Thursday, 4 July 2013

Yesterday- A day in the life of- in search of family history!

In (january) 2003 a (male) cousin had a Family Tree book published in both Dutch and English. It covered a number of generations and was very informative-especially as there were many relations who had immigrated over the years and scattered our genes hither and yon!

Last year another ( male) cousin decided to re-open the search for more information by using not only the information in the book but opening it up to the family by starting a FB page.

Since then relatives all over the globe have found their way to the page, registering their names and whereabouts and divulging information about their parentage and more importantly, their memories, stories and life's events to make ' the book'  come alive.

Being a bit of a 'family nut'  myself I didn't hesitate one second to join this group of people and shared my photos, stories and memories just as keen as the next person.

As we all know, one thing leads to another. With the digital possibilities of today- one can scan, search Internet and connect with people what almost seems to be - effortlessly! I had been away form the Netherlands myself for about 30 years. Due to this upsurge of interest in family ties, I have reconnected, rediscovered and renewed contact with many.

Yesterday I had a most amazing day and great experience together with a cousin. We visited a museum of a particular nature. The Papal Soldier ( Zouavenmuseum)  Museum in Oudenbosch.

Both the grandfathers of my grandparents were such soldiers. We knew there was information and possibly personal belongings gifted to this museum and we wanted to see this for ourselves and gather even more information should this be possible.

What a day- and what an experience! It was somehow surreal being able to touch the fabric of some clothing items worn by our forebearers in the 1800's ( roughly between 1840 and 1870). To read how these men looked, to see in their own handwriting their registration forms, to get a glimpse into the world in which they found themselves.

With pride the volunteer in attendance did everything in his power to explain, show and divulge any and all information he could find. He even went into the basement where the personal (wooden) chest was kept and brought it to us in the main chamber to see, touch and af course photograph.

We did however stumble on a identity puzzle. This chest which was gifted to the museum, held belongings from BOTH the men and there was only one photo. We now have the almost impossible task to discover who's photo this actually is- the paternal or maternal great grandfather. I tried to discover whether there were differences in both registered photos. Both soldiers have a photo in their file- but my cousin is adamant: they are one and the same.

With that puzzle piece now in our possession the quest and journey gathering more stories continues.

Not only has this exercise brought  me more information, it has strengthened the bond with cousins all over the Netherlands as I meet up with them on my journey.

Spot the difference- if any?
Spot the difference-if any?

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