Friday, December 14, 2012

What Not to Cite

I recently bought the books Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case by Christine Rose and Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills. The book by Christine Rose is slim and quick to read through – although very informative – and thus I started with that. What caught my attention was a small paragraph all the way at the end of the book, in the chapter about proof summaries and proof arguments. The basic idea of this paragraph was that if all your evidence for a fact is direct and with no conflicts, including a proof summary in your written narrative is not necessary. It also stated that “Your family history will include citations for every fact; those citations will speak for themselves.” (1) This got me thinking about my own citation practices – which differ accordingly to what I am adding the citation to.

For every source I look at, I make the appropriate citation. But where I put those citations differs between my genealogical database and my family history narratives. In my database, I attach sources to facts, and with them my source citations. However, I do not attach every record to every fact it states. For instance, when it comes to birth dates, I attach all records to that fact that directly state the birth date (or year). Examples of this are the birth certificate, a newspaper announcement, and an obituary that states the birth date. However, there are plenty of records that also give direct information on birth date that I do not attach. For instance, marriage certificates and death certificates that mention the person’s age. These sources do give direct evidence as to when a person was born, and I do take them into account – but I don’t add them as a birth date source unless the age conflicts with the birth date I’ve already found, or they are the only sources I have for a birth date.

When it comes to my family history narratives, I provide a citation for every fact, but only multiple ones where it is necessary. If there is no conflicting evidence for a fact, I would only cite birth certificate for birth date, as it is best record of all the records that have direct evidence of the full birth date.

Elizabeth Shown Mills in Evidence Explained seems to agree with the way I do my family history citations:

“Thoroughness in citing sources does not mean that our final product must cite every source we used. … When our research is reasonably complete and we begin to craft a narrative, we become selective. At this point, we base our conclusions upon the most authoritative sources and those are the materials we cite.” (2)

“Thorough research often yields multiple sources for the same information. When we convert our notes into a narrative or permanent database, we select the best evidence we have found. If several sources for a fact are of the same value, we may cite all of them in the same reference note.” (3)

I will admit that in the interest of not ending up with an even longer end note section than I already do in most cases, I only cite one source for every fact, even if I have multiple sources of the same value. Unless, as stated before, multiple sources are necessary to arrive at the stated fact. I want to keep my narrative readable, since most of the people reading it are family members and not genealogists.


1. Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case (San Jose, California : CR Publications, 2009), 52.

2. Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, rev. ed. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2009), 45-46.

3. Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, rev. ed. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2009), 51.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Looking for: Birth date of Willem Muller (ca. 1795, Dromersheim)

My ancestor Johannes Mulder was born 10 June 1827, Leiden. His mother was Elisabeth van den Bosch, unwed, and the father was Willem Mulder, who recognized the child as his.

30 July 1827, Willem Mulder or Muller (that's how it's on the death certificate) dies in the military infirmary in Leiden. He's 32 years old, and said to have been born in Dromersheim. His parents are named as Stephanus Muller and Elisabeth Helser. There is no Dromersheim in the Netherlands and the name Muller is German, so Willem was most likely born in Dromersheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany (unless there's another Dromersheim in Germany).

I am looking for his exact birth date, as well as information on when he came to the Netherlands. Any help would be appreciated.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: Salomon Mulder’s Military Records Part 2

Amanuensis Monday is a weekly effort to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, and other genealogical and historical documents, first started by John Newark at the TransylvanianDutch blog. I will not only transcribe the documents, but also do a quick English summary (or translation) and analysis of the document. In the coming weeks, I will be going over documents pertaining to Salomon Mulder’s military career.

Front of Salomon Mulder’s Conduite-boekje, which was a book in which a marine’s information was noted down. It had a lot of pages, meant for different things, although not all of them have been filled out. On acquiring this copy, only copies of the pages that had information written on it were sent to me.

Stamboeknummer m 2620 [crossed out]/23492

Here’s Salomon’s military number. The m stands for marine, to distinguish him from navy personnel, which are found in the same records. He evidently had two different numbers during his time, as the first one is crossed out and the second one was written down. I’ve indeed found Salomon under both of these numbers in the records.

Conduite-boekje van Salomon Mulder
zoon van Wilhelmus Johannes Bonifacius Mulder
en van Johanna van Wezel

Conduite-boekje of Salomon Mulder, son of Wilhelmus Johannes Bonifacius Mulder and of Johanna van Wezel.

geboren te Leiden
den 28sten november 1900

Born in Leiden on 28 November 1900.

kerkgenootschap R.C. [abbreviation for Roman Catholic]

Denomination: Roman Catholic

At the bottom is a note that says: voorcontrole gereed, meaning pre-check completed, which is probably an administrative note.

