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 roly at paradise dot net dot nz.

4 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.

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