23 December 2009

Morren children

At the Family History Library, I set out to get copies of the birth registrations for the immigrant ancestors - or as many as possible. For the Morren family, I had birth dates as recorded in the North Holland Church register. [see Dec. 6 post] So it was not necessary to look in the tien-jarige tafel (10-year index). I started with Aaltje Morren, as she is my direct ancestor (great-grandmother). I pulled the film covering the time of her birth (according to the church record) 30 Nov 1854.
What this says is that on the first of December, 1854, Willem Morren, age 30, farmer, came to the the registrar in the town of Harderwijk to report that on the 30th of November in the village of Hierden, his wife Lubbertje Aalts Hop, age 29, gave birth to a female child named Aaltje. Hmm, right date, but not the mother I'm looking for. Could there be 2 Willem Morrens having 2 daughters named Aaltje? Born on the same day????
Well, maybe a mistake was made.

What about the other children? The oldest was Petertje, born 11 May 1849.

Hmm, right date and name, same other woman for the mother.

Kornelia, born 3 November 1851. Same story. Aaltje was next, born 1854.

Jan was the next child after Aaltje, born 2 September 1857 according to the church, and his birth registration -- and also the child of Lubbertje Hop.

And the youngest was Willempje, born 18 December 1860.

Not likely that an error was made in recording the name of the mother 5 times!! Not likely that there are 2 Willems each having five children of the exact birthdates and names! No, clearly the mother of the children of Willem Morren was Lubbertje Hop. So who is Neeltje Dekker, named in the North Holland (Michigan) Reformed Church register and buried beside Willem Morren in North Holland Cemetery???
A new puzzle to solve.

13 December 2009

To the FHL for research

In 2002 I went to Salt Lake City with a friend for a week of research at the Family History Library. We went with the NGS group, which was nice as it gave you someone to meet for meals, discuss problems or finds and just chat. The members of this group came from all over the US. We found it interesting how some of these people headed straight to the US Census films. For them, this was a goldmine!! (There was not so much content on the Internet back then.) Since we had all the census near to hand at home, we headed out for filmed local records.
I had prepared for the trip by searching the FHL catalog from home and found my own goldmine. Since my family is all Dutch, I had one specific area to work. Lucky for me - zillions of records from the Netherlands are filmed. Also, they have civil registrations of births, deaths and marriages starting quite early (relatively speaking!). When Napoleon took over the Netherlands, he instituted a system of civil registrations. For most of the country these began in 1811. A couple years later, Napoleon was out but the civil registration stayed. For a few short years (it seems to vary by locality), the records are in French, but then revert to Dutch.
So there I was, with thousands of rolls of microfilm covering all the areas of the Netherlands I was interested in. And many of them have indexes! In many cases they have other films called tienjarige tafels - literally ten-year tables, or indexes covering 10-year spans.
Of course, you do need to know where the person or family of interest lived. There was no overall index for the country. Now there are many online sources, but most of these are for a province or smaller area. The most comprehensive is Genlias (www.genlias.nl) which has indexed records from many parts of the country (though not all). Many more sites are now adding digital images of the records. But when I started this, film was the way to go.
And I was in seventh heaven! I was going back and forth from microfilm reader to printer, saying "thank goodness for Napoleon!" and "Gotta love bureaucracy!!" for making so much material available for research. And also, of course, thanks to the Genealogical Society of Utah for filming these records and the records keepers for allowing that.
And so, armed with names and dates from the North Holland Church register, and a place name from the gravestone of Willem Morren, I looked for the birth registrations of the children, including my great-grandmother.

06 December 2009

Back to the Morren family

Back in August I started with the Morren family, posting pictures of gravestones, later photos from the village in The Netherlands and a chart of what I knew to start with.When I began gathering information on my ancestors, I had copies of family information my Dad's aunt had compiled. Aunt Nellie had written out her siblings and spouses and all the siblings of her father and their spouses.
Then I found the North Holland Reformed Church register at the Herrick Library in Holland. This listed my grandfather's family and also his father's.

Grandpa is Wietse, the third from the last child of Halbe and Aaltje.
My great-grandfather is also listed as a child in his father's family.

Foeke and Jeltje came to the US with the 4 oldest children.
Also at this same little church was the family of my grandfather's mother - the Morren family. Here Aaltje is recorded as a child in her parents family. It was easy to make the step backward because this church register follows the Dutch tradition of retaining the maiden names of the women after marriage.

For the most part, the church records match Aunt Nellie's. In general, census records also match this family group. In 1870 Aaltje is listed as Albrecht, but everyone else is right - it is definitely the family. This was all I knew for a long time, until I went to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City on a research trip.