Ask Yvette: Resolving Conflicting Evidence in Early Civil Registration Records

Since the introduction of the civil registration (in 1811 in most part of the Netherlands), everybody was supposed to have a fixed name. Everybody who did not have a surname, was required to take a name and have that recorded. The reality was not always so neat. Especially in regions where many people did not have surnames before 1811, like Friesland, Groningen, Overijssel and Gelderland, the same person may appear in civil registration records under different names. Willem Lucas de Jonge and Willem Lucas Hateboer illustrate this situation.

Is Willem Lucas de Jonge the same person as Willem Lucas Hateboer?

On Twitter, Eric De Young asked:

Do you think Willem Lucas de Jonge and Willem Lucas Hateboer are the same person? [Wiewaswie] [WieWasWie]

This is a very clear research question.

The first link that Eric gave us is the birth record of Nies de Jonge, son of Willem Lucas de Jonge and Epke Meinderts, born in Scheemda, Groningen, on 16 March 1827. Willem Lucas de Jonge was the informant for the birth record, which was created on 19 March 1827.Lucas would be his patronymic, a name derived from his father (Willem son of Lucas).

The second link is the death record of Nies de Jonge, son of Willem Hateboer and Epke Meinderts Viswat, both deceased. Nies died in Nieuwe Pekela, Groningen, on 8 January 1866 at the age of 40, had been born in Scheemda and was married to Hillechien Zwalve. Informants for this death record, that was created on 11 January 1866, were his neighbors in Nieuwe Pekela: Jacob Uitvlugt, 43, sailor, and Aiko Aikens, 36, laborer.2

Houses along a canal

Houses along the canal, Nieuwe Pekela. Image credits: Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed

Analyze the records

The birth record has all the hallmarks of quality: it is a scan of an original record, created three days after the event, with an informant (the father) who had first-hand knowledge of the birth and the identify of the mother of the child, created by an official whose task it was to make sure the information was recorded accurately.

The death record shares many of these same characteristics: it is a scan of an original record, created three days after the event, with informants who had first-hand knowledge of the death, created by an official whose task it was to make sure the information was recorded accurately.

However, the information about the age, place of birth and parents of Nies de Jonge would have been secondary. Jacob was only three years older than Nies de Jonge and Aiko was four years younger, so they would not have no personal knowledge about his birth. Since they lived in Nieuwe Pekela, and not in Scheemda where Nies was born, it is uncertain whether they knew Nies’ parents. Therefore, the information about Nies de Jonge’s age, place of birth and parents is less reliable than the information about his death.

Compare and contrast

The next step is to compare the information from these two records.

Birth record Death record Comparison
Name Nies de Jonge Nies de Jonge Match
Birth date 16 March 1827 calculated from age 40 on 8 January 1866:
between 9 January 1825 and 8 January 1826
About 1-2 years difference
Birth place Scheemda Scheemda Matches
Father’s name Willem Lucas de Jonge Willem Hateboer First name matches, last name does not
Mother’s name Epke Meinderts Epke Meinderts Viswat First name and patronymic matches, last name did not appear on birth record.

The comparison looks promising: there are several points of overlap. Scheemda was a small town and both Nies and Epke were uncommon names. The chances that there were two men named Nies de Jonge with a mother called Epke Meinderts in the same period are slim.

The difference between the age in the death record and the birth date can be explained because the informants of the death record may not have known when Nies was born. This does not explain why they would have come up with the name ‘Hateboer,’ though. If they were unfamiliar with the family, they would have assumed the father’s name was De Jonge like Nies de Jonge’s own name rather than come up with a different name.

Find more records

It would be nice to find direct evidence, for example a marriage record of Nies de Jonge that says his father Willem Lucas Hateboer was also known as Willem Lucas de Jonge. In most cases, such direct evidence does not exist and we have to build a case from indirect evidence.

Marriage record

The death record of Nies de Jonge mentioned that he was married to Hillechien Zwalve. Since surnames were still somewhat unstable at this time, I search the WieWasWie index for grooms named Nies married to brides named Hill*. This turned up only one result: the marriage record of  Nies de Jonge and Hillechien Zwalve, which gives us the following information (abstract):3

Midwolda, 6 July 1849
Nies de Jonge, single, 22, laborer in Midwolda, born in Nieuw Scheemda in the municipality of Scheemda, son of Willem Lucas de Jonge, laborer, and Epke Meinderts Viswat, deceased, and
Hillechien Zwalve, single, 24, laborer in Midwolda, born and having lived during the last six months in Westerlee, municipality of Scheemda, daughter of Derkje Jans Sualve, laborer in Nieuwolda, were married.

