A Case of Quadruple In-law Marriage

Out of my 28 first cousins, I have two cousins, sisters, who married two brothers. Double in-law marriage is not very common these days since we all now have a large pool of potential spouses to choose from. But in the case of my two cousins, the tradition in that family was to marry within their church, a conservative Protestant denomination. That’s an example of endogamy, the practice of marrying within a specific social group, caste, or ethnic group.

In the past, however, choice of potential spouses was much more limited, especially in small isolated communities. In my genealogy database, I have numerous examples of double in-law marriage, as well as at least one case of triple in-law marriage. However, up until now, I hadn’t come across a case of quadruple in-law marriage.

As usual, blue indicates distant cousins. Consider some of the children of Aris van Manen (1779-1863) and some of the children of Johann Heinrich Ostermann. We have four van Manen siblings married to four Ostermann siblings. That is, a case of quadruple in-law marriage.

This raises a lot of questions. The van Manen’s were born in the village of Velp, and most stayed there. Although Velp is a small village, it is not isolated, being very close to the city of Arnhem. On the other hand, the Ostermann’s were from a small village about 60km to the south-east, in the neighboring Kingdom of Prussia. The parents, Johann Heinrich Ostermann and Wilhelmina Kamps remained in the village of Ringenberg, while four of their children moved, most to Velp, one to Arnhem, to live with their van Manen spouse.

European railways in 1861

Perhaps Johann Ostermann had reason to visit Arnhem in his position as an official in the post office. (In one record, he is listed as a Postdirecteur.) By the mid 19th Century, a railroad line had already been built connecting a major industrial heartland of Prussia with the commercial centers and seaports of the Netherlands. By rail, the trip between Wesel (the closest large town to Ringenberg) and Arnhem would have taken about an hour. Since the post office was a major customer of the railways, and since Arnhem is the first major city across the border, it’s not unreasonable to expect that Johann would have to do business in Arnhem. However, we may never know the details of how four of Johann’s children connected with the van Manen siblings.

This drop chart has a few more interesting features. First, consider the marriage between Aris van Manen (1858-1901) and Wilhelmina van Manen (1866-1946). This is just the second instance of double first cousin marriage in my database. The first, between Peter van Beem and Elizabeth van Beem, I found almost a year ago.

There are also two cases of regular (not double) first cousin marriage, between Willem van Manen (1827-1899) and Hermina Aleida de Bruin (1826-1902), and between Jacobus Petrus Felix (1861-1938) and Wilhelmina Henriette van Manen (1861-1928). Also, Hendrik van Manen (1854-1909) and Johanna Harmina Schut (1853-1921) were fifth cousins once removed, although their full ancestries are not shown in the chart.

One more unusual situation in this drop chart. Consider the Arnhem winkelier Jacobus Petrus Felix (1801-1875). He married twice, first in 1826 to Petronella de Bruin (1789-1854), and second in 1855 to Hermina van Manen (1825-1899). Hermina was Petronella’s niece.

That’s quite the handful of tangled interrelationships!

Wentink’s and Geerlings’ and the Tangled Web

It’s a fact that we’re all related to each other. However, some people are more closely related than others. This post describes another case of complex interrelationships between two people. In particular, let’s look at how Hendrik Bernard Wentink (1904-1957) and Johanna Geerlings (1906-1991) were related to each other.

(As in previous posts, you might find it useful to open the chart in another browser window. People marked in red are ancestors of mine, those in blue are distant cousins.)

Hendrik Bernard and Johanna were married 1930 in Rheden. Likewise, most of the people in this chart lived in the area around Rheden, east of Arnhem, in the Dutch province of Gelderland.

When looking at a marriage record, I often do a search on their parents and grand-parents to see if any of them are already in my database. Doing so, I quickly realized that Hendrik Bernard and Johanna were 2nd cousins once removed, with common ancestors Gerrit Brinkhorst (1766-1831) and Paulina Petronella Dieterink (1768-1831).

