Most genealogy researchers will eventually come across the FAN Strategy. If you’re not familiar with it yet, the very short explanation is that when hitting a brick wall when researching ancestors, the next step is to look at friends, associates and neighbors. If you want to know more, I’ve included two sources in the source list with more information. Even if you didn’t know you were doing it, I am willing to bet that most, if not all, researchers have used this strategy. Especially when researching people who left little traces in records, like women, we are often researching the people around them to learn more about them.
What I find interesting is that there are several specific types of genealogical research questions that benefit from a (slightly adapted) FAN principle. Finding the father of an illegitimate child or the parents of a foundling is often times thought to be impossible. Researching enslaved ancestors is also not an easy thing, but the FAN principle might be able to help here as well.
Finding the father of an illegitimate child might seem impossible, for he often isn’t recorded on the birth certificate. However, church records might give an answer where the civil registration doesn’t. However, even if no direct evidence can be found, there are plenty of research avenues still to explore. Yvette Hoitink has written a how to guide to finding the father of an illegitimate child. What I notice is that the strategies Yvette discusses are really similar to the FAN principle. Taking into account the mother of the child and who she associates with help to identify possible fathers. You might never get a definitive answer, but you can certainly get close with a little luck and a lot of perseverance.
Another adapted FAN strategy can be done to research foundlings. There was an article in Gen.magazine 2020-2 about finding the probable mother of a foundling in Amsterdam. Again, luck and perseverance do play a part. But it also took researching all possible children that could be this foundling, and then taking a look at the mothers. Which ones, given their circumstances, were likely candidates for giving up their child? Again, you’re not just researching the foundling, but also (probable) family, in this case the mother. And just like with the FAN principle, you’re expanding the circle, casting a wide net and then narrowing your focus again once you find a lead.
The last type of research question is of a very different kind. It is not so much a seemingly dead end in the paper trail, as it is a type of genealogical research to find ancestors that were systematically treated as property instead of people. Aside from the horribleness of those actions, looking at it from a record standpoint, it makes looking for enslaved ancestors difficult, as they often were either not mentioned by name, or only first name. This makes tracing these ancestors extremely difficult. One of the strategies to tracing those ancestors is to also trace the slave holders. This is basically the FAN principle, albeit with a darker connotation than we usually see. It is often in the papers of the slave holders and their FAN club that the best and sometimes most personal clues to enslaved ancestors can be found.
I have mentioned all of these types of genealogical research questions to show that the FAN principle, when broadly interpreted, is a really versatile research strategy. Aside from these types of genealogical problems, I also often use the FAN strategy when I am trying to add details to a biography. A family member (or non-family member) living in the household for a time, what’s the story behind that? I can often find out by looking at that person’s life. Sometimes I find clues as to who someone’s boss was, or I look at the town and figure out where they could have worked. Looking into that can fill in some details of a life that left little other traces. That firmly falls into the FAN principle, if a bit broader in application. If you haven’t tried this type of research yet, I encourage you to dig out a thorny problem or a brick wall and try it out. It takes time and effort, I won’t lie. However, you’ll be amazed at what you can find when looking at the FAN club.
Back in August I started my own level-up challenge. At the moment, I’m trying to get as far as I can using only online sources. I’m focusing on my great-grandmother Ariana Versloot and her ancestors.
When I started, generation 1 (Adriana Versloot) and generation 2 were stuck at level 2, because I need population registers that aren’t online. I was working on generation 3, where I had taken the research into #36 (Klaas Versloot) as far as I could online, and was stuck on level 3.
Since then, I have researched the rest of generation 3, who are all stuck on level 2. I’m not quite done with the online research into #38 (Teunis Huurman) and #39 (Adriana van der Starre), but already I know I will not be able to take them to level 3 without in-person research, as several population register I need aren’t online.
The research into generation 3 has also brought all of generation 4 to level 1, as I now know all of their names. There is one exception: #78, the father of #39 (Adriana van der Starre). He’s unknown because Adriana’s mother was unmarried at the time of her birth. I am going to try and see if I cannot uncover his identity, but that will definitely need records that won’t be online.
More than just a level
The fact that most of my ancestors that I’ve researched in this branch of my family tree are stuck at level 2, doesn’t mean that I only have a few bits of information about them. I have found many sources online that fit into level 3 and 4 research, and for most of them I’ve already written everything I have down into a biographical sketch as well. For some ancestors, just one missing record online is the difference between being at level 2 or at level 4.
I’m going to keep working on this branch of my family tree, finishing up my online research into generation 3 and starting on generation 4. I quite like the focus the levels give my research.
Gouden jaren: hoe ons dagelijks leven in een halve eeuw onvoorstelbaar is veranderd [Golden years: how our daily lives changed unimaginable in half a century] by Annegreet van Bergen is a book about daily life and how it has changed since World War Two. For those living through the second half of the last century it will have many recognizable things of old in it. For those with a slightly later birth year, it’s a very good resource into an era they can’t even imagine anymore. One where household appliances were just starting to enter the home. An era without the instant communication we have now.
This book goes through such a lot of subjects: basic needs (like food and housing), education and child rearing, communication and information, mobility (think cars and flying), health care, comfort and quality (like disposables and garbage), work and leisure. Reading through it brings into sharp contrast the difference between our lives and that of our more recent ancestors. My grandparents’ lives were so different than mine is. It brings some things into focus. I found it particularly helpful to help imagine the lives of my female ancestors after World War Two. They are women that left few records but lived rich lives. This book gave me a glimpse into their world.
The book reads very easily. It is well written and has a familiar tone, as if the author is telling the story at the kitchen table. I highly recommend it.
Trespassers in Time: Genealogists and Microhistorians by Anne Patterson Rodda is a book that you need to read at the right time. I read it several years ago, when I hadn’t been involved in genealogy for long. I wasn’t very impressed with it back then. I found it too theoretical. It wasn’t what I had expected, which was a sort-of how to guide into using less common sources to reconstruct ancestors’ lives. It is not that at all.
Instead, it is a treatise on reconstructing history on a smaller scale. Political, economic or social history on a small scale – for a family, a small town, or a profession. It is not, directly, useful for a genealogist. I recently reread the book and found the examples shown in this book are far more useful for the family historian trying to write a family history than the genealogist trying to find more information about an ancestor. I liked reading this book far more the second time around, now that I am writing up my family history as well as researching it. It gives me great ideas and examples on how to find out and ultimately write more about the context in which my ancestors lived, instead of simply reciting the bare facts of their lives. Microhistory gives me the opportunity to write more about an ancestor’s life in the larger context of their time. I think it will become especially helpful for those ancestors who left little more traces than their vital data. I recommend the book, but with the caveat that the three example chapters are the good part and that it needs to be read when you’re ready to move beyond fact finding about ancestors.
With a marine as an ancestor, it is not strange for me to research ships. Salomon Mulder spent time on different ships and just like I would do research into where someone lived, I do research into these ships. I want to get an image of the ship, some knowledge of the journey Salomon took. I use the site of the Dutch Institute of Military History and their image bank a lot, as well as the information about members of the military at the National Archive. But sometimes, a very obvious source eludes you because you just don’t think to look for it.
