembering birthdays. The main archivist for the family is one W.J. van Egmond in Amsterdam. He can be reached at email@example.com.