I also realized that they both had van Zadelhoff ancestors. Mapping out their ancestors took a bit of effort since their common ancestors were quite a few generations back, well into the 17th Century. Johanna had a single path back to Steven Berends van Sadelhof and Hendrina Willems. But Hendrik Bernard’s ancestry was much more complicated. His parents, Jan Hendrik Wentink (1873-1946) and Hendrika Wentink (1873-1934) were first cousins. Likewise, both sets of his grand-parents were also cousins, paternally 1st cousins once removed, maternally 3rd cousins.

So there were three distinct paths from Hendrik Bernard to Steven Berends van Sadelhof. So along that side of the chart, Hendrik Bernard and Johanna are 6th cousins twice removed in two ways and also 7th cousins.

We’re not done yet. Once I noticed that both had Kets ancestors, I had to investigate further. So it turned out that Hendrik Bernard and Johanna had another pair of common ancestors, Gerrit Kets and Jantje Geurts. As before, there are three distinct paths from Hendrik Bernard to Gerrit Kets, resulting in relationships of 4th cousins once removed and 4th cousins twice removed.

Finally, we come to another pair of common ancestors, Hendrik Brinkhorst and Catharina Turgels. From this pair, Hendrik Bernard and Johanna were 5th cousins.

If you’re keeping track, we have a total of eight different sets of distinct paths from this married couple to their four pairs of common ancestors.

Cheers! Hans

COVID-19, SARS, and Model Train Shows

Back in 2003, model railroaders in southern Ontario were eagerly awaiting the upcoming National Model Railroader Association convention in Toronto. This was significant since this was to be the first time the NMRA held their annual convention outside the United States. But as luck would have it, Toronto was hit with the SARS virus. Enough people canceled their reservations that the NMRA had to cancel the convention. A train show was still held in Toronto that Summer, but it paled in comparison to what should have happened.

(For some reason, the NMRA website still lists Toronto as the site of the 2003 convention.)

SARS was a big deal. However, for most of us in Toronto, life went on with little disruption. The outbreaks were mainly limited to a couple of hospitals, and all area hospitals took severe measures to mitigate the spread. By the time the danger had passed, the SARS virus took the lives of 24 people in Ontario. However, the panic resulted in the cancellation of many more events in the Toronto area, not just the NMRA convention.

Compare that to today. As a result of COVID-19, another corona virus, few places are free from infection. Currently, the United States is experiencing one death every 53 seconds from COVID. And that’s just the official count. The actual number of deaths is almost certainly much higher.

And yet, look at the attitude of many people in the US. I wonder this: Of the people who canceled their trips to Toronto back in 2003, how many are now actively taking steps to prevent the spread of the virus? How many are wearing masks? How many are practicing social distancing? And how many are attending events where people don’t take the virus seriously enough?

The latest news from the US is disheartening. The United States Supreme Court ruled that, in the state of New York, social distancing rules do not apply to churches.  This is insane! The virus doesn’t differentiate between secular and sacred spaces. Once vaccines are available and people get vaccinated, there will still be people who will refuse the vaccine. Infection rates will drop of course, but with people refusing to get vaccinated and with people still congregating in places where mitigation measures are willfully ignored, it will still take some time before the virus outbreak is fully under control.

Currently, churches are already a major source of COVID infection, and now will continue to confound public health efforts to contain the virus. How will this affect religion long-term? Even before COVID, church attendance has been dropping. But now that we’re in a pandemic, interest in church has been falling even further. Although there are still people who don’t take COVID seriously enough, there are a lot of people who do, and many of them see how dangerously out of touch many conservative preachers are. This can only drive even more people into the “nones” category. If there’s a positive to COVID, I suppose this is it: As the churches become even more of a factor in the spread of COVID, the ineffectiveness and dangers of religious practices will become even more obvious.




Genealogy Site Updated

When we upgraded our home internet to high-speed broadband a few years ago, I hoped to update the genealogy data on my web site more often. With our old 2Mbps internet, it could take hours to upload the data. With a fiber optic connection, uploading a 4.4GB tarball takes about 10 minutes. That said, a few weeks ago I noticed that I hadn’t updated the information in more than two years! So I figured it was about time to do an upgrade.

