21 November 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - MRUA

A bit of a detour for some more Saturday Night Fun at Randy Seaver's suggestion. This week he asks "Who is your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor?" This I know!! My most recent unknown is a 3rd Great Grandfather. Number 60 on my Ahnentafel is a missing person. Randy asks what have I looked at my files for this Unknown person recently and what sources might be available to help identify the person.
I first reached a dead end in finding the birth certificate for this unknown man's son (my great-great-grandfather, Teunis Snijders) and discovering the mother listed as an unmarried woman and no father named. I found Heindersje Snijders was the widow of Adriannus Meinster when she died and son Teunis reported her death. Later, from an online index, I found a marriage record of a woman naming her father as Adrianus Meijster and mother Heijndersie Snijder. This marriage was 15 years after Teunis' birth.
I knew Meinster must have been dead by Heindersje's death in 1847, but I did not know when he died. Luckily, the marriage records required copies of bride and groom birth registrations, and if a parent was dead, they had to file a copy of the death registration. So I ordered microfilm from the Family History Library of these marriage records for this daughter.
I thought possibly Meinster was the father of Teunis and married Heindersje sometime after his birth. However, in the marriage appendices, I found a copy of Meinster's death record. He died years before Teunis was born!!
Randy's next question is what sources might help identify this Unknown person. So far, I don't know if there are any court records or other material which might identify or at least provide clues to his identity. For now, I am working on improving my Dutch language skills so I will be able to read guides to archives and the records.

07 November 2009

Saturday night fun - surname distribution

Randy Seaver's Saturday night genealogy fun suggests mapping your surname's distribution. I have done this with many of my family names using the tool at the Nederlandse Familienamen Databank. www.meertens.knaw.nl/nfd/index.php?taal=eng
Pretty much every time, research shows my family is from the area with the highest concentration of the name The data for these maps is taken from the 1947 census of the Netherlands. Interesting that nearly a hundred years later, after 2 World Wars, still the name remains in the same general area.
As I am now working on the Morren family, here is the map of locations of that surname. My family is definitely in the province (Gelderland) with the 290 examples (although we are actually at the far opposite end of the province from where the number displays)

As I get more info here, this name will become meaningful. Trust me for now, it is a complicated story of how I learned about the Hop family and our connection.