Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sentimental Sunday: Left-over Money

I wrote about organizing a school dance with my friend J. in this post, and as mentioned there, we had some left-over money after returning the unopened bottles of soda. J. was the one who put the returned money in her wallet to return to the teacher, and I put it out of my mind. Never had I thought it would come back to nearly destroy our friendship.

A couple of months later, there was a big party for the first three grades of our high school. My friend J. had gotten money from her paternal grandmother to buy some clothes for the party. But, J.’s parents were divorced and her home situation was a bit weird. Her mother, whom she lived with, had this weird rule that whatever she got from her father (or that side of the family) was to stay at her father’s. So she basically had two separate lives. If she were to buy clothes from the money her grandmother had given her, she wouldn’t be able to wear them to the party because of this rule. So, we made the deal that we’d go together to buy clothes, I would take everything home with me. J. would spend the night of the party with me, so she could dress in the clothes without her mother finding out. My mother would wash them and J. would then smuggle them to her father’s house when she went there for the weekend, without anyone being the wiser.

We had a lot of fun buying the clothes, right until the end, when we were in the check-out line. J. saw a scarf she wanted to have too, but she didn’t have enough money to buy it. However, she remembered then that she still had the money from returning the soda bottles in her wallet. I was unhappy with the fact that she still hadn’t returned it, but she swore she’d give the teacher the money just as soon as she got her allowance the next week. There wasn’t a lot more I could say and she bought the scarf. The next week she did indeed pay the teacher back, the party was great, and that should’ve been the end of it. It wasn’t.

Sometime later, I think it was a week or two, I was watching a movie on the tv in my room. I can still remember what movie it was, because it was such a good movie, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, with Whoopi Goldberg. The movie hadn’t been going for more than fifteen minutes when my mother came upstairs with the phone, telling me J.’s mother wanted to talk to me. I took the phone call, and got a very angry mother on the phone. Apparently, she’d discovered the scarf J. had bought, hadn’t been happy that her daughter had bought it and had questioned her about it. J. had told her mother I had loaned her the money for it, which was in her eyes unacceptable, as I was thereby helping J. break the rules she’d set for her daughter. I was at first speechless, but then I became angry. It was one thing for me to keep my mouth shut about J. breaking rules, but it was something else entirely to have J. lie about my involvement to keep herself out of trouble. So I told J.’s mother everything, about the clothes, the borrowed money, and the party. J.’s mother apologized for getting angry at me and said she was going to have another talk with J. We hung up and I went back to watching the movie, still angry at J.

Half an hour later, the phone went again. This time it was J., in tears. I was still very mad at her and at first refused to take her phone call. My mother persuaded me to at least hear her out. I took the phone and J. apologized to me. I told her why I’d been so angry, and she promised never to put me in such a position again. I accepted her apology and we hung up.

Our friendship, however, never truly recovered from this incident. We stayed friends for another two years, but kept growing further and further apart. It didn’t help that her home situation worsened and that, looking back, she had a lot of problems with her self-image. In the end, I sat down with J. and told her I thought our friendship as it stood wasn’t working any longer. That I needed more space than she was giving me and that maybe it was best if we stopped being friends. She wasn’t happy about it, but she did agree. We parted ways amicably, still talked to each other once in a while, and greeted each other when we saw one another. Two years later, we graduated high school and I never saw her again. I do not miss our friendship, but I do hope that she’s in a better place than she was when we were friends.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Going Cross-eyed...But Finding Lost Stories

Today I spent six hours in the archives of the Central Bureau for Genealogy transcribing letters and other documents for one of my ancestors, so all I'm seeing right now is letters slanted in a particular handwriting dancing in front of my eyes.

The Wesselo line, which is part of my paternal grandmother's line has been researched already and I had thought that I would just check the information that was already there, which was even more simple because all the information was supposed to be in one place: the Wesselo Family Archive at the Central Bureau for Genealogy and the published genealogy, also available in the library of the Central Bureau for Genealogy.

Yeah, maybe not so easy after all. Fitst of all, the book doesn't have any sources in it, so while it's a very pretty tree, it can't be verified. Luckily, there is still the Wesselo Family Archive, which should have all the documents on which the book was based. And it's true, there are a lot of documents in there, but there are many vital documents not present. So, I have to look them up seperately.

