Sunday, 31 March 2013

My coat of arms

Well, let me rephrase that. It is not my coat of arms, it belongs to the family of my maternal grandmother, Antje Doelman (1892-1984). Her ancestors can be traced back a long way. If we follow a straight line for nine generations, we meet granny's ancestor Frans Cornelisse Doelman. I presume he was born around 1650. Frans was not an unimportant man. He lived in the village of Maasland near Rotterdam. It is quite possible that he was a farmer but he was also holding the position of alderman, deacon and, on behalf of the community, he was taking care of the funds destined to support the poor (armmeester). It was not unusual for people of his status to have a coat of arms*.
Whether he was the first Doelman to have this coat of arms is doubtful. There are earlier records showing a similar coat of arms. It belonged to a Cornelis Michielsz Doelman, alderman until 1566. It is unknown how Frans is related to this Cornelis.
In 1658 a farm was built in Maasland. Ever since the early 19th century this farm was known as the Doelman's farm (Doelmanshoeve). In this farm there was, and still is a stained glass window showing a Doelman coat of arms (right). There is a great resemblance to the one shown above. The farm still exists but now as a restaurant called the De Ridderhof (The Knight's Court).
In the Armorial Général, the very impressive heraldic work by J.B. Rietstap, the Doelman coat of arms is described as you can see below.
Excerpt from the Armorial Général
The full French text reads: Doelman - Hollande D'argent au lion d'azur, armé et lampassé du champ. In English that is: Doelman - Holland Of silver (white) with lions in azure (blue), armed and langued gules.
I am not sure that this description fits both coat of arms shown in this post. I am not even certain what it means...
When the last owner of the Doelman's farm died on Dec. 4, 1916, he was buried in Maasland. His name was Adrianus Doelman and he lived to be 79 years old. It is said that his coat of arms is part of his tombstone. So I better go there before weathering makes it impossible to see how it looks like. But I trust that also there the man's face at the top of the coat of arms resembles the face of a Doelman. Because that's what Granny told me. And if ever there was a truthful woman, it was Granny!

*Contrary to popular belief a coat of arms does not automatically imply nobility. But rest assured, even today it is possible to design a coat of arms for your family and have it registered. In the Netherlands registration is possible via the services of the Central Bureau of Genealogy (CBG) or the Dutch Genealogical Society (NGV).

Sunday, 24 March 2013

My surname could have been...

The patronymic Meuwis
still exists in Hasselt
Voor een samenvatting in het Nederlands, zie na de Engelse tekst.
In The Netherlands the name Miebies is not regarded as, how shall I say, as being typically Dutch. Whenever I meet people for the first time the least they say is that they never heard it before. There are also people pronouncing Miebies as Miebiesch, giving it a kind of German twist. Speaking of the pronunciation of my name, I should tell English speakers that it is pronounced as Meebees
In an earlier post I explained what the origin of my surname is. The man I regard as the ancestor of all Dutch Miebieses came from Kuringen, also called Curingen or Curange in French. It is situated in what is now the Belgian province of Limburg. The neighboring city of Hasselt absorbed Kuringen in 1977. When Frederikus Miebies (1760-1834) came to The Hague in approx 1790 his last name was still Muwis. (When Frederikus got married in 1795 the name was written as Miebis.)
Bartholomew Tiepolo
The Martyrdom of Bartholomew
In Kuringen, Hasselt and in more towns and villages in Limburg, Muwis and related names are quite common. The reason of this name being wide spread is that it is a patronymic. It is a derivation of Meeus which is short for Bartholomeus (or Bartholomew in English). 
But apart from Meeus there are many more variations. Back in 2004 I made an analysis of the number of patronymics related to Bartholomeus the disciple. I limited myself to the following sources from the State Archive in Hasselt.
Kuringen                         Hasselt
Baptism, book 81-2       book 50-8 & book 12
Marriage, book 81-4     book 9 & book 5
Death, book 81-6           book 6
I received extracts of these books from a genealogical acquaintance in Limburg (M.M.). It will be clear that using the BMD-registers all at the same time, causes double/triple records of the same person. So please keep that in mind when looking at the numbers. 
Distribution of M...-patronymics over a period of 300 years
Please click to enlarge
As you can see in the above table, there are some 30 variations of the name. There is a significant peak in the number of families carrying these M...-patronymics. During the 18th century most surnames have been recorded in the a.m. books. Whether this sudden popularity had a specific reason I don't know. I have been unable to trace any specific events related to the disciple Bartholomew other than the rebuilding after a fire of the not too distant Bartholomew basilica in Meerssen in 1749.
In any case my last name could easily have been Me(e)uwis, Meuwis(sen), Mievis or any other derivation of the name of the disciple. And depending on how Flemish Fredericus would have pronounced that name in The Hague and how it was subsequently understood and noted by the clergyman there, it could have been quite different from the present day name of Miebies. It also demonstrates my thesis that the combination of local speech and the lack of a hearing aid can be detrimental to one's last name :)