That is exactly why I love reading genealogy articles, as sometimes they spark ideas for sources I hadn’t looked for yet, despite the subject not being (exactly) the same as what I am researching myself. In September of 2020, there was an article in Gen.magazine, a publication of CBG, Centrum voor familiegeschiedenis (CBG, Centre for Family History), about Pieter van Roon. Pieter sailed with the Holland-America Line (HAL) and the article used the ship’s journals of the HAL that can be found in the Rotterdam City Archives. It gave some wonderful details about the trips Pieter made. In fact, the whole article is great, so I highly recommend reading it.
The article also sparked the idea in me to look for ship’s journals to military ships. I took a guess and looked in the National Archives first, and hit a gold mine. They hold the ships journals from 1813-1995 from the Royal Marines. The same collection also holds journals of some of the bases, which was an unexpected bonus. The only downside is that they are not digital, so I will have to wait until I can visit the archive to actually take a look at them.
Another helpful hint was given in a separate box at the end of the article. It mentioned some research guides from the National Maritime Museum. Even though I didn’t expect it to help me with research marine ships, I did still take a look. And not only do they have research hints for marine ships and personnel in there, they actually hold some of the material themselves. I honestly wouldn’t have thought about the National Maritime Museum, though it seems obvious in retrospect, mainly because I figured they’d only have materials about civilian ships. It once again shows how careful you need to be about assumptions, not just in the family tree, but also about sources and what can and cannot be useful. This one article gave me some new avenues of research for Salomon Mulder, and any other seafaring ancestors I might find in my family tree. It left me really curious as to what I might find in the ship’s journals and with another museum to add to my list of museums to visit.
Civil registration has existed in the Netherlands since 1811 (in some parts even a little earlier). Civil registration records have a high reliability for correct information and include birth, marriage and death records, as well as divorce records. Added to that are the marriage supplements, which belong to the marriage records but are usually kept separately, and the marriage ban registers. Many of the records were recorded in books that contained pre-printed forms that only had certain sections that needed to be filled in, though completely handwritten record also exists, especially in smaller towns. Although they are structured in a fixed format, they contain a lot of information.
The subsequent example that I will be analyzing is the marriage record of Teunis Huurman and Adriana van der Starre, who married on 19 August 1865 in Moordrecht. I have translated the document (translation is in italics) and added an analysis per paragraph. The source citation includes a link to the image of the original record.
Translation and analysis
In the year eighteen sixty-five on the nineteenth of the month August appeared before us, undersigned by the major appointed official registrar of the civil registration of Moordrecht, at the town hall
Unlike birth and death records, the date the marriage record was made and the date of the marriage are the same, as the record was written and signed at the time of the marriage. So we know the date of the marriage was 19 August 1865, and the place was the town hall of Moordrecht.
Teunis Huurman, bachelor, twenty-seven years old, laborer, born in Zevenhuizen, living in Moordrecht, having lived in Hillegersberg within the last six months, of age son of Arie Huurman, laborer, living in Zevenhuizen, present and giving permission, and of Elizabeth van Kleef, when living without profession, having lived last and died in Zevenhuizen.
This paragraph tells us all about the groom, Teunis Huurman. He is a bachelor, which means this is his first marriage, and 27 years old. That would put his birth date around 1838. His profession at the time of his marriage is laborer. He was born in Zevenhuizen, lived at the time of his marriage in Moordrecht, and lived somewhere in the six months before his marriage in Hillegersberg. This means we should look for records pertaining him in Zevenhuizen, as well as in Hillegersberg and Moordrecht.
He is of age, which is correct as before 1901 the age of majority was 23. He is the son of Arie Huurman and Elizabeth van Kleef, so right away we know the names of his parents. This record also gives us information about that generation, aside from just their names. Arie Huurman is present at the marriage, also has as a profession laborer, and is living in Zevenhuizen at this time. Elizabeth van Kleef is deceased, she lived and died in Zevenhuizen and when she was living she had no profession – which was almost always the case in records for married women, despite many of them doing plenty of things that would earn a little bit of income for the family like take in laundry or mending. Again, this gives us some clues as to what records we should look for and where for Teunis’ parents.
Adriana van der Starre, bachelorette, twenty-one years old, without profession, born in Zevenhuizen, living in Nieuwerkerk op den Ijssel, and having lived in Zevenhuizen within the last six months, minor daughter of a not legally known father [Dutch: niet wettig bekende vader], and of Adriaantje van der Starre, when living laborer [Dutch: arbeidster], having lived last and died in Zevenhuizen. She is accompanied by her guardian [Dutch: voogd] Klaas van Vliet, water miller [Dutch: watermolenaar], living in Nieuwerkerk op den Ijssel, and of her legal guardian [Dutch: toeziend voogd] Huibert Witte, laborer, living in Zevenhuizen, both present and giving permission. Both were appointed by the district court judge in Hillegersberg on 16 June 1865.
This paragraph tells us all about the bride, Adriana van der Starre. She’s a bachelorette, meaning this is her first marriage, and twenty-one years old. That puts her birth date around 1844. She is without a profession at the time of her marriage. Note that this does not mean she didn’t work before her marriage. Many women quit their jobs (for instance those as a domestic servant) before their marriage, or didn’t renew a contract that was usually for six or twelve months, if they knew they were going to get married. Adriana was born in Zevenhuizen and lived there within the last six months before her marriage, though she was living in Nieuwerkerk op den Ijssel (now called Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel) at the time of her marriage.
At 21 years old, Adriana was still a minor for the law and thus needed parental permission to marry. The record tells us she is the daughter of a not legally known father and Adriaantje van der Starre, meaning Adriana was an illegitimate child. Her mother Adriaantje van der Starre is deceased, but was a laborer during her life and lived and died in Zevenhuizen. When both parents are deceased (or in this case the mother, as the father is unknown, at least in the law’s eyes), the grandparents can give permission. Her paternal grandparents are, of course, unknown and thus unable to give permission. Her maternal grandparents aren’t mentioned; however, her guardians are. Implicitly, this means her maternal grandparents are either deceased or unable to care for her.
One of Adriana’s guardians is Klaas van Vliet, who is a watermiller and living in Nieuwerkerk op den Ijssel. He would be the guardian that was responsible for her day-to-day care, though at her age that would most likely not be necessary. She’s most probably (temporarily) living with him before her marriage. Her legal guardian was the person who would be responsible for her inheritance and other financial and legal matters. He’s Huibert Witte, a laborer living in Zevenhuizen. Both guardians were appointed by the district court in Hillegersberg on 16 June 1865, which means she was orphaned before that date. It is interesting to note that the date is very close to her marriage date. Were the guardians appointed because they were needed for her to marry, or because she was orphaned very close to her marriage date? Another interesting fact is the two different surnames of these men. Are they related to her, by marriage perhaps? Or might they be a connection to her father?
Who have requested for us to perform the marriage of which the marriage bans were read on Sunday 30 July and Sunday 6 August of this year within this municipality, according to the register of marriage bans, as well as in Hillegersberg, Niewerkerk op den Ijssel and Zevenhuizen, according to the certificates issued on nine August of this year in Hillegersberg, Nieuwerkerk op den Ijssel and Zevenhuizen.
The marriage bans were usually read in the towns the bride and groom lived in at the time of their marriage – Moordrecht and Niewerkerk op den Ijssel in this case – but if the bride or groom lived somewhere else than within the six months before their marriage, the banns also had to be read there. Hence they were also read in Hillegersberg and Zevenhuizen.
