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Here you can search for people who appear in this database. Therefore you have to choose in which field you want to search. So now follows a more detailed explanation of some of these fields.
To all fields applies, that you can enter a part of the string you are searching for. Often this will give better results. Only a year of birth leads to a good result, but January 28, 1843 would come to nothing. This also would work: 1843-01-28, because that’s the way, such data are stored.
The most important fields are those with the names. We have got three of them: family name, given names (or first names) and nicknames.
Names, first names, nicknames, usual first names
What “belongs” to an ancestral database and what not?
There are many standards of what is needed in an ancestry data base. The most important is GEDCOM, the acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunications. It is a data structure created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for storing and exchanging genealogical information.
Below you see an example of a part of such a record.
0 @I21@ INDI
1 NAME Rudolf /Valencia/
2 GIVN Rudolf
2 NICK Rudy
2 SURN Valencia
The first names (GIVN = GIVEN NAMES) are official names. They are given by parents, when they register their child, in this example Rudolf. At the same time, they call their baby Rudy, which is the NICKNAME. Nicknames can change, of course. Suppose a child’s given names are THOMAS HENRY. His parents always called him HANK, but when he was adult, he used to present himself as TOM. So this person had at least two nicknames in his live. It is my goal to document such a development for our posterity too, because it is a piece of our cultural history. In such cases I write Hank/Tom as his nickname. It does not matter whether people knew him as Tom or Hank, they all find him that way. They just need to search at nickname.
If no nickname is known, this field is the same as for the first names.
There are also people who, for various reasons, do not use the nickname from their childhood anymore, but simply their usual first name. This can have different reasons:
- They feel this name as a children’s name. Example Billy
- They have left their region and perceive their old nickname as too regional. Hein or Sepp
- They find that their old nickname does not longer match their new status. e.g. A businesswoman who does not want to be called Trienchen anymore, but by the family. The others should call her Catharina, or, mostly of course, Mrs. …
Yet on this website such nicknames are mentioned too. In the case of living persons, because their data is only accessible to relatives anyway, in the case of the deceased, because to a historical person belongs their entire history. And that, of course, is a part of our cultural history.
Regional nicknames in the Euregio
The Euregio Maas-Rhine is a border area with three languages - German, Dutch and French - in three countries and many dialects, especially Mosan (or Limburgish) and Rhenish (Ripuarian) dialects. It is an area with a changing history, the individual areas have often changed their “owners” and thus also the official language. The first names that parents gave their children are a result of it.
I give you some examples of the effects:
- In Kerkrade and Vaals, children were often given German first names and nicknames, such as Willi Eck, Gerhard Kreyen, Trienchen Eck. Here, the local dialects are Rhenish and almost identical to that of Aachen. The preaches in the churches used to be in German, until May 10, 1940, when the Nazis invaded.
But until today Vaals and Kerkrade are Dutch municipalities where the children speak a bad Dutch. Whilst speaking German is no problem.
- In East-Belgian villages like Gemmenich, Montzen and Bleiberg (Plombières) we see about the same. There, too, the partial German bilingualism suddenly ended on May 10, 1940. But the voluntary Frenchification is so strong that today you can find almost no children that speak German. In Gemmenich a bit more. In the German speaking part of Belgium these villages are called old belgian villages. They don’t belong to the German-speaking Community of Belgium.
- Prior to the French Revolution, the present German-speaking Community of Belgium belonged to Austria, then it was French. After 1815 it became part of the new Kingdom of the Netherlands. At the same time, in La Calamine / Kelmis started the divided rule of Neutral Moresnet, until 1914. In 1830 Belgium seceded from the Netherlands. The result of this was that French became the sole official language, not only in the French speaking South, but also in Flanders and the area of the today’s German-speaking Community. This also applied to the now again Dutch part of the then still undivided province of Limburg, which participated in the secession. At that time the children were given French first names by the registry offices throughout Belgium. In 1872 there was great excitement because Jozef Schoep in Molenbeek got 50 franc penalty because he refused to register his son in French. However, when Belgium officially became multilingual, the custom of giving French names to the children was partially maintained. Many Flemish and German speaking parents found that more chic. The part of Limburg, which became Dutch again in 1839, is no exception in this.
- Registry offices are government institutions, and thus they support the national integrity of their state, also by the means of giving first names. But in many cases also the parents themselves do not choose certain first names any longer, because the times have changed. We already saw this for Belgium and it was not different in Dutch Limburg. After its division in 1839, the Dutch part became not immediately a province, but under the name Duchy of Limburg it was a part of the German Confederation until 1866. Especially in the municipalities of Kerkrade and Vaals, German first names were sometimes given and recorded in the registry, for example Gertrud Eck, ∗1877, whilst her older brother Willi was registered on 03/02/1874 as Willem Joseph Eck. He was baptized Wilhelmus, and according to what the oral family tradition says, he was called Willi.
The people of the Euregio learned to cope with these changing situations. The result is in many cases a sort of church tower patriotism: their identity as inhabitants of their community is far more important to them than belonging to a certain nation.
Not only the first names that are given to their children, but also their nicknames reflect this history. They are sometimes given on burial sheets, sometimes we know them from the oral tradition. That’s why they too are definitely worth being preserved.
Often there is a lot of confusion about the correct spelling of family names.
At WieWasWie.nl we read: „…Daarnaast is zeker in de beginperiode van de Burgerlijke Stand nog geen sprake van een echt vaste schrijfwijze. De archiefinstellingen hebben er daarom voor gekozen om zoveel mogelijk vast te houden aan de spelling zoals deze in de akte staat. De verdere interpretatie van de gegevens is dus aan de gebruikers.“
Ook bij personen, die op deze site voorkomen, doet zich dit voor. Wat is juist, wanneer mensen uit één en dezelfde familie bij de burgerlijke stand verschillend geschreven worden? Sommige families laten het er niet bij zitten en zetten door, dat ze niet meer „fout“ staan ingeschreven, zoals de Schuncks, die een tijd lang als Schunk werden vermeld. Andere voorbeelden zijn Heyltjes/Heijltjes en Kreyen/Kreijen. Mijn aanpak: allebei noemen, wanneer er geen officiële correctie heeft plaats gevonden.