Things of note:

Although a specific date for this conduite-boekje cannot be found, there are mentions in it from as early as 1921 and it has mentions until his pension. The starting date cannot accurately be determined, as information could have been copied, but the end date is most certainly the time of his pension. However, knowing how and why a conduite-boekje were used, I suspect the book was started when he entered his service in 1919; his earlier number on the book would also suggest this. However, some parts have not been filled out as religiously as could be, and that might have something to do with the many loose service-cards there are for Salomon, which seem to have been filled out much more religiously than this booklet in some areas.

This document tells me that Salomon Mulder – and therefore his parents probably too – is Roman Catholic. I know the denomination of two of the three children Salomon had, and it was not Roman Catholic but Dutch Reformed. I would have been looking in all the wrong places for Salomon and his ancestors had it not been for this information!

Further avenues of research opened up by this document:

Roman Catholic records need to be checked for Salomon and his parents. Check to see if I can identify when/why his children changed faith. Did Salomon himself turn to Dutch Reformed or did he stay Roman Catholic?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Family Sheet Salomon Mulder

Salomon Mulder, born 28 November 1900 in Leiden, Zuid-Holland, died 15 May 1986 in Leiden, Zuid-Holland.

Married Adriana Versloot, born 22 February 1905 in Hillegersberg, Zuid-Holland, died 24 May 1945 in Semarang, Dutch East Indies, on 26 October 1921 in Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland.

Children from this marriage:

1. Johanna Mulder, born 13 December 1924, died 10 February 2010.
2. Klaas Mulder, born 11 October 1927, died 23 April 2003 in Voorschoten, Zuid-Holland (#4)
3. Salomon Mulder, born 14 March 1931, died between 2003-2010 (?).

Posts about Salomon Mulder:

Searching for Dutch Military Records Post 1813 for a Marine

Amanuensis Monday: Salomon Mulder's Military Records Part 1

Saturday, December 8, 2012

To: Maria McKenna Zonneveld

I was very pleased to receive your e-mail, and I would love to exchange information on our mutual Lamboo ancestors. However, I have repeatedly tried to send you an e-mail back (through the reply function, and by simply composing a new message) and every time there is a delivery failure. Perhaps you can contact me again (with a different e-mail address), and I will try to respond again.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Naming Conventions in the Netherlands and Their Use in Genealogy Research

Names in the Netherlands started out Germanic, since the Netherlands was home to Germanic tribes. (1) Names like Hildegard (f), Adelheid (f), Everhard (m) and Winold (m) were given to children. Few, if any, genealogical records exist of this time and it’s very unlikely any genealogical researcher will ever extend their line back to Germanic times. But even though Germanic names are rare nowadays, it is likely a researcher will encounter a few ancestors that have a name with Germanic roots.

When Christianity became more and more entrenched in society, somewhere around the 11th and 12th century, people started naming their children for saints, thereby introducing names with Greek, Latin, and Hebrew roots into society. (1) Names like Johannes (m), Petrus (m), Margaretha (f) and Catharina (f) started appearing, and they persist until today. So while genealogical records from the Middle Ages are scarce, traces of those ancestors are found in the names of the descendants we do find.

The Protestant Reformation in the 16th century brought with it strict naming practices (1), which is a great boon for genealogical researchers as it helps us identify families. The general pattern of Dutch naming practices can be found on several sites, like this one, which is very clear and names a lot of the exceptions to the general pattern and the reasons for those exceptions (2). Genealogically speaking these naming practices become especially important in the time period before 1811, since church records are very sparse on the details so positively identifying people is difficult. After 1811, civil registration exists in the Netherlands, and more identifiers (like ages, birth places, professions, and parent’s names, to name a few) are in every document. This makes it easier to positively identify someone in different records as being the same person.

After World War Two, naming practices are no longer applied so rigidly (1). Children are still named after family members, but usually in their second name(s), and no longer in the first name. Instead, first names now say something about the social environment of the parents (1). Frédérique (f) and Maurits (m) have parents from the upper class, while Melissa (f) and Danny (m) have parents from the working class. Having some knowledge about which names occur in which social environment can tell you a lot about your ancestors.

