Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Family Tree

This week, my Uncle John sent me a link to my family tree.  He's really diligent in keeping an accurate accounting of all the uncle's, aunt's, children, grand children and great grand children that have been born into the Vandermolen clan.  It keeps us all connected as the family starts to get larger and go their separate ways.  It keeps us grounded in our Dutch heritage.  I just LOVE my Dutch heritage!

Here is my grandfather and grandmother, young and full of life.  Oma was a nurse who fell in love with my Opa only after a little coaxing on his part.  She would say with a twinkle in her eye that despite his "long nose" she eventually fell head over heals for him.  She loved to tell the stories of how they met and what trials and triumphs they endured together.  That included immigrating to Canada following World War II and leaving all their family behind in Holland . 

It took great courage to start fresh in this new, untamed country.  My grandfather picked beats in the frozen fields of chilly Alberta.  My grandmother cared for her 7 children in a small, rat infested shack in the middle of winter and hoped for better days. 

I always felt a great connection with my ancestral homeland and we have visited the Netherlands a number of times.  But, sad to say, I had no idea who my family was or what cities they hailed from.  Never the less, one year we happily toured Holland by boat, slowly traversing the canals and waterways in search of some feeling of connection with my family from times past.

But, things are looking up.  I now know my great, great, great, great, great grandfather, Willem Jans was born in Doezum, Groningen in 1711. 
 
This is the church in Doezum........
And this is his gravestone........
He lived and died in Doezum.  I find that FASCINATING!

I am so excited that there are long lost family members in Holland who have taken the time to set our family tree up on-line.  I'm thankful that my Uncle John has faithfully kept us all in his archive and generously added EVERY ONE of us, which is an enormous job!  We Dutch people of Reformed backgrounds tend to procreate rather vigorously.  It's in our GENES.

When I look at old black and white photos, my mind is filled with wonder at what life must have been like for my ancestors and what metamorphosis has occurred since Opa Willem Jans was walking on this earth.  He never left Doezum, Groningen.  He could never have imagined what amazing inventions were still to come in the generations that would follow.

But I am most thankful to Opa Willem Jans for the passing on of the Reformed faith which he taught my great, great, great, great grandfather who then passed it on to his son and so on.  What an amazing gift to have shed upon the many generations of Vandermolen's who have come and gone. 

The Lord has blessed my great, great, great, great, great grandfather Willem Jans with many generations of families who have embraced the gospel of grace, teaching them to work hard, pray hard and praise our heavenly God for the greatest blessing of all, the metamorphosis of our sinful nature into children of God!  That is something truly wonderful.

Now, I'm off to check on more of my family history to figure out where I got my innate charm and easy going personality from.  They tell me I take after my mother.......
I don't know, I just don't see it.  Do you?!

Now, don't forget to check out Between Naps on the Porch for lots more METAMORPHOSIS going on out there in blog land.  You'll love all the exciting things going on out there!


8 Comments »

8 Responses to “My Family Tree”

Colleen said...

Neato! Did Uncle John give you a link or something on the internet? If so, I'd love to look at it! I've seen lots from Dad's side but nothing on Mom's....

momofcrt said...

Yeah, we got the link too. Neat isn't it? I added pics of our family on ours. I haven't looked too closely at the site yet. Our youngest son Tyson is named after his two great Opa's, Thijs Stad and Willem Vandermolen, but we "Canadianized" the names to Tyson William.

Anonymous said...

HMMM..I must be chopped liver..I never got the link. I would love to see it, and will tsalk to uncle John when we get back.
thanks for the blog!, LIsa

Nancy-Mom said...

Hmm, even I didn't know all that stuff you mention. Guess I better check out my family history :-) Part of the problem I guess is that though I was born in Holland, I consider myself Canadian and not Dutch.

Rosa said...

Oh Tam!
You have exactly the same look on your face when Jada strays too close to you. lol
Well maybe not the exact same. . .
Don't worry Lisa, I didn't get the link either but I LOVE the fact that we can go back so far with our family tree!

Linda Q said...

Very Cool, good that someone is keeping track of all of it too or it gets lost. I am the family historian aka genealogist, so I understand the work involved in it. I too am Dutch, on my Dad's side , his Great Grandmother was a Van Tassel or Texel from the Texel Islands. They are the ones that Washington Irving wrote about in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow story, so that is a bit cool especially this time of year.
Thanks for sharing, fun to see and read.
Linda

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Geneaology...can't live withou it.

wisdom of the day!