What I did find was scores and scores of interesting, story-telling sourced like letters and newspaper articles about the Wesselo family members. The book, and the site of a genealogy cousin that shares the Wesselo and Bolle ancestors with me, do not make any mention of this at all. They just list the birth, marriage and death dates, all marriages and the children. Also, they list the professions, very briefly. Sometimes it is listed where and when a person was burried. But where are the stories? Whole lives can be found in the letters and other documents, memories written down by the persons themselves, specifically for their descendants! Why aren't their stories being told?

So, what was supposed to be an 'easy' line to resreach, because it was just verifying for a large part, just became a monster job of transcribing, seeking out some additional records that are mentioned but not included in the Family Archive, and writing biographies. Why? Because their stories deserve to be told! The material is all there!

So, today I started with the oldest uncle of my grandmother for which there was material in the archive, and I started transcribing the letters he sent to his brother, and also the life story he wrote down specifically intended to go into the archive, as asked by the one who put the genealogy together. I'm not even half-way through transcribing his material, but it is very rewarding and I am finding gems of stories in these letters and other documents. What a shame they have never been told before! But do not fear, another day or two at the archive and I can begin telling his story!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Evaluate and Plan

At the end of last year, I made six resolutions for this year, and I thought it was a good idea to evaluate them and make some plans as to what things are next on my To-Do list. Mostly, to prevent myself from going on (interesting!) tangents. So, let's take a look.

1. Get through with inputting all family info that I currently have in documents in my genealogy program.

I started out with two boxes and am now done to one. This doesn't, however, include any transcriptions, although everything is archived and cited. That's something I'm keeping for next year...

To-Do: finish inputting the documents in the last box.

2. Finish identifying and scanning all family pictures I have
I recently added more pictures to my stack, from a side of the family I had two pictures from. Now I've got a huge stack, but they are all identified, at least. They need to be scanned, and other than that I made little progress. Definitely something that needs more love and attention!

To-Do: set aside one Sunday afternoon every month to work on the pictures.

3. Develop research plans for the next phase of research, which is generation II (my parents), generation III (my grandparents) and generation IV (my great-grandparents)

I did make research plans, but they were tentative. I now have a lot more data, a lot more questions, and a lot more ideas about where to look for more data. So, I need to re-do these research plans!

To-Do: re-do research plans for generation II (parents), generation III (grandparents) and generation IV (great-grandparents)

4. Make a success of this blog by posting interesting post on Dutch or local history, my own research and family.

Well, I've been posting pretty regularly, which is really good considering how busy I sometimes get! I've made 60 posts already this year, and where not even half-way yet. I've posted pretty regularly about my own research and family, but local and Dutch history have no real posts as of yet. Something to change.

To-Do item: write some posts about local and Dutch history.

5. Get started on my two planned series.

I planned on two series, and I've started both of them. The Looking For Lamboo series is going well, but my Genealogy in the Netherlands series needs a little love!

To-Do: write more consistently for Genealogy in the Netherlands, keep writing The Looking For Lamboo series

6. Post my own memories

Well, I planned to do one a week. In all of this year, I've posted one memory, specifically written like that, and one memory as part of a biograhy I wrote about my grandmother. Wich means I'm about 18 memories behind, and that's not counting this week.

To-Do: start writing a memory every Sentimental Sunday, and play a bit of catch-up!

So, what does my To-Do list for the next couple of weeks look like?

1. Finish inputting the documents in the last box.
2. Set aside one Sunday afternoon every month to work on the pictures.
3. Re-do research plans for generation II (parents), generation III (grandparents) and generation IV (great-grandparents).
4. Write some posts about local and Dutch history.
5. Write more consistently for Genealogy in the Netherlands, keep writing The Looking For Lamboo series
6. Start writing a memory every Sentimental Sunday, and play a bit of catch-up!

Sounds do-able, doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mystery Pictures, Still No Luck....

In this post, I wrote about two pictures I have of my grandmother, where she's shown as a member of an as of yet unidentified organization.

In hopes of finding out what this organization might be, and knowing in which time period and approximately where the photo was taken, and also knowing it had to have been a Roman Catholic organization, I send digital images of the two pictures to the local history museum of Voorschoten with the question if they had any idea what organization it could be.

In the second week of May I got an answer. They think my grandmother might have attended the boarding school 'Huize Bijdorp', which was a Roman Catholic school for young ladies from affluent families. There is however, doubt because of the man in one of the pictures, who clearly poses together with the girls, as the school was run by nuns and the only men that were there where the gardner and his help.