No impediment to the marriage was brought foreward. We have received the previously mentioned certificates, the birth record extracts of the groom and the bride, issued the fourth and the twenty-second July of this year in Zevenhuizen, the death record extract of the mother of the groom, issued the twenty-seventh of July of this year in Zevenhuizen, the death record extract of the mother of the bride, as well as the grandmother of the bride, both issued the twenty-second of July of this year in Zevenhuizen, as well as the National Militia certificate of the groom, issued on ten June of this year by the Commissioner of the King and the Province of Zuid-Holland.
Since no impediment to the marriage banns was brought forward, it is highly unlikely the marriage banns registers will contain any interesting information. They could still be looked at though, for completeness if nothing else. Aside from that, we have a list of the marriage supplements that were handed in. It is worth it to note that these lists weren’t always complete and therefore there could be more in the marriage supplements than listed in the record. We know for sure that there will be a birth record extract for the groom and the bride, which would list their exact birth dates, place of birth and parents. The death record extract of the Teunis’ mother, as well as those of Adriana’s mother and grandmother will give exact death dates, place and might give the names of the parents or spouses. The National Militia certificate of the groom will tell if Teunis served in the military. If he did, there might be records of his service. If he didn’t, it could be because he didn’t have to, and that could have a medical reason, the fact that he had older brothers that already served, or because his number wasn’t drawn. In the first two cases, the certificate itself will provide information, either about a possible medical condition or about the existence of older brothers.
Another thing to note is that the implicit fact that Adriana’s maternal grandparents could not be her guardian is made explicit here by the death record extract of her maternal grandmother. The fact that there is no death record extract for her maternal grandfather makes me suspect that Adriana’s mother might also have been an illegitimate child.
Next, the father of the groom declared under oath that although his name on the documents handed over by the groom is sometimes Arij and sometimes Arie, and the name of the mother of the groom is sometimes van Kleef and sometimes van Cleef, there is no doubt about the identity of the persons named on the documents handed over by the groom.
This paragraph gives valuable information about spelling variants of the names of the parents of the groom. I now know to look for Arie Huurman under Arij Huurman as well. I also need to look for Elizabeth van Kleef under the name Elizabeth van Cleef. There might be other spelling variants, but at least these two are certain.
After which we asked the prospective spouses if they took each other as spouse, and if they would dutifully fulfill the duties which by law are connected to the marital state, which they replied to with a consenting answer in the presence of the below mentioned witnesses. So we have declared in the name of the law that Teunis Huurman and Adriana van der Starre are married.
Of which we have drawn up this record in the presence of Willem den Outer, fifty-two years old, merchant, of Willem van Hemert, twenty-eight years old, merchant, of Dirk de Wilde, forty-one years old, mason, and of Cornelis de Wilde, forty-second years old, constable, all of them living in Moordrecht, none of them related to the bride or groom by blood or marriage.
There ae four witnesses mentioned, and the record states that they are not family of Teunis or Adriana, neither by blood or marriage. This means they were probably friends of the groom and/or bride, or simply convenient. However, the professions of merchant and mason do not give the impression of being conveniently near the town hall. While Cornelis de Wilde’s profession as constable is usually a hint that he is a witness that was conveniently nearby, the same last name as Dirk de Wilde, who is a mason, makes me hypothesize these two men are family. Therefore, I think these four men might all be friends or neighbors of the groom and/or bride.
And is this record signed, after having been read out loud, by the guardian, the legal guardian and the witnesses, as well as us. Bride, groom and father of the groom declared, after being asked, that they cannot sign, because they never learned how to write.
Neither Adriana, nor Teunis and his father can write. Education in the 19th century was poor, especially for the lower socio-economical layers of society. These three probably had six years of primary education at most. Neither Teunis nor his father, both laborers, would write as part of their profession.
This record gives various clues to where to find other records pertaining not just the bride and groom, but also several of their family members.
Records to look for:
Birth record Teunis Huurman, circa 1838 in Zevenhuizen
Marriage record Arie Huurman and Elizabeth van Kleef, probably before 1838, try Zevenhuizen first considering the couple lived there and Teunis was born there.
Death record Elizabeth van Kleef, before 1838 in Zevenhuizen
Birth record Adriana van der Starre, circa 1844 in Zevenhuizen
Death record for Adriaantje van der Starre, before 1838 in Zevenhuizen
Population registers Zevenhuizen for Teunis Huurman, Arie Huurman, Elizabeth van Kleef, Adriana van der Starre, and Adriaantje van der Starre
Population registers Hillegersberg for Teunis Huurman
Population registers Moordrecht for Teunis Huurman
Population register Nieuwerkerk op den Ijssel (now called Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel) for Adriana van der Starre.
Baptismal record for Adriana van der Starre (and other church records from around that time) to see if the church recorded Adriana’s father’s name
Guardianship records for Adriana van der Starre, district court of Hillegersberg 16 June 1865
Marriage banns register Moordrecht (Zevenhuizen, Hillegersberg, Niewerkerk op den Ijssel) 30 July, 6 August 1865 for marriage banns Teunis Huurman and Adriana van der Starre.
37. Dirkje van der Vlist, daughter of Ernst van der Vlist and Kaatje de Ridder, was born on 8 May 1858 in Bleiswijk.1 She died on 18 August 1908 in Zoetermeer.41 She married Klaas Versloot, son of Klaas Versloot and Willemijntje Haak, on 18 June 1879 in Moerkapelle.18 After his death, she married Bastiaan Koppenaal son of Cornelis Koppenaal and Maria Schouwenaar, on 14 March 1891 in Moerkapelle en Wildeveenen.27
Birth and early life
Dirkje van der Vlist was born at house number 35 in Bleiswijk at three o’clock in the morning on 8 May 1858. Her parents were Ernst van der Vlist and Kaatje de Ridder.1
Ernst was a laborer and 31 years old at the time of Dirkje’s birth, while Kaatje was without profession.1 The family came from Lexmond, where their children Hendrik, Cornelia and Cornelis were born, on 20 June 1857.2 A month later, on 25 August 1857, their youngest son Cornelis passed away.3 Around this time, Kaatje would have been just pregnant with Dirkje. While Cornelis passed away at house number 23, the house they were registered as living at in the population register, Dirkje was born at house number 35. Younger brother Cornelis, born on 28 September 1860, was born at house number 39.4 Population registers are notorious for not being complete when it comes to addresses, especially for families that moved a lot. Laborers in the nineteenth century were among the poorest people in society, and they often moved around a lot, for instance to save on rent (even a little bit was important. So it is likely that the family moved before Dirkje’s birth to house number 35, and somewhere before Cornelis’ birth to house number 39.
That they lived at house umber 39 in Bleiswijk is certain, because that is the address they are listed at when a new population register was started in 1861. Later on, they moved to house number 37b in Bleiswijk.5 Since Dirkje’s younger sisters Neeltje (born 27 June 1863) and Maria (born 2 Augustus 1865) were both born at house number 39, it seems likely that they were still living there at the time.6, 7
Tragedy struck the family in 1867. Kaatje de Ridder died on 24 March 1867 at house number 39 in Bleiswijk.8 This left Dirkje, not yet eight years old, without a mother. Her father Ernst remained behind with six children, the oldest fourteen years old and the youngest not yet two.
