30 March 2012

the problem with indexes....

Some time ago, I started on a project to find the interrelationships between the various members of my family who were Hops or married Hops.  It all started when I discovered that the mother of my great grandmother, Aaltje Morren (married Douma) was NOT Neeltje Dekker, as we thought from the North Holland church records and cemetery, but was actually Lubbertje Hop and that Aaltje's sister married a Hop.  I wondered if the two Hops were related.  Thus began a project to identify Hop families and make connections to Morrens and other families.  (See earlier posts, beginning in August 2009, for more about this family.)

The fourth daughter (5th child) of Willem Morren and Lubbertje Hop was Willempje Morren.  In 1881, Ottawa Co., Michigan, she married William Hop.  There are quite a few William (or Willem) Hops, so it takes some sorting to get the families straight.  It is not made easier sometimes by the indexing.
In various indexes, I have found Willempje Morren Hop listed as:
Wittentje Monen
Wiley Morren
Wilsie Mavien
Weley Mairen
Wilcy Morren
...llemptfe Morren
Willanke Hop
Willentji Hop
Willtje Hop
Williamtje Hop
Willamtje Hop
Wielemtje Hop
Willamke Hop
Wiltse Hop
Wilcy Hop
Wilwetze Hop
Willemtje Hop
Wilhelmina Hop

Many times, when I look at the actual record I can tell the indexer simply could not read the handwriting, but many times it is creatively spelled.  (And spell-check here goes crazy!)

One would think it would not be a problem with a simple name like William Hop, but even that can be a problem.  Is he recorded with the Dutch spelling Willem?  Many Ottawa Co. records in late 19th century especially do maintain the Dutch names.  Maybe his name is Americanized to William.  Or abbreviated to Wm.  Depending on the database, it may make a difference in search results.  But in general, that is the only variation.  Or so I thought.  Then I discovered:

William Heop
Wm Klep
and a daughter is indexed as Katie Hep
In some OCR newspaper indexes, what turns up is William Bishop, or William, bell hop, or Wm Hughes, hop grower.

Of course, if I don't specify a place and just search for the surname, I'll get hundreds of unrelated people like:

Yee Hop
Chow Lum Hop
Wong Hop and
Fung Sen Hop Ho

Surely they ARE unrelated to me!!????

18 March 2012

When I was in Holland last fall and spent time going through old probate files, I found pages of wonderful information about many branches of the family.  To continue with the Morren family -
In the index I found a listing for William Morren, not as a probate file, but listed as an "Incompetency" case.  Reading the file I found that the children of William Morren are petitioning the court for a guardian to be appointed to have the care and custody of his person and his personal estate (valued at $400) and real estate (valued at $1500).  It is 1895 and William is at this time 72 years old. 

"The said William Morren is old and at times is very forgetful, his mind becoming very weak and at times when his mind becomes weak (which is very often) he is utterly unable and mentally incompetent to have the care and management of his property and during such periods and in fact almost all of the time he is liable to be imposed upon to such and extent as to lose his property (by and through designing persons) ...
It then goes on to say he has expressed the desire to his children that a guardian be appointed to protect him. and look after his property.
  It then goes on to list his next of kin: 
Peterje Van der Schraaf, daughter, lives at Holland
Aaltje Douma, daughter, lives at North Holland
Willemtje Hop, daughter, lives at Beaverdam
John Morren, son, Post office North Holland, Mich.

William Morren signs a statement that he desires and consents that Halbe Douma (husband of his daughter Aaltje) becomes his guardian and cares for his property and person.  Interestingly - the statements are notarized by Wietse Douma, brother of Halbe (not my grandpa).
And so, the court does appoint Halbe Douma as guardian.  Halbe, however, dies in 1898. In the 1900 census, William is living with his daughter Petertje van der Schraaf.  I did not find another hearing for appointment of a new guardian.  Possibly his daughter Aaltje carried on the responsibility, or her sister and her husband took over.  He died in 1908 at age 84.