Divorce ends after 98 years
A remarkable news item came from Tresoar last week. Sjoerd Douwes van der Heide and Sijke Eetzes Oostenbrug married on 5 May 1900 in Tietjerksteradeel (you can find their marriage on Genlias or Tresoar). Ten years later, they divorced - until last week.
In The Netherlands, a divorce is passed by court, and then entered in the margin of the original act in the marriage register. The divorce only takes effect once it is entered in the margin.
On 29 December 1910, a note was added in the margin of the Van der Heide - Oostenbrug marriage act, stating their divorce by order of the court of Leeuwarden, on 14 April 1910.
Recently, a book about the history of the village Molenend (where the couple lived) mentioned their divorce. Their grandchildren were shocked about that: They never knew anything about their grandparents' divorce.
The youngest grandchild started an investigation. First on the Tresoar website, where the divorce was indeed mentioned. Then in the Friesland archive in Leeuwarden, where she saw the marriage act with the divorce written in the margin. Finally, she searched for the court order of 14 April 1910. There was none.
Further investigation showed the registrar had made a mistake. It was a different marriage that had to be annulled. Sjoerd and Sijke have been divorced since December 1910, but they probably never knew about it. Their granddaughter asked for the mistake to be corrected. The archivist asked and received permission from the court to do so, and on 27 February 2008 he updated the margin, ending the almost century-old divorce.
On the photo: Deputy archivist Lourens Oldersma updates the marriage register. Photo by Tresoar.