Now, having said all that, I figured I’d put the naming “rules” to the test on a well-established family line. Hendrik Wesselo (1840-1905) had ten children with two different wives, and below I’ve listed them as well as who they were named after and who they should have been named after.

Children from first marriage in 1864 with Anthonia Tulp (1837-1872)

1. Johannes Wesselo (1865-1904)
First son, should be named after: paternal grandfather
Was named after: paternal grandfather

2. Gijsbert Anthonie (1866-1872)
Second son, should be named after: maternal grandfather
Was named after: eldest brother of Anthonia (Gijsbert) and maternal grandfather (Anthonie)
So part correctly named (after the maternal grandfather), but putting Gijsbert in the name, and first as well, is odd.

3. Johanna Wilhelmina (1868-1954)
First daughter, should be named after: maternal grandmother
Was named after: paternal grandmother
Maternal grandmother was dead at time of birth, paternal grandmother was still alive; this contradicts the usual ‘exception rule’ of dead before living relatives getting named first, in fact, it turns it around!

4. Alida Maria (1870-1872)
Second daughter, should be named after: paternal grandmother
But, since the first daughter was named after the paternal grandmother, the next in line should be: eldest sister of the mother
Was named after: eldest sister of the mother

Children from second marriage with Alida Petronella van Grasstek (1852-1925)

5. Lodewijk (1875-1962)
Third son; however also first son of new marriage.
First son should be named after paternal grandfather, but son that was named after paternal grandfather is still living.
So, son counts as “second son” and should be named after: maternal grandfather
Was named after: maternal grandfather

6. Jan Jerphaas (1877-1952)
Fourth son, “third” son for naming rules, should be named after: father’s eldest brother
Was named after: father’s eldest brother

7. Wilhelmina Gerredina (1879-1945)
Third daughter, first daughter of this marriage
Should be named after: maternal grandmother
Was named after: maternal grandmother

8. Jannetje (1882-1964)
Fourth daughter, second daughter of this marriage
Second daughter should be named after paternal grandmother, and child named after paternal grandmother has passed away.
So, should be named after: paternal grandmother
Was named after: father’s eldest sister?
The name Jannetje does not occur in either families, but the father’s eldest sister is called Jannigje. Both were called Jans in daily live. Given naming rules without taking into account the deceased daughter that was named after the paternal grandmother and multiple marriages, the fourth daughter would have been named after the father’s eldest sister.

9. Abraham Bernardus (1884-1961)
Fifth son, “fourth” son for naming rules, should be named after: mother’s eldest brother
Was named after: mother’s eldest brother

10. Alida Petronella (1886-1965)
Fifth daughter, third daughter of this marriage
Should be named after: mother’s eldest sister
Was named after: mother

11. Gerredina Eleonora (1889-1977)
Sixth daughter, fourth daughter of this marriage
Since mother’s eldest sister was not named yet, this child should be named after her
Was named after: mother’s eldest sister

12. Willem Lodewijk (1893-1960)
Sixth son, “fifth” son for naming rules, should be named after: father’s second eldest brother
Was named after: mother’s second eldest brother
This child was not named as the “fifth” son, like the previous sons in this marriage, but as the sixth son he is, after mother’s second eldest brother.

The only real aberration in the naming pattern in the first marriage is the fact that the eldest daughter was not named after the (deceased) maternal grandmother. Either a child was missed, or the parents did not want to name their child after someone deceased. The first option is unlikely (although possible given the dates) because the genealogy was documented by Willem Lodewijk Wesselo, the youngest son, and he has first-hand information from all of his brothers and sisters. Also, my own search did not find another child. Still, it was good to check.

The fact that the second son was first named after the mother’s eldest brother and then after the maternal grandfather could be because the brother had died by that time. I cannot say for certain this is the case, since I have not been able to find a death date (or marriage, for that matter) for Gijsbert Tulp (born 10 November 1839, Utrecht, Utrecht). I am still looking for that, but it is turning out to be quite a challenge. However, it could also be that they simply liked Gijsbert better.

The last son of the second marriage is still named within general accepted practices, even though due to previous naming in the family I would have expected him to be named after the father’s second eldest brother.

All in all, the naming pattern holds pretty well. It even sparked some more research!


(1) Doreen Gerritzen, 1. De voornaam als schakel tussen generaties. Pieter Stokvis (red.), Geschiedenis van het privéleven: bronnen en benaderingen (Amsterdam: SUN; Heerlen: OUNI), p. 21-32.