Not even two years later, Ernst and his family got another blow when the youngest child, Maria, died on 17 January 1869.9 She died at house number 39, so the family was still living in this house at this time. Somewhere between Maria’s death and 18 December 1869, when the new population register was made, the family moved to house number 37b.5, 10 When the new population register was established, the family was still living at house number 37b in Bleiswijk. However, Ernst was living with just the youngest three of his children: Dirkje, Cornelis and Neeltje. Son Hendrik and daughter Cornelia have disappeared, which means they must have moved out before 17 January 1869, when the remaining family members were transferred into the new population register. It is unknown at this time when they moved out and where they went. However, considering Ernst was on his own trying to take care of the family, and maybe even having to pay someone to watch the younger children while he was at work, it is not strange that his oldest two children had moved out. It is likely that Hendrik was working somewhere and Cornelia was most likely to have a domestic serve job somewhere, which was live-in a lot of the time.
Unfortunately for the family, times did not get better. On 19 September 1871, Neeltje died at eight years old.11 This left Ernst, Dirkje and Cornelis in the house. However, more misery was still to come.
Life as an orphan
Dirkje’s father Ernst died on 13 September 1875.12 Dirkje was seventeen years old at the time, and still considered a minor. Cornelis, the only other child still living at home with Ernst, was two weeks shy of turning fifteen years old. He too was still considered a minor. Because they were both minors and all four of their grandparents have also passed away, they needed guardians.13 Dirkje’s guardians are mentioned in her marriage record as being Hendrik van der Vlist, a railway worker in Schiebroek, guardian (Dutch: voogd), and Hendrik van der Vlist, a shopkeeper in Lexmond, legal guardian (Dutch: toeziend voogd).14 I have not yet been able to identify exactly who these two Hendrik van der Vlists are exactly. However, my current hypothesis is that the Hendrik van der Vlist from Schiebroek is her older brother Hendrik, as he would have been old enough to act as a guardian for his siblings and this was a common solution. The Hendrik van der Vlist from Lexmond is probably a relative of her father, who was born in Lexmond, and my very tentative hypothesis is that he is an uncle, as that makes the most sense. Where a guardian was responsible for the day-to-day living situation and care of the orphan they were guardian of, the legal guardian was there to make sure the inheritance of the orphan was safe from being misused and usually only dealt with legal and financial matters. While I don’t have any records yet showing who Cornelis’ guardians were, it’s highly likely they were the same two men that were his sister’s guardians.
Both Dirkje and Cornelis moved out of the house on 22 September 1875 to Moerkapelle.10 They did not go to live with their guardian. Instead, they are both found in the population register of Moerkapelle that was specifically for temporary inhabitants – used for people in professions where there were a lot of changes in employers and therefore subsequent moves, such as (day) laborers and domestic servants. Both Dirkje and her brother Cornelis were entered into the register on 20 September 1875. Unfortunately, there is a page missing, which means the information on what they did for a living and where they lived, as well as where they moved to, is missing.15 However, considering Dirkje’s age and what most other women who are in this register had as a profession, it is most likely she was working as a domestic servant.
Marriage to Klaas Versloot
Dirkje’s presence in Moerkapelle explains how she met Klaas Versloot, son of Klaas Versloot and Willemijntje Haak, who would become her husband. Klaas was born in Moerkapelle and lived there all his life. How the two met exactly and when they fell in love, we will never know. But by June 1879, they were all set to get married.
To be able to marry, one needed extracts of civil registration records, like your own birth record. Some people were so poor in the nineteenth century, that they couldn’t even pay the fees for these extracts. If that was the case, you could get a certificate of financial incapacity and with that you could get the extracts for free. It needed two witnesses. Both Klaas and Dirkje were financially incapable of paying for the needed extracts.16, 17
The marriage bans were read on 1 June 1879 and 8 June 1879 in both Moerkapelle, where Klaas was living, and Schiebroek, where Dirkje was living at the time.18 So she moved to Schiebroek sometime after 20 September 1875, when she was working in Moerkapelle, and 1 June 1879. However, research in the online available population registers hasn’t turned her up yet.
Dirkje and Klaas were married on 18 June 1879 in Moerkapelle en Wildeveenen (usually just referred to as Moerkapelle, which was the town, while Wildeveenen was the polder with farmland). At the time of their marriage, Klaas was 24 years old, a laborer, and living with his parents in Moerkapelle. Dirkje is 21 years old and listed as having no profession. She’s living in Schiebroek at the time of the marriage.18
Starting a family
Dirkje and Klaas started their married life by moving into house number 55b in Moerkapelle.19 Klaas and Dirkje remained at 55b with the children that were born in the following years until at least sometime around 19 September 1882, which is when they were registered into the new population register with that address.20 Sometime between 19 September 1882 and 19 May 1888, they moved to house number 52b.
On 19 May 1888, the family moved to house number 191a in Bleiswijk.20, 21 By this time, Klaas and Dirkje had five children together: son Klaas and daughters Kaatje, Willemijntje, Neeltje Maria, and Pietje Klazina.20 When they made the move, Dirkje was about six months pregnant, because she gave birth to son Ernst on 2 August 1888.22 Unfortunately, Ernst died when he was only three months old.23 When Dirkje gave birth to another son the couple named Ernst on 1 October 1889, they were still living at house number 191a.24 Sometime between Ernst’s birth and 10 February 1890, the family moved to house number 207.21, 25
Dirkje’s husband Klaas passed away on on 10 February 1890 in house number 207 in Bleiswijk, at eleven o’clock in the morning.25 He was only 35 years old at the time and still working as a laborer. Dirkje, who had no profession at the time of his death, was left alone with six small children, the oldest of which was nine years old. Considering laborers were often among the poorer people anyway, losing Klaas probably meant dire straits for the family’s financial situation. This tragedy was compounded by the fact that on 22 December of the same year, Dirkje lost her daughter Pietje Klazina.26
Therefore, it is not strange that Dirkje remarried thirteen months after her husband’s death. It was common in those days to remarry fairly quickly when widowed, especially if there were younger children.
Marriage to Bastiaan Koppenaal
Dirkje married Bastiaan Koppenaal on 14 March 1891 in Moerkapelle en Wildeveenen.27 Bastiaan was the son of Cornelis Koppenaal and Maria Schouwenaar, born in Oude-Tonge and living in Moerkapelle at the time of his marriage. He was a laborer, just like Dirkje’s first husband Klaas, and 33 years old. Dirkje was 32 at the time of her second marriage, so there was only a year age difference.
Bastiaan was a widower as well, having been married to Dyna van Ruitenburg, who died on 27 September 1890.28 He moved in with Dirkje, bringing his surviving children of his first marriage with him. These were sons Nikolaas, Cornelis and Johan, and daughter Mina.21
Having married Bastiaan probably didn’t improve the financial situation Dirkje found herself in significantly. Aside from the fact that with the addition of his children there were now more mouths to feed, Bastiaan too belonged to the poorest group of society as a laborer. Both Bastiaan and Dirkje were financially incapable of paying for the needed extracts for their marriage.29, 30 Considering that the family now consisted of two adults and nine children between twelve and two years old, it can’t have been easy.
