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background picture: serpentinite (ever being the geologist)

Over the years I have indexed some baptismal and marriage church records from before 1811 that I happily share with you:

Church records:
Nederduits Gereformeerde
Kerk in Ootmarsum 1661-1811.

Church records: Nederduits Gereformeerde kerk in Rijssen 1640 - 1811

Church records: Nederduits Gereformeerde kerk in Nieuwpoort 1619-1811

Lately I have added some indexes from Civil Records from after 1811 as portrayed on the Familysearch website:

Ootmarsum Marriages 1812-1818

Ootmarsum Deaths 1811-1818

Denekamp Marriages 1819-1906

Denekamp Deaths 1819-1842

Tourcoing baptismal records

My database to be found at:

Laki paper

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My Family Tree always intrigued me, but children, immigration, work etc. played havoc with the family history.
Now, retired having a bit more time and with the help of the internet, and spurred on by the birth of our grandchildren, it became an interesting hobby. Along the way I connected with other family members interested in the same pursuit.

Another reason for my interest in my ancestors was me being curious about the origins of my name
Hein Elbert de Vries.

The family name "de Vries" only became used in the early 1800's. Then the Netherlands were part of the greater French empire of Napoleon. To facilitate recruitement for his armies he required everyone to choose a family name. So my ancestor Anne Abels (Anne: son of Abel) became known as Anne Abels de Vries . His brother Bate Abels became Bate Abels van der Veen. Their dad just remained Abel Roelofs (Abel son of Roelof).
Especially in Friesland people just used patronyms prior to Napoleon. In other areas family names are more common.

Obviously the name Elbert comes from my great-grandmother Margje Elbers. Exploring this question was very interesting and rewarding and yielded contacts with members of the Elbers family.
The research into the many generations of house-painters from the Elbers and the de Vries families, became even more interesting with the research by Alle Elbers into the painting of flags by members of the Elbers family. These flags were meant to be flown from ships at special occasions; several of which are now in Dutch Maritime musea.

Where the name "Hein" comes from is still a enigma. Striking is that a brother of Margje Elbers also named a son "Hein". Somewhere and sometime there must have been a "Hein" who had a special bond with the Elbers family!!

My wife's family name Kuilenburg can be traced back to the early 1600's in the town of Nieuwpoort. In the early baptismal and marriage records the family name was being used, written in several different ways: Cuijlenburgh, Kuijlenburg, Kuilenburg etc. A good guess is that eventually the family must have had some connection with the town now called Culemborg.

We keep on digging!!!

Genealogy of our de Vries and Kuilenburg Families.

For questions and comments:
heinandwil at (=@)) heinandwil.net

Residing in Canada, most information I gathered from the internet, with a heavy emphasis on publicly available archival records (more trips to the Netherlands would have been nice but not absolutely necessary) although one trip to the Historisch centrum Overijssel in Zwolle. a few years ago, was very helpful.

Public archives are unlocked, as in:
Genlias: for records after 1811 all of the Netherlands,
for records before and after 1811, province of Drente,
Alle Groningers: for records after 1811, province of Groningen, however they intend to include older records in the future,
Tresoar: for records before and after 1811, province of Friesland,
Historisch Centrum Overijssel: for records mainly after 1811, some info from before 1811, province of Overijssel
Municipality Hoogeveen: for records after 1811 in Hoogeveen (Drente.
Almelo: for photos of the actual marriage and death certificates from 1811,
Other big cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, Leiden do have their own on- line access to their archives as do some regional archives as Groenehart archieven with data from Gouda and surroundings.
Familysearch: the website set up by the Mormon Church which makes available a multitude of filmed copies of the original recordings of marriages, birth and deaths by the Netherlands Civil Authorities since 1811. The search is somewhat complicated but given some time you can find copies of the original recordings.
VanPapiernaarDigitaal.This is becoming quickly THE portal for mainly church records from before the establisment of a public administration in 1811. (Napoleon again!) Volunteers actually photograph the pages of the church books and publish them on this site. I have found many of my forebears on these pages!!!
Furthermore data posted by other genealogists on the internet can be very helpful in breaking logjams. Use Google!

My Dad told me, years ago, that his uncle Antoni de Vries had searched for our ancestors. He apparently visited a number of archives (this was way before the computer era), but got stuck somewhere in Friesland.

Unfortunately nothing has been preserved from his work, so I started again from scratch.

With help from newly found relatives and the ever growing presence of original documents on the web, I am now (January 2011) well on my way. There are now over 9000 names in my database. This data base can be accessed here: http://www.genealogieonline.nl/stamboom-hein-de-vries/
One is never finished however; there are always persons to be found, connections to be explored, personal histories te be recalled.

In my family research I came across some interesting stories:
what about the Bosma's: my maternal grandmother. Family lore had it that they originated in Friesland like the 'de Vries'es.
Surprise: the name changed into Bosma from Bosmaar from Boussemaire. The family moved in the early 1600's from Rijssel (named Lille in what is now Northern France) to Leiden because of King Louis XVI renouncing the Nantes Edict in which Protestants were granted freedom of religion.
Or: Pieter Roelofs de Vries, a nephew of my forefather Anne Abels de Vries, was called up for duty in Napoleon's armies that went on to Russia in 1812-1813. I am still trying to figure out what happened to him. He appears to not have survived this ordeal.
Or: Claas Elbers, a family member of the family of my great grandmother. He was part of the Patriots who partook in the defense of the town of Hattem in 1785 when the Orangists stormed this town. He was subsequently banned from the town. Many of his comrades fled to France where the Revolution welcomed these republicans. Claas and his dad Hendrik Elbers appear to have fled into the crowds of the big city of Amsterdam.

Or: the history of my Mother's relatives: the Molendijk farmers family from Brecklenkamp in Twente. The name of this farm is already mentioned in 14th century papers of the old Frenswegen monastery. Tradition in this part of the Netherlands dictated that the occupants of this farm were always named Molendijk, whether or not there was a blood relationship or not. I am aware of at least two instances where the occupation of the farm did not follow straight male lines.