Finally completed – my family tree book

Over the last year I’ve been working on the second edition of  a booklet depicting my family tree on both my father’s ( Hermans) and my mother’s (van Dooren) sides.  In 2006 I wrote the first edition of Double Dutch, the history of the ancestors of Stephanus Hermans and Anne-Marie van Dooren, who migrated from the Netherlands to New Zealand in the early 1950s.

This second edition, Double Dutch 2, corrects some errors in the first edition and adds new information that takes the story of my families further back into history.   My aim has been to carry my two direct family lines as far back as I can, and I must say I am pleasantly surprised how far back I’ve now been able to take them (the Hermans family to the late 1500s, and the van Doorens to the late 1600s).

This edition was spurred by my making contact over the internet with several genealogy enthusiasts.   Most of my information for the last two centuries came from the very comprehensive Dutch birth, death and marriage records that date back to the time of Napoleon, and now freely available online at .  The most common sources for births in the earlier years of this history were church christening records.

One challenge was the way that the same names repeat across the generations and across different branches of the family, leading to much confusion.  My ancestors’ names were usually registered in Latin, but the ‘call-names’ they actually used in day-to-day life were often Frenchified forms of one of these registered names.  On the other hand, the sensible Dutch custom of the wife keeping her maiden name at least made that part of the research so much easier!

Here’s the page showing my earliest known Hermans ancestors.  As you can see, I also made a fascinating detour into the world of maps,  which I think help us to understand a little more about the surroundings our ancestors lived in.

I had as much fun with the design of the booklet as the research. I wanted something that would be appealing enough to my children, nephews, nieces, uncles and aunts to enjoy browsing through, but that also recorded the data and sources.  For various reasons, I had to use MS Word for my design (graphic designers would throw their arms up in horror at this), and I think I have eked the most out of Word design-wise that I could.

This page features one of my favourite ancestors, Napoleonic dragoon trumpeter Pierre van Dooren.  I’ve posted about him previously here on my blog.

And this page features photos from my Dad’s life.  Again, I’ve posted a bit about him previously.  By the way, the headings in the booklet are based on my children’s generation’s point of view – so my father is shown as ‘Grandfather’.

Unfortunately I can’t publish this book, as there are several images in it that I have not got permission for, and it also contains some current data in it that could be prone to identity theft.  But if anyone does want a copy emailed to them privately, please send me an email to rolydothermansatgmaildotcom. 

19 thoughts on “Finally completed – my family tree book

  1. Looks great Roly i want a copy, we pick one upp wen we are in NZ in 4 weeks from now, cheers keep up the good work, cheers Pat.

    1. Not a problem, Patrick. Maybe you can help me decipher the Dutch language on some old records! Looking forward to seeing you then.

  2. Buenos dias, estaria interesado en una copia de su libro, para poder ver como esta estructurado. Me gustaria realizar un libro sobre mis antepasados pero no se como hacerlo.
    Muchas gracias.

  3. What a wonderful idea and thank you sharing. I was wondering how I was going to share all my research with family and if you can send it via email that is great! I would love a copy but either way thank you for sending me down a good path.

  4. I have been working on my family’s history for many decades and it time to document it for the future. How many generations do you cover in your book and how did you arrange the information?

  5. If I could see a copy of your book to be able to start mine I have all my information about my family in Spain since 1700 but I don’t know how to start writing the book
    my email is

  6. Hi Roly. Have just seen your book on Pintrest. What a great looking book the ideas that you have used have turned out terrific. I am also looking for ideas and would like a copy of your book to inspire my thoughts as I would like to produce a book for my family my email address is. regards Mike

  7. I have just started working on my family tree and would love to see a copy of yours. Thank you so much for sharing. My Mom just passed away and our history has always been “a secret.” I want my own children to know their heritage and be happy to know it. Donna

  8. Hi Roly, your book looks inspirational. I’ve been collecting my family Hx for years, but have no idea how to put it all together in an interesting way. Would really appreciate a copy of your book. My email is
    Thankyou Lesley

  9. I also am impressed with your family history booklet. I teach Genealogy class of seniors and I think we would all like to see what you have done.

  10. Hi Roly, I would really appreciate it if you could email me a copy of your book. Like a lot of people who have commented I have been searching for guidance on how to put together and present the information I have. gathered.
    Thanks Roly

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