Living as a blended family
The population register of Bleiswijk for the period 1883-1900 gives a good look into the family’s life after Dirkje’s marriage to Bastiaan.21 Whether Bastiaan and his children moved into house number 207 after their marriage, or if they both moved to house number 201a after their marriage isn’t clear. However, when their daughter Johanna is born on 10 June 1892, they are living at house number 201a.31 Whatever the house they were living in, given the time period and their poverty, it likely would have been cramped.
In the nineteenth century in the Netherlands, most children had about six years of education – just primary school – and even then, the poorer people might not even be very literate or literate at all. Part of the reason for this short period of education was that at around 12 years old, many boys from the poorer classes would start to work, so as to bring in some income to the household. Or they would leave their parents to live with their boss, whom they learned a profession from. For girls from the poorer classes, domestic service was a good option. It often included room and board, meaning more room and money in the parental household for the rest of the children, and the girls learned what were considered valuable skills for when they had their own household after marriage.
With ten children to take care of in the house, it is not strange then that we see hints of some of these things happening in the population register of Bastiaan and Dirkje’s household as well.21 Bastiaan’s sons Nikolaas and Cornelis, aged 14 and 13 respectively, left the household on 18 September 1893 to Middelharnis. They probably went to work there. Two days later, and perhaps related to why the boys moved out of the house, Dirkje have birth to daughter Cornelia Hendrika.32 Cornelia Hendrika was born in house number 208 in Bleiswijk, making this a possible house the family lived in as well.
On the very first day of January 1894, Bastiaan’s daughter Mina moved out of the house to Moerkapelle. She was only six years old and far too young to be working, so my hypothesis is that she was going to live with family, though I am not entirely sure what the reason might be for that. She was not the only girl to move out that year, as Dirkje’s daughter Kaatje left on 22 May 1894 to Zegwaart. Since she was 12 years old at the time, she was probably going to work as a domestic servant.21
Later that year, on 11 July 1894, the now almost fourteen-year-old Cornelis returned from Middelharnis after being away for about ten months. Not long after that, on 17 July 1894, only two months after she left, Kaatje returned home from Zegwaart. On 9 December of the same year, her younger sister Willemijntje left for Zoetermeer. Willemijntje was only 11 years old at the time, but the most likely explanation is that she was going to work as a domestic servant, despite her young age. Bastiaan’s son Nikolaas, by now 15 years old, came home on 21 December from Middelharnis. After being away for a little over a year, he was home just in time for Christmas.21
Neither Nikolaas nor Cornelis stayed at home for long. Nikolaas, almost 16 by this time, left again on 18 March 1895 to Bergschenhoek. Cornelis, aged 14 by now, left a few days later, on 21 March, to Benthuizen. Both boys were probably leaving for work again.21
On 18 March 1896, Dirkje gave birth to daughter Lena in house number 204 in Bleiswijk.33 Clearly the family had moved again. On 12 May of that year, Dirkje’s daughter Kaatje, 14 years old, left the family to go to Bergschenhoek, probably to work as a domestic servant. Not even a month later, tragedy struck the family as little Lena, not yet three months old, died on 6 June 1896.34 Unfortunately for Bastiaan and Dirkje, this was not the last child they would lose. On 1 May 1897, Dirkje gave birth to a stillborn baby boy.35 On 2 February 1899, Dirkje once again gave birth to a daughter, which they also named Lena.36 Unfortunately, this little girl also died, on 4 May 1899.37 She was only three months old. All of these events took place at house number 204 in Bleiswijk, proving the family was still living there all this time.
A month after Lena died, on 7 June 1899, Dirkje’s daughter Willemijntje returned from Zoetermeer.21 She had been living out of the house for almost five years and is sixteen years old by now. Perhaps she came back to support her mother after Lena’s death. Whatever the reason, she didn’t stay for very long, as she left again on 2 November 1899 to Berkel, probably to work as a domestic servant again. On 19 December of the same year, Dirkje’s daughter Neeltje Maria left as well to Zegwaart. Neeltje Maria was nineteen at the time and probably left to work as a domestic servant.21
One child that hasn’t been mentioned yet is Bastiaan’s son Johan. The population register has a note proclaiming him to be living with D. Buscher (or Bascher), but the note is not dated.21 At the time of his father’s marriage, he was eight years old, and by the time the next population register was created he was almost seventeen. Somewhere between those dates, he moved out to go and live with D. Buscher (or Bascher), as he is not present in the next population register in his father’s household.38 More about this person, when or why Johan moved out isn’t know at this time. It could’ve been for work, or the same type of situation as his sister Mina.
Sometime between Lena’s death on 7 June 1899 and when a new population register was made on 1 February 1900, the family moved to house number 209 in Bleiswijk.21 They were still there when the new population register was made on 1 February 1900.38 On that date, only four children were still living with Bastiaan and Dirkje. These were Dirkje’s sons from her first marriage, Klaas and Ernst, and her and Bastiaan’s daughters, Johanna and Cornelia Hendrika.38 On 6 November 1902 Klaas married and moved out to start his own household. The rest of the family moved to Bergschenhoek in 1903.38 They remained here until 21 May 1904, when they moved to Zegwaart.39 Here, they first lived at Rokkeveen 132c and later at Zegwaartseweg 184a. On 15 May 1906, seventeen year old Johanna left home to go to Zoetermeer, probably to work as a domestic servant.39
Bastiaan, Dirkje, Ernst and Cornelia Hendrika moved to Zoetermeer on 19 March 1907.39 Here they lived at Voorweg 186b.40
It is in Zoetermeer that Dirkje van der Vlist passed away on 18 August 1908 at two o’clock in the afternoon.41 She was 50 years old when she died and without a profession.
List of children
From marriage with Klaas Versloot (1855-1890):
1. Klaas Versloot (1880-1940)
2. Kaatje Versloot (1881-1956)
3. Willemijntje Versloot (1883-1962)
4. Neeltje Maria Versloot (1885-1966)
5. Pietje Klazina Versloot (1886-1890)
6. Ernst Versloot (1888-1888)
7. Ernst Versloot (1889-aft.1938)
From marriage with Bastiaan Koppenaal (1857-1926):
8. Johanna Koppenaal (1892-1954)
9. Cornelia Hendrika Koppenaal (1893-1960)
10. Lena Koppenaal (1896-1896)
11. Unnamed Infant Koppenaal (1897-1897) 12. Lena Koppenaal (1899-1899)
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), birth record 1858 no. 18, Dirkje van der Vlist (8 May 1858); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 23 July 2021). Search term: Dirkje van der Vlist, image 71 out of 135.
Rotterdam, 1292 Archief van de Gemeente Bleiswijk, inventory number 1141, Bevolkingsregister 1850 – 1860, deel 1. Wijk 1 en 2, huisnr. 1-94, fol 1-166, folio 39, Ernst van der Vlist household; “Archieven”, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl : accessed 23 July 2021). Image 55 of 182 in digital image series.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), death record 1857 no. 43, Cornelis van der Vlist (25 August 1857); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 9 August 2021). Search term: Ernst van der Vlist, image 54 out of 128. Name of Cornelis is erroneously recorded as Cornelia in the index, but not in the original document.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), birth record 1860 no. 33, Cornelis van der Vlist (28 September 1860); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 9 August 2021). Search term: Ernst van der Vlist, image 105 out of 135.