(2) Harm Hillinga, “Vernoemingen,” on-line article, NazatenDeVries ( accessed 6 December 2012).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Timelines and Biographies as Research Tools

Timelines are great visual representations of your research – especially the fancy ones with pictures and documents attached. Biographies – telling the story of your ancestors in a narrative – is a great way to share your research as well. But the value of timelines and biographies as research tools are often forgotten. And while timelines are getting more and more recognition as a research tool, to see if there are any gaps in your research, biographies are still mostly seen as an end product, something you write once you’ve finished your research on a specific ancestor. But both timelines and biographies offer researchers a way to get insight into their research – and what’s still missing from it.

When I started my research into my grandmother’s maternal ancestors, the Wesselo’s, I was very lucky. Several generations of genealogists had already worked on them, and not only was the family tree well known, a lot of documents on the more recent ancestors had been collected into a family archive residing at an archive accessible for all who cared to look. But I was not only interested in the bare-bone facts, but also the stories behind the people, so I decided to check all the sources and then write biographies of the Wesselo’s – my contribution to the genealogical research already done.

I started with my great-great-grandfather’s eldest child out of his second marriage – the same marriage my great-grandmother was born from – Lodewijk Wesselo. There was a wealth of information on him in the family archive, a lot of letters, and some clues to further documents held at other archives. Just by going through the family archive, I had documented his entire life from birth to death. Still, I pulled those other documents, because I hoped that maybe they held some information not yet known. There weren’t any surprises in those documents. And then I made a timeline – to see if there were any gaps in the research. There wasn’t, so I was pretty confident that I was ‘done’ and ready to begin writing a biography.

But as soon as I started writing, I ran into problems. Or not so much problems, as questions left unanswered by the research already done. For instance, where exactly was the house Lodewijk built located? And did he actually live in it? Logic dictates he did, but until I connect the neighborhood designation given as his place of residence on several documents with the (as yet unknown) location of the land he owned where he built his house, I can’t state it with certainty. Also, once he left Voorschoten – the village where the land was located – he never returned there, so what did he do with the house? Sell it or rent it out?

To answer the questions that popped up during my writing of this biography, I needed to do more research. I’m currently in the process of tracing the plot of land, and in order to see if Lodewijk sold or rented out his house, one of the documents I’ll be looking at is his will – if he left one. Yes, you read that right, I have not looked for his will yet. I honestly did not think about doing it – I already had every part of his life well documented, I thought, and I didn’t need the will to establish family connections as the tree is quite complete already. Since I didn’t need it to answer a specific question, I completely forgot about it. An oversight on my part that I will not repeat again – if only because I’ll bump into the same trouble next time I try to write a biography without having all the available information!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: Salomon Mulder’s Military Records Part 1

Amanuensis Monday is a weekly effort to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, and other genealogical and historical documents, first started by John Newark at the TransylvanianDutch blog. I will not only transcribe the documents, but also do a quick English summary and analysis of the document. In the coming weeks, I will be going over documents pertaining to Salomon Mulder’s military career.

National Guard Record

Volunteers alone were not enough to meet the needs of the National Guard, so a draft was instituted. Every male citizen had to register once they reached the age of 19. This registration below is from my great-grandfather Salomon Mulder.

Militia Record 1920, Leiden - Salomon Mulder’s Registration

Mulder, Salomon
Born: Leiden, 28 November 1900
Residence: Leiden
Father: Wilhelmus Johannes Bonifacius, residence Leiden
Mother: van Wezel, Johanna
Profession: butcher
Education: primary education
Date annexation: 17 January
Where: 2-I-4, Leiden
Remark: 7 May 1919 voluntary commitment as a Marine

Things of note:

Primary education in this case means he could read and write, had some calculus, and maybe a bit of geography. If he was sent to a Christian school, he’d also had some religious education in the form of reading the Bible and praying.

His profession as butcher came as a bit of a surprise, his father was a furniture maker and from my grandmother (his daughter-in-law) I knew he’d been educated as a furniture maker as well. But apparently, when he was 19 he was working as a butcher.

Further avenues of research opened up by this document:

Can I prove Salomon learned furniture making? When did he start working as a butcher? Was it because he did not like furniture making as a profession or because there was not enough work?

2-I-4 is the division Salomon started out in; as far as I know it stands for second infantry fourth division. Check that out and see if there’s any information on them to find.