In Nederland is Miebies nou niet bepaald een veel voorkomende naam. Vaak informeren mensen waar die naam toch vandaan komt. Men vermoedt vaak een Duitse herkomst, hetgeen in Nederland niet zo vreemd is. Ik heb al eens uitgelegd wat de herkomst van de naam is en dat die uit Kuringen bij Hasselt in Belgisch Limburg komt. Toen onze stamvader Fredericus Miebies (1760-1834) omstreeks 1790 naar Den Haag kwam, was zijn achternaam Muwis. (In zijn huwelijksakte in 1795, wordt de naam geschreven als Miebis.)
In Kuringen, Hasselt en omgeving is de naam Muwis, en soortgelijke namen, veel voorkomend. Dat is niet onlogisch omdat de naam een patroniem is en afgeleid van de apostel Bartholomeüs. Muwis is dan weer een afgeleide van (Bartholo)Meeus. Maar naast Meeus zijn er meer afgeleide namen, veel meer. In 2004 heb ik daar eens een overzichtje van gemaakt en het zijn er zeker een stuk of 30, zie de tabel hierboven. Met name in de 18e eeuw kwamen die namen veel voor. Waarom? Geen idee. Ik heb geen lokale gebeurtenissen kunnen vinden die als oorzaak aangemerkt kunnen worden. Alleen de wederopbouw van de Sint Bartholomeüsbasiliek in het enigszins nabij gelegen Meerssen zou dat kunnen zijn. Maar dat was pas in 1749.
Maar hoe je het ook wendt of keert, i.p.v. Muwis had de naam ook Me(e)uwis, Meuwis(sen), Mievis of elke andere afleiding van de naam van de discipel kunnen zijn. En afhankelijk van het simpele gegeven hoe Fredericus zijn naam in Den Haag heeft uitgesproken en hoe de geestelijke het daar heeft verstaan en opgeschreven, had onze achternaam heel anders kunnen zijn. Hetgeen maar weer eens bewijst dat de combinatie van een dialect en een ontbrekend gehoorapparaat een fnuikende invloed op iemands achternaam kan hebben :)

Photo credit:
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Hello Bandoeng