This marriage record is very reliable: it is a scan of an original record, created during the marriage ceremony and signed by the parties after having the marriage record read to them.

Marriage supplements

The marriage supplements for this marriage record were retrieved from Familysearch.org. This packet included the following documents:4

  • Certificate that Nies de Jonge fulfilled his military duties.
  • Extract of the birth register of Scheemda, stating that Nies de Jonge, son of Willem Lucas de Jonge and Epke Meinderts, was born there on 16 March 1827.
  • Extract of the birth register of Scheemda, stating that Hillechien, daughter of Derkje Jans Swalve was born there on 18 February 1825.
  • Extract of the death register of Scheemda, stating that Epke Meinderts Viswat, wife of Willem Lucas de Jong, died there on 6 May 1832.
  • Statement by the civil registration office of Scheemda, that the announcements of the marriage of Nies de Jonge and Hillechien Zwalve took place there without opposition.

Except for the last statement, these are all derivative records; abstracts created by clerks from the original documents.

Compare and contrast some more

Let’s add this information to the comparison table:

Birth record Marriage record including supplements Death record Comparison
Name Nies de Jonge Nies de Jonge Nies de Jonge Matches
Birth date 16 March 1827 16 March 1827 between 9 January 1825 and 8 January 1826 Birth and marriage record match, age in death record is off by 2 years.
Birth place Scheemda Nieuw Scheemda, Scheemda Scheemda Matches
Father’s name Willem Lucas de Jonge Willem Lucas de Jonge Willem Hateboer Last name in death record does not match the information in the birth and marriage record.
Mother’s name Epke Meinderts Epke Meinderts Viswat Epke Meinderts Viswat First name and patronymic matches, last name did not appear on birth record but was consistent between marriage and death record.
Wife’s name - Hillechien Zwalve Hillechien Zwalve Wife’s name in marriage record matches the wife’s name in the death record.

The matching name, birth date and names of parents prove that the birth record and the marriage record are for the same person. The matching name, name of the mother and name of the wife prove that the marriage record and the death record are for the same person. The discrepancy in the age can be explained because his neighbors did not know his birth date. Together, they prove that these three records all relate to the same persons.

Willem Lucas de Jonge and Epke Meinderts Viswat

A search for Ep* Me* and Ep* Viswat in the index of vital records at WieWasWie turned up four records for Epke Meinderts (Viswat): the birth, marriage and death record of Nies de Jonge and the death record of Epke Meinderts Viswat. Her death record shows that she died in Nieuw-Scheemda on 6 May 1832. She was 46 years old, the wife of Willem Lucas de Jonge, laborer, and born in Weiwert, the daughter of Meindert Jans Viswat and Trijntje Jans, both deceased. 5

A search for Wil* Luc* and Wil* de Jonge in the same index failed to turn up Willem Lucas de Jonge’s death record or the marriage record of his marriage to Epke Meinderts Viswat.

Willem Lucas Hateboer

The question that remains is where the Hateboer name in the death record came from. A search for Willem* Hateboer in the index of vital records at WieWasWie shows that there was in fact a man named Willem Lucas Hateboer in that area in that period.

Willem Lucas Hateboer married Anje Aries Roggema in Termunten on 29 December 1833. The marriage record tells us that Willem Lukas Hateboer, 34, born 7 August 1798, farm hand in Nieuw Scheemda, son of Lukas Berends Hateboer, day laborer in Nieuwe Pekela and the late Niesjen Willems Hateboer married Anje Aries Roggema, 31, born 15 November 1801, living in Wagenborgen, widow of Harm Hendriks Kloppenburg, daughter of the late Aries Derks Roggema and the late Adriaantje Edses.6

Willem Lucas Hateboer died in Midwolda on 19 January 1871.