One change I made for this version is a different photo on the home page. Since the site is called “Boldts and Molls”, I thought it appropriate to have a photo with both Boldts and Molls. This photo taken on April 7, 1956 is perhaps the only one I have with my parents and all four grand-parents. From left to right in the photo, Hans Wilhelm Joachim Boldt, Anna Paula Alwina Hermine Ludwigs, Ernst Ludwig Boldt, Johanna Maria Moll, Gerrit Moll, and Johanna Maria van de Bunt.

As a general rule, I try to include full birth, marriage, and death data for all of my blood relatives, including where possible scans of the original source documents. I also apply this standard to the spouses of blood relatives. However, when I find interesting inter-relationships between various in-law families, I often go further to map out these inter-relationships. As my database grows, finding such connections is becoming more and more common. Check the Genealogy category of this blog, and you’ll find a number of example of such connections.

I also include some data for some of my in-law aunts and uncles, in particular, for those born in the Netherlands: Leen Moraal, Joop van Dyk, Henk Honing, and Diane Luimes. This information is not complete, and in many cases relies on secondary sources. However, for 16 of my 28 first cousins, this can provide at least some information about the other side of their pedigree. And if any of my cousins want to dive in to the hobby of genealogy, this can give them a good head start.

Anyways, click here, or on any of the links mentioned in this post to start exploring the Boldts and Molls.

Cheers! Hans

Another Marriage Between Double Cousins?

So I was researching the family of my second cousin five times removed Geurt Kets (1799-1881), who lived in the village of Rozendaal, near Arnhem. I have some ancestors from that village, and it’s been a long time since I’ve looked at those books. As I was adding marriage events for Geurt’s kids, one in-law family caught my interest.

One of Geurt’s daughters, Wilhelmina Cornelia Kets (1827-1895), married Johannes Willem Urselinus Avelingh (1829-1881). His mother was Elsje de Ridder (1797-1823). I saw that surname before, Geurt Kets was married to Aletta de Ridder (1801-1862). If you’ve read my genealogy posts before, you know I just have to investigate to see if there’s a connection.

The first issue was geography. Elsje lived in the village of Amerongen (Utrecht). While Aletta was born in the nearby village of Rhenen, her father Dirk Leksius de Ridder (1771-1871) was born further away in Schalkwijk (Utrecht). However, Dirk’s father Dirk de Ridder (1745-1832) was born in Amerongen, so the possibility of a connection was still very much a possibility. The rest of this post involves people who lived in Amerongen.

Going back through Elsje’s ancestry, I found a couple of interesting things. First, her parents both had surname de Ridder. Could her parents Tieleman de Ridder (1760-1842) and Johanna Wilhelmina Urselina de Ridder (1763-1838) be related?

Second, look at that the names of Elsje’s grandparents. Could Frederik de Ridder (*1730) be related to Otto de Ridder (1736-1820)? And could Elsje Haefkens (*1736) be related to Johanna Arendina Haefkens (*1738)? If they were two pairs of siblings, I would have my second case of a marriage between double first cousins! (You can read about my first case here.)

When I go through the Dutch civil registrations, I sometimes get bored. The indexes (like WieWasWie) are so good, and the information in the records is so detailed, that the research can be too easy sometimes. However, by now I was well into the 18th Century church books of Amerongen, where research can be much more challenging. Those records contain much less information than the civil registration, spelling of names can vary considerably, and the older hand-writing scripts can take some getting used to. As you go further back into the 17th Century records, things get worse.

However, the church records for Amerongen aren’t the worst I’ve seen. It’s not a large place, so you don’t have to read through a lot of pages of records. And to make things easier, there’s an index for baptisms for the years 1655 through 1713. It’s grouped by year, but names are ordered alphabetically within each year.

