March 21st, 2011


While I spend an awful lot of time gawking at the more outre religions that appear in my family tree (Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) -- I mean, ya gotta love a group with part of their name in parentheses, right? Jehovah's Witnesses, Kleine Gemeinde Mennonites, the lone -- but high ranking! -- Theosophist), in all likelihood, the vast majority of my ancestry for the past few centuries has likely been some flavor of Dutch Reformed (likely nominal denomination for the lineages of 2 of 4 grandparents, and a good sprinkling in the more distant ancestry of a 3rd), with the Mennonites a distant second (another grandparent) and everything else vanishingly small by comparison, but still overwhelmingly Protestant with a heavy emphasis on Believer's Baptism. While there are modern descendants of every conceivable flavor (and a tantalizing marriage to a Jan Mozelman in Zuid Holland a century or so ago!), going up all the direct lines, I find no indications of Catholics or Jews, anywhere.

As I've been poking at the increasingly well-documented lineages that reach into the 17th century, I've been feeling like I really don't know much about the DRC. At all. Other than that a bunch of near-relatives who I really have very little respect for sniped about the hypocrisy of the DRC. That's a reason to dislike religion in general, but I have yet to detect that it's a reason to dislike any particular religion as compared to any other particular religion (a real failing on my part, in the opinion of many Believers).

I have been attempting to use DRC records of marriages and births without understanding the denomination in any detail, or the larger settlements that it was part of. This is not working really well. There are some books headed my way (will likely land on my doorstep tomorrow), but I finally resorted to _The Source_, a hardcover phonebook (wow, that's getting to be an archaic reference) sized tome, in an effort to identify a group of people who've really gone over this information in an orderly fashion. That is, I want someone else to have done my work for me, so I can just copy it into and enjoy the beautiful and well-documented completeness of it all. Hopefully, in conjunction with some history and puzzling over google maps for a while, I can then make some sense of all of this.

And lo, _The Source_ actually came through for me this time (it doesn't usually, but that's not its fault. It does, after all, specialize in American Genealogy, mostly meaning what is now the US, and most of my ancestors weren't there). And off I went to the The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society to subscribe. Hopefully tomorrow, someone will call me up and give me access to the members' area on their website which will give me access to their journal (all of them ever published, searchable, and other goodies, too!). If I get sick of my Dutch relatives in what is now New York, I can always switch to R.'s Dutch relatives in what is now New York, which is where they seem to have been before they moved to New Jersey.

At some point, I should probably figure out that whole New Jersey DRC thing. . .

Instructions in how-to-do-genealogy invariably talk about tracking down paperwork and photos and collecting stories, and then doing searches for genealogical books and so forth. I've really done this in a backasswards sort of way. I just unloaded the contents of my head and then started searching based on bits of stories I knew. Along with an initial lucky hit in the Manitoba Vital Statistics website that gave me grandma's parents names, I got a long, long, long way just searching online in ancestry and genlias. I didn't haul out the CDs with the scanned family photos (that's how lazy I was: I still haven't scanned a single photo, altho that's high on the list because I have my cousin's photos and should scan and return them. In the interim, we did get a really gorgeous new scanner.). The good news is, I have some extremely pointed research questions now, which I would not have had back before I knew my grandmother's parents names.