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Same Name - Reith

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For the week 25 prompt, Same Name - I've decided to take a look at a branch of the family tree that I haven't paid much attention to and that is the Reith family. So it is the surname that is the thread.

When I looked up surname origins I could only find references for the Scottish origins of the name.  There is also a town called Reith in Lower Saxony but the Reiths I am concerned with come originally from Eschwege, Hesse.

Reith is my maternal grandmother's maiden name. She was the third child, second daughter of Christoph Wilhelm Emil Reith, who was born 8 November 1856 in Eschwege, Germany. Her older brother was named Willi Ernst August Alfred and an older sister was called just Else.

Meta named her youngest daughter Gretel, after her own younger sister, and her oldest son Edwin, after her youngest brother,  Edwin. Her second son she also named Willi after her older brother, together with the name Emil, after her father and then Justus, possibly after her husband's …

About Johannes Blomberg, a father of ten.

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Here in Australia Father's Day is the first Sunday in September but it wouldn't have mattered to my father. He thought that as long as he loved and looked after his family and was loved in return, that was enough for him. No need for a special day.

Father's Day is very much a twentieth century creation. Before that, in Roman Catholic Europe, St Joseph's Feast on 19th March was the day for celebrating fatherhood and paternal influence and values. However, my family, at least as far as I can trace back, were all protestant.

I have many large families in the tree and looking at these rows of children I do wonder, how did the fathers cope? How hard was it to feed that many mouths, keep them clothed, housed, educated?

One such large family was my great great grandfather Johannes Blomberg's family of ten. He was born 3 March 1828, Meppel, Drenthe, The Netherlands, to Jan Jansen Bloemberg, forty five years old, and his third wife Willemina Anna Krol, aged thirty six year…

Week 23 (June 4-10) Going to the Chapel

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Going to the chapel - the first time my ancestors would go to chapel was to be christened or baptised, so I'm going to take a closer look at a record I have for this event.

Reinier Scherius was baptised on Wednesday, 18 July 1810, by Rev. Hugenholtz, at the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), Amsterdam and it states also that he was born on 12 June. Source: Amsterdam City Archives, Church records baptisms
SAA Index op doopregister, Amsterdam,archive 5001, DTB 62, p.202(oud pag. 147), nr.5


Firstly, I'm impressed by the beautiful, clear handwriting. The registration would be completed by the Reverend who performed the baptism.  However, looking through the rest of the page, it all seems the same handwriting to me, so maybe it was a deacon's job to keep the register up to date.  
Now who was the Reverend Hugenholtz, who baptised Reinier? Research reveals that he was very likely a member of the Dutch noble family Hugenholtz who since 1710 provided preachers to the Dutch Reformed Church for…

So Far Away from Holland

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This week's prompt (week 22) gave me a reason to work out the mapping feature included in one of the better known online genealogy websites and I have shown here the map it generated.

A very handy feature, because by clicking on a balloon you get a pop up showing the individual associated with that place. You can then also go in and edit the location if it happens to be wrong. For example, at first I had a person showing up in Bolivia! I knew that it couldn't be possible and when I checked it was meant to be a town in South Africa.

It also shows a bird's eye view of the family's spread around the globe. It is clear that many in the family strayed rather far from their hometown in the Netherlands.

The biggest cluster is still in Europe, mostly The Netherlands and then Germany. A surprise pops up with the balloon in the USA, Charlotte in North Carolina. This belongs to a Jansen Appelo, my grandfather's cousin.  On reflection, it is not so strange. After World War II…

Garde d'Honneur - military honor or hostage?

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I looked through the family tree for inspiration to write the week 21 prompt  of "military" and found that we are not a "military" family. I have found only one career soldier so far, at least in my direct lines. My great grandmother Charlotte Nagel's father was Captain in the Infantry in the Dutch East Indies.

However, with a predominantly Dutch family history my male ancestors were affected by the conscription introduced in 1810 when the Kingdom of Holland was part of the French Empire under Napoleon. All men aged 20 years or older had to register. A lottery then determined who would be enlisting in the French army. This system was retained even after French rule ended in 1813 with the defeat of the French army at the battle of Leipzig in October and the reinstatement of the monarchy with the return of Prince William Frederik of Orange-Nassau on 30th November 1813 to the Netherlands. Of course, the "winners" in this lottery now joined the Dutch Arm…

Many languages in the family tree

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For the week 20 prompt - another language - I began by listing the languages spoken in my family tree. Several different languages appear, beginning with myself - Dutch and English. For my mother it is Dutch and some Malay, because she grew up in Java, Dutch East Indies, and this would be the same for my father. For both English appears as well and they would have learned this first at school and then later as adults because they lived and worked in English speaking countries. My mother also spoke German because her mother was German born.

Dutch was the language of my paternal grandparents and add to that later some Malay because they lived and worked in the Dutch East Indies until 1946. Although I am not sure if Malay is the right word. Should it be Javanese, or Indonesian, I wonder? I'll leave it for now as I proceed up the family tree.

My paternal grandfather, having attained a PhD in Pharmacy, I think would also have been quite fluent in German, because as I recall it, in the…

Week 19 - Mother's Day

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Johanna Cornelia Bronke and her family would not have known about Mother's Day. It was "invented" some 63 years after she was born in the Dutch town of Zaandijk, on 14th December 1851, daughter of Nicolaas Bronke and Aafje Wit. She was named after her father's mother, Johanna Cornelia van Outeren. Her paternal grandfather Herman Johann Kesseszn Kesse was born in Menslage, (near Osnabruck) Germany, and he adopted the name Bronke by notary deed, probably when surnames had to be registered by Napoleonic decree in 1811. He was a wine merchant and trader and his son Nicolaas Bronke was also a wine merchant and shop keeper.

On the one tiny photograph I have of her, she is called Cor and I estimate she must have been in her mid forties when it was taken. I can see some family resemblance in the set of her mouth and eyes. She looks serious and determined. 

Family lore tells us that she liked to go to concerts and opera at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, taking her two sons w…