Together with that, I have my doubts also. First of all, while my grandmothers father had a good job, he was still only middle class, and didn't belong to the upper class, so it's highly unlikely that any of his daughters would've been sent to 'Huize Bijdorp'. Also, I know that my grandmother only did primary school, and the girls in the pictures look to be in their teens.

My own doubts, coupled with the doubts of the museum people, make me think this is not a picture of my grandmother attending 'Huize Bijdorp'. So, back to square one, with no idea what organization it is, and one less source to go to and ask.

Monday, May 17, 2010

29th Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy

Welcome to the 29th Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy!

It's all about religion this time. Articles about religion as part of the life of an ancestor, sources about an ancestor that are connected to their religion, basically anything to do with religion.

The carnival kicks off at Ancestor Soup with the article Doing God's Work on the Prairie. "Nestled between cornfields southwest of Freeport, Illinois, sits a lasting reminder that Harriet Van Brocklin was there, and that she had faith."

The next stop is at The Internet Genealogist who brings us the article A Man on a Mission. "I often forget how big a role religion must have played in my ancestors lives, though only a little digging usually reveals their spiritual leanings (which I think says a lot for how important it must have been to them)."

Al's Polish-American Genealogy Research is the location of the next article Parish Communities. "One constant in all of my genealogy and historical research has been the importance of religion to my Polish ancestors."

Al is also hosting the next edition of the carnival. The theme is "Arrival in New Lands" dealing with the who, where, and why our ancestors may have left their homelands and settled in new countries. Submissions will be due on June 27th, and he will post the edition on June 30th. You can submit an article here.

Last Call For Submissions!

This is the last call for submissions for the 29th Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy! You have until the end of today to send it in!

The theme is Religion. Articles about religion as part of the life of an ancestor, sources about an ancestor that are connected to their religion, basically anything to do with religion would be accepted.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Looking For Lamboo Part VI: Local and National History

Last time I wrote about the interview with my mother about Henriëtte. This time, I'll take a look at sources that do not specifically mention my grandmother but give a picture of the time she lived in.

First, a look at the events in the world and the Netherlands that would’ve affected Henriëtte’s life:

1914-1918 World War 1, Henriëtte was 1-5. This probably didn’t have a large impact on her life.

1929-1939 Great Depression in the Netherlands, Henriëtte was 16-26. This would’ve had a great impact on her life.

1939-1945 World War 2, Henriëtte was 26-32. This had a great impact on her life and we’ll have a closer look at this on a local level.

1956 position of women is improved by the abolishment of the law that said that married women are not capable of making decisions on their own. Henriëtte was 43. This had a direct impact on her life, she could now legally work, take money from a bank account, but large appliances and travel without permission of her husband.

So, the first period in history that had a really big impact on Henriëtte’s life was the Great Depression in the Netherlands. It’s a good period to look into. Hundreds of thousands of people were unemployed in the Netherlands. It was in this period that Henriëtte got married. It must’ve been a trying time, in which the most simple things were luxuries. I’ve found two websites (numbers 3 and 4) with good information and links to further books and websites about this time period in the Netherlands. It’s a good idea to read about this time and get a better idea about

Then, of course, came World War 2. This had a big impact on Henriëtte’s life. A great source for this time period on a local level is the book ‘Achter Verduisterde Ramen – Voorschotense Kronieken 1940-1950’. In this book, 11 different Lamboo’s are mentioned, and although I do not know exactly how they relate to my grandmother, I do know they are related. There is even a picture of one of them. Also, Adolph Knura is named, which I wrote about in this post. A great deal of information can be found in just this one book.

And last, but certainly not least, is the abolishment of the very female unfriendly law in 1956. I’ve found a great, albeit short, article about it (website number 2) and I’m going to see if I can maybe find some more about this.

And then, of course, there are some general topics that can shed some light on the life of Henriëtte. For instance, primary schools and education in the Netherlands in the period 1915-1925, when Henriëtte went to school. Also, some general history on Voorschoten for the period 1913-2004 will give a great picture of the environment she lived in. There are plenty of resources for this in the local library.

For previous installments of this series, see the Looking For Lamboo page.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Looking For Lamboo Part V: Wagging Tongues

Last time, I wrote about the pictures I have of Henriëtte and the information it gave me. This time, I’ll take a look at the information I have collected about her by interviewing my mother. It was just a short interview and I plan to do a follow-up, but there were certain topics we covered in this first interview.

