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Reader's questions

In this post I try to answer some questions from my always overflowing mailbox.

Mike wants to know more about the origin of the Meekx family.

You did not specify any individuals, Mike, only a surname. I can tell you that the name existed in the province Limburg since at least the 1750s until late in the 19th century. Whether this Meekx family is related to you I cannot tell. You can find out more in Genlias or FamilySearch. Also check for different spellings of the surname, like Meex and Meeckx.

Theo found ancestors on Genlias and would like to know if it is possible to order copies of certificates.

That should be possible, but I have never done so myself. When you find something on Genlias that you want to order, click the "Add to order" button. When you are done, click "Summary of orders" in the menu "Searching in Genlias", review your order, click "Logon" to register, and follow the instructions.

Some archives also provide scans online, for a small fee or even free: You should check before you order whether that is the case for the certificates you want.

Elisabeth found references to family members in the Aalten doopboeken (baptism books) online. She plans to travel to the Netherlands to consult the originals and asks where they are kept.

You will not be able to consult the originals, only microfilms.

Church books, including the baptisms you are looking for, are kept either in a local or regional archive or in the provincial archive. You should check the websites of these archives which of them has these books. If the websites don't tell you, phone them.

The relevant archives for Aalten are the regional archive for the Achterhoek region in Doetichem and the provincial Gelders Archief in Arnhem. I could not find on their websites who has the church books, so it is best to contact both of them to find out.

The Central Bureau for Genealogy in The Hague has microfiche copies of many church books and indexes (from Aalten only indexes).

Alison wants to know how to find the original Dutch name from the anglicized name. In particular, from which Dutch names are Dreezer, Muscramere, and Muskraam derived?

In general, that is not possible. Names might have been translated or anglicized, and some immigrants took on a completely new name. If you can find your ancestor on a shipping list, the name on the list is likely the original. Read the article English versions of Dutch last names for some common patterns. In your case, Muscramere and Muskraam might have been Marskramer, Dreezer might have been Driessen. But be careful: The name Driessen is very common and has many spelling variants, while the name Marskramer, if it ever existed, was rare and is now extinct (marskramer means peddler).

Joel asks for the meaning of the name Bousema.

This name can be found in the province Groningen. Search Genlias or Alle Groningers for BMD records of this family. According to the Meertens surname database, the first mention of this name was in 1502 (when it was spelled Bouwsma). In the 16th and 17th century the Bousema family lived at the Bousemaheerd (the suffix heerd means farm), but whether the family is named after the farm or the farm after the family I do not know. The suffix -ema is common in Groningen and derived from the -ma suffix in neighbouring province Friesland. The origin and meaning of -ma is unknown, however.

I will answer more questions next month. Send me a message if you have a question that you want me to answer. Try to be specific in your question: The more specific the question is, the more useful the answer can be. If you just give me a surname all I can do is give you very general advise or point you to Genlias.


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Blogger Yvette Hoitink said...

The Aalten church records are kept at the Gelders archief in Arnhem. You can find photocopies in their reading room, the originals are not available to the public.


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