Rotterdam, 1292 Archief van de Gemeente Bleiswijk, inventory number 1145, Bevolkingsregister 1861 – 1869, deel 1. Huisnr. 1-110, fol 1-219, folio 75, Ernst van der Vlist household; “Archieven”, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl : accessed 23 July 2021). Image 77 of 222 in digital image series.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), birth record 1863 no. 40, Neeltje van der Vlist (27 June 1863); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 9 August 2021). Search term: Ernst van der Vlist, image 10 out of 159.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), birth record 1865 no. 42, Maria van der Vlist (2 August 1865); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 9 August 2021). Search term: Ernst van der Vlist, image 42 out of 159.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), death record 1867 no. 13, Katje de Ridder (24 March 1867); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 9 August 2021). Search term: Katje de Ridder, image 57 out of 155.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), death record 1869 no. 4, Maria van der Vlist (17 January 1869); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 9 August 2021). Search term: Ernst van der Vlist, image 80 out of 155.
Rotterdam, 1292 Archief van de Gemeente Bleiswijk, inventory number 1147, Bevolkingsregister 1869 – 1883, deel 1. Huisnr. 1-97, fol 1-198, folio 77, Ernst van der Vlist household; “Archieven”, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl : accessed 23 July 2021). Image 78 of 200 in digital image series.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), death record 1871 no. 72, Neeltje van der Vlist (19 September 1871); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 9 August 2021). Search term: Ernst van der Vlist, image 127 out of 155.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), death record 1875 no. 39, Ernst van der Vlist (13 September 1875); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 9 August 2021). Search term: Ernst van der Vlist, image 31 out of 110.
Extracts death records Hendrik van der Vlist, Cornelia Verkerk, Dirk de Ridder and Cornelia Post, civil Registration (Moerkapelle), marriage supplements 1879 no. 7, Versloot-van der Vlist (18 June 1879); “Netherlands, Zuid-Holland Province, Civil Registration, 1679-1942,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-MQ9N-LL?cc=1576401&wc=9PVK-VZS%3A112173201%2C109396501 : 14 July 2021), Moerkapelle > Huwelijksbijlagen 1873-1882 > image 220-223 of 303; Nationaal Archief, Den Haag (National Archives, The Hague).
Certificate of financial incapacity for Klaas Versloot, Civil Registration (Moerkapelle), marriage supplements 1879 no. 7, Versloot-van der Vlist (18 June 1879); “Netherlands, Zuid-Holland Province, Civil Registration, 1679-1942,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-MQ9N-LL?cc=1576401&wc=9PVK-VZS%3A112173201%2C109396501 : 14 July 2021), Moerkapelle > Huwelijksbijlagen 1873-1882 > image 214 of 303; Nationaal Archief, Den Haag (National Archives, The Hague).
Certificate of financial incapacity for Dirkje van der Vlist, Civil Registration (Moerkapelle), marriage supplements 1879 no. 7, Versloot-van der Vlist (18 June 1879); (“Netherlands, Zuid-Holland Province, Civil Registration, 1679-1942,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-MQ9N-4T?cc=1576401&wc=9PVK-VZS%3A112173201%2C109396501 : 8 July 2014), Moerkapelle > Huwelijksbijlagen 1873-1882 > image 215 of 303; Nationaal Archief, Den Haag (National Archives, The Hague).
Rotterdam, 1292 Archief van de Gemeente Bleiswijk, inventory number 1150, Bevolkingsregister 1883 – 1900, deel 2. Huisnr. 106-223, fol 202-402, folio 368, Klaas Versloot household; “Archieven”, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl : accessed 22 June 2021). Image 168 of 202 in digital image series.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), birth record 1888 no. 34, Ernst Versloot (2 August 1890); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 10 July 2021).
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), death record 1888 no. 32, Ernst Versloot (2 August 1890); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 10 July 2021).
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), birth record 1889 no. 47, Ernst Versloot (1 October 1889); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 10 July 2021).
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), death record 1890 no. 6, Klaas Versloot (10 February 1890); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 13 June 2021). Search term: Klaas Versloot, image 64 out of 93.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), death record 1890 no. 24, Pietje Klazina Versloot (25 December 1890); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 8 July 2021).
Certificate of financial incapacity for Bastiaan Koppenaal, Civil registration (Moerkapelle en Wildeveenen), marriage suppplements 1879 no. 1, Koppenaal-van der Vlist (14 March 1891); “Netherlands, Zuid-Holland Province, Civil Registration, 1679-1942,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-K69D-CJ?cc=1576401&wc=9P2T-DP8%3A112173201%2C109345301 : 25 July 2021), Moerkapelle > Huwelijksbijlagen 1883-1912 > image 269 of 954; Nationaal Archief, Den Haag (National Archives, The Hague).
Certificate of financial incapacity for Dirkje Versloot, Civil registration (Moerkapelle en Wildeveenen), marriage suppplements 1879 no. 1, Koppenaal-van der Vlist (14 March 1891); “Netherlands, Zuid-Holland Province, Civil Registration, 1679-1942,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-K69D-CJ?cc=1576401&wc=9P2T-DP8%3A112173201%2C109345301 : 25 July 2021), Moerkapelle > Huwelijksbijlagen 1883-1912 > image 270 of 954; Nationaal Archief, Den Haag (National Archives, The Hague).
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), birth record 1892 no. 24, Johanna Koppenaal (10 June 1892); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 8 August 2021). Search term: Bastiaan Koppenaal, image 141 out of 147.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), birth record 1893 no. 54, Cornelia Hendrika Koppenaal (20 September 1893); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 8 August 2021). Search term: Bastiaan Koppenaal, image 14 out of 139.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), birth record 1896 no. 8, Lena Koppenaal (18 March 1896); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 8 August 2021). Search term: Bastiaan Koppenaal, image 46 out of 139.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), death record 1896 no. 20, Lena Koppenaal (6 June 1896); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 8 August 2021). Search term: Bastiaan Koppenaal, image 31 out of 96.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), death record 1897 no. 8, Unnamed Infant Koppenaal (1 May 1897); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 8 August 2021). Search term: Bastiaan Koppenaal, image 38 out of 96.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), birth record 1896 no. 8, Lena Koppenaal (18 March 1896); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 8 August 2021). Search term: Bastiaan Koppenaal, image 85 out of 139.
Civil registration (Bleiswijk), death record 1899 no. 16, Lena Koppenaal (4 May 1899); “Stamboom,” index and images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/ : accessed 8 August 2021). Search term: Bastiaan Koppenaal, image 55 out of 96.
Rotterdam, 1292 Archief van de Gemeente Bleiswijk, inventory number 1152, Bevolkingsregister 1900 – 1909, deel 2. Huisnr. 118-245, fol 200-398, folio 352, Bastiaan Koppenaal household; “Archieven”, Stadsarchief Rotterdam (https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl : accessed 9 August 2021). Image 153 of 199 in digital image series.
Civil registration (Zoetermeer), death record 1908 no. 16, Dirkje van der Vlist (18 August 1908); WieWasWie, index and images, citing Stadsarchief Zoetermeer (https://www.wiewaswie.nl/nl/detail/67918301 : accessed 23 July 2021). Search term: Dirkje van der Vlist.
Map of Moerkapelle, circa 1870, published by Hugo Suringar (Leeuwarden); Collection “Kartografische Documenten”, inventory number 0054.104, Streekarchief Hollands-Midden in Gouda. Image is in the public domain.