Still, it took a while to find all the baptisms I was looking for, even after scanning through the expected range of records multiple times. At one point, I resorted to Google searches to try to find the information in secondary on-line sources. Eventually, I did find the records I was looking for. Sometimes it can be easy to miss something even if it’s staring you in the face.

Back to the research, Elsje and Johanna Arendina Haefkens were indeed sisters. Frederik and Otto de Ritter, however, were not brothers, but rather, first cousins. And so the married couple Tieleman De Ridder and Johanna Wilhelmina Urselina de Ridder were double cousins, first cousins maternally, but second cousins paternally.

I’m not done with this in-law family yet, though. I have other people with surname Avelingh in my database. Perhaps I can find additional connections with the family of Hendrikus Avelingh?

Cheers! Hans

Using the “People” view in Gramps

A few days ago, I was going through the people in my Gramps database and came across the entry for Ruth Kraaij, with a birth date of “calculated 1819”. I checked and noticed he didn’t have parents recorded. On a hunch, I looked him up on WieWasWie, and quickly found his birth record. I noticed that his parents, Lubbert Riksen Kraaij and Hijntje Rutgers (AKA Hendrikje Rutgers van Schalm) were already entered into my database. Within minutes, I downloaded Ruth’s birth record, updated his birth information, and added him as a child of Lubbert and Hijntje.

When your database grows, as mine has, to the size where you need five digits to count the number of people, there are likely to be at least a few unrecorded relationships like this. In this case, it was a parent-child relationship. But on my desk, I already have four pages of notes outlining more complex relationships between other people already entered in my database.

Here’s a screenshot of the “People” view in my Gramps database. I have it configured to show name, birth date, birth place, death date, spouse, and last changed. I often use the last changed date. By clicking on the column title, Gramps will order the records in that sequence. I then scroll down to the end, where I can see where I ended up in my previous session.

But consider the birth date column. Note a couple of things. First, a birth date in italics is actually a baptism date in those cases where a birth date is not known. Likewise, a death date in italics represents a burial date where date of death is unknown. For births and deaths in the Netherlands prior to 1772, this is very often the case.

A “calculated” date is computed by taking the date of some event and subtracting the age of the person at that event. In Dutch records, the quality of a calculated date can vary considerably. For marriage records, the bride and groom had to submit extracts from their birth records, and so their age at marriage can generally be counted on as accurate. Age at death, on the other hand, can often be off by a few years.

(By the way, when entering a calculated date into Gramps, all you need to type is “calc”. Gramps will fill in the rest.)

Sometimes, I’ll randomly go through my “people” view looking for possible avenues of investigation. The people with a calculated date of birth are often worthy of further study. I’ll look for these individuals in groups of people with the same surname living in the same general area. In my data, I have a lot of people who lived in Nijkerk, and it often takes little effort to link together people already recorded.

In the case of Ruth Kraaij, his daughter Hendrikje married my second cousin three times removed Evert Woudenberg. Ruth’s brother Rik Lubbertsen had a daughter, Aleida. She was the first wife of my great grandfather Manus van de Bunt.

Cheers! Hans


The Evolution of a Page of Notes

Many of us use hand-written notes to keep track of our genealogy research. It’s especially useful as a sort of “to-do” list, to keep track of complex inter-relationships. Normally, I record birth, marriage, and death records just for my blood relatives and their spouses. But if there’s a chain connecting different in-laws, usually I’ll also record information about the people along that chain. Those interconnections can get quite complicated.

In this tome, I discuss how one particular page of notes got complicated quite fast. Here’s how the page started. These are people who lived in the Nijkerk area, most in the area between Nijkerk and Amersfoort. The people marked with a rectangle are blood relatives.

I was looking at the children of Teunis van de Bunt (1860-1927) and Gerritje van den Heuvel (1866-1927). (Teunis was my second cousin three times removed.) My research showed that the spouses of at least four of them had connections to someone already in my database. The chart starts by showing the pedigree of Hendrika Walet (1891-1915), wife of Barend van de Bunt (1888-1970). Of her eight great grandparents, six were already in my database. The other two weren’t, but they were the parents of someone already there.