I asked my mother about the education of Henriëtte, who is her mother. My mother knew that she only went to primary school. After primary school she went to work in the household of doctor de Boer, where she took care of the children, and probably did some cleaning too. As far as my mother knows, there was no money for further education because Henriëtte’s sister got married. She didn’t know which sister it was. My grandmother always regretted not having the opportunity for further education.

Another big topic we talked about was religion. Henriëtte always went to church, either on Saturday evening or on Sunday. She went once a week, and could often ride to church with the neighbors. She kept going to church throughout her life.
She always prayed before dinner, the whole family had to pray. When the children were younger, Henriëtte insisted they all went to church, but by the time they turned into teens, they were allowed to stay at home. All of them did. Her husband Adolph was raised a Catholic, but somewhere along the line he lost his faith and stopped going to church.

For a long time, the Catholic holidays and traditions were a prominent feature in the Knura household. On Fridays Henriëtte always went to the market in town. She would buy fish, as on Fridays it was either fish or eggs for dinner. When my mother was older, this tradition was no longer strictly obeyed and meat started to appear on the Friday menus.

With Christmas, there was a tree. At first there were real candles in the tree, with very pretty clamps. When my mother was still very young, the real candles were replaced by electrical lights. They were lights that resembled candles, from the brand Philips. According to my mother, they had the prettiest Christmas tree in the whole town. Besides a Christmas tree, there was also a nativity scene. At first this was build up according to the Christmas story, later on it was just used as a decoration and in later years it stayed in the closet.

There were some other, small questions I asked, about her membership to social organizations, her music taste and her best friend. Even this one, small interview gave me so much information. It is definitely worth it to do a follow-up interview and perhaps try to interview my aunt, who is almost 20 years older than my mother, and has memories of a time period my mother has no knowledge of.

Next time, I'll take a look at sources that do not specifically mention my grandmother but give a picture of the time she lived in. It can give you the details you need to make the story of an ancestor truly come alive.

For previous installments of this series, see the Looking For Lamboo page.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Carnivals Are In Town!

I'm a little late with these announcements, but here they are:

The Carnival of Geneology, 93rd edition over at Creative Gene, it's all about How To series!

Next edition will have the theme The Changing Role of Women, deadline for submissions is June 1st.

Also in town:

28th Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy at Discovering Latvian Roots.

Next edition will be hosted here, with the theme Religion, with the submission deadline of May 17th! Articles about religion as part of the life of an ancestor, sources about an ancestor that are connected to their religion, basically anything to do with religion would be accepted.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dutch Tradition: Liberation Day

Liberation Day (Dutch: Bevrijdingsdag) is celebrated each year on 5 May, to mark the end of the occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II.

The nation was liberated largely by Canadian troops, with the assistance of the British and American Armies and French airborne troops. On 5 May 1945, the Canadian General Charles Foulkes and the German Commander-in-Chief Johannes Blaskowitz reached an agreement on the capitulation of German forces in the Netherlands in Hotel De Wereld in Wageningen. One day later, the capitulation document was signed in the auditorium of Wageningen University, located next-door to the hotel.

In 1990 the day was declared to be a national holiday, when the liberation would be commemorated and celebrated every year. Every five years, Liberation Day is a special celebration, meaning almost everyone has a free day. On this day, festivals are held in most places in the Netherlands.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Remembrance Day

Every year on May 4 Remembrance Day (Dutch: Dodenherdenking) is held in the Netherlands. It commemorates all civilians and members of the armed forces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who have died in wars or peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II.

The main ceremonies are observed in Amsterdam at the national monument on Dam Square. This ceremony is usually attended by members of the cabinet and the royal family, military leaders, representatives of the resistance movement and other social groups. At 8:00 p.m., two minutes of silence are observed throughout the Netherlands. Public transport is stopped, as well as all other traffic. Radio and TV only broadcast the ceremonies from 19.00 until 20.30.

National monument of Dam Square, Amsterdam

There are ceremonies in other cities and places as well. Especially notable are those at the Waalsdorpervlakte near the Hague, where many Dutch resistance fighters were executed during the war, and at the war cemetery Grebbeberg, which are broadcast by the commercial broadcasting companies. In many towns, before or after the two minutes of silence, people gather around a monument, listen to speeches, and lay down flowers to remember the dead.