In January, Yvette Hoitink posted about her level-up challenge. The basics of it are that she assigns each ancestor a level from 0 to 6, depending on how far your research is. The levels she uses are as follows:
I am using the levels Yvette is using, though with my own twist. Any research that needs to be done has to have happened to reach level 4. For instance, for Dirkje van der Vlist I need to research the guardianship that occurred after her parents died, which falls under level 4 research.
Level 5, for me, is checking to see if there are any records that I have not researched for my ancestor yet and writing up a final summary report. I write a research report for every level (and for each separate topic once I get to level 3 and 4), so most of the GPS has been met already. In these research reports, I note negative search results (including date) and if the source note does not have an accessed date in it (as all my digitally looked at sources do), I also note the date for when I viewed a record. My research reports therefore include what I looked at, when I looked at it, what I found, and an analysis. Level 5 then becomes summarizing all of that and compiling it, then checking against the GPS to see if there is anything I need to resolve.
Since I joined WikiTree, I have been much more diligent in writing up my findings as I go. A good example is Klaas Versloot’s biography. Klaas is only at level 3 – to reach level 4, I need to figure out what’s going on with his military service, and that needs onsite research I am not able to do at this time. However, once I’ve reached level 4, I can add that information to his already existing biography. Then, after I’ve checked everything I need to in order to reach level 5, I will immediately shoot to level 6, because I’ve written up Klaas’ biography – and included historical context in it already. For some ancestors I might want to do a little extra historical research, but that would depend entirely on the events in their life. I find that doing it this way greatly reduces the stress around writing up an ancestor’s story, because the research doesn’t need to be ‘done’, and that ends up with more information written down and shared – a win for all!
I am currently focusing on my great-grandmother Adriana Versloot and her ancestors. If you look at the chart below (made with Yvette’s very handy Excel-sheet, which you can also find in her post to download, where I just altered the Ahnentafel numbers), you can see that I have quite a lot of work to do. Some of these ancestors I might actually have at level 2 already, but I am using this challenge as a way to re-check my work and make sure it’s all up to GPS standard and well documented. So it might look a bit worse than it actually is, but probably not by much, because it’s not a branch I’ve done much work on.
The plan is to get all of these ancestors up to the highest level I can, without leaving home. Yes, you read it right, I am going for the online sources right now and seeing how far I can get. I’m also making a to-do list for each ancestor concerning on-site research. This will allow me to work more efficiently when I am visiting an archive – especially necessary with the current restrictions.
Even with just the low-hanging fruit of online resources, there’s still a ton of work to do on this line. I can’t wait to dive deeper into this branch of my family tree!
Sometimes the most interesting stories start in the civil records. I’m currently researching Dirkje van der Vlist, my third great grandmother. Her first husband Klaas Versloot was my third great grandfather. After he passed away, she married Bastiaan Koppenaal. Now, Bastiaan is no blood relation to me at all, but I wanted to at least get some basic information about him. So, I looked up his birth record, marriage records (he was a widower when he married Dirkje), and his death record. I also looked at the children he had from his first marriage. I didn’t look any further than the civil records, but boy, did they tell a great story already.
Bastiaan Koppenaal was born on 21 March 1857 in Oude-Tonge.1 His parents are Cornelis Koppenaal and Maria Schouwenaar. However, by the time he marries his first wife Dijna van Ruitenberg on 22 August 1878 in Moerkapelle, both his parents and all four of his grandparents are deceased.2 He is 21 at the time and still considered a minor, so permission for the marriage is given by “de Regenten van het Burgerlijk Weeshuis te Oude Tonge, in hoedanigheid van zijn voogden” [the regents of the civil orphanage in Oude Tonge, as his legal guardians]. As I didn’t look in the marriage supplements yet, I’m not sure if Bastiaan ever spent any actual time in the orphanage, or if they just had his legal guardianship while he was providing for his own livelihood.
Together with Dijna, Bastiaan had several children. One birth is remarkable. Daughter Mina Koppenaal was born on 20 July 1887 in Moerkapelle.3 The birth is declared by Evert Adam Akkeringa, surgeon and male-midwife (Dutch: heel- en vroedmeester), 49 years old, living in Zevenhuizen. He was present at the birth, and declared the birth due to the temporary absence of the father. Now, as I haven’t looked further into this, I don’t know why he was absent. Sometimes fathers were absent due to a travelling profession, being in the military, or just away to try and find work. However, Bastiaan does not have a travelling profession in any of the records I’ve seen for him, nor is he military. Another option, one I find highly likely, is that he was in jail. Oftentimes, poor people in the nineteenth century ended up in jail for relatively minor offenses (like public drunkenness), because they couldn’t pay the fines they got.
After Dijna passed away, Bastiaan married Dirkje van der Vlist on 14 March 1891 in Moerkapelle.4 He passed away on 2 February 1926.5 This man certainly had an interesting, but not an easy life and the civil records I’ve looked at show a glimpse of that already. Had I only looked at the indexes, instead of the original records, I would have missed all of that. And although I’d love to chase down these tidbits, I’m going to stick with my research plan for Dirkje van der Vlist. But I definitely made a note that this needs more research.
Civil registration (Zoetermeer), death record 1926 no. 3, Bastiaan Koppenaal (2 February 1926); “Direct Zoeken,” index and images, Historisch Genootschap Oud Soetermeer (https://www.allezoetermeerders.nl/stamboom : accessed 13 June 2021).
Klaas Versloot, son of Klaas Versloot and Willemijntje, was born on 17 January 1855 in Moerkapelle.1 He died on 10 February 1890 in Bleiswijk.2 He married Dirkje van der Vlist, daughter of Ernst van der Vlist and Katje de Ridder, on 18 June 1879 in Moerkapelle.3
Klaas Versloot was born at 8 o’clock in the morning in house number 48 on 17 January 1855 in Moerkapelle.1 The record talks about him being born in the municipality of Moerkapelle and Wildeveenen. Moerkapelle was the village, Wildeveenen was a polder (reclaimed land) that belonged to the same municipality as Wildeveenen. In all other records, just Moerkapelle is used as his birth place. Moerkapelle was a small village (585 villagers in 1867, 12 years after Klaas’ birth).
Klaas is the son of Klaas Versloot, laborer, 31 years old at the time of his son’s birth and his wife Willemijntje Haak, without profession. Both are living in the municipality of Moerkapelle and Wildeveenen. Since home births were the norm in the Netherlands at the time, they probably lived at house number 48.
The marriage banns for the marriage between Klaas Versloot and Dirkje van der Vlist were read on 1 June 1879 and 8 June 1879.3
Klaas married Dirkje van der Vlist on 18 June 1879 in Moerkapelle.3 Just like with the birth of Klaas, the act mentions the municipality Moerkapelle en Wildeveenen.
At the time of his marriage, Klaas is 24 years old and works as a laborer. He is living in Moerkapelle. Both of his parents are present at the marriage.
Dirkje van der Vlist is 21 years old at the time of her marriage, which makes her a minor (majority was 23 at the time). She is living in Schiebroek and without a profession. Dirkje’s parents and grandparents have all passed away already, so her guardian Hendrik van der Vlist, a railway worker in Schiebroek, and her legal guardian Hendrik van der Vlist, shopkeeper in Lexmond, are there to give their permission.