The chart morphed into this:

I discovered that Barend married a second time, to Maartje van Dunschoten (1894-1893). It turned out that I already had her maternal grandparents, Jan Dijkhuizen and Grietje van Dasler, and that she was a blood relative, my third cousin, twice removed. Oh yeah, Barend and Maartje were third cousins. Their common ancestors were Aart Woutersen and Jannetje Jans, who married in 1778.

Which now brings me to the latest revision of the chart:

There’s a lot more going on here now. Maartje van Dunschoten‘s father, Gerrit, married a second time, to Gerritje van den Brom. Now that was another surname I recognized! It turned out that she was a first cousin once removed of Hendrika Walet.

Back to Gerrit van Dunschoten, his maternal grandparents, Gerrit Willemsen Guliker and Mechteld Aalten van de Bunt were already recorded in my database. Note that in the Nijkerk area, there were two separate, unrelated lines of van de Bunt’s. I’m related to the larger of the two groups. Mechteld was a member of the other, unrelated van de Bunt family.

Going back to Gerrit’s paternal line, I found he was a descendant of yet another couple already in my database, Aelbert Gerrits and Maartje Klaasen. Other descendants of Aelbert and Maartje were married to various other van de Bunt’s.

Will there be more revisions? Probably. I’ve already entered in most of the people on the right side of the page. As I enter in the ancestors of Hendrika Walet, the next item on my to-do list, I’ll probably add more to this chart.

Cheers! Hans


More Tangled Webs in Nijkerk

Whenever I add an in-law to my database, I usually do some additional checking on that person. Using WieWasWie, it doesn’t take long to make a rough sketch of someone’s pedigree. Occasionally, I find a connection to some existing person in my database. That seems to happen more and more these days. That’s probably inevitable since I’ve recently surpassed 14,000 individuals in my database!

Today’s chart overlaps another chart I did about four years ago, mapping out some Tangled Webs in Nijkerk. In that chart, I noted that I had connections to three children of Jacob van den Pol and Aaltje Koppen. More recently, I’ve found an additional three children with connections to my distant cousins. (It may help to open this chart in a new browser window.)

In this chart, red indicates my ancestors, blue indicates other blood relatives, and yellow indicates the family of Jacob van den Pol and Aaltje Koppen. Not shown are other children of Jacob and Aaltje that have no connections.

First, consider Cornelis van den Pol (1800-1885). Two of his children, Hendrina and Jacob married distant cousins Lubbert Beukers and Geurtje Woudenberg (respectively).

Next, Jan van den Pol (1805-1879) had a daughter, Aaltje, who married distant cousin Mathijs van der Heiden. This was the second marriage for Mathijs. He’ll come up again in a few paragraphs.

Gerrit van den Pol (1807-1877) married blood relative Aaltje van Werkhoven.

Johannes van den Pol (1811-1890) had a grand-daughter who married my second cousin twice removed Geertrui van de Bunt.

Arend van den Pol (1813-1879) was the father of Margrietje, first wife of Mathijs van der Heiden, mentioned before.

Finally, Gijsbert van den Pol (1824-1893) married my second cousin three times removed Aaltje van Woudenberg. Their son Evert married another distant cousin, Antje Beukers.

At the top of the chart, note the two people, Jan Koppen and Klaas Koppen. They lived in Nijkerk at the same time, one married in 1780, the other in 1785. It’s perhaps not unreasonable to assume that they might be brothers. However, so far, I can find no evidence linking them together.

Cheers! Hans



A Marriage Between Double Cousins

Now and then, I go back through my genealogy database looking for things I’ve missed before. A few weeks ago, I came across a first cousin five times removed, Catharina Mol. All I had on her was her date of birth, March 31, 1776, in Velp (Gelderland). This was surprising since much of the information I had on the Moll’s came from research published by the single-name society Genealogische Vereeniging “Mol(l)” back in the 1930’s. (You can find their publications on-line here.)

