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).


  1. It's pretty smart though Peter. We've got one on the wall for fun. Our motto 'perseverando' is probably shared by hundreds of other families. I think loosely translated, it means we stick at it!

  2. Hi Peter, I've often wondered about those coats of arms available for sale online, whether they're accurate. You are fortunate to be able to pinpoint your family's shields and to see historic renditions in a window and tombstone.

  3. @Little Nell
    It also means 'hold on to it' meaning that it shouldn't be thrown away. It possibly belonged to an overworked dustman?

    You can buy anything on the internet, even academic titles. The sellers are usually swindlers. So don't spend any money on those offers!

    Thanks for visiting!

  4. The man on top is funny. I didn't know they played soccer in the 17th century :-)

  5. Nice to read your new blog. In Holland families with coat of arms are proud of them and two came down the track, one from each of my parents. I guess one could even collect them as we have a lot of ancestors. The fist thing you do is have a ring made with your family coat of arms and mostly they are blue or black and sometimes I've even seen green ones. It's fun when you buy sealing wax, heat it up, melt a blob of it on a back of an envelope and press your ring in it. I guess in the olden days one didn't put a sender on the envelope, just your coat of arms seal and so the receiver would know where it came from. Isn't that right Peter?

  6. @aussie K
    I don't know about not mentioning a sender. But you may very well be right. They certainly used the seal on the letter.

    My sense of humor apparently is under developed. The soccer player escapes me :(

  7. Doelman: Your ancestor must have been a goalkeeper (start laugh track) (like I said: name jokes are not so funny).

  8. @Rob
    Aaahh, thanks for reviving my sense of humor. But the story doesn't end there. She was married to a gentleman named De Langen... And I'll come back to that later, in my other blog.

  9. Very interesting! My father was also named Cornelis Doelman (b.1951).. and was named after his Grandfather - also Cornelis Doelman. We have a framed coat or arms that has been passed down.

  10. Hi Rachel, am I wrong in assuming that your second name is Andrea? And that you live in New Zealand? Please send me an email and I'll explain: patmiebies at gmail dot com.

  11. I came across your blog searching for our crest on Google.
    My name is Adam Doelman, and Rachel, who has commented above is my cousin.
    It'd be interesting to know if there is a family connection there!

    1. There certainly is! Please send me an email: patmiebies at gmail dot com.


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