Comparing Willem Lucas de Jonge and Willem Lucas Hateboer

Willem Lucas de Jonge, the father of Nies Willem Lucas Hateboer, husband of Anje Roggema Comparison
Name Willem Lucas de Jonge. Called Willem Lucas Hateboer in son’s death record. Willem Lucas Hateboer Inconsistent except for the death record of Nies.
Birth date Calculated: between 17 March 1798 and 16 March 1799 (age 28 on 16 March 1827). No baptism record found. 7 August 1798 Consistent. If a baptismal record had been found for Willem Lucas de Jonge, that would have ruled out his identification with Willem Lucas Hateboer.
Birth place unknown, first appeared in Nieuw-Scheemda in 1827 Blijham Blijham is about 19 km (13 miles) from Nieuw-Scheemda, a reasonable distance.
Relatives Son Nies, born 1827 Mother Niesjen Willems, died 1819. No son Nies or daughter Niesjen. Son might have been named after his mother, who had died.
Residence Worked as a laborer Nieuw-Scheemda in 1832 (death of his wife) Worked as a laborer in Nieuw-Scheemda in 1833 (marriage to Anje Roggema) Matches.
Marriage Apparently married before 1827 (birth of child), listed as husband of Epke Meinderts in her 1832 death record. Marriage record not found. Listed as single in his 1833 marriage record. Married Anje Roggema in 1833. No death record of a previous spouse in the marriage supplements. If he was not married to Epke Meinderts Viswat, that would explain both the lack of marriage record and the fact that he was listed as single when he married Anje Roggema.
Residence Lived as a laborer in Midwolda in 1849 when his son Nies married. Lived as a laborer in Midwolda in 1846 when his son Luchien died there and in 1871 when he died there. Consistent.
Death Death record not found. Last known appearance: 1849. Died in Midwolda on 19 January 1871. If a death record had been found for Willem Lucas de Jonge, that would have ruled out his identification with Willem Lucas Hateboer.

Comparing signatures

Signatures of Willem Lucas de Jonge Signatures of Willem Lucas Hateboer
Birth record of son Nies, 1827:
Signature of W.L. de Jonge, 1827Marriage record of son Nies, 1849:
1849 signature Willem Lucas de Jonge
Marriage record to Anje Roggema, 1833:
1833 signature of Willem Lucas HateboerNational Militia record, 1833:
1833 signature of Willem Lucas Hateboer

Birth record of son Arend, 1841:
1841 signature of Willem Lucas Hateboer

The signature of Willem Lucas Hateboer has several distinguishing features:

  • He makes a distinctive loop at the start of the W and L.
  • The end of the W loops inward.
  • The L crosses over itself in the lower left corner.

The signature of Willem Lucas de Jonge has the same characteristics, especially the 1849 signature.

Conclusion: Willem Lucas de Jonge is Willem Lucas Hateboer

By comparing the timelines and signatures of Willem Lucas de Jonge and Willem Lucas Hateboer, it becomes clear that they are the same person:

  • Willem Lucas Hateboer is named as the father of Nies de Jonge in Nies’ death record.
  • They have many points of correlation: they were of the same age, had the same occupation and lived in the same towns.
  • The unusual name Nies for Willem Lucas’ son could be derived from Willem Lucas’ mother’s name: Niesje. That would explain why Willem Lucas Hateboer did not name a child after Niesje: he already had a son named after her.
  • No duplicate records were found that would have proven that there were two different persons (baptism, death).
  • There were no inconsistencies in the timeline. Willem Lucas de Jonge’s relationship with Epke Meinderts Viswat does not overlap with Willem Lucas Hateboer’s marriage to Anje Roggema; Epke died before his marriage to Anje.
  • Their handwriting shares the same characteristics.
  • No other records for a Willem, son of Lucas, have been found in this area in this period. There seems to have only been one person by that name.

This means I can now answer Eric De Young’s original question: “Do you think Willem Lucas de Jonge and Willem Lucas Hateboer are the same person?” with a definite “Yes.”

Ask Yvette

Do you have a question about your own research that you would like Yvette to write about? Please leave a comment below. Yvette will select the questions that have the most educational value and answer them in future articles.


Sources

  1. Scheemda, birth record 1827 nr. 29, Nies de Jonge, 16 March 1827; digital image, WieWasWie (http://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 19 April 2014)
  2. Nieuwe Pekela, death record 1866 nr. 6, Nies de Jonge, 8 January 1866; digital image, WieWasWie
  3. Midwolda, marriage record 1849 nr. 15, De Jonge-Zwalve, 6 July 1849; digital image, WieWasWie
  4. Midwolda, marriage supplements 1849 nr. 15, De Jonge-Zwalve, 6 July 1849; “Netherlands, Groningen Province, Civil Registration, 1811-1940,” digital images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2026219 : accessed 19 April 2014), path: Midwolda > Huwelijksbijlagen 1847-1849 > image 372-377 of 423.
  5. Scheemda, death record 1832 nr. 39, Epke Meinderts Viswat, 6 May 1832; digital image, WieWasWie
  6. Termunten, marriage record 1833 nr. 10, Hateboer-Roggema, 16 July 1833; digital image, WieWasWie
  7. Midwolda, death record 1871 nr. 4, Willem Lukas Hateboer, 19 January 1871; digital image, WieWasWie
About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for 20 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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