Willy Derby Hallo Bandoeng 1929
The post title is the here well known beginning of a 1929 song written by Dutch singer Willy Derby. I am not sure it is still well known today but it certainly was when present day Indonesia was a Dutch colony: the Dutch East Indies (DEI). 
The rather sentimental song is about a mother in Holland calling her dearly missed son in Bandoeng, a large city on the island of Java and over 15,000 kilometers away. In 1979/1980 Soerabaja (also situated on Java) born singer Wieteke van Dort was responsible for a revival of the song. 
In those days making a phone call was an arduous undertaking. I remember when my grandparents wanted to make a call to their daughter in the DEI, a PTT-van* with a transmitter came to their house in The Hague. It was then "flooded" with all kinds of kinds of cables, wires and phones and after hours of preparation the call came into being. I am talking around 1950 now.
This was not the first time for them to communicate with members of the family 
Meinsje Doelman Balikpapan
Meinsje Doelman in
Balikpapan (DEI)
in the DEI. My grandmother Antje de Langen-Doelman (1892-1984) had a younger brother and sister who both lived in the East Indies long before WW2. Her sister was Meinsje (Mies) Doelman (1900-1973). She was married to Jan (Bob) Wemmers (1898-1976). He was employed by oil company Shell and a.o. they lived in Balikpapan on the island of Borneo. During WW2 Jan was interned by the Japanese in one of their not so nice camps. His stay there was registered on the card below. Prior to his internment the couple lived in 22 Sawohlaan, Batavia. Later he was transported from the camp to Burma where he was forced to work on the infamous Burma -Thailand railroad. You may remember the movie called Bridge on the River Kwai a.o. starring Sir Alec Guinness and William Holden. Jan survived the railroad but if I remember well, his health was affected.
Interneringskaart Jan Wemmers
Japanese camp registration of Jan Wemmers
The brother, Cornelis Doelman (1895-1983), lived in Batavia (currently Jakarta), capital of the DEI. He was a supervisor of poly technical educational institutions in the East Indies. His Belgium born wife Lea Eulalia Hortensia Libert (1896-1983) was with him ever since they moved there after their marriage in 1921.
During the very early stages of WW2 it was possible to send letters from Holland to the DEI. I have one written by Pieter Doelman (1864-1942). He was the father of Antje, Cornelis and Meinsje. At the time he lived in Antje's house on 18 Mispelstraat, The Hague. On May 30, 1940 he wrote about the surrender of Holland and Belgium and about the bombing of Rotterdam ("26,000 houses destroyed"). Also about a relative who was killed in action during the German invasion.  
But apparently the possibility to communicate by mail was stopped a few months
Red Cross message form 1940
Red Cross message form
later. That is no surprise as obviously the Germans did not allow any connections by air nor by ship. However, there was still the Red Cross. They provided a kind of Short Message Service avant la lettre. There was a maximum of 25 words. On this form Cornelis informs his father in Holland that the DEI family is okay. The date is Oct. 17, 1940. At the time Cornelis is living in 31 Sawohlaan, Batavia, the same street where his sister Meinsje and her husband lived or had been living. The back of this form was used for the return message. The reply was dated Jan. 7, 1941 suggesting a transportation time for these forms of more than 75 days.
Today we live in a world of almost instant communication possibilities anywhere. We have our mobile/cell phones enabling us to call, to WhatsApp, to ping, to SMS and what have you. And in case you are out of reach of 3G and even 4G networks, there is always the satellite phone. For youngsters such as our grandchildren it may be good to know that it wasn't always like this. People wrote letters that took a month or more to reach their destination. People did not have phones in their homes, one had to go to the Post Office to place a call to a neighboring city. International calls? Call the international operator please; they would return the call when the connection was made. All these changes came about in the course of the last 60, 70 years. But it is good to realize that the world wasn't always as near and as small as it is today.

*PTT is short for Post, Telephone and Telegraph, the governmental provider of all these services.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Sepia Saturday - Goodbye

Sepia Saturday 168
Dear Sepians:

Are we looking at a press conference here? Maybe so. In any case it provides me with an obvious reason to tell you why I no longer contribute to the weekly SS fun.  To cut a long story short, I feel it consumes too much of my time. Writing my piece is one thing, visiting and commenting on the blogs of an increasing number of participants is another. And I loved doing that, paying all these visits. It is great to see how bloggers from all over the world interpret the weekly themes put together by a very enthusiastic team. But the fact remains that I have too little time left to do the other things I like to do as well. There is this pile of  books I have to read and there is my other hobby genealogy* requiring my attention. I also wanted to start a new blog  related to Dutch language matters. (That materialized in the meantime.) In order to avoid that some of my family members believe that I am glued to my pc, I decided to make an end to my my SS addiction. A few weeks ago I informed Marilyn of this. But I feel I owe you a little explanation as well. 
Therefor, I like to thank you for reading my blog and for all your comments. And of course I am very grateful to Alan, Kate and Marilyn for all their efforts to make Sepia Saturday the success it is!

PS Nothing will stop me from making the occasional visit so don't be surprised if you see my name pop up here or there.

* Genealogy is the art of hanging dead people in a tree.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Dad's drawing

J.C. Miebies J.H. de Langen
My father and mother
My father Johannes Cornelis Miebies (1914-1945) had a certain talent for drawing. I believe he made many sketches but hardly any of those has been saved. Fortunately we still have a number of his pen drawings. For that purpose he used India ink also known as Chinese ink. (In Dutch it is called 'East Indian ink'; this refers to the former Dutch East Indies.)
Together with my mother he visited the German city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber on July 26, 1939. There they bought a number of picture postcards. Later he used some of those as an example for his pen drawings. I am glad my mother loved keeping all those travel memorabilia. It is nice to still have those and it enables us to compare the postcards with my father's drawings. So you'll find those below. Also a third illustration which is a Google view of the situation now. 
Klingentor Rothenburg ob der Tauber Germany
Klingentor, Rothenburg o/d Tauber
on a 1939 postcard
Klingentor Rothenburg ob der Tauber by JC Miebies
Drawing by J.C. Miebies

Signature and year of drawing
A recent view found on Google
I wrote two more posts about these drawings. They are Tekeningen and Tekeningen (2). Never mind the Dutch, the drawings speak for themselves :)


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