Friday, November 2, 2012

Summary Visit to the Regional Archive Leiden

Today was my first visit to the Regional Archive Leiden, and I went in order to research a house Lodewijk Wesselo build. The very first question I wanted to answer was where it was located. I knew that not all the information I need to answer that question is located at the RAL, but in order to do research in the land registry, I needed a cadastral number, which could probably be found in the notarial archives of Voorschoten – if Lodewijk used a notary when buying the land (in 1887), because that wasn’t mandatory.

I searched through the index the notary made at the time the records were created, both 1897 and 1898, but could not find Lodewijk. I have to admit, though, it took me awhile to really get a grasp on the handwriting in the index, which was cramped and clearly done ‘in a rush’ – for personal use more than meant to be legible for others. I did find the mortgage agreement Lodewijk made with his uncle in 1899. Unfortunately, the cadastral number was not mentioned in this. By now I had no more trouble deciphering the notary’s handwriting, so I went back to 1897 and started looking for the sales deed again, going by the premise that it had to be before the mortgage agreement – the money being used to build a house on the plot Lodewijk already owned. This time through I did find the sales deed – in 1898, for one thing, and another the primary people on this were the seller and Hendrik Wesselo, Lodewijk’s father. Lodewijk is mentioned in the index, but cramped on the last line of the page, easily missed. Hendrik acted in his son’s stead, because at 22 years old Lodewijk was considered a minor. As far as I can determine, Lodewijk wasn’t even present when the deed was made – he does not sign the deed and is not mentioned as a witness.

Around 1908 Lodewijk changed careers and started working for a company in The Hague. He lasted only a year before taking up his old profession in Voorschoten again, and then around 1911 he was trained to work in the department ‘depot’ in The Hague, after which he and his family moved to Middelburg in 1912, never to return to live Voorschoten again. I checked the notarial archives of Voorschoten for the period 1906-1913 to see if Lodewijk sold his house. If he did, I could not find a record of it. But this is something I will be able to find out in the land registry as well.

I did not have time to look for Lodewijk in the population register, but did manage to ask about conversion tables for the old neighborhood indications to present day locations. There wasn’t one at the archive, but they did give me the tip to check with a historian that knows a lot about Voorschoten. We have a historical museum of Voorschoten, so I’ll e-mail them in hopes someone there can help me.

All in all, it was a very productive visit. I’ve got the information I need to go in search of Lodewijk’s house in another archive. That makes three archives…how many more is it going to take? I’m not sure, but I’m quite liking this ‘treasure hunt’.

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