Posts tagged ‘genealogy’

A family affair – looking for ancestors online

Once I found out that the birth records of my grandmother, my father’s mother, still existed, I learned a lot more about my ancestors. I had already found a lot just by googling, but to verify, I needed official documents.  And I got them. She had a very long familytree.  Her niece recently told me my grandmother was aware of her familyroots, but it was never spoken about when I was a child. It was not important of course, it played no role.

It still isn’t important or something to boast about or anything like that, but it just is a thrill for me to go back so far, and learn about so many historical people I only knew from history books! And to think – they are all in the family! lol

My living family again is totally not interested in this familytree I am so proudly reconstructing, they don’t understand why I spend hours on row just spitting for old bones. They think it is crazy. But worldwide there are many other people just as crazy as I am, so at least online I can share a lot of my enthousiasm.

Now of those many ancestors that I never met, my favorite is Aleid van Avesnes aka Aleid van Holland, buried 12 April 1284, daughter of Floris IV of Holland and Machteld of Brabant  and married to Jan van Avesnes.

My interest for her is not just because of  her role in the history of the Netherlands, but also because she had an amazing line of ancestors, a real treassure for genealogists. William the Conqueror, Alfred the Great, Charlemagne! David 1 of Scotland. A trip through history, and Shakespeare’s MacBeth will never be the same to me.

But how to find a face that goes with the figure?

I googled of course, but I just got some vague figure on a coin, and a statue of hers that was made much later, so there is no telling what she must have looked like.

If somehow a painting exists of her, I would love to see it! So that is what I am trying to find. A painting portraying Aleid. If I ever find it, I will show you 

Duncan 1, also hanging somewhere in the tree  🙂


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Granddad Charlie

When I started with my family tree, I silently hoped for some well known people to be my ancestors. Wouldn’t it be fun, to find someone famous.
I was alone in this ambition, as my sensible family couldn’t care less.
Thanks to internet, I found a lot of names, and I even found out one of my ancestors was the sister of a famous poet, (Bredero) wow, but I couldn’t get any further with the branch of my grandmother Clasina. She was born in Rotterdam and I thought all paperwork from the registers had been lost in WWII.
But that was not the case. In The Netherlands we have this archive on line with all registers of birth, death, baptizes and marriages that goes back to the days of Napoleon. It is called GenLias. I found my grandmother, but I found a lot more than just her.

With finding her, a long list of ancestors soon followed. Not only though GenLias, but also thanks to other family trees online. They gave their sources as well, and so, in no time, I had hundreds, thousands of ancestors and the sources to check. And the further back in time I went, the more up class the people seem to be. I came across counts, dukes, kings and even empires.

Of course I haven’t been in the bedrooms of these people while they were making babies, so I can’t be 100 % sure, but these people do have official papers that say they were who they are.

One of them is Charlemagne. English: Charles the Great, Dutch: Karel de Grote, German: Karl der Grosse, Latin: Carolus Magnus, King of the Franks and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He shows up thousands of times in my family tree. This phenomenon is called Ahnenverlust in German, the fact that you have less different ancestors as you go back in time, due to doubles. It is quiet normal to have the same ancestor in three or more generations even. I think just about everyone in Europe has at least one line of ancestors to him somehow. He was the most important figure of our history and all later royals and aristocrats descend from him one way or another.

He was born in 742, on April 2, not quite sure where exactly but somewhere in Northern Europe, prob. in what is now Belgium. His parents were Pippin III and Bertrada of Laon, and he was their eldest son. According to his secretary and biographer Einhard “he was six feet four inches tall, and built to scale. He had beautiful white hair, animated eyes, a powerful nose…a presence ‘always stately and dignified.’ He was temperate in eating and drinking, abominated drunkenness, and kept in good health despite every exposure and hardship.” It is also said he became master of Western Europe by the sword and the cross.
In the year 768 Charles inherited the kingdom of the Franks, together with his brother Carloman, who died in 771, and Charlemagne then became sole ruler of the kingdom. He could not write, but still learned Latin and a little Greek.
He had many children and some of them are ancestors of mine. Was he a nice father I wonder. Did he ever cuddle with his grandchildren?He was tall and had white hair. A sort of santa.
He was the one who invented school, so we learned in history lessons. This is why we children didn’t like him very much. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to meet him… and say “Hi granddad. I am one of your thousands of offspring. Just a very tiny bit of you is me. As my sons say: when you clip your nails, all you inherited from this Charlemagne might be gone. Oh well. Thank you for giving the world a new chance in civilization. And granddad, I am proud I am almost 6 feet tall. As I got that from you perhaps?” 😉

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