Most of their data was fairly complete, so seeing someone with just a date of birth was conspicuous. These days, research is a lot easier, and so it didn’t take long to figure out what happened with her. Catharina moved away from Velp to Echteld, a village about 35km to the east, situated on the Waal. There she married Peter van Beem, a planter. Research on their descendants turned up some interesting interrelationships.

In this drop chart, the people marked in blue are my distant cousins. If you look carefully, you can find three examples of two siblings marrying two siblings. In particular, note the two brothers Lubbartus Mol van Beem (1803-1875) and Peter van Beem (1806-1884) married to the two sisters Aartje van Setten (1816-1875) and Cuinera van Setten (1814-1882).

There are also three examples of marriage between first cousins. This was not uncommon back in those days. However, for the first time in my own research, after recording information on over 13,000 individuals, I found a case of a marriage between first cousins who also happened to be double cousins, Peter van Beem (1832-1901) and Elizabeth van Beem (1852-1901), married in 1890. That is, these two shared four grand-parents. Before this, the closest I got was a case where the bride and groom shared three grand-parents.

These days, laws regarding cousins marrying vary considerably from place to place. According to one web site, North Carolina allows first cousins to marry, but not double first cousins. According to another web site, almost half of all marriages in Afghanistan are cosanguineous. Of those, almost 7% are double cousin marriages.

Anyways, research on this branch of the family continues.

Cheers! Hans



Stories of My Grandfather, Part Three

There’s a German tradition known as Kaffeetrinken. Literally, that means drinking coffee. In a proper German household, people would gather at 4PM and drink coffee.  Many German immigrants to Canada continued this custom, including my grandparents. Every Sunday, we would drive over to the farm and visit my Opa and Oma, and the visit would conclude with the obligatory Kaffeetrinken. We would sit around the kitchen table, often with other German friends, and eat cakes, cookies, and pastries while drinking coffee or juice and engaging in conversation.

Hans Boldt and Anna Ludwigs ca. 1955

In 1953, my grandfather, Hans Wilhelm Joachim Boldt bought a farm just outside of Odessa, about 20 minutes west of Kingston. He worked hard on that farm, raising dairy cows. Up until the late 1960’s, they also had chickens and grew their own vegetables. I still remember digging up potatoes in that garden.

When I was old enough, I’d help out bringing in the hay. We would ride in a hay wagon out to the fields, and load it up with bales already sitting on the ground. It was hard work. Each bale typically weighed up to about 30kg, and we’d stack them five or six layers high on the wagon. They had to be stacked properly since the ride back to the barn was rough, and the load would sway back and forth as we drove over the bumps. Inside the barn, we’d stack the bales up high. They’d have to feed the cows for a whole year.

Usually, my Oma would walk out to the field bringing a pitcher of grapefruit juice, much appreciated on a hot Summer day.

Opa was a proud man, respected by all. At one point, though, he had to get a loan from the bank to upgrade his machinery. He expected approval to be a sure thing. My Dad wasn’t so sure, and before Opa went to the bank, Dad went there first. He wanted to make sure his Dad got the loan, and so agreed to co-sign the loan.

Once when visiting a neighbor down the road, Opa admired an antique curio cabinet. The neighbor offered to sell it, and Opa took him up on the offer. That cabinet now stands in my living room.

The first 50 years of his life was difficult, influenced by tumultuous events in Europe. For the next 30 years, he lived a quiet, relatively uneventful life in Canada. Apart from the farm work, he loved to read and listen to music. They had a large kitchen in their farmhouse. Beside the wood stove, there were two rocking chairs. Opa sat in the one closest to the stove.

I remember the last time I saw Opa alive. In April 1981, I was getting ready to move to Toronto. Before leaving, I visited the farm and chatted with my Opa. I had a sense that it would be the last time. The day I started my new job at IBM in Toronto, I got the call, and had to return home for the funeral. Opa was remembered fondly by everyone there.