Klaas Versloot passed away on 10 February 1890 in house number 207 in Bleiswijk, at eleven o’clock in the morning.2 At the time of his death he was a laborer and only 35 years old.
Klaas leaves behind his wife, Dirkje van der Vlist, who has no profession at the time of his death, along with six small children, the oldest of which is nine years old. Considering laborers were often among the poorer people anyway, losing Klaas probably meant dire straits for the family’s financial situation.
Klaas was married to Dirkje van der Vlist and together they had the following children:
Klaas Versloot (1880-1940)
Kaatje Versloot (1881-1956)
Willemijntje Versloot (1883-1962)
Neeltje Maria Versloot (1885-1966)
Pietje Klazina Versloot (1886-1890)
Ernst Versloot (1888-1888)
Ernst Versloot (1889-aft.1938)
Klaas Versloot worked as a laborer all of his life, just like his father Klaas Versloot. The first mention of Klaas Versloot’s occupation is from the population register of Moerkapelle 1869-1882, where Klaas gets his own entry on 11 December 1869 and is listed as a laborer.4 When he marries Dirkje van der Vlist in 1879, Klaas Versloot is listed as a laborer in his marriage record.3 In the period after that, two children are born (in 1880 and 1881) and both times Klaas Versloot is listed as a laborer in their birth records.5, 6 A new population register is made in 1882, probably copying the information from the previous population register, and Klaas is still listed as a laborer.7 This is confirmed by the birth record of children in 1883, 1885, and 1886, in which he is still listed as a laborer.8, 9, 10 On 19 May 1888 the family moves to Bleiswijk, where Klaas is listed as a laborer in the population register there.11 This is the last population register Klaas is listed in, because he dies in 1890, which is registered in this population register. In his death record, Klaas is also listed as a laborer.2
Being a laborer [Dutch: arbeider] is a broad category of professions. It was often times someone who did (heavy) physical labor for someone, and many laborers worked day by day, or sometimes per week. It was an uncertain existence with no stable income guaranteed. Laborers [Dutch: arbeiders] were at the bottom of society in the nineteenth century. They were often unschooled, poorly paid, and had almost no chance of working their way up to a better paying job. There was a saying: ‘once a laborer, always a laborer’ that was unfortunately all too true. Klaas belonged to this poorest group of laborers, as evidenced from his certificate of financial incapacity that is in the marriage supplements.12 To be able to marry, one needed extracts of civil registration records, like your own birth record. Some people were so poor in the nineteenth century, that they couldn’t even pay the fees for these extracts. If that was the case, you could get a certificate of financial incapacity and with that you could get the extracts for free. It needed two witnesses. For Klaas, both Jan van Driel, messenger [Dutch: bode], and Hendrik Doeleman, state constable [Dutch: rijksveldwachter], declared after research done, that Klaas was unable to pay for the extracts.12 Considering both men lived the same small village of Moerkapelle, they probably would have known the financial circumstances of Klaas pretty well.
Unfortunately for Klaas, it doesn’t look like he ever managed to rise above the poor existence of being a laborer. He moved to Bleiswijk in 1888, perhaps in the hopes of better opportunities there, but died a mere two years later, still a laborer.2 His estate was worth so little, it was recorded as ‘insolvent’, which meant no inheritance taxes were levied on it.13 In reality, this meant that the estate was worth less than 1000 guilders after all debts were subtracted.
The first time Klaas Versloot is recorded in the population register of Moerkapelle, it is with his parents after his birth in the population register of the years (approximately) 1850-1861.14 Unlike what his birth record, mentioning him being born in house number 48, would suggest, the address is listed as house number 23, which at some time between 1850 and 1861 is crossed out and changed into 21.14, 1 Since another family was first recorded on this page, and leave on 6 November 1852 to Rotterdam, the family lived there probably from late 1852 or early 1853.14
The population registers’ completeness and accuracy of data relied on the people of the municipality (legally, the head of household) actually reporting changes and the clerk(s) who were tasked with keeping the population registers recording that information accurately. In practice, this often went wrong. One of the things that most often were not, or not always, reported and thus recorded were moves inside a municipality. Especially when moving houses a lot, not all of the moves would always end up recorded in the population register. Add to that the fact that in 1850 this way of keeping track of the population started, it would not surprise me if the family had moved in between, and maybe even moved back. Still, the option that Dirkje van der Vlist gave birth to Klaas at a house other than her own needs to be kept open as well.
As for the change between house number 23 and 21, it is most likely a move (crossing out for different house numbers is common in this register). At first, I thought it might be a renumbering, but there are multiple notes of house number 23 being changed into different house numbers, and some house numbers have been changed several times, and receive numbers not even close to their original. Therefore, it is most likely a way to track moves. It is not strange that no street names were given. The village was small. In 1845, the village only had 539 residents. It is highly likely that there were no (official) street addresses in this time.
When the new register is started in around 19 December 1861, the family is still living at house number 21.15 Somewhere in the period 1861-1870, they move. The house number 61 is recorded.15 Also recorded (and not crossed out like 21) is the letter k.15 It is not known if it is meant to be house number 61k or if the k means something else.
Apparently the family, including Klaas, moved on from house number 61 sometime before this register was started around 11 December 1869, as the first address the family is listed as is house number 54k.16 Either that, or they forgot to cross out the 61 and the k was short-hand for 54k in the last register. Klaas definitely still lived at house number 54k, but whether or not he lived at the other address listed – house number 57 – is uncertain.16 Klaas moved out of his parental home when he got married on 18 June 1879, three years before the end of the register.16 Since no date is recorded for when his parents moved into house number 57, it’s impossible to tell if Klaas lived there too or if they only moved after Klaas moved out.
After his marriage, Klaas moved to house number 55b, which was probably close to his parents (who lived either at house number 54k or 57).4
Klaas remained at 55b with his wife and the children that were born in the following years until at least sometime around 19 September 1882, which is when they were registered into the new population register with that address.7 Sometime between 19 September 1882 and 19 May 1888, they moved to house number 52b.7
On 19 May 1888, Klaas and his family moved to Bleiswijk.7, 11 Klaas and his family are first registered at house number 191a. 11 Later on, the address is changed to house number 207, which is the same house Klaas passed away at.11, 2
In all of the population registers, Klaas Versloot is recorded as Dutch Reformed, one of the protestant denominations in the Netherlands. 4, 7, 11, 14, 15, 16
Moerkapelle has a Dutch Reformed Church in the community and has had one since around 1667. Klaas Versloot probably went to that church, however the records of this church have not been consulted yet to see if there is any information about Klaas Versloot in the church records that can confirm his membership of the church.
Since 1811, there has been a requirement for men to serve in the military, in the National Militia. Not all men actually served, as there was a lottery to see who had to serve and who didn’t each year for anyone who turned 19 in that particular year. You could also be exempt from service for a variety of reasons. In order to marry a man had to submit a National Militia certificate showing he had fulfilled his duty to the national militia (either by serving, exemption, or because his number didn’t come up), a requirement up until 1911. The strange thing for Klaas Versloot’s marriage in 1879 is that there is no National Militia certificate in the marriage supplements, nor any mention made of it in the marriage record itself.17, 3 This is not just the case for Klaas’ marriage, in the marriage supplements of the couples that married after Klaas in the same year, no National Militia certificates were found either. The original registers for drawing the lots will have to be consulted to see if Klaas Versloot was called up to serve or not.