Thursday, November 1, 2012

Preparing for a Visit to the RAL

I used to go to an archive to ‘look for my ancestors’, but soon found that didn’t really work – too much information, too many directions to go in. So I amended that to looking for ancestors of a specific line. But the last time I went to an archive (the National Archives) I went with two specific goals in mind and made a plan – see this post – and that worked so much better! I worked more efficiently, found answers or clues that helped me on my way to answers. And I even had time to look up additional information – the ‘extra questions’ I prepared in advance in case I had time. So, from now on I will always make a research plan before going to an archive. So, since I’ll be going to the Regional Archive Leiden (RAL) on Friday, here’s my plan.

What do I want to know?

I am going to the RAL to do research on Lodewijk Wesselo’s house with the following questions in mind:

1. Where was it located?

2. Did he live in it?

3. What did he do with it when he moved away from Voorschoten around 1908? He never returned to Voorschoten, going to The Hague, Middelburg, and then spending the rest of his life in Middelburg. Did he sell his house or merely rent it out? I suspect the former, but do not have evidence either way.

What information do I already have?

My questions deal with Lodewijk Wesselo. It’s important to have some data about him to confirm his identity. He was born on 22 December 1875 in Voorschoten to Hendrik Wesselo and Alida Petronella van Grasstek. He married Elizabeth Lubach on 13 July 1899.

Two years before he got married, which would make it 1897, he bought same land located in the former estate “Klein Langehorst” in Voorschoten (and I probably have to be careful not to confuse with the estate “Langehorst” in nearby Wassenaar). In the year of his marriage (1899) he built a house there, with money from a loan from his uncle Jan Hendrik Ruskamp. I do not know the exact location of the former estate, I haven’t been able to find it yet. By 23 April 1900, he’s living in Voorschoten in a house located in Neighborhood “A “ number nine. Street names were not yet in use back then.

Aditionally to that, I actually have one piece of information that while not directly about Lodewijk, will maybe get me over a brick wall when I’m in the archives. Lodewijk’s father, Hendrik Wesselo, also owned a piece of land with a house on it located in the same former estate. There’s an archival number known for it: nr. 126G (kadaster sectie B, nr. 1817). This is supposedly the number that plot of land with house on it is known as within one of the archive I will be searching.

Where can I find my information?

Question 1 might take several archives, not all residing at the RAL, but to know where exactly the house was located I first need to know the number the plot of land was known as in the land archives. When he bought it, that number should have been on the transaction act, which can be found (I hope) in the notarial archive of Voorschoten. Then I will have to look at the land records, which are not held at the RAL.

That same archive should be able to tell me if he sold the house – because selling the house should have made another transaction act. If there’s no transaction act, I will look in the population registration – where people living at a certain address are recorded sequentially. If Lodewijk moved out and rented it to someone, they should be written down there. It does not give direct information on whether Lodewijk sold or rented, but without a transaction act and with other people living there, I’d think he rented it out. Which means I will then have to search for a will and find out if the house was part of his estate. Wills for the period in which Lodewijk would have made his are not yet public in Zuid-Holland, there’s a restriction of 100 years on them. So that would have to wait.

The question of whether or not he lived in his house needs several pieces of information. First, I need to know the location of neighborhood A, number nine – I hope a conversion table has been made for these old indicators to recent street names. This will give me a present day location. If I can find the house he build in the land records, I will have the location of that as well, and then can compare the two.

Additional research – if time allows

Immigration of Adolph Knura, Anna Knura, Maria Knura, and any other Knura’s; searching in police records for registration of foreigners, searching the population register for them, and any other records that might give me information about them.

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